Archive

Author Archive

The “Why Haven’t I Made Any Sales?” Checklist

June 18, 2013 38 comments

You’re a photographer who’s oh-so-ready to make money. We hear ya. But if you’ve gotten every hair in place and you’ve still not seen that “Cha-Ching!” email, here are a few possible reasons why you’ve not been getting bites.

1. No Buy Button

Missing Buy button on a pro website

Is it there? This is possibly one of the most dire but easiest flubs to fix. Maybe you disabled this or applied a Quick Setting that hid the Buy button from your galleries, but if you don’t switch it back on you’ll never sell a single print. So be sure to check your galleries and if it’s missing, enable printing in your Gallery Settings. Easy peasy!

Enable SmugMug's shopping cart

2. No Pricing

Set your SmugMug pricing

We hate asking this, but… you DID set up your pro pricing, right? With Pricelists it’s really easy to set a pro markup on just the products you want, then apply that pricing to any or all galleries across your site. But if you forget to do this, you won’t make a dime.

Tip: If you don’t want to think about this ever again, check the “Make this my default pricelist” at the top right and we’ll automagically apply this pricelist to all current and new galleries on your site.

Also, are you charging enough? It may seem counter-intuitive, but we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your prices high and charging what you’re worth. In short: Don’t be cheap.

3. Nasty RCP Message

Great example of an effective RCP message.

We’re all about protecting your photos and making sure that you have peace of mind when putting your best work on the web. But there are ways to use them, and then there are better ways to use them. We’re here to show you the latter.

Like your Right-Click Protection message: It’s there to foil right-clickers looking for an easy download, but most photographers just put a boilerplate copyright message, or a threat. Instead of slapping your customers, try to guide them to your Buy button for a profit-making purchase. You’ll look competent AND helpful all at the same time. Fix it under the “Photos” line in your Easy Customizer.

4. Originals On

Disable free originals downloading in your gallery settings

So many SmugMug users use their galleries to share photos with friends and family. But as a Pro, being that generous may not be so good for business. Originals (and full-res downloads) are on by default, but it’s a quick fix to change this. Just remember to do it!

Open up your gallery settings and look for the Security & Privacy option. Set the radio button to anything smaller than Originals (like XLarge), and to check, log out and take a breeze through your galleries. You’ll always see a Save Photo option when you’re logged in as the owner, but you shouldn’t see it when you’re viewing your site as a guest.

5. Zero Marketing

Ah, the feeling of sweet success on the morning you unveil your website! But wait… did you share the link?

Share that gorgeous sunset!

Like relationships, you’ve got to put a little effort in to get something back. So be sure to enter in your keywords, captions, meta description and meta keywords to be sure you get picked up in search engines. Also share the link to your site with friends, Facebook and anywhere else you go online. After all, you can’t make sales if nobody knows you exist.

6. Password Foibles

Share your gallery password

Many clients want their event galleries locked down with a viewing password, and, yeah, we understand privacy. But our Support Heroes hear from more people than we’d expect that get hit with this one. We hear from confused clients, curious pros who expected instant sales, but the culprit is usually that the password never got shared! So if you’ve just put the finishing touches on your latest wedding gallery and your inbox is a ghost town, think back to whether or not you’ve completed this vital step.

The lesson? Don’t forget to share your viewing passwords with the people that matter most. Since passwords are cAsE sEnSiTiVe we recommend copying and pasting what you type in your gallery settings right into your emails.

7. You Launched Yesterday

Fill in your SEO settings to maximize your search engine results

It’s possible to find overnight success on the web, but patience is still a virtue. You can plug in every keyword and meta description properly, shared with your Facebook fans and distributed your business cards to shops across town, but you’ll still have to wait to see the effect. It takes time for Google to do its work, and for tongues to wag.

So instead of stressing out, grab your camera, keep on shooting and work on honing your craft. Your soon-to-be clients will only love you more.

Link roundup:

9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website

June 11, 2013 22 comments

These days, everyone has a website and we think they’re great. But how do you know exactly what your friends, family and fans are really thinking when they see it? And if you’re a pro making money from your craft: Are you sure that your site is doing everything it can to get you clients and seal the deal? How much business are you losing from silly mistakes?

After browsing tons of sites and hearing the advice from our marvelous team of Support Heroes, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best, most effective and appealing website you  possibly can.

Period.

1) Your Contact Information

Hot tute tip! Hook up SmugMug’s contact form to your navbar.

