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Behind the Scenes at Bay Photo: ThinWraps

November 4, 2013 7 comments

Next in our holiday print lab series are our neighbors just over the hill: Bay Photo. As the first pro-only lab that we introduced at SmugMug, Bay Photo has earned the trust of pro SmugMug photographers since January 2009. Remember that anyone with a Portfolio and Business account can set your own prices and sell all kinds of print products direct from your SmugMug galleries. At Bay Photo, your clients can order Photo Extras like mats, frames and more. Perfect for making a little extra money this holiday season!

Today we’re getting the inside scoop about ThinWraps, one of Bay Photo’s most lightweight mounting options. If you’ve never seen or ordered one for yourself, this is your chance to see just how these special prints are made.

To start: Take a look at the ThinWraps product video from Bay Photo!

Where does Bay Photo find its inspiration?

ThinWrap print close-up by Bay Photo

We listen to our customers! Our customers are professional photographers and creative artists and we get amazing ideas from them. We do what we can but some ideas are just too unique to add to the line up. We also listen to our employees. Our team members have a ton of experience in their specific area of production. They come up with awesome ideas for how to modify an existing product or for completely new ones. Again we wish we could implement more of the ideas that come from our team members.

What do Bay Photo employees think?

They take pride in producing a product that is of a higher quality than what can be found elsewhere. We make products for professionals and we don’t skimp, often doing by hand what other production facilities may use machines to do. We have true artisans in the lab who refuse to put out an inferior product under the Bay Photo name. Plus, it’s fun!!

 How did ThinWraps get their start?

ThinWraps by Bay Photo

ThinWraps actually have a very interesting beginning. The idea came about one night, late at night, when Larry, the owner, and Polo, one of our production department leaders, were making sample books for our trade show booth. We wanted to show all the different materials we could offer on our books, but didn’t want to use regular swatches and didn’t have the space to have a book of every type of material, so we decided to make the front covers only and mount them on the wall of the booth. When they were prepping the different materials they wrapped one of our photowrap covers, added a block to the back and a light bulb went off! Why not wrap prints on board add a mount block and hang that on the wall? It makes a unique, beautiful finished product ready to hang right out of the box and very contemporary looking.

Once we put it into our ordering system we knew ThinWraps were really a great idea because soon customers were asking for more options and sizes and competitors were starting to offer them too. Our original ThinWraps were the same as what you can order now, but we have added more options; Glossy and Satin laminate over lustre or metallic photopaper or canvas all wrapped around a board and finished with a nice back and your option of a mount block or an easel. You can also choose the original ThinWrap or a padded SoftTop ThinWrap!

Why would you recommend pro photographers give ThinWraps a try?

Finishes of Bay Photo's ThinWraps

It is a clean looking product and is very easy for the end customer. It’s ready to hang on the wall right out of the shipping box. No framing or additional service needed. It’s contemporary looking piece and that is playful enough for a kids room or professional enough for an office.

How would you recommend keeping ThinWraps looking great?

Close-up of ThinWraps by Bay Photo

The ThinWrap is very versatile and is well finished to last a long time. Like any photographic product it should not be put in direct sunlight, but it is also a product that can put up with a little bit more abuse; if the kids have sticky fingers, the laminate protects the image and can be cleaned off! Our favorite ThinWrap option combo is the metallic paper with satin laminate. It has the awesome metallic sheen without the glossiness which adds depth and a touch of something special to just about any image!

Thanks again to Bay Photo for this detailed look at an innovative product we love! Once again, if you’ve never before turned your images into beautiful prints at SmugMug, you’re missing out. You can easily turn your favorite photos into prints and gifts by opening any gallery and clicking the Add to Cart button. If you’ve disabled printing to visitors, the button will read “Owner Buy.” See how to print at SmugMug.

New Bay Photo Products to Buy and Sell

April 19, 2013 41 comments

Great news for people who love holding beautiful photos in their hands: We’re adding more print products to our catalogs, starting with Bay Photo.

