This post is a result of the passionate feedback many of you gave us after our pricing change—and some incredibly moving stories we heard about your photography.
It’s been two months since we created two Pro accounts, Portfolio and Business, where once there was one. The main difference between them was the ability to price & sell.
Today we’re adding the ability to price & sell to Portfolio accounts. This account level is designed for up-and-coming photographers on a budget who don’t need the features higher-volume Pros use, but who want a gorgeous site, protected images, and the ability to earn profit through our Pro print labs.
Portfolio accounts include:
- All the features of Basic and Power accounts, including deep site customization.
- The ability to set your own prices (one Pricelist active at a time).
- Complete image protection including Watermarks, Printmarks, and Backprinting.
- Proof Delay to edit your photos after the sale.
Business accounts include:
- All the features of Basic, Power and Portfolio accounts.
- The ability to set gallery & photo specific pricing with multiple active Pricelists.
- Powerful sales tools including Coupons, Packages & Personal Delivery.
- Powerful marketing tools including Events & Favorites, Order Branding, Cart Branding and Boutique Packaging.
You can find a complete list of differences between the accounts on our updated features page.
As we mentioned two months ago, storage is one of the big drivers behind our decision to split Pro accounts. When we dug into the data, it became clear that heavy storage usage was highly correlated with accounts using advanced Business features, including multiple Pricelists. We also heard great feedback that you needed better visibility about how much storage you’re using, and what you can do about it. We’ve taken that feedback to heart and will provide better tools in the future.
Two months ago we announced that renewals at the new rates would begin October 15th. Many Pros have noticed, however, that we’re still renewing at the old rates. That’s because we didn’t want anyone to renew at the Business rate if they would have been a better fit with Portfolio after this change. With this change, renewals at the new rates will begin early Saturday morning.
Our price change was honestly scary and emotional. Two months later, we’re relieved that it’s providing us the ability to invest more in engineering because sales are up. We are gratified by the support we’ve received from so many of you and hope that this change will offer wonderful up-and-coming photographers a chance to pursue their passion.
We’ll continue to listen to your feedback and adjust our account levels accordingly, so keep it coming.
All the best,
Chris & Don MacAskill
Founders, photographers, regular guys
You’ve just packed the kids off to school. What’s that mean?
Time to start planning for the holidays!
We’re kidding. Mostly. Savvy photographers like yourself are always on the ball, so we know you’re already itching to put together your 2012 holiday cards.
Brand-New, Beautiful Card Designs
We’re so excited to tell you about our brand-new, easy-to-love designs. Whether you fancy rustic, elegant, or simple designs, you’ll find something that you’ll love. We swear on our marshmallows!
Can I make a card with my Basic account?
Yes! No matter what account type you have (Basic, Power, Portfolio or Business), every SmugMugger can turn their favorite photo into a beautiful card. Or 100 cards, if you’re popular.
Here’s what you do:
1) Open your gallery and find the first photo you want to use.
2) Click Buy > Create a Card.
3) Browse designs to find the one you want, and drag in your photos.
4) Save it, add it to your cart and check out.
Did you know? You can edit any card you haven’t yet bought. Just click the Tools button > This Photo > Edit to reopen the card builder and make it perfect.
If you’ve already placed your order and need to make changes, be sure to email our Support Heroes with your order number ASAP.
Pros: How to Price and Sell Cards
If you have a Business account, yes… and you’ll make a few bucks, too. Price your cards like your other print products and your clients can create their own cards using the photos in your gallery.
You shoot. They buy. We deliver.
Here’s how it works:
1) Visit your Pricelists and create a new Pricelist, or edit an existing one. Whether you use Bay Photo Lab, WHCC, or EZ Prints, you’ll be able to add in photo cards, which are fulfilled by EZ Prints. (Please note: at the moment, customers using Loxley Colour are not currently able to add cards.)
2) Set your profit (or price) and be sure to apply the Pricelist to your galleries.
3) Share the gallery with your clients. They’ll see a “Create a Card” option from the Buy button, and take it from there.
Did you know? Business pros who use Proof Delay can fix typos and swap images in clients’ cards before they go to print. Just open the order details, click “Edit Project” and make your changes. Then release the order when you’re done.
Watch the video below to find out how Business account holders can sell cards.