Omitting or hiding ways for people to reach you is a grave mistake, one that you may not even know you’re making. Think it through: If someone finds your site and wants to talk with you, how would they do it? If you forget to include your contact information (or hide it several clicks deep), would you expect them to spend more than 5 minutes hunting for it before they give up? Chances are you don’t even have that long before they move on.

It’s true that putting your email address or phone number out in public can be risky. But there are plenty of great ways to let your fans reach out to you without throwing the door open to everyone that walks by.

What you should do: First and foremost, have a way to contact you either at the top, bottom, or in the navigation bar of your website. With SmugMug it’s easy to add a link using the Easy Customizer, plus we highly recommend that SmugMug Portfolio and Business users fill out the Customer Email info in their Account Settings. This way, anyone clicking the “Contact” link in your footer will get a safe, handy pop-up box where they can send you a direct message. You can even customize the text and place that link in your navbar.

2) Personality

Ivan Makarov‘s About page is a candid look at what drives his passion.

The great thing is that everyone has a website these days, including you. But the downside is… everyone has a website these days. How will you stand out? The answer is: Be yourself! You have a personality and it’s completely unique. Use your witty language, goofy selfies or whatever it takes to show the world that you’re way more than just another link on the web. Talk about what drives you and why you’re so passionate about your work. They’ll absolutely love meeting  you in your studio or your next gallery show.

What you should do: It’s hard to talk about yourself and it’s even harder to weed out what strangers want to hear (vs what’s TMI), but don’t be afraid to browse through some of your favorite websites and see what sticks in your mind about their bios. And what doesn’t.

3) Punctuality, Punctuation, Competence

Don’t do this!

Nothing looks more sloppy than a super-slow website with broken images and dead links. Even if you aren’t looking to make money through your website, you still want to look poised, polished, and perfect as any pro. Right? So do a regular audit of your site, click those links and update them regularly to make sure they work the first time, every time. When you’re logged out of your site and viewing like a guest, what do you see?

What you should do: On SmugMug, we already give you warp-speed page loads and unlimited traffic and sharing. So become as famous as you want. We can take it. Our Share button will generate handy share and embed links for all your photos, so you can be sure those images look beautiful every single time.

4) Simplicity

Ivan Makarov‘s beautifully simple (and organized) portfolio.

Your gorgeous photos may speak for themselves, but if your site’s a mess the message will still get lost. K.I.S.S. When you have house guests you clean up, so extend the same courtesy to your online space. No one needs to see (or trip and fall into) the photographic equivalent of your laundry pile.

What you should do: Curate a few examples of your very best work and make it easy to find via a slideshow, featured gallery at the top of your homepage, or a straightofrward link in your navigation bar. Similarly, create a clearly-labeled About page and a way for them to contact you. Love to archive? That’s OK. Just keep the rest of your photos neatly organized, too, so leisurely browsers can find their way around.

5) Your Brand

JeZa Photography‘s simple font and color choices are the hallmarks of their brand.

Panic not, weekend warriors. Even if you’re not a working professional, it’s important – but easy! – to give your viewers a unified look and feel that translates to a cohesive experience. Yes it sounds markety, but simply using the same colors and font size from page to page can keep your fans feeling grounded and sure that you’ve got your stuff together. And you do, right?

If you’re a pro, having your company’s name, logo and a simple set of colors can be all you need to say, “Yeah, I got it.”

What you should do: Customization on the new SmugMug is as easy as drag-and-drop. You can add your own logo to the top of your site, pick your own colors and even create your own Themes that match your brand. It’s easiest to just try it, but you can get an idea of how it’s done by browsing the articles on our help pages.

What you should do (for Legacy SmugMug): The Easy Customizer makes it easy for Power Users, Portfolio and Business SmugMuggers to add a custom logo graphic to the top of every page. Choose matching colors using the tools under the Background, Text, Boxes and Photos bars and you’re all set to go. Read more about our customization options here, and, pros, don’t forget about Order Branding, too.

6) Your Services

Be clear about what services you offer, like Alastair Jolly does here.

The key to making great sales is to do the thinking for potential customers so they don’t have to. The most basic way to do this is to be crystal-spanking-clear about what your specialities are and which services you offer. Whether you shoot BMX, babies or brides, making it obvious in your brand and portfolio is the best (and most efficient) way to make sure that the right customers are finding you. After all, if you’re a commercial fashion photographer, do you want to be fielding questions from the local high school sports team?

