Pro Tip: 7 Reasons You Just Lost a Sale

September 23, 2014 2 comments

While you’re here at SmugMug, we want you to succeed. It’s in our blood, as we’re photographers ourselves and everything at SmugMug was borne out of our very own needs to capture the world.

Our Support Heroes often get questions from pros wondering why customers aren’t buying their prints and downloads. So here are some top fixes we’ve found to help cure those lackluster sales.

1) Buying Isn’t Enabled

This is pretty key, but is buying enabled in your galleries? By default it’s on, but just in case you should always look to see if the button in your galleries says “Buy” or “Owner Buy.” If it says the latter (or if you log out and don’t see a Buy button at all), buying is disabled for guests. Owner Buy is useful for those of you who don’t want to sell, but still may want a buy a print for your own living room.

How to fix it: Open your gallery settings and look under the “Shopping” tab. The shopping cart toggle is right at the top of the list, so be sure that’s set to ON.

2) Your Pricing Isn’t Set Up

Maybe people are buying your photos at-cost, with no profit to you? This is the nightmare of some photographers, so be absolutely sure that you’re not sitting there accidentally giving away those photos. Fortunately at SmugMug, Portfolio and Business users can literally set it and forget it with Pricelists, so you can set your markup, sit back, and just let the money roll in.

How to fix it: Visit your Pricelists manager, found in your Account Settings > Business tab. Add in products to your default Pricelist, fill in a few numbers, then save it. All galleries on your site with buying enabled will now reflect those prices to your fans. Business account members can create multiple Pricelists and can apply them to different galleries. Find out more info on our help pages.

3) Nobody Knows You Exist

If you build it, will they come? On the internet, the answer is “No.” Even coding up the most beautiful site won’t make magic if no one on the web is talking about you. So take that first step and share the link, post photos to social media, and create buzz so that Google (and potential new clients) hears about you.

How to fix it: You can copy the link to your site, a gallery, or even a single image right from the address bar in your browser. Or use our handy Get a Link feature. Also, check your site-wide privacy settings and fill out your site metadata so that relevant, descriptive words show up when people search for you.

4) Your Clients Got Totally Lost

The architecture of your site is more important than you may think it is. We’ve covered this in the past, but we can’t stress enough that you should make the content you want surfaced as visible as possible. When in doubt, give your clients a direct link to the gallery containing their photos, so they don’t wander off and get lost.

How to fix it: You can Get a Link to share a gallery or a photo. Have multiple galleries to share? Try Sharegroups (which can also be protected with passwords), or Events & Favorites. The latter is worth its weight in gold for pros, because it lets clients tag the images they love best.

5) They Couldn’t Reach You

What happens when they have a question that only you can answer? How much do you charge? Are you available for a September session? Can they hire you? You’d want to be sure that your email address is available front and center. But we’re surprised at the number of websites we see where this info is hidden, buried, or just plain not included. It’s no wonder sales are slow!

How to fix it: Fill out your SmugMug Profile (found in the top right corner of your logged-in header) with your contact email, then be sure to add a contact link to your menu bar. We won’t expose your email address to spammers, but will send messages from the SmugMug contact form to you. Here’s more info about crafting an effective menu bar.

6) They’re Just Downloading the Photo

Why pay for a photo when you can get it for free? If this thought makes you cringe, then we rest our case. Because SmugMug users come from all walks of life, lots of family use the free download feature to share photos with friends and family. But as a pro, you’d probably prefer cash, so you should double-check that the pictures you’re selling aren’t open for the picking.

How to fix it: Check your image-protection settings to be sure that Originals aren’t enabled in your galleries, which allows any viewer to save a full-res copy to their computers. You can also flip on Right-Click Protection to foil them further.

7) They’re Scared of You

Even if you’re not particularly warm and fuzzy by nature, it pays to be friendly in your most public space. Practice good marketing mojo, and this will be reflected back in the quality of client that hires you. Imbue the text around your site with your own voice and personality, and be sure to guide them each step of the way towards browsing more, reaching out to you, and buying a print.

How to fix it: Our top three picks for warming up your site are (1) your Right-Click Protection message, (2) your gallery description field, and (3) your About page. We’ve always recommended making your Right-Click Protection message helpful, not threatening. The gallery description shows up over your photos and is the first thing they see when they open it, so be sure to greet guests and give them step-by-step instructions on how to buy photos. Combined with your own heroic story on a custom About page, you’ll get fans checking out in no time.

