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How To Avoid Leaking Sensitive Photos

February 7, 2014 19 comments

Stories are breaking on sites like Fstoppers and Brandsmash about private Boudoir photos that appeared on a creepy voyeur forum.  It’s hard to imagine a more humiliating nightmare for a photographer or their clients.

Photo Used With Permission From Je Revele Photography 

Photos came from several sites, including SmugMug, and we paid extreme attention over the last two days to how it happened.  We tried to take some comfort in observing that in every instance, it came down to passwords that were guessable in just a few tries.

The question for us was what could we do that we weren’t already?  Over the past year, we’ve done considerable work around this problem, but yesterday we decided to expose some of the alerts our systems generate to our customers.

When our systems see several password attempts on a gallery or folder, they now send an email to the owner of the SmugMug site.  It identifies the gallery, gives the first few digits of each password attempt with asterisks for the rest (bou***), and adds info like time of day and geographic location the request may be coming from.

Today our Support Heroes are receiving thank-yous from people whose family members couldn’t get in because they left the caps lock key on or forgot some aspect of the password “it’s a cap O (oh), not a 0 (zero)”.

And we read two help tickets from photographers who discovered that their boudoir galleries had password guessers.  Fortunately, they had long passwords that were too hard to guess, but they are still making changes like removing the word Boudoir from the title, and making the gallery Unlisted so only people who obtain the link can know of its existence.

One of the security upgrades that came with New SmugMug is we don’t store passwords in a form that could leak in any way, including a systems breach, a bug, or a disgruntled employee. We use an industrial grade, Cryptographic hash function.

The breaking stories are about Boudoir photos, but we host incredibly sensitive photos (all cloud services do) of unannounced products and even, we remember, photos of an upcoming TIME Person of the Year.

Best Practices:

1.  Set a good gallery password before uploading photos!

2.  Set galleries and folders to Unlisted.  Unlisted means means no one can see them unless they have somehow been given a link.  They cannot guess the link because it has a random string added to its URL.  The combination of strong password + Unlisted is extremely secure.

You can learn more about how to protect your SmugMug galleries here.

We hope this helps, and thanks for being part of the SmugMug family!

Chris & Don MacAskill

Founders

Next Webinar: Getting That Photo Mess Online and Organized

January 22, 2014 9 comments


It’s that time again, eager SmugMug students!

Our next live webinar is designed to help busy people like you tame that photo mess and get your memories archived safely online. In one hour, you’ll learn how to go from a cluttered shoebox to a gorgeous, safe and secure website that you’ll be proud to show off to friends and family.

This basic webinar is perfect for those of you still looking for a place to keep your photos, or if you already have a SmugMug site and haven’t figured out how to get your site organized in a way that makes sense.

When:  Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Time:  8:00 PM Eastern Time (5:00 PM Pacific)
How: Register now!

If you can’t make it, no sweat: We archive our webinars for easy viewing at any time. Subscribe to our video tutorials on YouTube.

Are you ready to take control of your photos again? See you there!

UPDATE: We had some technical trouble recording this webinar so you won’t find it in our YouTube archives, but we’ve written up the info on SmugMug School. Enjoy!

Print Lab Love: Find Your Perfect Match in 2013

January 23, 2013 15 comments

It’s that time of year again: lab-shopping season. As the New Year rolls in, photographers focus on bettering their businesses and we know there’s nothing more exciting than delivering a beautiful print of a beautiful photo.*

You’ve probably noticed that SmugMug offers not one, not two, but FOUR fabulous print lab options, each offering a full array of great print products. So if you’re a seasoned pro who already has a favorite, we may already be friends with them.

Four labs means a ton of amazing print options, more than 600 different products in total. But before you start sweating, here’s a quick rundown on each one to help you narrow down and pick the best fit for your photos.

No matter what, rest assured that you get a single, cohesive online presence and a full business solution when you’re at SmugMug.

Your work is in good hands.

EZ Prints

EZ PrintsBased just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, these guys have been a true powerhouse print lab fulfilling orders for some of the nation’s biggest event companies. But they’re more than just brawn — they put all that experience to work getting your print orders out the door quickly and economically, whether you buy one print or one thousand. EZ Prints is available to every single SmugMug user, and they fulfill all 4×8 and 5×7 photo card orders, to boot.

Bay Photo

Bay PhotoOur friends at Bay Photo enjoy the sun and fresh sea air each day in Santa Cruz, California. The positive effects are evident in the pride they take to their work, attention to detail, and the approach to customer service. Business and Portfolio SmugMuggers tell us that Bay Photo’s hand color correction, meticulously strong packaging and innovative product lineup are essential to the satisfaction of their clients. Plus, did you know that using Bay Photo also offers delicious Photo Extras like mats, frames, mounted prints and more, so you save a trip to the framers?