What you should do: Create a specific page on your site that lists out what services that you do offer, and give your fans a phone number, email address or other way to get in touch with you. If you just want a guestbook for comments, we recommend uploading at least one photo and turning on comments so folks can say hi. Check out FAQ 29 and 30 to see how to do this if you’re using Legacy SmugMug. Here’s a tutorial that shows you how to create a custom page in the all-new SmugMug.

7) Your Best Work

Scott Jarvie shows off the best of his best.

People are looking to see just what you’re made of, so this is your chance to sum it up and show it off. Curate a gallery that contains the best examples of what you do and keep it updated with fresh new photos as you take them. Choose images that really show that you love what you do, and show the full breadth of your abilities: Lighting, posing, serendipity, emotion… this is what people love to see! As an added bonus, you’re choosing the clients and fans who resonate the most with what you do.

What you should do: Take a swing through the photos that you remember best and that you think represent yourself. It can be hard, but you can always use Collect Photo to add a virtual copy to one gallery, then easily remove the ones that you don’t think make the cut.

8) Your Location

Downriver Photography gets smart about their services.

The web is a wonderful thing and brings people near and far to your doorstep, but this can be a setback, too. For example, it’s obvious to you that your town of Springfield is in New Jersey, but potential Googlers in Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon and Missouri may not be so sympathetic. Be specific about the areas that you serve so that you’ll score top search results by clients looking to hire locals like you.

What you should do: If you talk about your location in your homepage or About page, be specific about the state or country where you’re willing to work. You can also add those terms and keywords in your Account Settings > Discovery > Search section so that Google and other search engines pick you up ASAP.

9) Good Grammar

Need we say anything about this, really? Your website is a representation of you, right down to the words you’ll use. Please be sure you make sense, you’ve put in the effort to have it proofread by someone else, and that everything looks as clean and polished as you are.

What you should do: Write, edit, then get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Read the copy on your site out loud. Check your spelling. Sleep on it, then read it again. All the usual tricks of the trade will help you step back and get as much perspective as possible. The best part is that any- and everything is easily changed on your SmugMug site at any moment… so edit as much as you like!

We hope that these 9 tips come in handy the next time you’re spring cleaning your website. Got more great ideas for getting fans finding you? Please share!

Link roundup:

What Sells? Taking Your Photos with the Customer in Mind

June 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Have you gone out shooting on a great photo-adventure and wondered what else you could be doing to get more sales? In the same vein as our other amazingly astute guest post, our friend Varina Patel has offered us more great info about how to mix business and landscape photography. Here’s what she says about keeping the customer at the forefront of your mind the next time you’re outdoors capturing something beautiful.

Photos by Jay Patel and Varina Patel

You never know what a buyer will want – and each buyer is different. But, over the past several years, we’ve learned a few things about maximizing the potential of our portfolios. Here are a few tips for making sales.

1. Horizontal and Vertical Shots

Horizontal landscape photo by Varina Patel

When we are in the field, we usually find that a composition works best in either horizontal or vertical orientation. But in most cases, after capturing the most visually appealing image, we will work to find another shot that works with the camera turned 90 degrees. Why? Because sometimes the buyer needs an image that works in a particular orientation. Is he looking for a collection of calendar images? He’s probably going to need horizontal images. Is she looking for photos for a magazine? She’ll need a vertical shot to grace the cover.

Vertical lines landscape photo by Varina Patel

Since you never know who might want to purchase your images in the future, you can’t know which orientation will work best for their needs. Shoot in both orientations, and you’ll be ready no matter what they ask for.

2. Local images

Moss waterfall by Jay Patel

Not too long ago, Jay sold this shot of Cedar Falls (titled The Looking Glass) as part of a collection of fine art images. He has many shots of waterfalls, and this is not one of his favorites. The image lacks the vibrant colors or grand vistas that you typically find in Jay’s more popular landscape photographs. When the client asked about waterfalls, his first instinct was to send them samples of the most popular waterfall images in his portfolio. One of the first shots he sent was Arizona Dreaming… this brilliantly colorful “icon shot” from Havasu Falls in Arizona.

Havasu Falls red and blue by Jay Patel

But, the client passed on all those brilliant color and famous locations. Instead, she chose the quieter image… one that he had never sold before. He was curious about her choice, and he asked her about it. The answer was simple – she wanted images of local places… no matter how ordinary they looked in comparison with those famous iconic locations.

When you approach a potential buyer, make sure you have plenty of local images. Colorful photographs capture the eye of the viewer – but familiar places capture their hearts.

3. Collections

Green mossy waterfall collection by Varina Patel

When you present your images for sale, consider using gallery features that allow you to group your images into categories based upon similarities. For example, I have a gallery that is dedicated only to black and white images, and another that is just for mountains. You can set up a gallery for images with a dominant blue color theme, or for photographs from a specific location. Your options are wide open.

