Spring has sprung, and we’re celebrating with a slew of new features and improvements released during the past few weeks.
Auto-Scroll and More Photo Options for Carousel
You wanted more options for the new Carousel content block, and we heard you! Now you can enable auto-scroll, looping, randomization, and keyboard navigation. Plus you can choose from additional photo sources: Popular and Recent Photos.
Customize Your Lightbox
Showcase your photos the way you want them to be seen with a customizable Lightbox. Show your background, hide or show the photo tools, enlarge or minimize your Buy button, and more. Go minimal or extra informative. The choice is now yours.
Drag-and-Drop Customization Got Even Better
New drop zones in the Customizer are now larger and highlight where you can drop new content blocks on a page, making it easier to see exactly where you can place your content.
Privately Share Photos
Now you can share your photos with only the people you choose. With our new Private Sharing feature, you can send unique invitation links to friends, family, and clients to give them special access to photos meant for their eyes only.
Want to have complete control over how you share your photos? You’ve got it! Some of the industry’s most powerful (and customizable) privacy features come baked in to a SmugMug account. But they can seem confusing if you’ve never used them before. To help, here are five common scenarios we get asked about a lot, and a quick rundown of which settings you need to flip to be sure your stuff stays exactly as discoverable or as private as you wish.
Scenario 1: The Private Site
I want to share my site with my close family: my mom, my grandma, and my siblings, and only them. I want that to be as easy as possible since they aren’t that computer-savvy.
Enter the email address of the person you want to share the gallery with into the “Invite People” box.
Add your photos to the gallery. When your client accepts the invitation and logs in to SmugMug, they’ll be the only person who can view that gallery.
Scenario 3: The Limited Sharer
In general, I don’t want my galleries to be found. But sometimes I want to share some of my photos on a photography forum. When I do, I don’t want those viewers to find my other galleries and see photos of my kids.
Make sure all your Folders and Galleries are Unlisted. This ensures the public can’t see your galleries, even if they stumble across your homepage.
Create a new gallery for sharing on the forum and set it to Unlisted, plus setHide Ownerto “On.” This removes the breadcrumb that would usually allow visitors to navigate to other parts of your site.
Log out and view your site like a guest. Unlisted galleries shouldn’t be visible.
Get the gallery link to share, being sure the URL starts with “www.smugmug.com” and doesn’t contain your nickname. To check, paste the link to that gallery into a new browser window. You shouldn’t see a way to get back to your homepage, only to SmugMug.com. You’re now ready to share that link on the forum!
Scenario 4: The Conservative Client, Active Pro
I want my client to see photos I took for them and share the gallery within their organization, but I don’t want anyone else knowing I work for that client. The world should be able to find my site and portfolio galleries, though, since that brings in more business.
Create a gallery (or a folder) for your client, and set Visibility to Unlisted.
Log out and view your site like a guest, checking that your client’s galleries don’t show.
When sharing with the client, be sure to copy and share the exact link to the gallery. Test it by pasting the link into your browser bar. It should only work if you used the complete URL. Does it? If so, you’re ready to share it with your client!
Scenario 5: The Split Photographer
I have lots of landscape photos I want picked up by Google, but I do have a few galleries of family pics I’d like to keep visible just by us.
Create a Folder that will contain all your family photos and set the Access to “People I Choose”.
Viewing galleries within this folder will be restricted to people who have been invited to the folder.
Log out and view your site. Your family galleries will display, but opening them will show the access denied (401) page.
We’ve created this handy little chart for quick reference:
We hope these tips come in handy next time you’re worried about your photos getting into the wrong hands. If you ever have any questions or aren’t sure how to set up your galleries for a specific scenario, just ask us. Our Support Heroes are always ready to hear from you.
Today we deliver a better, more secure way for you to share your photos with only the people you want. Since privacy has always been such an important part of the SmugMug philosophy, we felt that our next update should help you feel better knowing exactly who gets to see your photos.
Private Sharing allows you, the account owner, to share galleries securely with people you trust… and only them. It’s a new level of privacy that secures your gallery so its viewed only by a specific set of people that you choose. Nobody else can see it, even if they try the link. The people you’ve selected also get a new, easy way to see the photos you’ve shared with them.
Private Sharing is perfect for sharing the lives of your growing kids, for high-profile celebrity portrait artists or for anyone who wants to stay in control of their photos.
They’ll see a “Shared With Me” page where they can browse all the galleries that have been shared with them.
Tip: Your invitee can create their Guest Account using a different email address than the one you used to invite them. They don’t need to match.
As long as they’re logged in to their own accounts, your friends can browse the shared galleries to their heart’s content, all from one “Shared with Me” page. If they’re not logged in, or if someone else tries to view that same gallery, they won’t be able to open it.
We’ve got extensive new help pages to show you how it works, so be sure to read through them as you start sharing galleries with those you trust.
Free Guest Accounts, Beefier Contacts List, and More Ways to Help Your Fans
Private Sharing is more than just an invite: There’s the all-new Guest Accounts mentioned above (for friends you choose) and a more powerful way of managing Contacts list (for you!)