Pros in the Know: Our favorite money-making tips
As a working pro, reach out to clients you’ve shot through the year and tell them about your photo card options. They’ll love featuring their favorite images from past shoots on their holiday cards.
Try these tactics early in the season to warm up your clients:
- Order a few sample cards using your best photos. Let customers hold them, feel the paper and see how beautiful custom cards can be. They’ll imagine sending their own to envious friends and family.
- Create and send “Thanks!” cards to last year’s portrait and wedding clients. This does double-duty of keeping you fresh in their minds and demonstrating to them the quality of cards they’ll buy from you.
- Don’t forget: Pets are family, too. Even if you’re not a human photographer, you’ve still got a healthy pool of clients who’d love to feature their furry babies on holiday cards.
And for your ongoing portrait sessions:
- Create incentives using Coupons to get them buying right after the photo shoot. If they put it off, they’ll forget and that’s no good. Strike while the chestnuts are hot!
- Promote your deals! Discounts fail if your customers don’t know about them. Here’s a few ways to do it.
- Set prices for cards lower early in the season, and raise them as the holidays get close. Get it done in 3 seconds with Pricelists.
- Use Events to avoid wandering eyes. Events keep customers focused by grouping and sharing the good stuff, and the good stuff only. Plus, they can tag their favorite photos.
The bottom line: SmugMug’s here to take the hard work off your hands, so you can get back to wrapping presents. Avoid gray hairs, the holiday rush and the dreaded mail service overload. We’ll help you get your holiday cards finished before you can say, “Hot chocolate!”
What time-saving tips have helped you get your cards out the door? Share your thoughts with fellow mailers below.
All photos by Meghan MacAskill Photography.
At SmugMug, you get the keys to your own photographic kingdom. But sometimes it takes more than just a camera and an internet connection to set your dreams free.
Where do you go next?
SmugMug Help: Your Hub to All Things Photo
Our fabulous customer support team is comprised of living and breathing photographers with kids that grow up too fast, gear wish lists and weekend photo shoots to juggle. In short, they’re just like you.
They know that it’s tough to learn a brand-new website, so we’ve put our heads together on what you’d like most: One simple link to click for everything you need to know.
Meet the new, expanded Help Center. We’ve stripped down a previously-cluttered page to just an inviting search bar to type in your most burning questions, a Getting Started video (and one to introduce ourselves… we don’t bite!) and a few important links.
And as always, email and live chat are still available in case you can’t find the answers on your own.
All You Need to Succeed
If you’re thinking about getting paid for your photos and turning a hobby into a business, our new Business Resource Center is just what you need. Browse and read articles from seasoned SmugMug pros about how to plan, build and maintain a successful photo business and how to make more money.
We are always eager to hear what you think and how we can help you better. If there’s a topic you’re dying to see, tell us about it in the comments below! This is just the beginning and we’re hoping to learn right along with you.
Aiming for more light bulb moments per second,
The SmugMug Family
When we designed Camera Awesome for the iPhone, we wanted to do something equally extraordinary for the iPad without making it feel like a giant, awkward camera.
We know what you’re thinking. We thought it, too: Taking pictures with an iPad? I’d never chase my kids around with a computer!
But the more we talked to people, the more we kept hearing that shooting through the big, hi-res screen was a profoundly surreal experience. It may seem funny at first, but we kept hearing how much better your pictures turn out when you can actually see what you’re shooting, without squinting or pinching the screen.
Plus, your “wow” moment is so much bigger when you show off what you shot on that ginormous iPad screen.
In short: Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
Is it just like the iPhone version?
Camera Awesome for iPad lets you use the same great shooting features, modes and filters that you already know and love on your iPhone. It takes full advantage of your device’s hi-res display and offers a bigger, cleaner interface with large previews, better framing and easier editing.
It’s also one of the most powerful camera apps out there for the iPad, giving you basic and advanced shooting features, detailed photo info and solid editing tools.
And of course, we’ve maximized the viewing area so it’s just that: A huge, magical window into another world. Yours.
What does it do for me?
Camera Awesome is perfect for anyone who loves to capture their favorite moments and share them with friends.
- Use it straight up to snap everyday great photos, every time.
- Go high-octane with 9 fps burst mode, video precording, a horizon level and tons more.
- Perfect your images with our library of gorgeous filters.
