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Smug Tip: Take Your Photos Further With These Smug Features

July 2, 2014 1 comment

SmugMuggers come from all walks of life, which is something we love to see. Whether it’s weddings, kids, cats, trucks, races, bikes, mountains, flowers, architecture, travel, or cat trucking races (hey, you never know), there’s room for you at our table.

There’s so many features built in to every account, you may not realize how some of them could really take what you’re shooting to the next level. So today here are a few of our tips on Smug features you may want to use, depending on the things you most love to shoot.

Family Snappers 

Does your heart and soul stay close to home? Photos are proof that you and your family have truly lived… and had fun! But we don’t always want those photos to fall into the wrong hands, or for your favorite memory to get lost in the jumble.

• Privacy settings. Be sure to occasionally log out of your account and view your SmugMug galleries as a guest. Are the galleries you meant to be unlisted truly hidden? What happens when you log out and view a passworded gallery? Remember that you can review all the different privacy options available to you via your Account Settings and individual Folder and Gallery Settings, or from our help pages.

• Folders and Galleries. The new SmugMug gives you the ability to nest your folders and galleries 5 levels deep, meaning you have up to 7 layers of organization available to you. Move your content so it makes the most sense to you, whether it’s organizing your photos by child, by event, or even by year. Or a combination of everything.

Client-Seeking Pros

If you’re putting your business online, there’s a few things we recommend that you do to have maximum impact with your potential client base. Remember: It doesn’t matter whether your profession is photography or not — SmugMug’s great for businesses of all types.

• “Best-of” Galleries. Even if you’re a chef, your site should show off what you do. Whether it’s in pictures or video or text, your incoming clients are going to want to get a taste of what you do and what makes you unique. So create a gallery or a page full of content blocks that visually delivers your elevator pitch.  Upload your best, or Collect and curate them from other galleries around your site. Don’t forget to link to it from your menu bar, so it’s easy to find!

• Contact Forms. We still can’t believe how many websites we see that make it difficult (or impossible) to contact the owner. Simply put: If you want people to hire you, compliment you, or otherwise tell you you’re awesome, be sure that your email address or phone number is clearly visible at the top or bottom of your homepage. Shy about spam? SmugMug gives you a safe, ready-to-go contact form for your footer, which you can also place in your menu bar.

World Travelers

You may not keep track of which time zone you’re in, but you should always remember where you took those photos. How else would you find your way back to that perfect beach, or where you got those great noodles?

• Maps & Pins. If you take photos on your mobile phone, or if your camera is already set up to geotag your images, great! Your photos will keep their locational data when you upload to SmugMug. Or you can add locations manually by going to your Photo Tools. Once that’s done, simply display the map anywhere on your site.

• Text Content Blocks. A photo may be worth a thousand words, but a few lines about what you did and how you got there sure never hurts. The content blocks you can drag onto your homepage and custom pages are a great start for Power, Portfolio, and Business accounts, but all users can simply fill in the Title and Caption fields under every photo.

The Socially Savvy

Social media is great, but you really don’t know how long your content will exist on there before it gets deleted. You can easily build a forever home on SmugMug and style it to point to all the places online you like to hang out.

• The Social Designs. Put all your cards on the table with our default “SmugMug” design, or (if you’ve got a Power, Portfolio, or Business account) the similar-looking “Dash” design. Both of these let you set a profile pic and display your name, a cover photo, and list out your favorite social network icons.

• Share Buttons & Comments. These are two simple content blocks you can drop anywhere on your site to help your visitors share your photos with friends and engage in healthy discussion. Did you also know that you have styling options for your social media buttons? Be sure to check the individual settings.

• Publish to Facebook. If you’d rather post your pics directly in Facebook, try this feature. You can apply a custom watermark and choose the maximum file size to be copied over into its very own album on Facebook, so they can see the whole set, but you’re still protected from image theft.

