Not too long ago, we wrote a post unearthing some of the great features you’ve already got in your SmugMug account. And since we’re always having new photo-lovers come join our family, we thought we’d share a few more things that you may not have noticed are already living amongst your photos.
Here’s to those sneaky features that may be hiding in plain sight. Enjoy!
1) Custom Video Preview Images
All SmugMug accounts can accept video files of 20 minutes in length and 3 GB in size, which is a great addition to the still photos you capture in your life. But did you know that you can change the preview image that displays on it, so your fans can see something more interesting than a random frame before they hit Play?
First, decide on a JPG image you want to use… or better yet, create one in your favorite image editor and upload it to your SmugMug galleries. Then just navigate to your video in the gallery, click the wrench, and choose Edit > Replace Preview.
2) “Sticky” Cover Photos for Your Folders & Galleries
In the same vein, you can choose a cover photo that appears every time your gallery is shown on your site. We call this your Feature image, and it will “stick” every time your site is reloaded, instead of displaying the first photos in the gallery.
Just open your Gallery Settings and look under the Basic tab. Click the icon next to Feature Image and choose any image you want to represent that gallery.
Tip: You can even do this for passworded galleries, which typically don’t show any thumbnails for privacy reasons. However, you may want to do this for, say, your client galleries, just to be sure they know which gallery is theirs on your site.
3) Stats. Really Great Stats.
We track all kinds of good stuff, like which of your galleries and images have been visited the most, as well as show you where your traffic is coming from. Just check out the Stats tab in your Account Settings and take it from there! You can read more about your SmugMug stats on our help pages.
4) Search (and Filter by EXIF)
Any time you (or your guests) search for things on your site via the Search content block or from SmugMug.com/search, you’ll see lots of beautiful photos that you can scroll through to your heart’s content. But did you know that you can hit the “Refine Results” button at the top and open up dozens of additional checkboxes? This will help you narrow down your choices and find pictures taken using just the criteria you specify.
Watch out! It’s strangely addictive, so you may end up spending a lot more time discovering photos than you expect.
5) PicMonkey: Free Photo Tweaks
If our in-gallery Photo Tools aren’t quite enough for you, check out our friends at PicMonkey. You can find them right under every photo, under the Wrench icon. Open it up and you’ll see all the great tweaks and mods you can add to your photos!
Tip: We even have a quick video tutorial all about PicMonkey.
6) Discounts Just for Being Smug
That’s right. You’re in great company when you’re with us. You can browse and view the discount details simply by logging in and visiting our ClubSmug page. Shop, have fun, and tell them we sent you!
- 6 Original Smug Features You Never Knew You Had
- Videos on SmugMug
- Featured photos on SmugMug
- Gallery settings and all the good they do
- Gallery and folder privacy on SmugMug
- Account Settings and what they do
- How stats work
- Tweaking Photos: Titles, Captions, Photo Effects, and more
- Photo tools: making copies in-gallery, just in case
- Exclusive discounts for SmugMuggers
There’s so much to SmugMug that even those of us who’ve been members for years have trouble summing it all up in a single elevator pitch. So it’s perfectly possible for you to have never known some of the great features that are (even now) lurking in your galleries.
Here are a few of our favorites.
1) Smart Galleries
Lots of SmugMuggers use our Collect Photos feature. But did you know you can set your galleries to automatically collect certain new photos you upload to your site? You do this simply by defining Rules and making your gallery a Smart Gallery. We’ll do the rest.
Smart Galleries are perfect for curating pics for your homepage slideshow, populating individual player galleries from team photos, displaying your newest snaps, and so many more applications we can’t even listen them all. Try it now!
2) Keyboard shortcuts
SmugMug’s easy to browse with one hand. Really! When you’re viewing a gallery you can hit the following keys to open the Lightbox and change the image size that you’re viewing. Here’s the list:
- Left/Right Arrow = Prev/Next Photo
- Shift + Left/Right Arrow = Prev/Next Page of Thumbnails
- A = Bring up Lightbox view, Autosize photo
- S = Lightbox, Small
- M = Lightbox, Medium
- L = Lightbox, Large
- 1 = Lightbox, XL
- 2 = Lightbox, XL2
- 3 = Lightbox, XL3
- O = Lightbox, Original
- X = Exit Lightbox
Give it a whirl, and bookmark the help page in case you want to refer to this list later.