Loxley Colour

Loxley ColourLast year we unveiled our first non-USA print lab, Loxley Colour. Situated in the outskirts of beautiful Glasgow, Scotland, they’re ready to fulfill all your highest-end print and display needs, right from your SmugMug gallery. They’re particularly popular with picky pros (and their picky customers) in the UK, but they’re happy to ship anywhere in Europe… and beyond.

White House Custom Colour

WHCCWe started hearing that SmugMug Pros wanted even more print lab options, so we put our ears to the ground. White House Custom Colour won by being a crowd favorite and by passing our rigorous print quality test with flying colors. We felt confident that they met our (and your) incredibly high standards for beautiful prints each and every time. They hail from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and opened a second and third location in Dallas, Texas and Fresno, California, to bridge pros from all corners of the United States. They’re a family-grown business just like SmugMug, proving that we have a lot more in common than just a love for photography.

Three Quick Notes

1) EZ Prints is available at all SmugMug account levels.

2) Bay Photo, WHCC and Loxley Colour are only available if you have a Portfolio or a Business level account.

3) All labs ship their goodies everywhere on the planet. But for logistical reasons, you may choose to pick the lab that’s closest to you.

Here’s hoping that you fall lens-over-heels in love with your your perfect lab this year!

* We know that DPI really stands for “Delirious Pixel Infatuation.”

6 Essential SmugMug Tools for Celebrating a Sane, Organized (and Profitable) Holiday

December 3, 2012 28 comments

Hectic holiday? It doesn’t have to be if you plan on uploading your photos (and videos) to your SmugMug galleries! You’ve already got your hands tied with hot chocolate, ribbons and last-minute gift planning, so here’s a few tips that will help make the picture sharing part of it refreshingly easy.

1) Show Off: Badges and Slideshows

This handy feature lets you build your own mini slideshow or photo mosaic to any size you wish, and gives you easy copy-and-paste code to embed it. You don’t have to know any nerd magic to get this going, and it automatically refreshes with new photos when you add more stuff to your gallery.

You’ll find this little feature a godsend for blogs, forums and websites. Anywhere that allows you to embed Flash objects. Here’s how to do it.

2) Guest Uploading for Party People

With all those folks at your house snapping away, you need a hub where guests can pool their photos and relive the glory of your massive decorating skills. SmugMug to the rescue!

Create a new gallery for your event and then open up the gallery settings. Set any word you wish into the “Upload key” box, like this:

The next time you fire up the uploader in that gallery, you’ll see a secret link at the bottom that you can copy and share. Your friends can visit that link and we’ll automagically pop up an uploader so they can easily drag and drop in their photos from the night.

Just remember that anyone who gets ahold of the link can upload to that gallery, so be aware when you share. More about guest uploads.

3) Make and Sell Photo Cards

We’ve been talking a lot about our holiday cards this year, but they’re so beautiful we just have to tell you again. And there is truly no better, easier way to take the best photos you’ve taken (or the best photos someone’s taken of you) and pair them up with custom, heartfelt season’s greetings.

Our catalog is bursting with new designs for everyone, whether your style is vintage, contemporary, minimalist or traditional. Or all of the above. Just look for the Buy button > Create a Card option in your favorite gallery and start building your 4×8 or 5×7 masterpiece!

Read all about cards, including how to price and sell them.

4) Custom Categories for Easy Navigation

Did you know that when our pre-loaded list of Categories (and sub-categories) don’t work for you, you can create your own? And that you can edit the URL that shows in the browser bar when you’re viewing your categories?

We make it breathtakingly easy to efficiently organize your site, share the URL verbally, and even get better Google juice. It’s like Christmas came early!

Take a closer look and bone up on the basics of Categories, then take it a step further and learn how to use Categories to your best advantage. This year, you’ll have your “I will be more tidy” New Year’s resolutions totally beat.

5) Picmonkey: Funky Photo Editing

Picmonkey may be our (unintentionally) best-kept secret. But if you haven’t already tried this smart, sassy tool to edit your SmugMug photos, run – don’t walk – to your nearest Tools button and find it now.

It’s built right into every SmugMug gallery and you can do everything from basic exposure correction and redeye fix to adding graphics, words, textures, frames and filters. And more. Tons, tons  more.

It’s totally free to use — even their premium features, since they’re still the new kid on the block.