Event and Sports Shooters

If your adrenaline gets going when the competition does, you probably have a fair number of galleries holding some of your most exciting photos… which can quickly get unruly and out of hand. The key to staying in the game is to stay organized, and be sure that every single subject in every photo can be found.

• Keywords. This is arguably more important for sports photographers than the photos themselves. Seriously though, you’re going to want to keyword your images not just with the event you shot, but with location, date, and even player name if it applies to your shoot. Your clients will thank you. Just don’t forgot to display a search box or a keyword cloud so they can take advantage of it.

• Site-wide Organizer. Like the family tips we mentioned above, proper organization via SmugMug’s 7 layers of Folders and Galleries are invaluable when it comes to busy event seasons and the many different things that you shoot. So be sure to structure your site clearly and easily, simple enough for you, your assistants, and your clients so that they can find exactly what it is they’re looking for.

Those are our tips and we hope that, no matter what you shoot or how long you’ve been with SmugMug, you discover something new. And if you didn’t, tell us – What do you take pictures of, and what features have you used to make the most of it?

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Link roundup:

Smug Tip: 6 More SmugMug Features You Didn’t Know You Had

June 24, 2014 3 comments

Not too long ago, we wrote a post unearthing some of the great features you’ve already got in your SmugMug account. And since we’re always having new photo-lovers come join our family, we thought we’d share a few more things that you may not have noticed are already living amongst your photos.

Here’s to those sneaky features that may be hiding in plain sight. Enjoy!

1) Custom Video Preview Images

All SmugMug accounts can accept video files of 20 minutes in length and 3 GB in size, which is a great addition to the still photos you capture in your life. But did you know that you can change the preview image that displays on it, so your fans can see something more interesting than a random frame before they hit Play?

First, decide on a JPG image you want to use… or better yet, create one in your favorite image editor and upload it to your SmugMug galleries. Then just navigate to your video in the gallery, click the wrench, and choose Edit > Replace Preview.

2) “Sticky” Cover Photos for Your Folders & Galleries

In the same vein, you can choose a cover photo that appears every time your gallery is shown on your site. We call this your Feature image, and it will “stick” every time your site is reloaded, instead of displaying the first photos in the gallery.

Just open your Gallery Settings and look under the Basic tab. Click the icon next to Feature Image and choose any image you want to represent that gallery.

Tip: You can even do this for passworded galleries, which typically don’t show any thumbnails for privacy reasons. However, you may want to do this for, say, your client galleries, just to be sure they know which gallery is theirs on your site.

3) Stats. Really Great Stats.

We track all kinds of good stuff, like which of your galleries and images have been visited the most, as well as show you where your traffic is coming from. Just check out the Stats tab in your Account Settings and take it from there! You can read more about your SmugMug stats on our help pages.

If you prefer, you can always sign up for a free Google Analytics account and plug in your unique user ID into the same tab of your Account Settings, to double-check our work. Here’s how.

4) Search (and Filter by EXIF)

Any time you (or your guests) search for things on your site via the Search content block or from SmugMug.com/search, you’ll see lots of beautiful photos that you can scroll through to your heart’s content. But did you know that you can hit the “Refine Results” button at the top and open up dozens of additional checkboxes? This will help you narrow down your choices and find pictures taken using just the criteria you specify.

Watch out! It’s strangely addictive, so you may end up spending a lot more time discovering photos than you expect.

5) PicMonkey: Free Photo Tweaks

If our in-gallery Photo Tools aren’t quite enough for you, check out our friends at PicMonkey. You can find them right under every photo, under the Wrench icon. Open it up and you’ll see all the great tweaks and mods you can add to your photos!

Tip: We even have a quick video tutorial all about PicMonkey.

6) Discounts Just for Being Smug 

That’s right. You’re in great company when you’re with us. You can browse and view the discount details simply by logging in and visiting our ClubSmug page. Shop, have fun, and tell them we sent you!