3) System Pages
You may not realize that you’ve got a few very special pages up your SmugMug sleeve that you can access by simply typing in these words to the end of your SmugMug URL:
These don’t appear in your site-wide organizer because they can’t actually be moved around, but you can customize them with text, your logo, and other content blocks when you have a Power-, Portfolio-, or Business-level account. Perfect for adding your warm and sunny personality to every corner of your site.
Check out some previously published tips and ideas for making these system pages your own.
4) Opacity Slider (Power and up)
You can run with any design right out of the box, but one of the best benefits of SmugMug is the ability to deeply customize your site. And there’s so many options available to you, like the ability to change the color – and opacity – of different sections like your header, sidebars, body, or footer.
Just like how rugs define a space in your room, so do these areas of your page. Setting a section color and changing its opacity (or “alpha”) goes a great way toward making your custom themes stand apart from the crowd.
Don’t be shy: dig into your Themes, click that Advanced tab, and get playing!
5) Filename display
The Organizer may be the best thing we’ve launched since sliced bread, but did you know that you can toggle the display of filenames under your thumbnails? This is a handy trick to see exactly how your images are being sorted. Combined with the browser function Command+F, you can quickly find any file in any gallery.
Find it in your sitewide Organizer, any time you’ve highlighted a gallery and have the photos displayed in the preview pane on the right. The toggle button is the little square with the line under it at top right (shown above).
6) Multiple Designs to Create and Use (Power and up)
You can customize any number of our site designs and swap between them whenever you wish. We’ll save them all in your account and you can access them when logged in, any time you click Customize > Choose a New Site Design. No extra charge!
This is perfect for indecisive photographers who can’t decide if they want a huge background slideshow or an organic collage of their portfolio pics on their homepage. It’s also great for festive folks who shoot calendar-based events and want to serve up a different look every season.
Just remember that when you switch designs, customizations like content blocks won’t transfer between them. However, new pages, galleries, and any other content you add (A.K.A. stuff that’s visible in your sitewide Organizer) will.
Tip: If you do create multiple designs, we recommend that you give each design a unique, descriptive name so you always know what it is. “Copy of Isis” is not very helpful. “4-Column Homepage (White Theme)” is.
We hope you dig deeper into your SmugMug sites and discover something new that makes managing your memories easier and more fun.
Links to love:
- Collecting copies of photos into multiple galleries
- Creating galleries based on keywords (Smart Galleries)
- Navigate SmugMug with hotkeys
- How (and why) to customize the system pages that come with your account
- How to customize on SmugMug
- Your SmugMug themes
- An Organizer worth migrating for
- SmugMug’s beautiful, modern, right-out-of-the-box designs
Earlier this week, news was breaking about the discovery of the OpenSSL heartbeat bug (nicknamed “Heartbleed”), and people everywhere have been concerned about the security of their online passwords and other sensitive data.
Our SSL provider, Akamai, made the appropriate patches before the issue was publicly disclosed, because the OpenSSL team gave them advanced notice. To the best of our knowledge we, along with Yahoo, Facebook, Google, etc., could have been compromised without us knowing, although it appears very unlikely.
However, out of an abundance of caution, many of us here at SmugMug HQ have already changed our passwords on critical sites like our email providers, and we recommend that you do this, too.
You can change your SmugMug account login password by visiting your Account Settings, under Me > Account.
Here are a few tips for creating good, beefy passwords:
- Don’t duplicate passwords across different sites. Once someone figures out one password, they instantly have access to any other site that uses the same password.
- Don’t create passwords that contain personal information like names, addresses, or your birthday. This makes them easier to guess and more susceptible to social-hacking attempts.
- Change passwords every 4 to 6 months. We all hate doing this, but it’s a great preventative measure.
- Don’t click suspicious links. Not sure the e-mail you received is from your web service? Don’t click! Instead, go directly to the website by typing the main URL into your browser.
- Password length is stronger than password complexity. Stringing together several random words is safer (and simpler for you) than a short password with lots of arcane symbols.
As we blogged several months ago, we’ve recently implemented notification emails that go to you (the account owner) any time someone enters an incorrect gallery password multiple times. We’ll continue improving on and delivering new ways to help keep your photos and personal details out of the wrong hands.