Good luck and happy selling! If you’ve found your own way to troubleshoot slow sales and aren’t afraid to share your tips with fellow pros, we’d love to hear it

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Link roundup:

 

Don’t Forget t’ Refer Yer Mateys and Win

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Yarrr! To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we’re firin’ our cannons t’ salute our Refer-yer-Matey program and this month’s staunchest pirate.

Refer Yer Mateys fer a GoPro Hero3+ Blackbeard Edition

 

Need slo-mo video fer when ye walk th’ plank? Then tell yer buckos about SmugMug and get ‘em t’ join th’ crew, because every referral ye bring enters ye t’ win th’ queen o’ plunder: th’ super-lightweight, super-fast frame rate, super-durable, all-around-super GoPro Hero3+ Black edition camera.

If ye don’t think that yer hearties want a SmugMug account ‘cause they’re not pro photographers, we’ve provided jolly reasons why ye should let them in on yer secret, anyway. We all take pictures, ‘n could use a better, safer hold t’ stowe ‘em away.

Every month ‘til th’ end o’ 2014, we’re giving one GoPro away t’ one random matey, an’ tossing everyone who refers one scallywag (aye, all ye pirates) ‘to a drawin’ for th’ grand prize: a trip t’ th’ good ship SmugMug, so ye can be arrr guest o’ honor fer the day. Ye can get a preview o’ wha’s in store fer ye, an’ the full contest rules ‘n details here.

 A Salute to August’s Staunchest Pirate

Cast off an’ visit Christopher Michel’s site

 No quarter! Seven seas swashbuckler Christopher Michel be th’ winner o’ our August drawing. Cast off an’ see his travel photography, ’cause it’s a big kick in th’ knickers for inspiration.

 Set th’ sails, Christopher! We hope yer new GoPro gets a workout on yer next adventure.

With a yo, ho, ho and a DSLR,

The Crew of the Jolly Ship SmugMug

(In English: We’re giving away a GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition camera each month to one lucky SmugMuggle who refers friends to SmugMug. You’ll find details about the contest and how to win on our Refer-a-Friend info site.)

We’re link lubbers: 

Smug Tip: When to Use Collect Photos vs. Make a Copy

September 10, 2014 Leave a comment

There’s no better day than today to share a few tips about two features that make a big impact in your SmugMug galleries: Collect Photos and Make a Copy.

You may get confused about the difference between the two, so here’s a cheat sheet to help you get better acquainted with each one, and some ideas for how you’d use them in your everyday photo lives.

How are Collected Photos and Make a Copy Different?

Both of these features are found in your galleries underneath each photo. And both will duplicate your image. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Collect Photos puts a virtual copy of your image, be it in the same gallery, in a different gallery, or into someone else’s gallery (on another account, if you allow this). The original continues to live where it lives, and any changes you make to the original, such as adding keywords and changing the watermark or cropping, will show up on all virtual copies.

Make a Copy creates an exact duplicate file, which can then be moved to a different location on your own site. The two files then behave completely independently of each other, meaning that any changes made to the original won’t impact the copy, and vice versa.

When to Use Collect Photos

Collect Photos is perfect for curating beautiful, succinct groups of images to tell your story. After all, SmugMug’s unlimited and you’re probably emptying whole memory cards into your galleries. With the power of Collect Photos, that’s totally OK!

Here’s some ways you can use it:

  • Upload all your images into unlisted galleries organized by date, and collect just the ones from around town into your public Street Photography gallery.
  • Collect just your best guest images from the wedding to share with the bride’s family.
  • Collect any time you want a photo displayed in multiple galleries on your site, and you want to be able to update the keywords and caption on it everywhere it appears.

Tip: Pros! Collect Photos is the power behind our Favorites feature in Events, which allows your top clients to choose the photos they love best out of your proof galleries. See if Events are for you.

When to Use Make a Copy

Make a Copy is fabulous for whenever you want to try something out on a photo that you’ve uploaded into a gallery, but you’re not quite sure if you want to lose the original.

Some example opportunities:

Tip: You can also edit your SmugMug photos with PicMonkey, but they’ll offer to automatically save a copy so you don’t have to worry about it.

We hope this installment of Smug Tips comes in handy and helps you share and enjoy your photos even more. Confused about a feature, need help with your workflow, or just have an idea for more tips? Let us know in the comments!