Link roundup:

Photo Tip: 5 Reasons Why We Fell in Love with Lightroom

June 4, 2014 113 comments

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about our love for one of the best photo tools on the market, Lightroom. We’re going to share some of our favorite things about it that knocks our socks off and why we hope you’ll give it a try, too. Plus, if you’re just scared about diving into the Adobe pool, we’re giving away 4 (signed!) copies of Scott Kelby’s fantastic instructional book, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers, at the end of this post.

So keep reading to see how you can win yours!

Now, here are our top 5 reasons why Lightroom’s awesome.

1) Keywording Is a Breeze

Keywords are a small, but important part of getting your photos properly searchable. Whether you’ll be looking through your own galleries or hoping to cash in on sales sparked by Google, keywording is how you get there.

While SmugMug has great bulk keyword and caption tools, adding them during your Lightroom workflow is a step saver and has the added benefit of adding the keywords to the photo’s metadata.

You can enter keywords using the Library module, and even apply them to batches of photos all at once. The best part? Lightroom will automatically suggest keywords you’ve used before when you start typing.

And yes, these keywords and captions will transfer over to SmugMug when you publish.

2) No JPGs Required

Unless you’re new to SmugMug, you probably already know that we’ve got a free Publish to SmugMug plugin available in Lightroom. (You can download it here.)The fact that it doesn’t cost a cent is pretty great, but even better is that you can easily Publish your photos to new or existing galleries on your SmugMug account, all without needing to create — or store — a separate JPG file on your computer’s hard drive.

Try the easy, one-click syncing between your Lightroom catalog and your SmugMug folder structure. We’ll worry about your JPG storage so you don’t have to.

3) Everything’s Better in Bulk

The greatest power of Lightroom is how easily it lets you do sweeping changes to swaths of photos at once. Presets, flags, and anything you can think of — you can add them with just a few clicks and get your event photos out the door and into your clients’ inboxes in no time.

Check out this post that Adobe educator Matt Kloskowski did for us to help sift through your massive photo piles with ease.

4) Easy-to-Replace Proofs

Pro photographers, this one’s for you: When your client orders prints from your SmugMug galleries and you’ve set up Proof Delay, did you know that you can use Lightroom to quickly polish, edit, and republish only those photos back to your SmugMug galleries before sending the order to the lab?

We think this is the biggest lifesaver for any photographer who knows their clients will buy only a few photos out of thousands. Rather than editing every single photo from the shoot, simply upload your proofs and let them make their choice.

Tip: Take it a step further with Events & Favorites. Lightroom will sync their Favorites galleries and pull their choices back into your catalog, making it even easier for you to edit (and republish) just the ones they love best.

5) It’s Always Improving

Adobe’s always making their products more powerful and better for you, and we are, too. Both Lightroom and the SmugMug plugin check automatically for updates, and you’ll notice this when you open up the program and see that window.

What we’ve added recently: The ability to choose your gallery’s Featured Photo via the plugin, and the ability to create/edit/delete Quick Settings, Watermarks, and Printmarks. And lots more.

You can always check to see the updates we’ve made to the plugin on the dedicated page in our help pages.

The Book Giveaway

As promised, we’ve got 4 signed copies of Scott Kelby’s best-selling Lightroom 5 bible to give away, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers:

This comprehensive book covers everything from basic sliders to Scott’s own workflow, and is the #1 Lightroom book on the market (with good reason). So if you’re ready to get this into your hands and begin your journey to becoming a Lightroom wizard, simply leave a comment below and include these two responses:

1) What are the biggest stumbling blocks in your photo editing workflow?

2) A link to your SmugMug website (so we know how to reach you if you win)

We’ll choose 4 lucky random winners on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014, and announce them right here.

Stay tuned, good luck, and watch this space!

UPDATE 6/11/2014: Winners! We randomly picked 4 winners who commented here and here’s who we drew:

We’ll be in touch with you individually to deliver your books. Congrats!

Photo Tip: 4 Tricks to Get Your Photos Done in Record Time

May 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Procrastination gets the best of us, but what’s the point of taking photos if they’re going to die unseen on your hard drive? Most of us can blame “time” as the reason we don’t sit down to edit our photos, but with a little foresight, you can kick that habit to the curb.