On April 26, 2013, we’ll be adding loads of new stuff to your Bay Photo catalog and make some price changes that we hope you’ll love. We’re giving you seven days’ notice so that you have plenty of time to study the list and make any adjustments you’d like to your pro pricing.

So read on for all the details and be ready to sell more goodies!

So, What’s New?

ThinWraps and MetalPrints have long been some of your favorite ways to display your photos, but for the longest time SmugMug offered only one finish for each. So we’re thrilled to announce three new variations:

  • ThinWraps now available in Lustre Satin and Canvas Satin finishes, in addition to our existing Metallic Satin finish.
  • MetalPrints now available in Satin finish, in addition to the Glossy finish we already offer.

We’ve added a ton of new print sizes, 40 in all. The complete list is included at the end of this post.

And there are some important changes in the Bay Photo base print costs:

  • Pricing on 114 items are now a bit higher, BUT……
  • We’ve dropped the pricing on 386 different items.

For math lovers, that’s a mean price change of a $4.89 decrease. The median price change is a $2.47 decrease.

We hope to add lots more new Bay products to your SmugMug catalog soon, so let us know what items you’d love to see.

What do I need to do on April 26th?

Your Bay Photo Pricelists will automatically adjust to reflect the above changes, but remember that the new items won’t be visible to your clients until you add them to your Pricelists.

All price changes will depend on whether you price by profit, price or use rounding:

  • If you’re a pro who sets your Pricelists by the price displayed, we highly recommend that you give your pricing a once-over to be sure that you’re happy with the amount of profit you’ll earn.
  • If your pricing is set by Profit, you won’t see any impact to your take-home pay but the displayed price on your site may change especially if you don’t use rounding. You may want to update any printed materials that show your prices.

As always, if you use our Coupons feature, double check those to be sure that you won’t get any surprises to your profits on your next sale.

How do I check my prices?

Portfolio and Business Smuggers, open up your Account Settings and look under the “Business” tab. You’ll find your Pricelists manager under the Making Money section.

Click on each Pricelist and be sure that all of the numbers under the “Profit” column are to your taste, and add in any of the new print sizes that you’d like to offer.

Don’t forget to save your changes!

Will there be updates to EZ Prints, WHCC or Loxley Colour’s catalogs?

In due time, yes! As we stated above, we’re starting with Bay Photo first, but you’ll see new products from our other labs as we get the details worked out.

The ability to more easily add new print products to our catalogs was one of the biggest reasons why we urged pros like you to migrate your pricing over to Pricelists. We hope that you’ll agree that it was worth the change.

The List

Here’s the complete list of all the new print sizes you’ll be able to offer, sized in inches:

  • 13×19
  • 4×10
  • 15×30
  • 30×45
  • 40×40
  • 40×60
  • 15×20
  • 10×14
  • 10×28
  • 14×20
  • 30×50
  • 30×60
  • 30×90
  • 30×120
  • 5×15
  • 6×18
  • 8×24
  • 11×33
  • 16×48
  • 20×60
  • 5×20
  • 6×24
  • 8×32
  • 10×40
  • 12×48
  • 16×64
  • 20×80
  • 10×18
  • 15×27
  • 20×36
  • 6×6
  • 14×14
  • 36×36
  • 20×40
  • 12×16
  • 20×50
  • 40×50
  • 40×70
  • 40×80
  • 40×90
  • 43×96

Print Lab Love: Find Your Perfect Match in 2013

January 23, 2013 15 comments

It’s that time of year again: lab-shopping season. As the New Year rolls in, photographers focus on bettering their businesses and we know there’s nothing more exciting than delivering a beautiful print of a beautiful photo.*

You’ve probably noticed that SmugMug offers not one, not two, but FOUR fabulous print lab options, each offering a full array of great print products. So if you’re a seasoned pro who already has a favorite, we may already be friends with them.

Four labs means a ton of amazing print options, more than 600 different products in total. But before you start sweating, here’s a quick rundown on each one to help you narrow down and pick the best fit for your photos.