Link roundup:

Two More SmugMuggles Win Big in Our Refer-a-Friend Contest

August 25, 2014 1 comment

Just a quick announcement to congratulate (and thank!) the summer winners of our ongoing Refer-a-Friend contest. If you’ve just tuned in, we’re celebrating all the great photo lovers in our family with a contest that runs through the end of 2o14.

In addition to getting 20% credit each time you bring someone new into the SmugMug world, each referral enters you to win a deliciously daring GoPro Hero 3+ camera, AND a chance be our guest of honor at SmugMug HQ.  Full contest details and rules are right here.

So without further ado, here’s our salute to June and July’s winners, Duke Pham and Claire Bunn. What amazing photographers we have in the mix! We’re floored.

Visit Dukegraphy Studio‘s site

 

 

Thanks so much for sharing us with fellow photo phreaks, and we hope that you’ll be getting out there and capturing your next adventure soon!

Links:

Release Notes: New Slideshow Transitions, Password Reset Emails, and more

August 22, 2014 2 comments

Merry Friday, dear SmugMuggles! To send you off into a happy weekend, here’s an update on the things we’ve launched in the last few weeks.

In case you missed it, we announced the ability for Pros to customize their Right-Click Protection message in the new SmugMug, so if you have a Power, Portfolio, or Business account, don’t forget to check that out. We love that feature and all the opportunities it opens for pros.

Snazz Up Your Slideshows with 14 (!!) New Transitions

We brought you background slideshows a while back to rave reviews. But we only gave you two transitional options to pick from: “Fade” and “None.” Yawn.

Today, you’ve got 14 more:

  • Fade
  •  Zoom In
  •  Zoom Out
  •  Zoom In/Out
  •  Zoom Out/In
  •  Slide & Zoom
  •  Slide Down
  • Slide Up
  •  Slide Up/Down
  •  Slide Left
  •  Slide Right
  •  Slide Left/Right
  • Flip Down
  •  Flip Up
  • Flip Left
  •  Flip Right
  •  None

You’ll find these in both your background slideshow and in the Slideshow content block. If you or your viewers are using an older browser that doesn’t support some of these transitions, we’ll use the ever-dependable “Fade.”

Safer Password Resets for Safer… Resetting

If you ever need to reset your account login password, we now have a more secure method of resetting it. Click the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page and we’ll send you a link to create a new one

As always, ask our Support Heroes if you have any questions or hiccups.

Shortcuts and Bulk Improvements in Photo Tools

Who doesn’t love saving time? We added a few quick ways to edit your photos faster in the recently improved Photo Tools editor. Here they are:

  • Cmd+Opt+S / Ctrl+Alt+S = Save changes (shows in single editing and bulk editing mode)
  • Cmd+Opt+N / Ctrl+Alt+N = Save changes and move to the next image (shows only in single image editing)
  • Cmd+Opt+C / Ctrl+Alt+C = Cancel changes (text shows only in bulk editing mode, but shortcut is also available in single editing)

And you don’t have to memorize them, either: If you’ve made any changes to your images, we’ll display the shortcuts over the Save and Cancel buttons, so you don’t have to dive for your mouse. Unless you want to.

Tip: We’ve got keyboard shortcuts for browsing galleries and photos, too. See the full list here, along with a few other secret Smug features you may not have known you already have.

You may have noticed that we also merged the title, caption, and keywords tools into one mega-tool. There’s lots more prepending/appending options and helpful text prompts that will guide you through adding multiple entries.

Until next time! Have a great weekend and don’t forget to bring your camera with you. :)

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Link roundup:

Pros, Your Fans Are Gonna Love This

August 21, 2014 12 comments

While we’ve had tutorial videos and archived webinars forever, today we’re happy to show you the latest additions to our library: How to Buy Prints & Downloads.

Two New Videos for You to Share

Pros have often asked us for tools that will help sell more prints, gifts, and downloads, because occasionally your fans need a little extra push. So we’ve created a long-format tutorial (7:58) and a short-format tutorial (4:52) showing your fans how to add photos to the shopping cart, understand those framing and cropping options, and check out. Here’s the short version:

We hope that you’ll share these with your clients, or even embed them into your site so that they’re viewable at any time. Tip: Use Customize > Customize Site and drop a YouTube video Content Block onto the page. You can get the video link above.

Here’s to smoother sales at SmugMug!