Here are 4 tips we recommend to make processing less of a process.

Get out and take pictures. You’ll capture great memories, and using your camera will become second nature.

1) Do Your Homework

Did all-nighters work for you when you were in school? Maybe, but the majority of us would probably admit we got better grades when we completed regular assignments.

The same goes for photography: staying up to date on techniques and shooting regularly will keep your brain (and hands) in tip-top shape. Also, look around for inspiration and techniques that fellow photographers are using, so you keep pushing your boundaries. The more experience you have – and the more often you take in new info – the better prepared you’ll be for when things go awry.

Downpour on the wedding day? Did your strobes conk out? No problem!  Being able to adjust in the moment will help your exposures come out right the first time—requiring less tweaking once you get them off the camera and onto your computer.

Knowing how to properly set up your strobes and camera settings pays off when you get back to your computer!

2) Get It Right Straight Out of Camera 

If you’re doing the above, you’re that much closer to getting this trick done, too. Getting the perfect shot in-camera (often shortened to “SOOC”) will drastically reduce the amount of time you have to pixel peep, polish, and tweak.

You’ll probably need to do final adjustments in post, such as adjust white balance, contrast, or sharpening, but you’ll save time with the big stuff.

And this is the beauty of digital – unlike film, you can take as many shots as you need to get it right without accruing additional costs.

Lightroom does everything from one place: organize, edit, keyword, publish, and more.

3) Use Lightroom

It’s no secret that we seriously love Lightroom. Why? You can use it to import, organize, tag, and edit all your photos and seamlessly publish them to your SmugMug galleries. In short, it does everything.

We’ve posted a couple of how-to’s about Lightroom in the past, and we won’t stop now. Take a look at one of our most popular articles with Kelby Media educator Matt Kloskowski, and this brief video by CreativeLive teacher Jared Platt that shows you how to publish directly from Lightroom to SmugMug.

In short, doing all your work in one program and being able to publish and sync between your local files and your online archives is a true time-saver we can’t recommend enough!

Quick Settings: Just one of many “set it and forget it” features you get at SmugMug.

4) Let SmugMug Do the Rest

Once your photos are safely in your SmugMug galleries, you can make us organize your photos with virtually no extra heavy lifting by you. Here are a few of our favorite “set it and forget it” features that speed things up and get you on your way:

  • Quick Settings. Create “templates” for gallery settings, like watermark style, largest size, and whether or not viewers can purchase your photos.
  • Smart Galleries. Automatically curate new photos into existing galleries as you upload them.
  • Price and Sell. Choose products and set a markup so fans can order prints direct from your website.
  • Events & Favorites. Share these with clients to let them tag favorites and display them all in a personalized, private gallery.
  • Our 30-day Print Guarantee. For everything else that can possibly go wrong with wowing your fans, leave it to us. We have a fabulous 30-day guarantee on all of our print and gift orders, meaning that  we’ll replace or refund the order if you (or your clients) don’t love it.

We hope these tips ease your worries and get you shooting, sharing, and digging right in to your backlog of photos.

Happy editing!

Link roundup:

6 Smug Features You Didn’t Know You Had

April 21, 2014 6 comments

There’s so much to SmugMug that even those of us who’ve been members for years have trouble summing it all up in a single elevator pitch. So it’s perfectly possible for you to have never known some of the great features that are (even now) lurking in your galleries.

Here are a few of our favorites.

1) Smart Galleries

Your galleries can automatically display photos that you choose.

Lots of SmugMuggers use our Collect Photos feature. But did you know you can set your galleries to automatically collect certain new photos you upload to your site? You do this simply by defining Rules and making your gallery a Smart Gallery. We’ll do the rest.

Smart Galleries are perfect for curating pics for your homepage slideshow, populating individual player galleries from team photos, displaying your newest snaps, and so many more applications we can’t even listen them all. Try it now!