Devoted to keeping your memories safe,
– The SmugMug Family
Have you ever wondered about how a particular feature at SmugMug came to be built? Thousands of happy photo lovers log in and tweak their websites every day, but there’s more to the site than just the buttons you hit. So we’re going to take you behind the scenes and shed a bit of light on how we dreamt up – and sweat over – the details that you’re probably using every day.
Today we’ll take a closer look at the color picker – that little box that pops up when you’re tweaking your Themes, font colors and other hues in your personal palette. Think it’s just a clear-cut click and run? No way!
Years ago, back when the “easiest” option to personalize your site was the Easy Customizer, our lead engineer had an idea: What if we could shorten the amount of time people spent picking colors that matched? What if we built a system that automatically knew the best complements to the hues you liked?
Best of all, what if we could just make it visual, easy process instead of forcing people to squint at code, risk mistakes and break their websites?
We wanted to take the work out of customization and make it fun for you to create something beautiful. So we coded up something bigger, better, and a whole lot smarter.
The color picker is more than just a pretty swatch:
You’ll find it any time you open up and edit a Theme. Take a closer look and notice that when you click on any point in the square, we’ll automatically pick a contrast color, text color and any other subtle elements that show up best based on the color you’ve chosen.
Whether you love dark or light, you don’t have to stress about choosing the best tones that will catch the eye. Text is automatically easily readable, and you probably won’t even notice that we’ve picked almost a dozen other elements as highlights. The amount of contrast needed on these secondary colors should be just perfect to avoid your viewers getting jabbed in the eye by something too dark, too bright, or too loud.
How it Works
When you pick a color on the swatch, we consider that a mid tone and map out similar colors both brighter and darker than that, with just the right amount of contrast between each. We’ll then assign numbers to different parts of your SmugMug site (like your text, the background, your buttons, the border colors around your images, etc) from 1 to 30, and so on.
As a result, your SmugMug site becomes a big paint-by-number, and each spot gets filled in with the colors we’ve calculated. The best part is that in doing this, we’re automatically writing the CSS in the background for it all, so you don’t have to.
If you’re the codey type and want full control, you can always override our choices by clicking on the color choice box and choosing your own. Or by using your own CSS, of course. But it’s definitely not required – just let our systems do the heavy lifting for you!
Unique Challenges to Overcome
While the above theory sounds great on paper, it required quite a bit of tweaking before we shipped it onto your sites. So we spent time adjusting the algorithm to be sure that everything looks good 100% of the time… no matter what color you pick!
Here were the two biggest challenges we encountered:
- Users choosing medium-tone saturated hues from the color picker resulted in themes that looked garishly bright and super contrasty. Why? Choosing bright colors like kelly green throws off our calculations of complementary colors. We had to temper this and build special algorithms to deal with bright hues like that.
- The art of calculating complementary shades is not the same when working with dark themes as it is for light themes. As you go from black to light, there’s a point in the middle where the math flips. Case in point: A light border shows up nicely on a dark background, but dark borders look best on light backgrounds. So how do we anticipate where in the spectrum that happens? This took additional tweaking to fix.
See It in Action
So we invite you all to go and play with your Themes, click around and watch what happens when you choose your favorite colors in the picker. Because Power, Portfolio and Business accounts all have the ability to create (and edit) as many themes as you wish, we encourage everyone to get playing and witness all the beautiful, effortless possibilities our color picker creates for you.
SmugMug was born and bred by photography lovers, but this doesn’t mean that SmugMug can’t be great for everyone. SmugMug is an awesome place for people from all walks of life, and we feel strongly about photography being an essential part of your life — no matter what you do.
So what’s the benefit of a photo website for people who don’t “do” photography? Easy! A beautiful and safe place online to keep everything that’s important to you. Whether you’re a mom, a student, a lawyer, a small business owner or a chef, your photos (and videos) are how you get your message across to other people.
If you or someone you know didn’t think you were pro enough for SmugMug, here’s a list of reasons why we think we’d still be a perfect fit.
1) You can show off big, beautiful photos.
From XS thumbnails to edge-to-edge huge, SmugMug is based on huge, gorgeous photos that show off every pixel of what you do. Even if you’re not a photographer, big pics have a place: as a background image on your homepage or in a sample gallery that shows off your cooking, your offices, your portfolio of what you do best. No matter what your profession or what you love to do, we’re pretty sure that it’ll look great in pictures.
2) Build completely custom pages for anything you want.