No matter what, rest assured that you get a single, cohesive online presence and a full business solution when you’re at SmugMug.

Your work is in good hands.

EZ Prints

EZ PrintsBased just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, these guys have been a true powerhouse print lab fulfilling orders for some of the nation’s biggest event companies. But they’re more than just brawn — they put all that experience to work getting your print orders out the door quickly and economically, whether you buy one print or one thousand. EZ Prints is available to every single SmugMug user, and they fulfill all 4×8 and 5×7 photo card orders, to boot.

Bay Photo

Bay PhotoOur friends at Bay Photo enjoy the sun and fresh sea air each day in Santa Cruz, California. The positive effects are evident in the pride they take to their work, attention to detail, and the approach to customer service. Business and Portfolio SmugMuggers tell us that Bay Photo’s hand color correction, meticulously strong packaging and innovative product lineup are essential to the satisfaction of their clients. Plus, did you know that using Bay Photo also offers delicious Photo Extras like mats, frames, mounted prints and more, so you save a trip to the framers?

Loxley Colour

Loxley ColourLast year we unveiled our first non-USA print lab, Loxley Colour. Situated in the outskirts of beautiful Glasgow, Scotland, they’re ready to fulfill all your highest-end print and display needs, right from your SmugMug gallery. They’re particularly popular with picky pros (and their picky customers) in the UK, but they’re happy to ship anywhere in Europe… and beyond.

White House Custom Colour

WHCCWe started hearing that SmugMug Pros wanted even more print lab options, so we put our ears to the ground. White House Custom Colour won by being a crowd favorite and by passing our rigorous print quality test with flying colors. We felt confident that they met our (and your) incredibly high standards for beautiful prints each and every time. They hail from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and opened a second and third location in Dallas, Texas and Fresno, California, to bridge pros from all corners of the United States. They’re a family-grown business just like SmugMug, proving that we have a lot more in common than just a love for photography.

Three Quick Notes

1) EZ Prints is available at all SmugMug account levels.

2) Bay Photo, WHCC and Loxley Colour are only available if you have a Portfolio or a Business level account.

3) All labs ship their goodies everywhere on the planet. But for logistical reasons, you may choose to pick the lab that’s closest to you.

Here’s hoping that you fall lens-over-heels in love with your your perfect lab this year!

* We know that DPI really stands for “Delirious Pixel Infatuation.”

Heroes You Love to Know: Josh

January 9, 2012 3 comments

Support Hero Josh Lawson is our resident rock star. He leads a double (really, triple) life working for SmugMug, being a musician and acting as agent at our print labs. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s hear the man himself. You’ve probably met him if you’ve ever written to our help desk with an order problem, uploading issue, or pretty much anything else.

Spotlight on Josh

What’s your hiring story?

After college I started working for Kodak/Qualex doing tech support for one-hour photo machines, Kodak Picture Makers, and Kodak C-41 and RA-4 chemical process control.  In 2005, my girlfriend decided to go to graduate school out in Santa Cruz, so we packed up and headed west from North Carolina to California.

I ended up working customer service for Bay Photo for the years we were there.  In 2009 we decided to move back east, but I kept working remotely for Bay Photo part-time, just a few hours a week.

That winter, Bay asked me if I’d like to work the WPPI trade show with them. An all expenses paid trip to Vegas for a (mostly) unemployed guy?  I jumped on it.  And I’m so glad I did.

I met a bunch of Smuggers there at a party.  Larry from Bay Photo put in a good word for me, and Andy asked me if I was interested in being a hero. It sounded like an awesome job description! I started ringing Andy’s phone off the hook.

About a month later I got an interview and the rest is history.

How does music fit into your life?

During my stint in Santa Cruz, I decided to try a career change and did a trade program for luthiery (stringed instrument repair and construction). While I was working with Bay Photo I also landed a job at the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, building guitars.

Now I play drums for Wild Order and you’d have to pry my Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer out of my cold, dead hands.