Guest Accounts are a new, completely free, view-only level of SmugMug membership. They’re required when using Private Sharing, when the person you choose doesn’t already have their own SmugMug membership. Each Guest Account’s “homepage” will display all the galleries that are shared with them, for easy access, but they won’t be able to upload their own photos or create their own galleries.
Note: Your existing SmugMug galleries haven’t changed, so you can keep sharing Public, Unlisted, and Passworded galleries with fans, no login needed! Guest Accounts are ONLY required when you set your gallery to Access > People I Choose.
Contacts used to live in a midnight-dark corner of email sharing in the old SmugMug. We’ve pulled them out and given them a serious makeover so you can better keep track of the people you share photos with on the web. Find them now in their own tab in your Account Settings. From there you can add new people, edit their info and gallery access, and see whether they’ve accepted your Private Sharing invites yet or not.
Tip: Friends you invite to view galleries automagically get added to your Contacts list.
Finally, we’ve added a new system page to your site. A 401 error page is what viewers will see if they try to view a privately shared gallery without the proper invite. Why is this important? It’s a great opportunity to customize this page like your other system pages to include helpful information like your contact info and step-by-step directions on what to do next. It always pays to be nice!
How is Private Sharing Different From Sharegroups or Events?
Private Sharing – and the special invite link your friends receive – ties the gallery to a person, not to a link or a password, which are two things that can fall into the wrong hands. Once your invitee clicks your Private Sharing invite link and signs in to SmugMug, they’ve redeemed it and the link can’t be reused by anyone else. The only way someone else can view what you’ve shared is if they were looking over your invitee’s shoulder. That’s huge!
Here’s a chart that helps compare our top group-sharing features:
Join Us Online for a Private Sharing Demo
Want to get the full walkthrough on Private Sharing and all the new features, or perhaps you still have questions after trying it yourself? Join us online for a 1-hour live demo on Thursday, March 19th at 5:30 PM Pacific (8:30 PM Eastern) where we’ll explain it step-by-step and answer all your questions.
You made it! We know this is a lot of new info, so please don’t hesitate to peruse the new help pages and register for the Q&A above. And if you’re so excited you simply can’t wait, our marvelous Support Heroes are ready to hear from you.
“Kerry, it’s your turn. Step up!” the photographer called to me, excitement in his voice.
Step up where? This ledge:
Which was followed by this drop:
And this is the safety harness that was certified to keep me — all 300 pounds of me — from plummeting to my death.
All the other models on the photo shoot wore harnesses, too, and I saw with my own eyes how many safety precautions were taken to make us secure. Logically, I understood that nothing bad would happen to me.
But I just couldn’t shake the feeling: I’m 2 people in 1. I’m going to be too heavy to pull up.
All I could think was:
If I fall, I’m probably dead because I was too fat.
Somehow I managed to step up on the ledge, and the photographer snapped a few photos.
When we were done, all the other models were excited to see how the pictures turned out. After all, we were on a skyscraper dressed as superheroes, getting our pictures taken by world-famous photographer Benjamin Von Wong.
But I wasn’t looking forward to seeing my photo at all. I had this nagging feeling: I’m going to look like crap. I may be on a fancy photo shoot, but I’m still a fat girl.
Here’s how my photo turned out:
Hey, that isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be.
Actually … I kind of look badass.
How the heck did this happen? How did I get to be a model on an awesome photo shoot? Models aren’t fat girls like me. But here I was, on top of the world.
Just one year ago, I was at the lowest point of my life.
My struggle with weight began right after college when a surgery on both feet left me unable to walk long distances for exercise. I ballooned up from a size 12 to a size 22.
I gained some experience after graduating and managed to get a great job writing for NASA. I had been there for 8 years when the phone call came from my boss:
“Kerry, I’ve got some bad news. I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. Actually, you were supposed to be laid off yesterday.”
This job was all I’d known for nearly a decade. What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to pay for my house?
I hung up the phone and burst into tears. Here I was, a 35-year-old grown woman, and I felt like a scared 14-year-old again. Completely lost.
I’ve never liked asking people for things, but when you lose your job, that’s what you have to do — ask everyone for help. After sending out hundreds of emails and posting to Facebook and LinkedIn, I heard about an interesting opportunity. Not a full-time job or anything, just a short writing assignment for SmugMug.
As a photographer myself (and longtime customer), I loved SmugMug and had been trying to get a job there for ages. Actually, they’d already rejected me once when I interviewed there 5 years ago. But no matter. This was a chance to get my foot in the door at my dream company, and I took it.
I completed the writing assignment for them, and the article somehow got the attention of Chris MacAskill, President and Co-Founder of SmugMug. It turns out he was the one who had vetoed hiring me 5 years ago.
He told me he’d made a mistake. Oh, and would I like to join SmugMug full time?
The next day, I packed up everything and moved straight to California to start my new job.
Within my first few weeks on the job, Von Wong was in town and SmugMug asked him to do a fun photo shoot for the employees.
SmugMug employee — that’s me! That’s how I ended up as a model on this phenomenal photo shoot.
The whole thing feels like a fairy tale, like something that only happens in movies. I landed my dream job and moved across the country. I felt on top of the world. But looking in the mirror, my outside didn’t match how I felt inside.