SmugMug’s Smart Galleries feature lets you use keywords to create collections, so that potential buyers view images with shared characteristics. When a buyer wants more than one image, they often have a theme in mind. One buyer asked me for 30 detail shots that she could sell as a wallpaper collection. Another wanted several waterfall photographs for decorating a newly opened hospital. In Cleveland, a buyer wanted images of local parks and iconic locations for the walls in an office building.

As you build your portfolio, keep an eye out for images that work well together, and be sure to present them as potential groupings.

4. Big Prints

Beach sunset by Varina Patel

Would you be surprised if I told you that giclée canvas prints are some of our biggest sellers? There’s just nothing like a really BIG print that makes a statement or ties a room together. In most cases, I don’t get to see a print after it’s hung, so it was a real treat to be able to see this one in its place of honor over the fireplace. This canvas print is hanging in a beautifully decorated home near Atlanta, GA. The colors in the room were actually chosen to match the print – the entire room is coordinated to match the colors in the photograph. I wish I could give you a tour of the whole house – which is a work of art itself.

Large canvas prints

Canvas prints are more expensive – especially really big ones… but most people hang them without a frame, since they stand alone so well. They avoid the expense of matting and framing, making the price much easier to swallow.

Offer your prints for sale on canvas at the largest size available. A photo printed at that size packs a whole lot of punch!

Learn More about Photography from Jay and Varina Patel

If you’re looking for more inspiration, photography tips, education and webinar workshops, visit Jay and Varina’s blog over at Photography by Varina. And use this exclusive discount code to get 10% off any eBook order over $20: SMUGMUG314

With this, we hope that you summertime explorers are inspired to take different shots with a new perspective. Stay safe, and stay tuned for more great tips from our pro friends!

Stephan Bollinger Speaks on Why Models Are Made

May 20, 2013 7 comments

Think the models in those fashion spreads are gorgeous? Of course you do, but it’s no secret that the standard of beauty has done much to change the way we talk about self-image. As photographers, we walk the line between capturing life’s moments and creating something beyond reality. Successful photos grab the eye, usually because we see something that we think is physically impossible. But with actual people as the subject, that line becomes harder to see and we get fooled into thinking we all need to look that good right out of the box. 

Australian photographer Stephan Bollinger’s “Models Are Made” video pulled at our heartstrings, and we loved that he took such an important matter into his own hands. As a master portrait photographer and a father of two little girls, we knew that he had great perspective and the power to shed some light on both sides of the matter. How exactly are models made? We asked, and here’s what he said. Scroll down to watch the video that inspired us all.

Black and white model fine art photo by Stephan Bollinger

Photos by Stephan Bollinger Photography

At several points in my life, I was confronted with people suffering from depression, eating disorders, and suicide. In late teenage years, I became close friends with a young woman, who was bulimic. She was an expert in hiding her problems, and for over 6 month, I was under the impression she was one of the happiest people alive. Another friend of mine was under the exact same impression, until his girlfriend committed suicide, and his “perfect world” fell apart overnight. She was a young, beautiful and energetic young woman, with a dark secret: depression.

We love to forget about such issues, because they are hard to understand, and we feel helpless. Not talking about it doesn’t make them go away, unfortunately. Of course – most of them are not related to photography or advertising, but some are.

Dark profile photo with negative space by Stephan Bollinger

While shooting a fashion series in Singapore, one of the models looked so thin and unhealthy, I was afraid she would faint any minute. As a result, I refused to work with her. About a week later back at my studio in Australia, I talked about the incident with a group of young models, and one of them told us about her friend, who nearly died from eating disorders and required intensive hospital care.

Without a doubt, advertising and fashion stories have had their influence for a long time in creating a false and negative body image for some women, resulting in eating disorders and depression. As a photographer producing such images, I am guilty as charged.

At the same time, I love creating such images, I love the fashion industry, I love highly styled editorials and advertising campaigns.

Nude model  dance fashion photo by Stephan Bollinger

I often feel as if I wear three pairs of shoes at once, those of a producer (who works with clients, to produce flawless images for their advertising campaign or magazine editorials), those of a photographer (who works closely with models of all ages), and those of a father (who wants to protect, teach and inform his own two young daughters).

The question I ask myself: Is the problem the polished images many young women compare themselves with, or is the problem that many don’t understand how these images were produced. If they would see the models in real life, would they still feel the same way? The term “photoshopped” has turned into a bad term for “creating fakes”, but there is so much more to high-end glossy pictures.