There’s a lot you can do with just your keyboard.

2) Keyboard shortcuts

SmugMug’s easy to browse with one hand. Really! When you’re viewing a gallery you can hit the following keys to open the Lightbox and change the image size that you’re viewing. Here’s the list:

  • Left/Right Arrow = Prev/Next Photo
  • Shift + Left/Right Arrow = Prev/Next Page of Thumbnails
  • A = Bring up Lightbox view, Autosize photo
  • S = Lightbox, Small
  • M = Lightbox, Medium
  • L = Lightbox, Large
  • 1 = Lightbox, XL
  • 2 = Lightbox, XL2
  • 3 = Lightbox, XL3
  • O = Lightbox, Original
  • X = Exit Lightbox

Give it a whirl, and bookmark the help page in case you want to refer to this list later.

3) System Pages

Just 3 examples of totally customizable system pages already included in your SmugMug account.

You may not realize that you’ve got a few very special pages up your SmugMug sleeve that you can access by simply typing in these words to the end of your SmugMug URL:

  • 404
  • Date
  • Keyword
  • Password
  • Popular
  • Search
  • Browse

These don’t appear in your site-wide organizer because they can’t actually be moved around, but you can customize them with text, your logo, and other content blocks when you have a Power-, Portfolio-, or Business-level account. Perfect for adding your warm and sunny personality to every corner of your site.

Check out some previously published tips and ideas for making these system pages your own.

4) Opacity Slider (Power and up)

Find your opacity (alpha) sliders in your Theme’s “Advanced” tab.

You can run with any design right out of the box, but one of the best benefits of SmugMug is the ability to deeply customize your site. And there’s so many options available to you, like the ability to change the color – and opacity – of different sections like your header, sidebars, body, or footer.

Just like how rugs define a space in your room, so do these areas of your page. Setting a section color and changing its opacity (or “alpha”) goes a great way toward making your custom themes stand apart from the crowd.

Don’t be shy: dig into your Themes, click that Advanced tab, and get playing!

5) Filename display

Display your filenames for easy previewing in your sitewide Organizer.

The Organizer may be the best thing we’ve launched since sliced bread, but did you know that you can toggle the display of filenames under your thumbnails? This is a handy trick to see exactly how your images are being sorted. Combined with the browser function Command+F, you can quickly find any file in any gallery.

Find it in your sitewide Organizer, any time you’ve highlighted a gallery and have the photos displayed in the preview pane on the right. The toggle button is the little square with the line under it at top right (shown above).

6) Multiple Designs to Create and Use (Power and up)

This user has created 5 totally different looks for their SmugMug website and can swap them with a click.

You can customize any number of our site designs and swap between them whenever you wish. We’ll save them all in your account and you can access them when logged in, any time you click Customize > Choose a New Site Design. No extra charge!

This is perfect for indecisive photographers who can’t decide if they want a huge background slideshow or an organic collage of their portfolio pics on their homepage. It’s also great for festive folks who shoot calendar-based events and want to serve up a different look every season.

Just remember that when you switch designs, customizations like content blocks won’t transfer between them. However, new pages, galleries, and any other content you add (A.K.A. stuff that’s visible in your sitewide Organizer) will.

Tip: If you do create multiple designs, we recommend that you give each design a unique, descriptive name so you always know what it is. “Copy of Isis” is not very helpful. “4-Column Homepage (White Theme)” is.

We hope you dig deeper into your SmugMug sites and discover something new that makes managing your memories easier and more fun.

Enjoy!

Links to love:

3 Flavors of Privacy: Are You Using the Right One?

August 23, 2013 33 comments

Did you know that the new SmugMug offers you a brand-new level of privacy for your galleries? That’s a total of three different flavors of security, so that your photos and stories can be shared, stashed or locked away however you wish.

So, what are your options?