Most Smuggers collect cameras and glass. I collect vintage drum machines and synthesizers, and that’s one of my faves.  A beaut from 1978.  It does sounds from hard techno to smooth 70’s fusion jazz to bizarre drones. Lots of knobs to twiddle, and endless sonic possibilities.

We affectionately call you the SmugMug Lab Rat. Why’s that?

I’m a great lab contact because I know first hand how a lab operates from the inside, how each product is physically created, and I know how to spot a potential issue when I run across one. I collect feedback from all the heroes (and thus our customers) and relay it to the labs so that we can keep the quality of our work top notch. I have phone meetings with each lab every week, and email various people at both labs daily in management, operations, and customer service.

I also do things like keep the flow of orders transmitting between both the labs. And lord knows that’s no small task, as there are thousands of orders sent to the labs every day. Communicating with the lab IT people, sometimes hacking up a bit of XML to get an order to process, repairing corrupt jpgs, etc. I keep a close eye on my order babies to make sure they get to the lab and process quickly. I keep track of orders that are late and do things like upgrade shipping when something is lagging behind.

Sometimes I feel like the Wizard or Oz pulling levers behind a curtain to keep the order machine well-oiled and finely tuned.

Shout one tip from the rooftops to SmugMuggers!

Proof & Retouch:  USE IT!  We make it easy to place orders, but it’s *always* helpful for Pros to review their clients’ orders before they’re sent to print.

Customers may not always crop their photos properly, so reviewing orders before they print is something I recommend to all Pros.  An ounce of prevention….

Check out these features Josh mentioned:

Winners of our Perfect Pairs Photo Contest with Bay Photo Lab

October 12, 2011 36 comments

Why a contest?

We teamed up with the good folks at Bay Photo Lab this fall to kick off a contest asking photographers to submit photos representing the theme of a perfect pair — two things that go splendidly together. SmugMug and Bay Photo are like peanut butter and jelly, ying and yang, aperture and ISO. We love Bay’s hand color correction and their crazy-in-a-good-way devotion to making the best dang prints out there. They love our seamless integration, fanatical devotion to making sure your photos look the best in our galleries and prints, and 100% guaranteed customer service. We guess you can say we’re the perfect pair for picky pros whose reputations depend on us.

Photographers from all over heard our call and submitted almost 2000 shots. The time has come to announce who the winners are, and we couldn’t be more tickled to have another reason to shout to the world how much we heart Bay Photo Lab and the awesome customers we get to work with on a daily basis. Winners of the Perfect Pairs Photo Contest were picked by a group of Judges from Bay Photo Lab and SmugMug based on their editorial discretion and your votes.

Here’s what we decided.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

“Steam Runners” by Ric Cederholm of Waunakee, WI

We love this photo because it’s two friends having the time of their lives. The shot captures a playful and fun moment that makes us long for the days we could run with our hands in the air, hollering with joy (sure, we can do it as grown ups too, but it’s definitely cuter when kids do it). What’s better than running in the sun with the mist in your face? Maybe unwrapping your first MetalPrint. Maybe.

Ric, if you’re watching, you get:

  • 5 free years of SmugMug Pro ($750 value, not including bragging rights)
  • $500 Print Credit to world class Bay Photo Lab
  • Photo credit in major national and tradeshow advertising, including WPPI

FIRST RUNNER UP

“Coordination” by Marc Benjamin of Fairfield, CA


This shot shows the power, elegance, and artistry that can be created when two powerhouses come together. The striking contrast stopped us in our tracks, and the poetry of these dancers forms entwined in the air sealed the deal for us.

Marc gets:

  • 4 free years of SmugMug Pro ($600 value)
  • $300 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

SECOND RUNNER UP

“Relationship Stability” by Jesse Rather of Arcata, CA

Talk about a photo that makes you look twice. Managing a business and serving your customers is a fine balance of impeccable quality, dedication and fun, and we thought this photo channeled that feeling well. To top it off, the quirkiness, beauty, and humor made us smile. Thanks, Jesse!

