Join SmugMug and Renee Robyn at PhotoPlus—October 21–24 in NYC.

Calling all big-shot (and wannabe big-shot) photographers: if you live in the NYC area, or are planning to be there October 21–24, make plans to visit us at the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo 2015.

PhotoPlus is the largest photography and imaging show in North America. How big is big? Check this out: over 21,000 professional photographers, photography enthusiasts, filmmakers, students, and educators from around the world are planning on attending this year. Now that’s a massive amount of photo firepower in one place. This year we’ve teamed up with Bay Photo, so look for us in their booth #554. Both SmugMug and Bay Photo will have awesome show-only specials and giveaways. So stop by the booth, flash your smile, and get your hands on the big deals and some serious swag.

Register before October 20 to receive a free pass to the Expo!

Looking for some creative inspiration? We’ve got that covered, too. SmugMug is proud to sponsor the one and only Renee Robyn at PhotoPlus. Renee is an incredible and inspiring photographer and composite artist. After a devastating motorcycle crash left her almost paralyzed, she turned to composite photography to let her imagination run free, and in the process, created surreal and mysterious images that get talked about and shared all over the world.

Renee will be teaching a master class and leading a photo walk for additional fees:

#1: Thursday, October 22, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.—MC07-Upgrade Your Photoshop Toolbox

This master class will cover more advanced techniques to improve your already-existing process. Whether you retouch people or landscapes, or create composites, there’ll be techniques useful to many styles of photography.

#2: Friday, October 23, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.—PW28-Building Backgrounds for Composite Images

Join Renee on a photo walk around New York City, where she’ll show you how to capture useful and beautiful background images to incorporate into dynamic composites. The walk will cover lighting, perspective, camera angles, and creative problem solving for photographers who like to shoot their own background elements.

If you’re planning on being at the conference, go ahead and sign up for her classes right now.

Drum roll, please…And, for all you Renee Robyn super-fans, here’s one more reason to stop by the SmugMug booth (#554). At 1 p.m., on both 10/22 and 10/23, she’ll be on hand for a quick meet and greet. If you’ve ever wanted to meet Renee and bask in her creative energy, this is your chance—don’t miss it. Oh, and if you haven’t seen our recent SmugMug film on Renee, you can check that out right here.

We’re excited to be at PhotoPlus Expo this year, and we can’t wait to see you there.

The Answers to All Your Private-Sharing Questions

Last week thousands of you joined us for a webinar about SmugMug’s latest, greatest feature: Private Sharing. (Did you miss it? No worries. We recorded it for you!)

We’re thrilled that you were as excited as we were about it. We received some fantastic questions during the webinar and after. Below are all the answers to the questions you had about Private Sharing.

Don’t see your question among the FAQs? Feel free to ask it in the comments or send it to our Support Heroes, who are always standing by to help.

How does this affect my current privacy and security settings?
We haven’t changed your existing privacy and security settings. Everything you had visible before is still visible, and anything you had locked down is still protected and under wraps. In other words, your passwords remain intact, Unlisted galleries are still Unlisted, and Private galleries are still available only to you.

The settings tab was renamed and the security drop-downs look a bit different, but the settings are the same as when you set them.

Where did the Security & Privacy tab go?
The settings didn’t go anywhere, but we’ve split them into two new tabs: Security & Sharing and Photo Protection. All your Access and Visibility toggles are in Security & Sharing. Your photo-protection settings—like external embedding and right-click protection—are now located in the Photo Protection tab.

How do I change my privacy and security settings now?
Everything’s still in your Settings menu for galleries, folders, and pages. You can find them in the Security & Sharing tab. 

Where can I find the private sharing settings?
You’ll find your private-sharing options in the Security & Sharing tab, too! Set any gallery, folder, or page to be accessible by “People I Choose” to enable private sharing. You can manage your invitations within the contextual Settings, or from your Account Settings using the Contacts tab.

To secure your entire site with private sharing, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People I Choose.”

How do I set my password now?
For gallery, folder, and page passwords, you’ll create them in the Settings > Security & Sharing tab. Change your Access to “People with Password,” then create your password and password hint the same way you did before.

To set a sitewide password, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People with Password.” Create your password and password hint, save and exit, and you’re set!

Can Google find my privately shared photos?
If you have your Security & Sharing Visibility set to “Public,” and you have Web Searchable enabled, Google and other search engines will be able to see that a gallery, folder, or page exists, but they (and anyone not invited) won’t be able to see the photos within. If you don’t want Google to know the photos exist at all, we recommend changing the Visibility to “Unlisted” and disabling Web Searchability.

What can my guests do with their Guest Account?
They can view and enjoy all the photos you’ve privately shared with them, as well as comment on SmugMug users’ photos. They won’t have access to any other SmugMug features unless they upgrade to a full account.

Can my guests upload photos to the privately shared gallery?
Only if you allow it! You can control this using the Guest Upload setting for the gallery.

How is this different from Sharegroups?
The sharing part might look really similar to your users, but the privacy of your photos is entirely within your control when using Private Sharing. If you share a group of galleries using a Sharegroup link, your friends and family could forward that link to anyone—allowing strangers and folks you may not have intended to view your Sharegroup photos.

With Private Sharing, each invitation link is unique and tied only to your friend’s SmugMug account. Once their invitation is redeemed, it doesn’t matter if they forward their invitation link to others. No one else would be able to use it or accidentally gain access to your photos.

Use Sharegroups if you want to share a group of galleries that you don’t mind others viewing if the link gets passed around. Use Private Sharing if you want to ensure your photos remain completely private and inaccessible to anyone you didn’t intend.

What about my Pro brand? When my clients sign up for a guest account, will they see my brand or SmugMug’s?
Once your client clicks to view any privately shared photos, they’ll see your site branding. On their own account page, which contains all the links to shared photos, your client will see a very basic SmugMug-brand page. It looks like this:

Is there any way to import an email list?
Not yet, but that’s a great feature request!

Can I customize the invitation email?
Not currently, but we’ll add it to our feature requests.

If a gallery is Public and then you share it with someone specifically, is it no longer Public and only viewable by the invited people?
No, you’re actually tweaking two different settings. Visibility (Public) and Access (Share with People I Choose) are settings that operate independently of each other. “Public” Visibility means anyone on the Internet can see that something exists on your site—so they could come across your galleries by browsing your site. Access controls whether they can actually get in to view the content.

If you have a gallery set to Public visibility and People I Choose for access, and a stranger finds the privately shared gallery through a search then clicks on it, they won’t be able to see anything within that gallery. Instead they’ll see an error message alerting them that the photos are private and can only be viewed if they’re invited.

Tip: To avoid having even a preview image show, double-check that you don’t have a feature image selected in your private gallery’s settings.

If you want to prevent your privately shared galleries from even showing up in searches, you can turn off web searchability in your Account Settings and change the gallery’s visibility to Unlisted.

Does private sharing work with the SmugMug mobile app?
Not yet, but we’re actively working on it!

If I add a new email address to a gallery I’ve privately shared with others, will only the new address receive an invitation when I save?
Yes. We won’t send new invitations to people you’ve already invited previously.

If I add new galleries to folders that I’ve privately shared, or new photos to galleries, will my private guests receive a notification that I’ve added content?
Not at this time.

If I privately share a folder, does that automatically give the people I choose access to all subfolders and galleries within that folder?
Yes. The access you set at the highest level will override any access settings applied to anything within that level. This is also true if you choose to use sitewide Private Sharing in your Account Settings. Anyone invited to privately view your site will have access to all your visible galleries, and you won’t be able to choose a different access setting for individual galleries. However, you can invite additional people at the gallery or page level.

If you choose to use sitewide private sharing, you can still send individual invitations for each gallery, folder, or page, and all your galleries will be protected with Private Sharing. And if you invite someone privately to view your entire site, then they’ll have access to everything on your site.

In other words, if you have invited to privately view your entire site, you can’t exclude him from the Making-Fun-Of-Crazy-Uncle gallery via gallery settings.

However, you can completely restrict galleries from everyone, even invited guests, by setting the Visibility to “Private (Only Me).”

On my Shared with Me page, will it show galleries from multiple SmugMug users?
Yep! Anyone who’s shared photos with you will appear on your Shared with Me page. No more hunting down stray links or gallery passwords. Everything shared with you, no matter who shared it, will be in one place for your viewing.

Can photos appear on my Shared with Me page without my knowledge?
Nope! You have full control over what shows up on your Shared with Me page. You still need to accept each invitation for privately shared photos, so you’ll only see what you choose to see.

Get the Legacy Look on Your New SmugMug Site

In the week since the new SmugMug was born, we’ve been blown away by some of the gorgeous websites that we’ve seen from you!

But we’ve been also hearing from folks who miss the old legacy look, and want a newer version of it instead of a completely different website. No problemo, amigo! Here’s how to do it in just a few steps.

1. Use the SmugMug design

Let’s say, for example, you miss our basic legacy SmugMug layout and our basic Theme:

After you’ve migrated your photos, you’ll see all available designs for your account level. If you’re already using something else, simply click Customize > Choose a New Site Design from the top of your page.

Choose the first design, called “SmugMug.”

2. Post your profile

Click the wrench on the top box to open up your profile settings. Fill that in with a little blurb about yourself and what you do. If you wish, invite people to leave a comment or to email you!

Tip: If you’ve already filled in your Profile, you can toggle it to automatically display the content you have there.

3. Display your galleries

If you want your homepage to display your top-level Folders and galleries, you can leave the default boxes alone. Otherwise, click the wrench in the corner to edit what shows up. From the Basic tab, choose specific folders and galleries via the “Select From” dropdown in the settings box.

For the legacy look, you’ll want to change the thumbnail Photo Size to “Small,” and keep the 1:1 ratio.

Then click the Display tab. Tweak the spacing between your tiles, and change the Info Style to “Under.”

To get the classic single column look, click the Layout tab of your customization menu, and change “Stretchy” to “Fixed.” You can specify the width here, but the default is 960 pixels.

From there, you’re all set! You’ve got the classic profile + gallery content all ready and waiting for your fans to see.

Go further

Of course, you can always tweak the settings more on any of the content on the page, or add more boxes to your heart’s content. That’s the beauty of the new SmugMug!

Links to stuff you’ll love:

What were we thinking?

Sometimes you see the dumb things companies say and you wonder, “What were they thinking?”

I never imagined that happening to us, but we did something so dumb in a blog post, we’re now looking at each other blankly and asking, what were we thinking?

The post was about image theft and we used examples from pro photographer Valerie Schooling’s site and gave the impression she was doing things wrong, which she wasn’t.

To make matters worse, we somehow embedded screen captures of her site without asking her permission.  If it weren’t such a dumb thing to do, I could explain why we did it other than the obvious: she and her photos are awesome.

Naturally, her friends and other respected photographers in the industry asked us what we were thinking, and unfortunately the honest answer was, “We weren’t.”

We learned a lesson we’ll never forget because we also betrayed ourselves, since we are photographers.  We apologize for the time and angst this caused a lot of wonderful people.

Chris MacAskill
President & co-founder
Not usually so clueless

SmugMug is on StackExchange!

At long last, SmugMug is on StackExchange! What’s StackExchange and why should you care? We’re glad you asked.

"Gee whiz. Finding answers is easy!"

StackExchange is a free, community-driven Q&A where SmugMug customers can get questions like “Why would one pay for smugmug instead of use a free site?” and “Which domain should I load users’ content (photos/videos) from?” answered quickly and easily.

Think of it as an easy-to-search sweetspot between DGrin (our community forum) and our world-class heroic support, with plenty of additional perks:

  • The best answers to a question are on top. Say goodbye to wading through pages of replies.
  • Searching is easy.
  • You can quickly tell if the person answering your question knows what they’re talking about.

We’re in public beta, which is tech-speak for “we’re just getting started,” so check out our StackExchange page today to start asking and answering questions.

Big thanks to Chief Geek Don and everyone who helped get this awesome, new resource set up!

How to Point, Shoot and Share Without an Expensive Camera – GIVEAWAY

We know you’re busy scouring the web for end-of-year deals, so we’ll make this quick.

Photographer Will Crockett makes it his mission to help you take better photos at all your festive fêtes. Don’t haul 17 lenses to your next party – take great shots with just one camera, whether it’s compact or complex. Crockett has put out a DVD on how to point, shoot, and share with the camera you’ve got, and we’ve giving away free copies to 10 lucky Smuggers.

Win This DVD in Two Words

Enter to win one of 10 copies of Will Crockett’s instructional DVD, Point, Shoot & Share. Here’s how you can get yours:

1. Browse his site HERE.
2. Based on that, fill in the blanks:

“The video will show you how to POINT YOUR CAMERA IN THE ____  ____.” (Hint: See the “POINT” info page)

3. Email your guess to pss[at]crockettco[dot]com.

Be one of the first 10 people to post the right answer and Will Crockett’s team will ship you a copy to keep or share. You’ll get great info and take better photos of this year’s most memorable moments. How’s that for a happy holiday?

UPDATE: The giveaway is now over and the winners have been contacted. Thanks so much!

Sales Tax Payout, Comment, Video and bug fixes

Pro Sales Tax Payout

Those of you who have been taking advantage of our handy sales tax tool will be happy to know that you can expect regular payouts of the taxes you’ve collected. We’ll start despositing them on a monthly or a quarterly basis, depending on the amount you’ve accrued:

  • Monthly: If your tax amount withheld is over $25 we’ll deposit it on the first business day after the 7th of the month.
  • Quarterly: (Jan, Apr, July, Oct) If your tax amount withheld is over $5, we’ll deposit it the first business day after the 7th of the month.

If you have any questions at all about tax collection and if you need to be charging sales tax, please check with your local tax authority.

A few comment-related fixes

  • The unhide comments link was hiding when you refreshed the gallery page. We fixed that.
  • If you’ve chosen to display just your nickname on your site, your comment notification emails will reflect this – and not reveal your full name.
  • Any time you enter your email address while posting a comment, it’ll appear in the “Reply-to” field so the gallery owner can reply to you. Previously, this option was only open to commenters that weren’t logged in to their own SmugMug account.

Video-related improvements

  • You can upload video files up to 1 GB in size! They still must be under 10 minutes in length, but you can cram a lotta action and detail in 600 sweet seconds. Give this a try and let us know if you hit any bumps in the road. We’re listening.
  • When you upload a video file, we’ll display the “Processing” thumbnail immediately so you’ll know right away if it arrived safely.
  • Folks on 3G phones on iOS 3.1.3 should be able to watch videos once again.
  • Videos shot in portrait orientation on the iPhone 4 no longer get stretched out of shape.
  • We had a blip accepting some Animoto movie files, but they should all upload seamlessly like before.

Bug Fixes

  • Customers with custom domains were having issues with videos, slideshows and the card creator not working in certain browsers if the source gallery was passworded and external links turned off. If this sounds familiar, try it now. It works.
  • Windows visitors trying to watch videos using Chrome shouldn’t be prompted to update Flash when they’ve already done so.
  • If you upload multiple files, they shouldn’t get shuffled and will retain the order in which you queued them in the uploader.

Have a great weekend!

The SmugMug Family