Check it out now and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your photos. :)

6) Camera Awesome for iPhone and iPad

If you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to leave the DSLR in your office. You can shoot up to 9 fps with our free camera app, meaning you never miss a moment. And apply gorgeous effects and filters to make them shine.

Best of all, your shots won’t stay locked on your phone where no one will see them. Share direct to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and back them up safely to your SmugMug account so you can visit them year after year. Download it free right now.

Bonus! Business features for Pros

Since there’s a lot of pros out there, here are three additional features we snuck in to remind you Business SmugMuggers that there’s a lot more to your website than just photos.

A) Coupons - A no-brainer for getting your customers a little extra nudge this holiday season! With a Business account, you can choose from 5 different types and create as many coupons as you wish.. which means you can tailor your discount codes to every client. Be sure to set an expiry date so they don’t sit on a good deal forever.

B) Events and Favorites - Intimidated? Don’t be. Events let you corral galleries into groups, so your customers can easily view only the photos that matter to them most. Best of all, they can tag and save their Favorite photos to a special gallery only they can see. All which makes browsing and buying a breeze.

C) Order Branding -This feature actually consists of three separate (and awesome) tools: Cart Branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints. All of them ensure that you and your brand stay connected to your customers until the prints are sitting in their hands. And you can easily switch up your Order Branding designs from season to season, so you look super organized…  even if you’re not.

GIVEAWAY! What’s Your Lifesaver?

In the spirit of giving, we’re digging through Smuggy’s workshop and rounding up some of our best swag items.

To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and tell us which SmugMug feature you find helps most during your holiday rush.

We’ll pick a random winner and announce it in this space on Friday, December 7th, 2012.

From all of us at SmugMug, we wish you a picture-perfect holiday! And we can’t wait to hear what you can’t live without.

**UPDATE** The Magic SmugMug 8-ball chose Melissa Ponder as our winner. Congrats Melissa and we’ll be contacting you directly. Thanks to everyone and have a great weekend!

Link roundup:

SmugMug Tip: Give Your Fans a Direct Link

August 6, 2012 4 comments

We know that it sounds a bit odd to write a blog post about this, but our Support Heroes get a surprising amount of email from friends, family and clients who can’t find their photographers’ websites. We thought you could use a hand, or at least a handy tip on how to ensure that your photos get seen for sure.

Don’t be vague!

You wouldn’t just tell someone, “Drive to New York, then look for the gray house,” would you?

Similarly, you should give visitors a specific address for the photos they’re expecting to see: Either a direct link to the gallery itself or, if you want to share several galleries, a link to the Category, Sharegroup or Event.

DO: Share a link that take your fans straight to the photos they can’t wait to see.

DON’T: Direct them to SmugMug.com‘s homepage and hope for the best.

This is particularly important if all of your galleries are Unlisted. (Lots of you do this!)

Can’t they just search?

Sure they can! Don’t get us wrong: SmugMug’s got great search engine-fu and Google juice, but searching has lots of moving parts. The more parts, the higher the risk. Here are a few potential trip-ups:

  • You’ve forgotten to add keywords to your galleries or photos. Or you recently keyworded them and Google hasn’t had a chance to index them yet.
  • Your friend spells your name wrong. This can happen to the best of us, especially if you were trading info quickly or in a noisy place.
  • You have a popular name, like Smith or Jones, that turns up thousands of hits.

So what are those features you just mentioned?

Here’s our SmugMug Checklist to help you be absolutely sure your fans can find exactly what they’re looking for.

1) Add contact info to your Bio box so it’s easy to find. If you haven’t created that gallery yet, it’s even more important that you post contact information somewhere on your website. Pros should always have a Contact Email set up in the “Me” tab of their Account Settings.

2) Learn how to Get a Link and share them.

3) Share several galleries with a single linkSharegroups to the rescue! Or if you’re a Pro, blow them away with Events and Favorites.

4) Add descriptive keywords to all of your galleries and photos, so that search engines can find them.

So consider this a brief, friendly reminder to err on the safe side and be specific when someone asks you about your photos. As always, our Support Heroes are always willing to help them find you, but it’s our mission to make it as easy as humanly possible. :)

Happy sharing!

Your Marketing Goldmine is Just a SMUG Away

February 21, 2012 1 comment

To continue SmugMug’s dedication to make you all photo stars, we’ve got an incredible opportunity you won’t want to miss.