That’s why this photo means so much to me. It makes my outside match my inside.
It’s a reminder that, even when I was at my heaviest, I can look amazing.
Since this photo was taken, I’ve dropped a dress size. I’m eating healthier and working out regularly. If I could look amazing then, then I can continue to look amazing.
I went from rock bottom to a superhero literally on top of the world. How is this even real? This is the stuff of movies.
But this is my life now, and it’s pretty freaking awesome.
As great as this photo makes me feel, I almost didn’t write about it. I wrote and deleted this article 3 times before hitting publish.
The Internet is cruel. I’m already bracing myself for the comments people will make:
“She’s still fat.”
Or my personal favorite that’s been popular lately — “Why is she promoting unhealthy habits?”
It’s not about celebrating being unhealthy. It’s about loving yourself so you can continue to work on yourself. If you start the journey from a point of hate, that’s where you’re going to end. You may lose the weight, but you’ll still hate yourself. The root problem is still there — that’s why so many diets fail.
Start from a place of accepting yourself, so you love yourself as you continue to make progress.
Photography by Benjamin Von Wong. Read how he pulled off this photo shoot on his blog.
You may quote or republish this article and its photos on your own publication—please credit and link back to the original.
My old boss, Steve Jobs, used to say, “One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.”
Kaydin Carlsen, SmugMug Support Hero
Our heroes are photographers, from moms who capture priceless moments with iPhones, to elite pros who shoot astonishing photos like the one you see above. To help them, we built a team of 40 support people, mostly photographers.
Working in customer support is a hard job. In most companies, more than a third of customer support employees quit every year. Which means on a team of 40, on average you can expect to lose 12 people a year. So, few people believe they’ve heard us correctly when we say that in over a decade, only one of our Support Heroes has ever resigned.
Our customers sent so many emails to them saying, “You are my new hero,” we called them Support Heroes.
What’s our secret? We don’t have scripts or thick training manuals. We simply ask our Support Heroes to be heroic.
Which gave photographer Benjamin Von Wong an idea: take their photos where only real superheroes would dare go. He wanted to make them into superheroes without green screens or special effects.
What do you see when you imagine a superhero? Standing strong on top of a building, overlooking a city, hair blowing in the wind? That’s what we saw, so we did a photoshoot on the ledge of a skyscraper.
SmugMug Films started with a simple idea: to tell the story of our greatest heroes, the photographers who inspire us. The films have taken flight on their own, and today we’re excited to introduce one about Von Wong’s inspiring rooftop shoot:
Who inspires you? Do you have a story of a photographer worth sharing? Let us know, we might just pop over to film it!
All the best,
Chris MacAskill (aka Baldy)
Co-founder, photographer, regular guy, and on this day a terrified hero wannabe.
There’s no announcement that makes us happier than one that celebrates our customers. And today’s the one we hope you’ve been waiting for as much as we have: The results of our Refer-a-Friend promotion!
We re-launched our Refer-a-Friend program last spring and have been giving away prizes to lucky SmugMuggers who brought friends over to join our club. Today we announce the final winners from almost a year’s worth of fabulous new SmugMug memberships.
Winners for November and December 2014
The last two winners in our monthly giveaways are Nicole Steele and Dawn Paiva. Congratulations! Be sure to capture every adventure with your new GoPro cameras this year.
Guess Who Won a Trip to SmugMug HQ?
We’re thrilled that we’re going to be able to meet Timothy Lasko in the flesh. We’ve got so many great things dreamed up for this trip to make it the most epic of all SmugMug visits, including a grand tour of the city, the full SmugMug face-painting experience, an inside look at the magic that happens at HQ, and a chance to meet our influential photographer friends who love to teach and inspire. And so much more. Come on down, Timothy!
What’s Next for Referrals in 2015?
Although the promotion is wrapped up, there’s never an expiry date on the benefits you get by referring friends to SmugMug: 20% off for you; 20% off for them; beautiful, personalized galleries; and the comfort of knowing that your photos will always be safe and sound. Also enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing our Support Heroes are always by your side.
Take your photography to new heights this year, and keep sharing your gorgeous memories with each other, and with us. Thanks for your incredible support! :)
P.S. Already have a lifetime’s worth of SmugMug account credit? Then check out the SmugMug Partner Program where you can earn cash for introducing new people to SmugMug.
Now’s typically the time of year when you step back and re-evaluate your life. Whether or not you follow tradition (or break it), it’s always a good idea to think about your photography, your goals, and how you want to get there in the coming months.
Note: Some of these tips are only possible in current SmugMug, so if you’ve been with us since before July 30, 2013 and haven’t upgraded your site, preview the latest version of SmugMug now. You’ll get free access to a slew of incredible new features, because they’re already included in your subscription.
Other Ways to Stay in Control
If you’re super excited to take the tidiness to the next level, here are two more great articles we recommend bookmarking to help you sort your photos and stop the headache.
As always, our Support Heroes are here to help if you have questions. We do way more than just tell you where your Account Settings are – remember that we’re photographers, too, and we’d be thrilled to help you achieve your goals for the year. Talk to us!