SmugMug’s Completely Revamped App for iPhone and iPad

October 21, 2014 70 comments

Today we’re announcing the latest SmugMug for iOS App, the app that gives you easy photo uploading to your SmugMug galleries from your iPhone or iPad.  Finally, you (and your fans) have the power to view all your galleries and archive your mobile photos in a place you know they’ll be safe.

The app helps bridge the gap between the photo galleries on your camera and on your computer, so you have access to both when you’re away. Here’s how it works.

All Your Beautiful Photos in Your Pocket

The free, completely redesigned SmugMug for iOS app lets you take all your galleries with you, anywhere. You can:

  • Browse all your own SmugMug folders and galleries (including private and unlisted ones)
  • Upload photos to your SmugMug galleries
  • Save galleries for offline viewing
  • Mark galleries as favorites for easy, instant access
  • Save and share photos and videos via SMS, email, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Follow other SmugMug users and browse their public galleries, too

Grab it now for free from the App Store. You’ll find additional info on our help pages, here.

Perfect for Friends, Family, and Your Fans

With this app, everyone in your circle wins, too. Since you don’t need a SmugMug account to use it, the app is perfect for your mom, dad, in-laws, best friend, or even for your growing fan base.

Have them grab the app for free and add your SmugMug nickname. They can then browse and see what’s new in your galleries, and add their favorite galleries to the app’s home screen for one-tap viewing.

The SmugMug iOS App + You

Here are a few examples of how this app fits into your life:

  • Go ahead and snap all the photos you want at your sister’s wedding. Open the app, queue up the uploads, and send her the link before they’ve even cut the cake.
  • When you’re out taking pictures and the editor of a local travel magazine asks about your camera. You whip out your phone, show her your portfolio of iconic city landmarks and you walk away with a promise for publication.
  • You’re on a flight out of LA and just struck up a great conversation with the guy in the next seat. Oh, he’s never seen those Joshua trees you’re talking about? Enter: Offline galleries.
  • Use the Save feature to download your Leica photos to your phone, then post them to Instagram, Facebook, and all the places where you share. Your friends will think you’re a photographic wizard with that sweet, sweet bokeh. (Sorry, tiny mobile camera!)
  • Add your favorite SmugMug photographers to the app’s home screen, so you’ll always have fresh inspiration in the palm of your hand.

Try the app now and let us know in the comments how you (and your friends) are using it, and what you think.

PS. Last year we announced the SmugMug for Android App, which also lets you browse, upload, and share your SmugMug photos. So if you’re a part of the Android clan, be sure to check it out.

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Link roundup:

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Tips for Taking Pictures in Low Light

October 15, 2014 2 comments

As we roll into the season of longer nights, we don’t think the extra darkness this should cut down on the amount of time you spend with your camera.

Low-light photography can be intimidating if you’re new to photography, but it’s easier than you think…. and you can take some amazing photos that take much more patience to capture when the days are bright and long.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind to keep you shooting (and sharing) photos through the darkest time of the year.

Know Your Gear

Photography is all about physics, but even if you weren’t a science major you can take a few minutes to learn the only tip you ever need to learn.

Photography is about capturing light, so low-light shooting means maximizing the amount of light hitting your sensor. There are three ways to do that:

  1. Allow more light through the lens
  2. Keep the shutter open longer
  3. Boost the sensitivity of your sensor

How? Widen the aperture of your lens, slow down your shutter speed, or raise your ISO, respectively. If you’ve never done any of this before, dig up your camera’s manual (or Google for the PDF version) and get to know these three things now. Shooting in your camera’s Manual mode is the most tricky – but most surefire – way to learn these principles, but you can also try Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority modes to fix one of the settings and let your camera automatically calculate the rest.

Knowing which buttons to push and which dials to turn is a priceless skill to have, and you should commit it to muscle memory now so you don’t end up panicking in the dark.

Additionally, your camera and lenses often have specific limitations. If you have an older camera, for example, you may not want to push the ISO above 1600. And some lenses simply don’t open up wider than f/5.6. If you’ve been thinking about trying new equipment but aren’t sure it’s the right gear for you, check out our own, in-house gear reviews to get an idea of what’s out there before you drop thousands of dollars.

Embrace Your Grain

Even if your images come out a bit grainy from pushing your ISO, that’s OK. Think about all the film photos you’ve probably seen from 30 to 50 years ago and you’ll notice the grain adds a lot of character to the image. It makes sense to embrace it and get to know it a little better.

Grain itself can contain quite a bit of color that may not be found otherwise in your scene. To minimize it, try third-party noise-reduction software, or experiment with the noise-reduction feature in programs that you’re already using, like Lightroom and Photoshop. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Alternatively, try converting your image to black and white and playing around with the contrast. Photos that look weird at first look rock ‘n’ roll once the color’s stripped out. To do this, give it a quick conversion using SmugMug’s Image Editor, PicMonkey, or (our favorite) Lightroom.