Jesse won:

  • 2 free years of SmugMug Pro ($300 value)
  • $200 Print Credit to Bay Photo Lab

THIRD RUNNER UP

“The Polar Pair” by JP Diroll of Pittsburgh, PA

A bit surreal, a bit Planet Earth. It’s hard enough to resist such childlike interplay in the animal world, but drop the fuzzies into a sun-streaked pool of the deepest blue and you have double the win.

JP wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $100 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

FOURTH RUNNER UP

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Rachelle Elliott of Wymore, NE

Rub-a-dub-dub, two cuties in a tub. Parents, watch out: They’re already winning hearts!

Rachelle wins:

  • 1 Free year of SmugMug Pro ($150)
  • $50 Print Credit to world class printer Bay Photo Lab

Thanks. We Mean It.

We we really blown away by the enthusiastic response to this contest and totally felt the love. Thanks again to everyone who entered their photos and shared their vision of “The Perfect Pair!”

How to Get Famous for Free

September 6, 2011 30 comments

Looking for a little exposure?

From now through September 30th, we’re looking for one great photo that captures the fun, free spirit of our doe-eyed partnership with Bay Photo Lab. The winning image will be used in print, digital and trade show media and get you more exposure than you can shake a stick at.

What’s in it for you? (apart from photo credit in major national and trade show advertising)

  • 5 free years of SmugMug Pro. That’s half a decade of safe, secure and unlimited uploads and a one-stop shop for your photo business. More info.
  • $500 in Bay Photo print credit so you can build your own Hall of Photo Fame.
  • Total bragging rights at shows like WPPI. (“I made this!”)

Get your entries in by Friday, September 30th, 2011. Click here to enter now!

Vote, vote, vote

After you submit your best, tell the world which ones are your favorites by using the Twitter and Facebook icons under each image in the submissions gallery. Or have your friends post a comment with their love.  Our judges at SmugMug and Bay Photo will choose the one that fits the theme best… and consider the ones that got the most attention from fans.

Voting ends on October 7th and we’ll announce the winners on October 12th.

Good luck!

Who’s Bay Photo?

Since our launch with pro lab Bay Photo almost three years ago, we’ve shouted from the rooftops how much we love this amazing photo lab from a little seaside town in California. They’ve fulfilled orders from thousands of our customers, printed tons of goodies for us and we’ve been roomies at trade shows everywhere.

They’re our Pro-only lab here at SmugMug. We chose them for a number of awesome reasons, including their consistent quality, rich color, attention to detail, durable packaging and their hand color-correction services for photographers who just want to shoot.

They also offer some of the most innovative print products on the market that keep your photos off the boring mat and frame.

Don’t you want to be connected with awesome folks like this? We do.

Shoot, Print and Be Merry!

December 6, 2010 4 comments

We ‘re ramping up our catalog for the holidays. Today we’re introducing three new print sizes offered by our Pro lab, Bay Photo:

Actors and models will love our new 9×12 offerings, perfect for headshots and Tear Sheets. Get them in glossy, lustre and metallic print finishes on top of our full range of giclée canvas and watercolor options.

Panothusiasts rejoice! We now offer more options in the 12×36 size so it’s easier than ever to get a ready-made poster frame and hang your masterpiece. These were previously only available in MetalPrints, but you can get them in the ever-popular print, giclée canvas and giclée watercolor formats, now. Rock on.

For everyone else who loves the harmonious simplicity of squares, you can now print bigger and better with 24×24 prints, canvases, giclée watercolor prints and ThinWraps.

As an added bonus we have a couple of new additions to our ThinWraps line, too. They’re always a wonderful, durable way to show off your favorite pics so we’re happy to say that three more sizes just hit the charts: 24×24 (mentioned above), 10×15 and 12×18.

Pros: These prints start out priced at $0 so your customers won’t see them until you enter in your own price – or clear it out to offer them at-cost.

Now there’s lots more to love… and hopefully an option for each and every one of your photos. Check out our full Bay Photo catalog here.

Here’s to making perfect prints together,

The SmugMug Family

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