Ballet garden by Stephan Bollinger

There are initiatives for “positive body image” out there, mostly done by activist groups. The problem with such initiatives is that they blame Photoshop and retouching for everything, and demand change in newspapers and magazines. I don’t believe that such “negative” approach and the demand for change reaches those who need to be informed and educated: the young women. If effective and believable, this should be done by those “guilty,” those actively working in the industry, those with a positive outlook, those who want to educate, not complain.” That means us, photographers.

“Models are made” as a concept is the summary of all the above.

In a perfect world, I would have loved to take a few months off of work and hold presentations at high-schools around the country. But as much as I tried, I could not find any organisation or company who was a) interested in the subject or b) helping with funding such an endeavour.

I produced the short 4 minutes instead, illustrating what really goes into the production of a high-gloss beauty or fashion image. It’s not just retouching, it’s a combination of many factors, from naturally beautiful people to a group of creatives who produce the final product.

My goal is to educate, not change, and to deliver a positive message.

You can see more of Stephan Bollinger’s work on his website, Stephanbollinger.com, and follow him on Google+ to see previews, news and his beautiful photo updates.

Stay creative, stay inspired and stay strong!

The Encyclopedia of the Watermark

May 13, 2013 19 comments

Alright, photographers. Since SmugMug started offering a non-destructive watermarking feature it’s been a favorite of lots of you, and it certainly has been one of ours. But our Support Heroes get questions about the nitty-gritty details all the time, so let’s dig deep and show those of you who haven’t tried it yet how much it rocks.

Watermarked wrinkly dog with glasses

What’s a Watermark?

Watermarks are custom graphics or text that SmugMug Pros can apply to their photos. They appear on all the photos that appear in your SmugMug galleries. Your original uploaded files won’t contain them, which means that all downloads, print or gift items that clients purchased from your galleries will remain clean and pristine.

Who Can Use Watermarks?

At SmugMug, Portfolio and Business account holders can use Watermarks. If you have a Basic or a Power User account you can use programs (like Lightroom) to apply watermarks to your photos before uploading to SmugMug, but if you do this just remember that this means your original photo file will be marked and anything purchased from your site will contain them.

Why Use Watermarks?

Watermarks are awesome for keeping your name and brand associated with the photos you take. Especially if you sell your photos for profit, using this feature ensures that people pay you for your images.

Watermarks and image protection gallery settings

Plus, once you set them up in your Gallery Settings (shown above), we’ll automatically apply them to new photos as you upload, so you don’t even have to think about it.

Tip: When you Watermark, why not consider letting your fans use your display copies for free? They get to share the low-res files with their friends, which means free advertising for you.

You can add watermarks to your images prior to uploading to SmugMug (through Lightroom or other image editors) but that watermark becomes a part of the original file that we print from. If you do this we, recommend that you disable printing in your galleries. By using the SmugMug Watermark tool, the custom watermark is applied to your display copies only after upload, leaving your originals in pristine condition.

Finally, you can have as many different Watermarks as you wish on file in your SmugMug account. We just recommend that you don’t keep too many, or the list can start to get confusing.

Where to Find Your Watermarks

Your SmugMug Account Settings

Look in your Account Settings > Business tab. The first section there, Branding, will contain several important pro features, including Watermarks. This is your home base where you can manage, edit or delete any Watermarks you’ve uploaded to your site.

Tip: To change or remove the watermarks on your photos, you’ll go to your gallery’s Tools button. We’ll cover this in a minute.

How to Create and Apply Your Custom Watermark

Create transparent png file in Photoshop

First, you’ll create a special file using your favorite image editing program, like Photoshop. We suggest starting with a transparent file about 1000 x 2000 pixels in size (you can always crop it down or change this later), adding in any text that you wish and/or using your logo. When in doubt, start with a large canvas so that your finished watermark looks good on our full range of display sizes.

Tip: Given that your Watermark will be sitting over colorful images, you may want to keep the font color a simple opaque white, but it’s up to you.

Save your file as a transparent PNG file and upload it to an unlisted gallery on your site. Then click the gallery Tools button > This Photo > Make into Watermark. We’ll then let you set up the opacity, placement and other settings for that Watermark. Don’t forget to give it a unique name!

Tip: If you plan on using several watermarks, or if you’re experimenting with different ones, you may want to be specific and call out placement and the font, like “Center Helvetica for portraits” or “Bottom right logo 2013.” Being tidy is just a good idea, anyway.