1) Public

This is just what it sounds like. Your gallery is visible by everyone, including site engines like Google and all the people who browse SmugMug. You can, of course, share these galleries by sending links to people directly. Galleries set to Public will also be listed any time someone browses your website.

Tip: If you want your public galleries to be found faster, be sure to enter a gallery description, meta keywords and be sure that your Web Searchable and SmugMug Searchable settings aren’t set to “No.”

2) Unlisted

This setting hides your gallery from anyone browsing your site. YOU will be able to see it when you’re logged in as the site owner, and you’ll see an “Unlisted” badge over the thumbnail for these galleries. The best part is that you can share these galleries with friends and family, because anyone with the direct link can browse the photos within.

Tip: When you share the link, be sure to copy all of the letters in the URL that your browser (or Get a Link) gives you. They may look like a random jumble (Example: n-fSzMC), but they’re literally the key to ensuring that your viewers are legit. Links to Unlisted galleries won’t work without them.

3) Private

This new option means that only you, the account owner, will be able to see the gallery and the images inside of it. Even if you share a link with someone, they’ll get a “Page Not Found” error. It goes without saying that galleries set to Private won’t be found by search engines, nor will they appear in SmugMug’s site-wide search (unless you’re the one doing the search.) Finally, when looking at your gallery, you won’t see the “key” in the URL, but rest assured that we’ll still keep your goodies safe and sound.

Tip: Private galleries are great for you, but less great for friends or clients – don’t choose this option if you want someone else to enjoy your photos! Additionally, don’t post photos from Private galleries into forums and blogs, because they won’t work.

What About Privacy Settings on Folders?

Good news! Folders get the same privacy options that galleries do. By default, new galleries that you create will inherit the parent folder’s  privacy settings… but you can, of course, change this on specific galleries if you wish.

Tip: Change the privacy setting on a Folder to change the privacy setting on all of the galleries within. Great for hiding (or revealing) entire categories on your site.

Bonus Tip: Privacy at the Photo Level

Want more specific control over what gets seen and what doesn’t? Try the Hide Photos option to keep just one or two photos secret from everyone but yourself, even in a Public or an Unlisted gallery. This option is perfect for the indecisive perfectionist who wants to display only the best shot from a series, or for people looking to hide certain images after guests have already viewed the gallery.

To find it, open up your photo’s lightbox, then click on the wrench icon in the corner. You’ll find the “Hide” open under the Organize menu. Or if you’re working in the Site-Wide Organizer, highlight a photo thumbnail and click on the wrench to access your Image Tools.

Remember that hidden photos can’t be shared on blogs, forums or anywhere else (including your banner or logo on your homepage), but we’ll display a little eye glyph over your hidden photos so that you’ll know.

Enjoy sharing (or not sharing) your photos! Questions? We’re always glad to help.

Link roundup:

Smug Tip: The No-Hack Custom Page Tutorial

August 5, 2013 42 comments

If you’ve been with SmugMug for a while, you’ve probably earned a badge trying to create non-gallery pages using Advanced Customization. Anyone with a website needs to create pages that don’t necessarily have lots of photos on them: About Me, your mission statement, your pricing, etc.

Before, you had to copy and paste complicated code to hide parts of your gallery page, then hand-type in HTML to get what you wanted.

With the new SmugMug it’s as easy as drag, drop and go. Here’s how to do it in 3 simple steps.

PS. Creating Pages is a customization feature available on Power, Portfolio and Business accounts. If you’re a Basic user, you can customize your homepage using any of the Themes and content blocks we provide, but you may not find all the options listed below.

Step 1: Create your new page

First, create the page you want. If you want to create an About Me page, for example, start by hitting the Organize > Create > Page button in your header.

Give it a name, keywords, settings, whatever you wish. Hit the Done button in the top left of your window to save.

Tip: Your new page will appear at the bottom of your folder tree list when you open up your site Organizer. You can drag it into any other place (like into a Folder) if you want it elsewhere.

Step 2: Customize it

Find the page that you just made. You can do this by typing in the URL for it, or you can click the link from the preview window in your site Organizer.