- Post your work to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
A SmugMug account isn’t required, but with it you’ll get a safe place to archive all of your Camera Awesome photos, no matter how much you love to shoot.
So if you haven’t already tried it, you’ve got to see why more than 7 million users shot over 150 million photos since we launched it 7 months ago. Here’s just a few on SmugMug.
How do I get it?
Get Camera Awesome from the App Store or Awesomize.com now. As always, it’s completely free. And it comes pre-loaded with 36 beautiful, full-resolution effects and filters that let you create 729 unique looks.
Want more? Buy additional sets for $0.99, categories for $3.99 or grab the whole shebang (all effects available now and forever) for $9.99. That’s 262,143 possible combinations, right at your fingertips. Yeow.
But I’ve already bought filters on the iPhone!
Camera Awesome knows that it’s you on a different device, so you don’t have to buy them again. Just restore your purchases in the app settings on your iPad and go to town.
Enjoy awesomizing your photos in large format!
UPDATE on November 8, 2012: We’ve added the ability to price and sell to the Portfolio account, based on the feedback we’ve been getting from you.
UPDATE on Sept 7, 2012: We’ve posted an update from Don & Baldy to answer your most common questions about these changes.
UPDATE: In case there was any confusion from the email, you won’t see a price increase until after your next renewal date if it’s after October 15th. We are not billing anyone on October 15th unless that was their annual or monthly renewal date.
For the first time in 7 years, we’re raising the price of some SmugMug Pro subscriptions, something we tried hard not to do.
Pros who sell at a markup use far more storage and features than pros who don’t, so we split our pro account into two types: Portfolio and Business.
Portfolio is $150/year or ($20/mo) and still provides access to our pro labs for both you and your visitors, plus pro features like watermarking.
Business lets you set prices and earn profit. It will be $300/year (or $35/mo) for new customers, but existing subscribers who set prices will be asked to renew at $250/year (or $30/month) beginning October 15, 2012.
Personally, if I were asked to pay more for a service, I’d want to hear from the person responsible for the decision. That’s me, so I placed my dSLR on a tripod, and looked it right in the lens imagining it was you. I tried to offer a peek inside SmugMug and our thinking:
What will I be charged when I renew?
If your anniversary date is before October 15, no worries, you’ll renew at our existing rates.
- After October 14, we’ll guess you’d like to renew at the Portolio rate if you aren’t setting prices.
- Also after October 14, we’ll guess you’d choose to renew at the Business rate of $250/year (or $30/month) if you do set prices.
If we’re guessing wrong, you can upgrade or downgrade in a few seconds in your Account Settings.
What’s the diff between Portfolio and Business?
The short. Portfolio has everything except commerce features.
The long. Portfolio lets you build a beautiful site, protect your photos and print pro-quality prints. You get everything in the Power account, plus:
- Access to Bay Photo and WHCC. (Loxley in the works. We’ll say when.)
Business has every bell, whistle and feature we offer, including:
- Commerce tools: Custom pricing, Sales tax, direct deposit
- Marketing features: Events and favorites, Coupons, Packages, Order branding
- Workflow helpers: Proof delay, Personal Delivery, Boutique Packaging
Our features chart has all the details.
Do I get something out of this?
Yes! The other big reason for doing this is to invest more engineering in SmugMug to make your lives better, which is exactly what we’re doing.
We love that many of you have been with us for almost 10 years and it’s stunning to think how far we’ve come together. Thanks so much for all the great support you’ve given us.
Thanks for being a part of the SmugMug family,
Chris MacAskill (aka Baldy)
Co-Founder & President
Over the last few months, we’ve gotten so much feedback from our Pros about the $0.49 base cost for digital downloads. (Thanks!) So we put on our thinking caps, made a few espressos and dreamed up a better way to make this work.
How it Works, Now:
We’ve made the new base cost for individual digital downloads one penny. Why? More Pros than we expected loved this price point when offering many downloads to customers, so we took our cues from them. You can still add a reasonable markup, without bending your customers’ wallets out of shape. Gallery downloads still have a base cost of $0.99.
To cover our costs of processing and distributing your digital files, we’ll add a single $0.50 processing fee to the shopping cart when:
- The order’s subtotal (after Coupons) is less than $10
- The order contains at least one digital download
In English: More money for you. You get the most control over the pricing and still take home a sweet profit.