We have a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial showing you how to make a sample Watermark file on our help pages. And we have a fabulous video tutorial, too, where you can see watermarks in action.

How to Change or Remove Your Watermarks

First, create and upload your new Watermark to your site, then set it up as aWatermark with a new, unique name. Once that’s done, you can go to any gallery on your site and open the Tools button > Many Photos > Watermarking.

Change or remove watermarks

You’ll see a new screen with thumbnails of every image in that gallery. Click to select one, a few, or all of them so that they’re highlighted in red, pick the new Watermark name from the menu bar at the top and click “Watermark.”

If you want to remove watermarks from your photos completely, it’s the same deal. Only choose the “Remove” radio button at the top. Again, click the “Watermark” button to save your changes.

Note that it can take a few minutes before you see the changes on your photos, so it’s a great time to put the kettle on or stretch your legs.

How to Fit Both Landscape and Portrait Images

We get this question from time to time, but it’s a bit tricky. After all, your camera’s sensor and how you crop your images can drastically affect the aspect ratio of your final image, which changes the placement of your Watermark.

If you want your Watermark to look good on both portrait and landscape-oriented images, here’s a suggestion: Go square! This doesn’t mean that the visible Watermark has to be square, only the image file that you’re using. So try creating a square transparent PNG, center your watermark text and make sure you keep it centered when you set it up in SmugMug.

Another alternative is to make a corner edge Watermark. Simply align your Watermark’s text along the bottom and one side of your image file and when setting it up in SmugMug, choose one of the Bottom left or Bottom right placement options.

Option 3: You can always tile your Watermark so that your design is repeated uniformly across the image. (See below for example)

And finally, if you’re really picky about perfect Watermarks on all your images, you may want to create and set up two versions of your design: one for landscape photos and one for portraits. Note that you can only set your Gallery Settings to automatically apply one Watermark, but you can manually apply the second one to only the photos you want to switch.

Watermarks vs Printmarks: What’s the Diff?

These two features are cousins. The thing to remember is that Watermarks are applied to the photos displayed on your website. Printmarks are like watermarks for your prints, and only appear on products that you and your customers buy.

Set Printmarks up just like you set up your Watermarks! The only thing to keep in mind is that Printmarks, unlike Watermarks, are limited in the size and area of the photo so they stay unobtrusive. Check the preview if you’re unsure.

Tip: Great ideas for Printmarks include the event date, your handwritten signature, team name, graduation year. What else can you dream up?

When They Work Great and When They Won’t

Watermarks go a long way towards preventing image theft by right-clickers and screen-grabbers, plus they’re great for spreading the word about you… but not everyone loves them. Some people find anything extra on the image distracting, and large Watermarks can sometimes cover up vital parts of the photo.

Unobtrusive Watermarks close to the edge or in corners can be cropped out, and of course there’s always the chance (however slight) that someone with lots of time and Photoshop experience can remove it.

Finally, Watermarks can be applied to photos only, so they won’t work on your video files. For security on your videos, and for better image protection all-around, we recommend using Right-Click Protection as well.

Great Watermarks We’ve Known

For your inspiration, here’s a few examples of various watermarks we’ve found along the way. You may want to try these  yourself!

Corner:


Photo by Schmootography

Center logo:


Photo by Brian Rice Photography


Photo by Creative Focus Portrait Photography

Banner style:


Photo by Barnet Photography


Photo by Barn Door Studio


Photo by Meghan MacAskill Photography

Strike:


Photo by Trick The Light Studio

Tiled:

Photo by MJR Photography

Let’s Get You Started!

Are you ready to dive in? We’ve already pre-loaded a generic “PROOF” watermark into your website that you can use right away, but here’s a few basic watermarks you can snag to change it up.

Grab PNG files for square, portrait, landscape and banner watermarks

We hope that these questions hit all the points you may have been wondering about this powerful feature. If we missed one and you still need help, give our Heroes a shout!

We Love You, Mom! Here’s 5 Ways We’ll Prove It

May 10, 2013 2 comments

We know that every day is Mother’s Day, but around this time of year we all really want to tell all the moms in our lives just how important they are to us. As a company built on the importance of family, we believe that moms are the shiz.

Baby bottom tattoo for mom

Adorable pic by Nick W Photo

SmugMug started with just family, but we’ve grown into so much more. Amongst our team of amazing employees we have moms, moms-to-be, grandmoms, adoptive moms, found moms, mom-in-laws, dog moms, horse moms and supermoms. And everyone in-between.