Once you’re at your new page, open up customization from the header: Customize > Customize Site. To confirm that you’ll be applying changes to just the one page (and not your whole site), look for the following folder list at the top right:

Personalize the page however you wish. You can change the Theme if you want a different color scheme on this page versus any other part of your site.

Don’t forget to browse through the many different content boxes from the “Content” tab and drag the ones you like into the middle, the side, the bottom, wherever you want onto your page.

Tip: A light green box will appear in any spot that can accept a block. If you miss, we’ll show you a dotted outline mapping out where valid areas lie on the page. Experiment and have fun!

Step 3: Link it

Remember that you get an instant, live preview of everything you’re doing, but to clear the windows away just click the Preview button, and “Done” when you’re finished.

Copy the URL for the gallery from the top of your browser page, and click to highlight the top-level, “Entire Site,” option from the top right.

If the site design you’ve chosen comes with a menu bar, click the little wrench to open the edit box.

Tip: If your design doesn’t include a menu bar, Power, Portfolio and Business users can add one by dragging and dropping in the “Menu” content block from the Content > Navigation section.

Click the little + sign to add a link to the menu.

Fill in the copy you want, and past in the URL for the new page you just created. Click Done.

That’s it! Your new page is happy, gorgeous and accessible to all.

Give it a try and let us know what you think. And we want to see what kinds of amazing pages you’re designing, so don’t be afraid to show us what you’re building.

Smug Tip: Customize Your 404, Search Page and More

July 31, 2013 58 comments

One of the most popular requests we’ve heard from our customers was :

“Why can’t I customize my system pages?”

With the latest updates at SmugMug, Power, Portfolio and Business users can customize certain pages that were untouchable before.

What you can change?

First, be sure that you’ve migrated your site to the new SmugMug (which may take a while because of the number of people who have done this in the last 24 hours), then replace the “XXXXX” in the following links with your SmugMug nickname.

They’re not listed in your Site Organizer since they can’t actually be moved around, but we’ll include them in your owner-only navigation, soon.

404 page

What: The error page that shows when people try to visit a page on your site that doesn’t exist.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/404

Tip: Your fans may be frustrated trying to find something specific on your site when they get this page. Don’t be afraid to drag and drop in a text box and type up something friendly that invites them to contact you.

Date

What: Timeline view, which lets you (or viewers) search for photos shot within a specific date range.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/date

Keyword

What: Your keyword cloud, which shows you all the keywords you’ve entered into your site, and how many photos are found under each.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/keyword

Tip:  Keyword clouds are also available as a content block, found under  the “Discovery” section of your site customization. It could look great on your Browse page, which is included by default of many of our design layouts.

Password

What: The page your fans and clients see every time you share a gallery protected with a viewing password.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/password

Tip: Drop in a title and/or text box inviting them to email you if they can’t remember the right password.

Popular

What: Your public photos and videos that other people have voted “Thumbs up” (now called “Like”) and commented on the most.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/popular

Search

What: A clean, simple, but extremely useful search field where anyone can type in a search term. Good for finding photos, galleries and videos.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/search

Tip: A search box is also available for dropping into any page on your site as a content block. Find it under the Discovery section in your site customization.

Browse 

What: A page that lists all the folders (categories) on your site. When you’re logged in, your unlisted and private folders will show up here, too.

See it: http://XXXXX.smugmug.com/browse

Tip: This page comes already linked from our default design layouts, and is a great place to drop in additional content boxes like the keyword cloud, the map, and the timeline search.

What you can’t change

There’s some core content on a few pages that you can’t change, for obvious reasons (like the password fields on the password page). But you’ll know that these can’t be touched when you mouse over them in customization mode and you’ll see a little lock icon in the corner.

How to do it 

We’ll admit that this feature hasn’t yet got all the spit-and-polish that we want, but we hope to fix this with along with other stuff that will get ironed out over the coming weeks. Now let’s get started!