Custom web pages let you create anything you dream up on your new site: price sheets, About Me, directions to your storefront or anything else you want your visitors to know about you. Fun facts? Easy! Lists of your favorite vendors? It’s a snap. Here’s a little tutorial that shows you how to do this via our easy drag-and-drop design, so you can build any page you can imagine.
3) Automatically get easy-to-read URLs.
In addition to being able to grab your own custom domain, you can make sure any page on your website has an easy-to-read link. We call them NiceNames: easy, readable, search-engine-friendly URLs that make it drop dead simple to tell someone where to find your website, even if you’re not at your computer. Pssst: they look great on business cards!
- Example: http://www.macaskillphotography.com/Newborn/Diego-4-Months/
4) Tie together every page with your brand.
Whether you’re the head of an internationally-reknowned restaurant or you just love the colors blue and green, your website should reflect your brand. SmugMug gives you dozens of one-click themes to match virtually any mood, and the ability to create your own if you don’t find what you love in the list. And if you’ve already got a logo designed for you, set it across all of your galleries and pages so your visitors know that you’ve got your act together.
5) Never have to worry again about site stability & bandwidth.
Once you’ve done all the work of building your new website, the last thing you need is for it to max out when too many people visit! Not at SmugMug – we’ve always offered unlimited bandwidth and traffic because we believe that photos are meant to be shared. We’re backed by Amazon and use the most cutting-edge technology to be sure that your pages load blazingly fast, no matter where you or your viewers are. Want proof? Our site status page is always open to you: http://status.smugmug.com
6) Complete flexibility in how to structure your site.
You can create whatever kind of site you want, from simple to complex to deep. SmugMug’s flexible organization lets you nest folders inside folders up to 7 levels deep, meaning you can organize your photos, videos and pages in a million different ways. And you can create as many folders as you wish, with more folders or galleries inside each to make the nested hierarchy of your dreams. Perfect for perfectly organized family history, your children’s lifetime in photos or anything else you do. Best of all, you can easily manage them with a clean, beautiful drag-and-drop site-wide organizer.
So what do you think? If you’ve got a website for a non-photography lifestyle or business, we’d love to see it! And if you’re still not yet sold, check the sites above to get inspiration and see what you can build.
- The full list of SmugMug’s great features
- SmugMug’s 9 gorgeous display sizes
- Set a full-screen slideshow on your homepage
- Use drag and drop to create webpages
- Get your own domain at SmugMug
- Easy, custom URLs that Google loves
- How to put your brand on your SmugMug website
- 9 examples of beautifully branded websites
- The OCD dream: Folders inside folders inside folders
- The site-wide, drag-and-drop Organizer
- How to get that shoebox of photos online
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’ve curated a list of beautiful, functional SmugMug websites that caught our eye since we introduced the all-new look and feel. If you’ve recently joined SmugMug, perhaps these examples will spark some creativity in your next round of customization? (It sure did for us!)
So without further ado, here are 9 great sites we found and why they made our hearts skip a few beats.
Why we love it: Shooting Stars did a great job creating an airy, bright, simple canvas that shows off their photos. Their homepage provides everything you need: a simple slideshow, a clear welcome message, an easy way to contact them, a text navigation bar and three different services where the visitors can click to learn more. It’s navigation heaven! Best of all, they’ve included direct email and phone info in their footer, so it’s accessible from every page you’re viewing.
Sharon Lee Studio
Why we love it: In addition to Sharon Lee’s work being beautiful in and of itself, we love that she used SmugMug to house a business that wasn’t rooted in photography. Both Sharon’s artwork and wallpaper business websites are clean, simple and show off the fine patterns in her work. They also provide you with a personal background and a list of locations where you can see her work for yourself.
Why we love it: From the second you land on Nkosi Hamilton’s portfolio site you notice the photography. With the dark sidebar and understated logo, you can easily click your way around but the photos always come first. This is uncomplicated at its finest, demonstrating how a clean and neutral website sets the stage for photos that pop!
Why we love it: While Chronicles Photography’s homepage is simplicity at its best, we were particularly drawn to Dawn’s completely custom “Me & My Style” page. Her use of creative and fun photos paired with vital booking information clearly give her business an edge and a delightfully personal touch. Great job!
Lukasz M. Czajkowski
Why we love it: Lukasz Czajkowski had us at “food.” Really, do you need anything more than delicious, juicy photos covering nearly every inch of your homepage? Maybe not, but Lukasz knew how to get us hooked and his website did this right from the start.