Thanks, Mom, for supporting us through thick and thin, changing our diapers, and nurturing our health, happiness and all of our crazy whims. Whether you’re right next door or live only in our memories, whether you’re near, far, or even if we’re unrelated by blood, the message is the same: You’re our hero!

Are you stuck on ideas on what to do on Mother’s Day? You’re in luck, because we’ve got a few ideas to share.

5 Ways to Sweep Mom Off Her Feet

1. Give her her very own queen-worthy portrait session.

If your mom is like ours – and many gorgeous women we know – she may think portraits are great for other people. But if you’re an experienced photographer, this is a great time to stop what you’re doing and turn your skills to her. Proper lighting, posing, an understanding of angles and your priceless experience may be the only thing she needs to truly see that she’s beautiful in photos, too.

(We admit that we were  inspired by our friends at Je Revele Fine Art Photography, who shared with us how they bring out the beauty in every client)

2. Do a photo shoot for her favorite dog/cat/grandkid.

If mom’s still camera shy, offer to take her favorite little one to the park and snap some frame-worthy photos. Even if you’re not a portrait photographer by trade, taking your purloined subject outside into a fresh new environment can bring big smiles to their faces and make for energetic, beautiful photos.

And that’s what’s really important to her.

3. Hire (or bribe) her assistant to cover the studio for a day.

This one’s for all the photography dads out there. We can’t even begin to count the number of passionate moms who have turned taking photos of the kids into a thriving business, but it’s a tough to balance family, life and the studio. Free up the weekend by asking her assistant to work a little overtime, or hire someone to manage the busywork while you whisk her away.

4. Give her a 1-on-1 lesson on how to use her camera.

When you love photography, you automatically get hired for part-time work… troubleshooting for mom. But instead of answering the phone distracted and busy, why not spend the day dedicated to making mom a total pro with her camera. She gets time with you, the power of great photos is bestowed upon her, and you can talk about something more important the next time she calls. Win/win/win.

(Tip: Pair it up with her very own SmugMug account and she’s good to go!)

5. Take her with you on your next photo trip… and leave the camera at home.

This one’s our favorite because it’s really sneaky. Anyone who knows a photographer is used to waiting around forever. And ever. And ever. This time, take mom out to someplace gorgeous and – SURPRISE! – enjoy the view together.

SmugMug has the best moms

SmugMug moms at their best

SmugMug's fabulous moms

Great SmugMug Moms and Grandmoms

Our fabulous Smugmoms

We hope that everyone out there has a great weekend with the ones you love!

Photo credits: Nick W Photo, Baldy, Doc, Ivan Makarov Photography, Denise G., Winsor Photography, Duc L., Sam S., Craig M. and Andrew Shieh.

5 Social Media Myths (and What You Should Do About Them)

May 8, 2013 4 comments

Being close and personal with our customers has always been #1 for us at SmugMug. We’ve been engaging with friends, family and our fans for over 10 years, initially through our Support Heroes and online forums, then through Twitter, Facebook and Google+. We love getting to know you! But despite the growth (and explosion) of social media, not all photographers and creatives have embraced the idea of putting themselves on the internet.

We gathered up five of the most commonly-heard myths about social media and chatted with our majorly tech savvy photo-friend, Colby Brown, as well as a round table of our seasoned in-house pro photographers. We didn’t necessarily debunk these myths because we know that everyone’s got different values and goals, but we did lay all the cards on the table. Read on and decide for yourself. 

Myth #1: All the social media services are the same.

Various social media logos

Matt’s on Facebook, Laurie’s on Twitter, Andrew loves Google+. I should be there, too, right?

Maybe. Social media is a fantastic (and free!) way to advertise your business and share your personality with past, current and future clients, but this doesn’t mean you should be there just to be there.

It’s a great environment to publicize your work and to demonstrate that you have personality. This is especially important for small businesses, where personality is key. And it’s great for you, too, so that the type of clients that you’d actually enjoy working with find and contact you. Similarly, posting examples of what you can do boosts the confidence of your past clients… leading them to refer their friends to you.

What you should do: Ask the question, “What do I want out of social media?” What you’re looking to get out of the experience will dictate what types of services you should target and use, because each platform has different demographics and feature sets. Find which works best for you.

Myth #2: People will steal your work.

This is true, in the sense that any photo you upload and post on the internet has a chance of being downloaded or used by someone else, without you knowing. The real question you have to ask is: When should you care?