Make More Light with Lightroom

Modern digital cameras give you quite a bit of leeway with the exposure, so if your image came out a bit dark (which happens because your camera’s LCD often gives a brighter impression of your image than you actually took), it’s OK to bump the exposure in post.

For most, pushing the “Exposure” slider is sufficient, but some pixel peepers may suggest using the more specific sliders you can find below that: highlights, whites, and shadows. These boost only the pixels you need without harming the rest. Experiment with what works best for you to get the look you want.

Once that’s done, don’t forget to publish your goodies to SmugMug and show the world what you’re capturing after the sun goes down.

Seek the Moment, Not Perfection

Above all, don’t stress about getting the perfect shot every time. Blurred motion, being too dark (or too bright) are all details that take your photo beyond basic shape and color. So be sure to capture the action, the intensity, and the joy of what you and your friends are doing. Even if it’s not textbook perfect, we guarantee that as soon as you share your photos, they won’t be thinking of anything except how much fun they had.

We’ll be sharing a few more low-light tips in the weeks coming, so stay tuned for more creative ideas to keep shooting in the dark!

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Link roundup:

New Video Tutorials to Help You Get the Most Out of SmugMug

October 9, 2014 2 comments

Did you know SmugMug has a huge library of totally free tutorial videos available 24/7, 365 days of the year? It’s true. We’ve stashed all our webinar archives, tutorial videos, and great playlists on YouTube, the most popular video community on the web, so you can sit back and become a Master SmugMugger in no time.

Even better – we’re always adding new tutorials based on your requests. Today we feature eight brand-new videos, each of them under four minutes so you can get informed and get back to taking great pictures.

And because we’re rolling into the season of giving, remember that we’ve recently released a  “How to Buy Prints and Downloads” video ( a short version and a full-length version), perfect for any SmugMuggers looking to help their friends, their mom, or their clients place orders without a hitch.

You can view the complete list of videos on our up-to-the-minute help page, or from our YouTube main page.

If you don’t see a video that you can’t live without, just tell us via email or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Take Your Smiles Further on World Smile Day

October 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Why Print in a Digital Age?

October 1, 2014 4 comments

Don’t let your photos die in the digital graveyard! Even though we live in the iPhone age and highly recommend that pro photographers offer digital downloads as part of their business models, we think that a trusty, traditional, physical print still has a place in every home.

Here are four reasons why.

1) Prints Bring Photos to Life

Prints have presence. There’s never any doubt about that, as any framed photo or tangible image in your home draws the eye every single time. It’s easy to dismiss the importance of a physical print when you’re not actually faced with one, but once you unwrap your print, feel the weight of it in your hands and see the light shining from its surface, you’ll see what we mean.

Particularly if you opt for metallic paper finish, or one of SmugMug’s modern print options like MetalPrints and Box Frame Prints. Guaranteed to stop every guest in their tracks.

2) Not Everyone is Online

Facebook may hold its fair share of friends with whom you share photos, but we’re willing to bet that your social group isn’t 100% online. For all the people you care about who aren’t on the web, prints are the medium of choice.

Whether this includes your mom, your grandpa, or your pen pal from 3rd grade abstaining from the internet, we’re pretty sure they’ll be delighted to receive a print, album or even a photo book in the mail.

3) Rare Means Care

Since we’re all guilty of taking digital photos for granted, prints are rare and (by basic laws of economics) will command more attention because of their relative scarcity. You know you’ll already captivate your online audience with your unlimited SmugMug galleries, but we’re pretty sure one meaningful print in your hallway will grab their attention, too.

For those of you looking for the most bang for your buck, prints are perfect for you. And who wouldn’t want something special hanging on their wall?

4) Your Memories Exist Even If Your Computer Explodes

Imagine you’re rummaging around your desk and find a priceless snapshot from 1992 that you took on one of those disposable cardboard cameras. Wow!

It’s definitely easier to drag and drop your files around folders on your hard drive (or in your SmugMug Organizer), but real photos are a joy to unearth. While not completely immune to discoloration, fire or fading, so many threads of history have been woven into a larger tale because of photos, crisp and bent with handwritten notes scrawled along the back.

Wouldn’t you want physical proof that you lived, even after the ‘Off’ button was pressed?

Let Your Photos Grow Up on SmugMug

We have four great print labs for you to choose from at SmugMug. EZ Prints is available for Basic subscribers, and Bay Photo, WHCC, and Loxley Colour are additional options (with additional print and mounting choices) for Portfolio and Business accounts.

To see the complete list of all print sizes and products available on your account, simply log in and view your Account Settings >  Business tab to view your Pricelists by lab. Basic and Power Users can  just click the Buy Photos button in any gallery to open the available items in the shopping cart.

Print your photos. No matter if you’re just snapping moments on your iPhone or documenting in RAW with a top-of-the-line DSLR, whether you just snap photos of your friends or if you’re a full-time pro, it’s up to you to make the most out of your life. So buy a print, hang it on the wall and keep those memories close at hand.

You won’t regret it.

Links to love:

Pro Tip: 7 Reasons You Just Lost a Sale

September 23, 2014 4 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: 

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