Why we love it: When you travel as much as Milan Brown of Collecting Visas, your #1 goal is to leave a tempting photo-trail of the highlights of your trip. That’s why we love this SUPER simple portfolio site, an impressive stream of locations in beautifully balanced layout. It’s pure and uncluttered so the story shines through.
Todd Kawasaki Photography
Why we love it: Hawaiian fine art photographer Todd Kawasaki really knows how to highlight what he does best: that is, show the world how beautiful his photos look in print. We absolutely loved the custom graphics he created just for that homepage slideshow and you feel relaxed and warm looking at the soft background pic. If that wasn’t already enough, we’ve scarcely ever seen another site with a “Products” page as nice as his, which we think is essential for landing the sale.
Lost On Mars Photography
Why we love it: Aside from the intriguing name, we loved how Lost On Mars used a little customization-fu to create floating, rounded thumbnails that make their colorful images look like they’re literally leaping off the screen. It’s photos, photos, photos and a neatly organized way of showing them off.
Why we love it: Photographs and growing families were made to go together, so it was a no-brainer for us to fall in love with the Gilmore Gang family website. What a fantastic example of a family archive, organized by year! We also liked the simple navigation bar that separates out the family’s most popular photos, undoubtedly what grandma and faraway families want to see first.
So what about you? We hope that these inspired you to think about all the different ways you can customize your own SmugMug site.
Our Show Us Your SmugMug contest may be over but our virtual door is always open for anyone who wants to show off and share a link. Tell us in the comments below!
One of the requests we’ve heard time and time again from you over the years was the ability to visually organize all of your photos and galleries from one screen. So that’s what we did in the New SmugMug, and we keep hearing from Smuggers using the new site-wide organizer just how essential it is to their everyday workflow.
Whether or not you believe in making resolutions at the New Year, we think it’s worth it to try and be more organized, no matter when. More time, less digging, easier path to your favorite memories – What’s not to love?
New SmugMug gives you 5 layers of organization, too, which means you can sort your photo up to 7 layers deep. That’s a lot of trips! (and weddings, and soccer games, and…)
Without further ado, here are the 4 best reasons why you should try out the Organizer and how it’s a ginormous step up over the Legacy way of doing things. And since we’re intent on sharing tips, there’s a few of those thrown in to help you find your way around, too.
P.S. Are you still using Legacy SmugMug and want to try the new Organizer? Get started now by migrating your account, or read our FAQ for answers to the most common questions longtime SmugMuggers have asked.
In the last year we’ve put out a lot of posts on this blog: product announcements, tutorials on taking better photos, tips to make more moolah and articles on how to get the most out of SmugMug.
So in case you weren’t glued to every moment we typed here, we’re sharing one last chance to catch your top 5 favorite articles that you may not have seen:
1) 5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell
2) How to Make a Photo Blog
3) The Save Photo Reminder
4) 5 Killer Locations for Your Portrait Sessions
5) Guide Your Guests to the Gold
Why confuse your site visitors? We picked some of the best examples of beautiful, easy-to-navigate sites on SmugMug and show you just why they work so well. Read more >>
And since we’re talking about recaps, it only makes sense to share the “top” five of the more subtle articles that deserve a second round in the spotlight! Here they are:
1) How to Succeed in the Business of Love
2) Why Events Are Best for Your Business
If you’re a pro with a Business account, Events are our #1 favorite tool that you probably don’t know about. Here’s why they work, what your customer will see, and some tried-and-true suggestions for integrating them into your portrait and wedding workflow. Read more >>
3) 5 Things Your Client Needs to Hear
Are your subjects happy? Confused? Confident in your ability to get the shot? Here are our pros’ top tips on what to tell your models so that you have a successful photo shoot… and they have a great time, too. Read more >>
4) How to Make your Visitors Feel at Home
Having a great website is more than just throwing some photos up on the web. Here are our suggestions for creating a helpful, pleasant experience for the people who browse your site. Clients, too! Read more >>
5) How to Organize a Photo Walk
Our photo-fiend-friend Scott Jarvie is known for his ability to rally local photographers to get up and get out shooting! If you’d like to take action and inspire your photo-neighbors to go snapping with you, here’s a few planning tips to get you on your way. Read more >>
We hope you have a safe, warm, happy and thoroughly joyous holiday!