We all know that Sandy Puc’ is an amazing woman. She’s a talented photographer, a driven businesswoman, a passionate heart, a generous soul, and patient instructor to boot. You’ve seen us post about her whirlwind tours, traveling around the country showing photographers just like you how to shoot babies, brides, bombshells and more. And how to market the heck out of your business and rock the industry.

Don’t chase the bus. This spring, Sandy is coming to you.

Tune In… and Win

In partnership with our SmugMug User Groups, Sandy is holding three 1-hour webinars about how to turn your passion for photography into a rewarding business. If you’re already part of a SMUG, talk to your leader to find out if you can tune in as a group to watch each class.

To make things even more exciting:

  • The busiest SMUG wins. We’ll keep track of the SMUG that grows the most over the next three months. The winning city will get a visit from Sandy herself and an exclusive night dedicated to growing your business to success.
  • The most passionate Pro wins. The SMUG member that brings the most guests to their local meetings will win a trip to Sandy’s studio in Denver, CO, for an all expenses paid, completely one-on-one marketing makeover from the lady herself. An opportunity that could change your life (and your business) forever.

Stay in touch for details

So keep your eyes peeled for an email from SmugMug with more info about this opportunity and what to expect. If you have’t yet joined a SMUG, see what you’ve been missing on their blog. You’ll find a bonus podcast from Sandy there, too, in the menu bar on the right!

Photography. Friends. Fun. What’s not to SMUG?

Find your SMUG right now.

Winners of our Perfect Pairs Photo Contest with Bay Photo Lab

October 12, 2011 36 comments

Why a contest?

We teamed up with the good folks at Bay Photo Lab this fall to kick off a contest asking photographers to submit photos representing the theme of a perfect pair — two things that go splendidly together. SmugMug and Bay Photo are like peanut butter and jelly, ying and yang, aperture and ISO. We love Bay’s hand color correction and their crazy-in-a-good-way devotion to making the best dang prints out there. They love our seamless integration, fanatical devotion to making sure your photos look the best in our galleries and prints, and 100% guaranteed customer service. We guess you can say we’re the perfect pair for picky pros whose reputations depend on us.

Photographers from all over heard our call and submitted almost 2000 shots. The time has come to announce who the winners are, and we couldn’t be more tickled to have another reason to shout to the world how much we heart Bay Photo Lab and the awesome customers we get to work with on a daily basis. Winners of the Perfect Pairs Photo Contest were picked by a group of Judges from Bay Photo Lab and SmugMug based on their editorial discretion and your votes.

Here’s what we decided.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

“Steam Runners” by Ric Cederholm of Waunakee, WI

We love this photo because it’s two friends having the time of their lives. The shot captures a playful and fun moment that makes us long for the days we could run with our hands in the air, hollering with joy (sure, we can do it as grown ups too, but it’s definitely cuter when kids do it). What’s better than running in the sun with the mist in your face? Maybe unwrapping your first MetalPrint. Maybe.

Ric, if you’re watching, you get:

  • 5 free years of SmugMug Pro ($750 value, not including bragging rights)
  • $500 Print Credit to world class Bay Photo Lab
  • Photo credit in major national and tradeshow advertising, including WPPI

FIRST RUNNER UP

“Coordination” by Marc Benjamin of Fairfield, CA


This shot shows the power, elegance, and artistry that can be created when two powerhouses come together. The striking contrast stopped us in our tracks, and the poetry of these dancers forms entwined in the air sealed the deal for us.

Marc gets:

  • 4 free years of SmugMug Pro ($600 value)
  • $300 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

SECOND RUNNER UP

“Relationship Stability” by Jesse Rather of Arcata, CA

Talk about a photo that makes you look twice. Managing a business and serving your customers is a fine balance of impeccable quality, dedication and fun, and we thought this photo channeled that feeling well. To top it off, the quirkiness, beauty, and humor made us smile. Thanks, Jesse!

Jesse won:

  • 2 free years of SmugMug Pro ($300 value)
  • $200 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

THIRD RUNNER UP

“The Polar Pair” by JP Diroll of Pittsburgh, PA

A bit surreal, a bit Planet Earth. It’s hard enough to resist such childlike interplay in the animal world, but drop the fuzzies into a sun-streaked pool of the deepest blue and you have double the win.

JP wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $100 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

FOURTH RUNNER UP

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Rachelle Elliott of Wymore, NE

Rub-a-dub-dub, two cuties in a tub. Parents, watch out: They’re already winning hearts!

Rachelle wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $50 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

Thanks. We Mean It.

We we really blown away by the enthusiastic response to this contest and totally felt the love. Thanks again to everyone who entered their photos and shared their vision of “The Perfect Pair!”

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