There are as many opinions about watermarking as their are watermarks in the web. There are obstructive watermarks and subtle watermarks, big ones and small ones and pretty ones and ugly ones. They are all designed to ensure that the artist’s name stays with the image, and we’ve always said that use of watermarked images means free advertising for you. And let’s not forget the fact that some social networks strip your files’ metatdata on upload, so a watermark may be your only recourse to establishing copyright.

But many folks still believe that no matter what the size, they’re distracting. And even if you do watermark, there are sneaky ways to crop around them or even remove them via a photo editor.

Consider the different types of theft: If Joe Whoever saves your image for their personal collection of inspiring photos, do you get an ulcer? What about a mega-corporate chain using your image on their homepage, without your permission? In which situation would you actually send a bill?

What you should do: Think about whether or not the kind of unauthorized use of your images is something that keeps you up at night, and formulate a plan. Note that if an image is not registered with the US Copyright Office, it will be difficult to prove infringement when your images are used in a for-profit manner. If you choose to watermark, SmugMug’s watermarking feature is completely non-destructive, which means that they’re applied to your display copies only, and any legally purchased prints will print clean. Our Publish to Facebook feature will also allow you to export watermarked display copies to Facebook, saving you time.

Myth #3: Don’t show your unfinished or unprocessed shots.

Pro travel photographer Elia Locardi shows us examples of great post-processing.

Trade secrets, ahh! In the creative world there are plenty of good reasons to worry about protecting what makes your style unique, and with photography a good chunk of that is in the way your process your images. Plus, do your clients really care how bland the in-camera image was, as long as you delivered a beautiful, perfectly-balanced photo? Will they start to worry that they’re paying you for smoke and mirrors?

Unprocessed photos aren’t always the scary, client-repelling skeletons in the closet you think they are. Depending on your niche and who you’re catering to, before/after comparisons can be what drives them out the door… or what drives people in. In the landscape and fine art genre, teaching and photo education has become a huge market that inspires and endears fans all over the globe. A great photographer who shows – and shares – what he or she did to get the shot becomes that much more valuable to the people who follow them on social media. They hang on to you, hungry for more. This can help your followers relate to you in a personal way because you’re willing to let down your guard and show that, just like everyone else, your images aren’t magically amazing on their own.

What you should do: Consider the type of photography you do, or what you aspire to do. Are you an event or wedding photographer who shoots and delivers one-shot deals? Or do you want to create a fan base who keeps coming back for more? You’ve got to decide if delivering a perfect image –and only a perfect image – is what your clients care about, or if you’re looking to build great relationships with aspiring photographers over time.

Myth #4: Never share your shoot or location information.

Where did Colby Brown take those photos in Iceland?

Like the above, it’s understandable to keep a gorgeous and dramatic place under wraps, otherwise people will copy what you do. And in the case of a protected or pristine location, you may want to keep the name particularly secret in order to keep it clean as long as possible.

But in the age of the internet (and GPS coordinates in your camera), chances are that if you don’t tell people where the image was shot, someone else will. Go ahead and raise the bar for great photos in a famous location. Show the world how you skillfully brought a fresh perspective on a well-known place! Doing so speaks volumes for your abilities, and inspires a whole new generation of photographers. Plus, public venues will love you for making their space look great.

What you should do: Decide if inspiring photographers and standard views is a challenge that you’re willing and eager to take. Plus, are you ready to say no to your fans and risk the backlash of withholding tasty information?

Myth #5: Social network companies will sell your photos.

Google Plus and Facebook for photographers

Beautiful and effective social media pages for Smug Pro photographers Ivan Makarov and Michael Bonocore

This one is hot stuff in the media lately, and with good reason. Is there really a dark side to all the great things free social network companies do for you?

The truth of the matter is, once you put something on the internet, it’s out there. There’s no 100% guarantee that it won’t or can’t get taken and used by someone else, even though there are measures you can take to be sure that your name stays associated with the work. In fact, the only way to assure that nothing ever gets stolen is to never post anything on the web.

Even though you should take time to read the Terms of Service on the different sites you use, remember that these companies (SmugMug included!) are required to have these terms so that they can display the images you upload to different users, often at different sizes and resolutions. And that’s the whole point of you using those services, right? Plus, big companies have a lot on the line, which means they’re not likely to risk selling your images without your consent.

What you should do: Only share what you’re willing to have taken, and read the fine print on any services you use. When it comes to SmugMug, you can always watermark your images as described above before sharing, to be sure you get credit.

We hope these discussions helped ease any concerns that you may have had about sharing your photos online. Do you have any other scary monsters lurking in the back of your head? Let us know!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,973 other followers

%d bloggers like this: