Halloween is upon us! What better time to announce our latest inspiring Success Story with Todd Atteberry from History Trekker? Todd’s beautiful, haunting photos of historic northeast locations echo classic, timeless Dutch paintings. He talked to us about how he got into the art of photographing haunted buildings and how his SmugMug website helped him find a firm foothold in the historic community.
Todd is also the man behind Green Man Studio, one of SmugMug’s Certified Customizers. You can tell that his creative skills reach well beyond simply digital art in his beautiful and thoughtful website designs.
Read the full interview with Todd, and don’t be surprised if you hear something go bump in the night.
Have a safe, happy and haunting Halloween!
With Apple’s latest announcements, we’re stoked to announce that Aperture and SmugMug have finally joined forces!
Yes, that’s right: You can now connect and sync your SmugMug account with your account in Aperture and easily browse, upload, download and organize all from one app.
Getting Synced With SmugMug
When you open up the new Aperture, first open up the File > Preferences and click on the “Accounts” tab. Hit the little + symbol to open up the available services dialog:
Once added, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your SmugMug account and authorize the connection. Remember that if you change your mind, you can visit your SmugMug Account Settings > Privacy and revoke permission of any previously authorized accounts.
Now you should see all of your SmugMug galleries in the Viewer on the right. You’ll still see your account listed in the Source List on the left, along with any of your local files and projects.
From here, you can:
- Manage your gallery settings for any gallery on your site
- Create new galleries on your SmugMug site
- Upload photos to new or existing SmugMug galleries
What we love: Aperture will sync down all of your SmugMug images even if they didn’t previously exist in your Aperture library. Best of all, images shared from Aperture stay synced, so if you share an image to SmugMug and then make further edits to it in Aperture, those edits will sync up to SmugMug without having to re-Share (upload) the image.
Take a look at our brand-new Aperture help page that has more info about where to find all the important bits and pieces.
We hope that all of your Mac-loving SmugMuggers find it easier than ever to edit and upload the photos you take every day and get them seen by the ones who matter most.
P.S. SmugMug has long been a part of Adobe Lightroom, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests from customers to be included in iPhoto, too. If you agree and want to see SmugMug in iPhoto, please leave feedback at Apple and tell them why! We’d love to see SmugMuggers everywhere uploading and managing their photos from everywhere that counts.
It’s that time again, happy SmugMuggers! Here’s a quick update on what we’ve updated and fixed over the last few weeks.
Choose Where to Search
This is just what the doctor ordered for all you folks who want to cordon off your viewers’ searches to a specific portion of your site. Now when you click the settings you can choose exactly which folders and galleries get searched using the input in this field.
So, for example, if you took several galleries’ worth of photos on an epic world vacation 2013, fans who are looking for photos of “elephants” in India won’t dig up photos of elephants from your local zoo. Keep in mind that the regular search tips apply, so be sure you’re up to speed.
Tip: This new setting applies to the Search Box content block ONLY, and not to the search box that appears in your site header. That one will continue to search only the page that you’re currently viewing.
NEW AdSense Content Block
We’ve never forced SmugMug customers to display ads on their site, but we do have a fair number of business customers who wanted the ability to display paid ads to their own viewers. Due to popular demand, Power, Portfolio and Business accounts now have the ability to add Google Adsense units to any page on your site using the new AdSense content block.
You can add up to three of these blocks to any page, but please refer to your AdSense Terms of Service for specific information about what you should and shouldn’t do. Enjoy!
Filenames in Organizer
You gave us a lot of feedback about those thumbnails you’re seeing in your site-wide Organizer, and how you wanted to be able to see the filenames for each and every one. It was one of those “Why didn’t we think of that?” moments, so now we’ve added in a toggle for your organizing pleasure.
Find it in the upper right corner of the browsing pane of your Organizer.
Two Slideshow Improvements
Thanks to your feedback on our forums, we’ve added a randomization option to your Slideshow content block, found under the “Display” tab of the block settings. So now you don’t have to decide which photo gets seen first.
We also brought back edge-to-edge, full screen slideshow displays. This applies to the big slideshow that appears after you hit the “full screen” button in any gallery style as well as the Slideshow content block. Note that this applies only if you have Originals enabled in the photos’ gallery settings and if your Original photo resolution is large enough to stretch across the screen. We also won’t stretch (AKA distort) images to fit screens, so you may still see some letterboxing if your image isn’t the perfect shape.
Last but never least, here are our top picks from the mix of other fixes:
- Added back “Sharpening” settings for Power User accounts.
- Properly updated the preview URL when you click Hide Owner.
- Fixed stuttering video playback in some public galleries.
- Photos in passworded galleries with external linking “Off” will display properly when collected and used as featured photos.
- Gallery privacy levels (unlisted, private, passworded) are shown in all gallery picker windows.
Till next time. Keep the feedback coming!
If you’ve ever considered opening your own photo studio for your clients, this month’s SmugMug podcast is just for you.
Studio photography offers a ton of convenience in a compact space. You’re in total control, leaving nothing to the weather, light, temperature, or anything else that could complicate your interaction with your clients. But renting a commercial space can be expensive. Why not use the extra space you’ve already have?
We talked with family and senior photographer Steve Harrington about how his booming business began right in his basement. He answered questions that you may have wondered about having a home studio, like:
- How did your family react to this decision?
- Do you need special insurance?
- How do you handle marketing of your address on social media?
- Have you ever had a customer just arrive at your door?
- Did anyone pass on your services because you were working out of your home?
Photo by Steve Harrington Photography
Listen to the podcast now on our new podcast site! And we hope that those you considering the move to studio photography learns a bit more about the options available to you.
PS. If you’re hungry for more, don’t forget to visit SmugMug’s education site for more podcasts, video tutorials, our live events calendar and tons of articles about photography, running a business, and how to get the most out of your SmugMug site. See you there!
Good news for all you holiday travelers and gift buyers! Mirrorless cameras are gaining in popularity and may be the perfect option for just about anyone who wants a powerful camera in a smaller package. Our friends over at Borrowlenses put their expertise at work to help you pick out which model may be right for you… or your lucky giftee.
Reblogged by permission from Borrowlenses.com.
Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot.
High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for:
- Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage.
- Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street.
- Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system.
Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality:
These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here)
This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera.
Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with film simulations, a fast 23mm fixed lens, and a 16MP sensor. It also shoots full HD video and supports a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Don’t like the idea of a fixed lens? Try out the Fuji X-Pro 1 instead. It shoots RAW, sports cool analog dials and pairs with the following lenses: Fuji XF 18mm f/2.0 R, Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, and the XF 27mm f/2.8. More info on the Fuji X100s here.
Canon’s first mirrorless system allows you to use this diminutive body with any Canon lens with the help of an EF to EF-M adapter. It’s equipped with Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 Image Processor and an 18 MP sensor. Don’t want to mess with an adapter? Rent the M-compatible EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens, which includes the new Stepping Motor technology that can auto-focus quietly and provide continuous tracking of a moving subject. The rental of the Canon EOS-M automatically comes with a 22mm EF-M f/2 STM lens.
While only supporting a 10MP sensor, the Nikon V1 is one of the quickest shooters in the small-camera world with 10 FPS bursts in autofocus mode. It’s CX mount offers a variety of tiny (TINY!) lenses, such as the Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6. It can also shoot interesting and effective slow motion footage (up to 1200 FPS) at 320×120.
The Leica M9 is kind of a different beast being the only rangefinder in this bunch. It has a “range-finding” focusing mechanism that shows two images of the same subject, one of which moves when a calibrated wheel is turned and the two images coincide and fuse into one. It is a wholly different way of focusing on your subject and takes some getting used to. It is full frame, 18MP, and has that satisfyingly retro-sounding (and discreet) metal blade-style shutter. Pairs with a decently large range of lenses. Check out Rolling Stone contributor, Drew Gurian’s, sample images from our Lecia M9.
All of these cameras have the option of shooting in fully manual mode, so you do not have to give up creative control to carry a lighter load. Simply toss one of these in your day bag knowing that you can travel comfortably toward your next unique shot.
We’ve always been thrilled blown away by the incredible quality of our four print labs, but we still run into quite a few SmugMug customers who don’t know that we offer a way to print photos, period. So in the spirit of spreading the good news, we’ll periodically feature our labs’ favorite print products and dig a little deeper so that you can dig right in and try them for yourself. Remember that print products and merchandise are available for purchase direct from your galleries at any time.
Our first featured lab, Loxley Colour, is located in the UK to more conveniently service our Portfolio and Business customers (and their clients) in the EU, although they will ship your goodies anywhere you wish. Today they’re talking about their robust, waterproof Alumini prints, which feature your image, a durable aluminum surface and a total of 4 optional finishes. Enjoy!
Where does Loxley Colour find inspiration about new products that it offers?
We continually strive to offer our customer the best products on the market, and that takes a lot of research. We study what’s going on in markets all over the world and we listen to what our customers need to make their business thrive. Everyone in our company is encouraged to give input into what our portfolio offers our customers. We have a dedicated research and development team that takes our collective inspiration and creates products of the highest quality. We never stop thinking about how we can make our existing products better and how we can bring new products to the market to inspire our customers and our customers’ customers.
Alumini Prints: What and Why
We introduced the Alumini print to the market in 2010. Loxley Colour was the first lab in Europe to bring this product to the market. We worked closely with specialists in the USA to perfect the process and bring it to photographers in the UK and Europe. The product has a real WOW factor, unlike anything out there in the market. The Alumini print process adds a whole new dimension to wall products. We’ve worked tirelessly fine-tune and improve the process to allow us to offer our customers bigger sizes, up to 60×40”.
What do your employees think about the experience of crafting your products?
Every one of our products is developed and honed to perfection in-house. The team at Loxley have a hands-on approach in creating every one of our products, including the Alumini prints.
Gary, our Alumini team leader & creator extraordinaire, gives each order a personal touch from start to finish, taking the time and care to ensure the quality of each image is flawless as it can be.
“Working with such a unique product is both a challenge and a delight. Because of the nature of the material, it takes time and care to ensure the final product is perfect for our customer.” He adds, “I see some of the most amazing images arriving in the Alumini department. From the vibrant wedding scenes to awe inspiring landscapes, they’re all a real pleasure to produce.”
How do you ensure consistent quality and durability with so much demand?
Each product within the Loxley Colour portfolio is tested, fine tuned, tested and tested again to make sure it’s the best product possible. We never bring a product to market which hasn’t painstakingly developed in house beforehand.
Before introducing the Alumini an intensive research and development process ironed out the finer details of the process and ensured we’d bring to market a unique product, with a range of options straightaway. Since its introduction, much like its popularity, we’ve gone from strength to strength and not only gone bigger and better with our range, offering sizes up to a show-stopping 60×40’.
What makes the Alumini prints such a fabulous product?
The Alumini has so many appealing features: it’s unique, durable, versatile, weather and moisture resistant. Its ability to make vibrant photography stand out and create real impact is second to none. Clarity of image is truly something to behold, particularly in our most popular finish – Gloss.
Finally: What’s your advice for keeping Alumini prints looking perfect forever?
The Alumini from Loxley Colour is an innovative metal print wall product produced using state of the art high definition print technology. Due to the nature of aluminium, from time to time there may be slight imperfections by way of subtle craters or bumps. Whilst we take the greatest care to ensure each sheet is inspected and these are avoided, or kept to an inconspicuous area of the print, some may still be visible.
Whilst the Alumini is weather and moisture resistant, direct sunlight may fade the print, so please keep them out of direct sunlight. The Alumini is at its most impressive teamed with vibrant, colourful photography. It’s the perfect product for landscapes, high key photography, feature wedding and portrait images and any image that creates impact.
We hope you’ve all learned something new about our labs and what they offer, regardless of where you live and what you love to photograph. If you’ve never before turned your images into beautiful prints at SmugMug, we recommend that you give it a try! Simply log in to your account and look for the Add to Cart button in any of your SmugMug galleries. If you’ve disabled printing to visitors, the button will read “Owner Buy.” Learn more about printing at SmugMug.
Autumn is kicking off to a great start. Here are the top features that we’ve added to SmugMug since our last update.
Map This in the New SmugMug
We love taking cues from your feedback, and this was one of the big ones you missed when going from legacy to the new SmugMug.
If your photos are geotagged, we’ll automatically display a little globe icon underneath it in your gallery or lightbox. Click it and you’ll see that pin highlighted on a map that displays pins for all other geotagged photos in that gallery. We’ll group the ones close together until you zoom in enough.
Gone are the old 150-pin limits – If every photo in your gallery is geotagged, we’ll pin every single one of them on your map. Special galleries like your Popular Photos, Keywords and Date are capped at 1000 pins.
One last thing: Map This now works for unlisted and passworded galleries, so anyone you share those with can enjoy browsing by location, too. Catch up on all the mappy goodness on SmugMug.
New: Google Calendar for Your Site
Busy photographers, this one’s for you. We added a new content block for Google Calendar, so you can show your fans (or clients) when you’re busy and when you’re not.
Simply drag in the content block to any page on your site, then copy your Google Calendar ID and paste it in. Voila! There’s plenty of ways to tweak the settings so that it’s exactly what you want.
You’ll also notice that we’ve created a brand-new customization section called “Services” where you’ll find the new Google Calendar content block as well as the Wufoo form block that we recently debuted.
Look to our help pages for explanation on everything you need to know about embedding your calendar, and you can find more help about Google Calendars on their site.
A Fresher Shopping Cart
Since we rolled out a new look for SmugMug, we’ve got some catching up to do on some other parts of the experience. We started with the shopping cart:
In addition to giving it a beautiful, smooth new skin to match the rest of your website, we also added more options to the sidebar to make choosing a print product a heckuva lot easier.
In fact, we’ve gotten so much feedback from you (and your customers!) to display print sizes that didn’t need cropping, so now you can just uncheck that box to see all options that don’t require any trimming.
Happy buying and selling!
New Education Site
Last but not least, we’re proud to point out the fact that this news blog may have gotten a bit quieter in the last few weeks. We’ve officially taken the extra tips, tricks, and guest posts and will be publishing them on our brand new Education Site:
The new School.smugmug.com site will be the place to go if you’re looking for photography advice, how to get the most out of your SmugMug account, money-making business tips and inspirational posts by successful SmugMug photographers. We’ll also include a complete newsletter archive, featured SmugMug photos and dates when you can talk to us next.
You should continue to watch this space for announcements about product-related stuff like release notes, bug fixes, contests and other Smuggy goodness. And, as always, our help pages are the place to go if you need help with your website.
Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see in the coming weeks both on School.smugmug.com as well as in your galleries. Cheers!