P.S. Did you know that we have a 100% guarantee on all items ordered through your SmugMug galleries? If you or your customer are not happy for ANY reason, we’ll fix it or replace it for free. We mean it.

Links you’ll love:

Essential Night Landscape Photography Tips from Chris Burkard

August 13, 2014 10 comments

chris burkardToday’s post comes from extraordinary surf and landscape photographer Chris Burkard, who we recently featured in our short film, Arctic Swell. Chris has made it his life’s work to find wild, remote destinations and then capture the juxtaposition of humans in these environments. The world is an oftentimes harsh, humbling, and magical place, and Chris wants to photograph it all.

He shares his essential night landscape tips below. You can browse his portfolio and print store on his site.

It’s hard to beat the enchanting feeling of star gazing at a clear night sky.  You soon become lost in its beauty like a giant kaleidoscope full of shooting stars, planets, and glow from the setting sun or nearby cities.  I’ve traveled to countless countries over the past ten years and some of my fondest memories occur long after the sun has set.  Whether it’s camping near my home in Big Sur or witnessing a rare northern lights show in the Arctic, I’ve had the privilege and challenge of documenting these night landscapes.

My introduction to night photography happened when I took a road trip in 2006 along the entire California coastline.  My friend Eric Soderquist and I spent over two months on the road in his Volkswagon bus in search of waves in every California county.  The trip was later turned into a book, The California Surf Project, and looking back through its pages you can see some of the early stages of my night photography.  Camping under the stars literally every night made me that much more appreciative and eager to capture the beauty of the night sky.  Fast forward 8 years and I’m still drawn to these dark moments where my friends and I are huddled around a campfire in Iceland or getting lost in the magic of the northern lights in Norway.  Photographing in the dark certainly requires some adjusting but here’s some tips to prepare you for the next time you’re shooting night landscapes.   

Night Landscape Photography Tip 1: Get Away From the City

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

The farther you are from city lights the clearer you will be able to see stars and the less light pollution you’re going to have. The photo pictured above was shot in Big Sur, CA a few hours from any major cities.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 2: To Infinity! 

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Set your focus to infinity or focus on far away light sources to make sure you get the sky in focus.  If you want to focus on your subject shine a light on them.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 3: Trial & Error

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Don’t be afraid to test settings to see what works best.  The beauty of working with digital cameras is that you get instant feedback.  I usually open my aperture as wide as it will go (f/2.8 or wider) and then vary my ISO depending on how bright the sky is.  In this particular photo I exposed for 30 seconds at f/1.8 and 400 ISO.  I like to keep my ISO as low as possible.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 4: Frame Up

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Remember that the sky is your hero in the photo.  Try framing the sky in the upper 2/3 of your image and then vary your angle depending on the scenario. With the northern lights creating a really dramatic light trail I framed up.  You could do the same with the milky way or stars in general.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 5: Expose Long & Short

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Long exposures are going to leave you light trails and short ones should make the stars nice and sharp.  Try both methods for variety in your imagery.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 6: Bring a Headlamp

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

You can use a headlamp to light up your tent or even light paint a tree or waterfall.  Practice the amount of light that you are shining out of your headlamp because it is easy to wash out the picture with too much light.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 7: Add a Subject

120227_BURKARD_03997
Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Adding that human element to a picture can give it a sense of perspective and depth. Play around with where you place the subject in your frame.  The less busy your framing is the better.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 8: Mind the Moon

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

If you want to have clear stars shoot underneath a new moon or when the moon is below the horizon.  If the moon is out you can play with the effects that it can have on your photograph. Use it to backlight trees or your subject but be careful not to let it wash out your picture.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 9: Use a Tripod

131210_BURKARD_92002

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Or a rock or the hood of your car.  A tripod is you’re most crucial piece of night photography gear.  Joby makes great camping tripods cause they are small and packable.  I also recommend a remote so you can make sure your shots are even more stable.

Night Landscape Photography Tip 10: Stay Up Late

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Photo Credit: Chris Burkard

Night skies are often darkest and most active late into the night.  I’ve seen tons of meteor showers and northern lights shows way past midnight.  Set an alarm and wake up if you have to or use a remote to take photos periodically throughout the night.

Want More?

Check out our short film, Arctic Swell, to see Chris Burkard and pro surfers Patrick Millin, Brett Barley, and Chadd Konig brave sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic Circle.

http://youtu.be/cBJyo0tgLnw

Links to love:

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