What’s not to love? Tell us. We’re listening.
P.S. If you’re a Pro who uses % markup, you may want to log in and give your Pricelists a quick review. Just sayin’.
If you felt the earth shaking the last time you logged in to SmugMug, don’t panic! It’s just the incredible new Control Panel that we installed, especially for you. It’s so stunning, we renamed it “Account Settings.”
Take a look and you’ll see we’ve moved things around, trimmed some bits and gave it a whole new (modern) look. Fewer clicks, intuitive navigation, easy on the eyes. You’ll love it.
Why fix what ain’t broke?
While it’s true that the old Control Panel was still functional and lots of you have gotten the hang of where things were, our amazingly patient Support Heroes were always getting asked how to do basic things like change passwords or email, or how to find Pro Sales info, etc. Important stuff like that.
So we took the hint and decided that we could do things better.
Our #1 priority is to bring you trouble-free navigation so you can find things fast. Pros, this means digging into your money-making tools so you can start selling ASAP.
Lastly, as we keep adding shiny new features to your SmugMug account, we’ll slot them into the Account Settings more easily. And that’s a plus for us.
Where can I find _______?
We hope you’ll never need to ask again. But you can swing by our updated help pages here to get a complete road map of the different areas and what they mean.
You’ll find everything you need filed under six different icons. Basic and Power Users will see the first five.
- Me: You and your subscription.
- Privacy: Who can see your site.
- Style: How your site looks.
- Discovery: Search engines, sharing stuff.
- Stats: Nitty-gritty numbers.
- Business: Everything e-commerce. (Pros only)
If you can’t find things at a glance, don’t hesitate to let us know what’s on your mind. We’re listening!
One of your top requests over the years has been, “Can I offer my customers mat and frames when they buy from my site?” Which spurred us to come up with today’s catalog-busting release, Photo Extras.
What are Photo Extras?
They’re à la carte upgrades available for prints you sell through Bay Photo. Your customers can choose them through an ‘Add Photo Extras’ button under each item in the shopping cart, before they check out.
What are the options?
There’s tons! Frames, mats, contemporary mounting options and even paper surface textures are all available with a few mouse clicks. And they can be purchased in lots of different combinations to create something truly unique.
- Mats. 3 professional picks: 1.5″ wide mats in White, Off-White and Black.
- Frames. 14 tasteful types: Flat wood, box wood or aluminum in a variety of colors. All served with clear, shatterproof acrylic.
- Mounting. 7 sturdy selections: 2mm Styrene, Bevel mount, Gatorfoam and 3/4″ Standouts.
- Finishes. 5 awesome alternatives: Pebble, Canvas and Linen surface textures, Satin Laminate and scratch-resistent Protective Coating.
*Note that not all options are available for all print sizes.
Swing by our general catalog page to get more info about each choice.
How do I use them? Do I have to?
Photo Extras are on by default for all Pricelists set to Bay Photo. Open up your Pricelists manager and create a new Pricelist with Bay Photo as the print lab. Be sure the “Allow Photo Extras” box is checked at the bottom of the page. That’s it!
If you’re already using a Pricelist that sells through Bay Photo, you’re already offering your customers the full array of goodies because it’s on by default. You don’t have to do a thing.
But you don’t have to offer Photo Extras if you don’t want to. Disable them by opening up your Bay Photo Pricelist and uncheck “Allow Photo Extras” at the bottom.
Can I set my own price for Photo Extras?
Right now, Photo Extras are only available at the default price, but you’ll still earn a profit on the print portion of the order.
We’re pretty sure some Pros will want to set a markup on each Photo Extra upgrade (just like the other goodies in your catalog), but don’t worry — it’s on our radar!
Are they covered by Coupons and Packages?
At this time, no. Photo Extras aren’t yet available for prints purchased in Packages, and Coupons apply just to the print portion of each order. We didn’t want you, the Pro, to end up covering the unexpected cost of a ginormous mat and frame. That wouldn’t be fair, would it? More about Coupons and Packages.
Your customers will love Photo Extras because they get it all in one step: Ready-to-hang, beautifully finished prints without a trip to the framing shop.
Which means you’ll sell more and make more money.
We hope that you’ll tell your clients about them, give them a try and share your feedback with us. Our ears are perked.