1) Type in the URL to visit each page, as per the full list above. Just be sure to use your SmugMug nickname in the domain instead of the “XXXXX.”

2) Click Customize > Customize Site from the top of your page. We’ll open up the new Customization Mode with lots of content to pick and choose from. Click to expand each section and drag and drop the boxes into any area that highlights green on the page.

3) Once the boxes are on your page, mouse over them and click the little wrench icon in the top corner. You can can configure and change virtually any setting to perfect the content, as needed.

4) Save your changes when you’re done. Remember that while you are still in preview mode, you can publish your changes and you’ll be the only one who sees it until you officially, permanently “Unveil” your website.

Link them up

From here, you’ll probably want to add a link to these pages from your website’s menu bar so your visitors can use them (with the exception of the 404 and password pages, which will automatically be displayed to viewers at the proper time).

To do this, simply open your Site Customization mode again and click the wrench icon on your menu content block.  Add a new link by hitting the “+” sign and select “Page I Choose.” From there you can browse your site and select any of the system pages you’ve just customized. We’ve pre-loaded a few of the ones listed above for easy access.

Have fun! As always, let us know if you have questions, problems or creative customization ideas that you’re willing to share.

The Encyclopedia of the Watermark

May 13, 2013 19 comments

Alright, photographers. Since SmugMug started offering a non-destructive watermarking feature it’s been a favorite of lots of you, and it certainly has been one of ours. But our Support Heroes get questions about the nitty-gritty details all the time, so let’s dig deep and show those of you who haven’t tried it yet how much it rocks.

Watermarked wrinkly dog with glasses

What’s a Watermark?

Watermarks are custom graphics or text that SmugMug Pros can apply to their photos. They appear on all the photos that appear in your SmugMug galleries. Your original uploaded files won’t contain them, which means that all downloads, print or gift items that clients purchased from your galleries will remain clean and pristine.

Who Can Use Watermarks?

At SmugMug, Portfolio and Business account holders can use Watermarks. If you have a Basic or a Power User account you can use programs (like Lightroom) to apply watermarks to your photos before uploading to SmugMug, but if you do this just remember that this means your original photo file will be marked and anything purchased from your site will contain them.

Why Use Watermarks?

Watermarks are awesome for keeping your name and brand associated with the photos you take. Especially if you sell your photos for profit, using this feature ensures that people pay you for your images.

Watermarks and image protection gallery settings

Plus, once you set them up in your Gallery Settings (shown above), we’ll automatically apply them to new photos as you upload, so you don’t even have to think about it.

Tip: When you Watermark, why not consider letting your fans use your display copies for free? They get to share the low-res files with their friends, which means free advertising for you.

You can add watermarks to your images prior to uploading to SmugMug (through Lightroom or other image editors) but that watermark becomes a part of the original file that we print from. If you do this we, recommend that you disable printing in your galleries. By using the SmugMug Watermark tool, the custom watermark is applied to your display copies only after upload, leaving your originals in pristine condition.

Finally, you can have as many different Watermarks as you wish on file in your SmugMug account. We just recommend that you don’t keep too many, or the list can start to get confusing.

Where to Find Your Watermarks

Your SmugMug Account Settings

Look in your Account Settings > Business tab. The first section there, Branding, will contain several important pro features, including Watermarks. This is your home base where you can manage, edit or delete any Watermarks you’ve uploaded to your site.

Tip: To change or remove the watermarks on your photos, you’ll go to your gallery’s Tools button. We’ll cover this in a minute.

How to Create and Apply Your Custom Watermark

Create transparent png file in Photoshop

First, you’ll create a special file using your favorite image editing program, like Photoshop. We suggest starting with a transparent file about 1000 x 2000 pixels in size (you can always crop it down or change this later), adding in any text that you wish and/or using your logo. When in doubt, start with a large canvas so that your finished watermark looks good on our full range of display sizes.

Tip: Given that your Watermark will be sitting over colorful images, you may want to keep the font color a simple opaque white, but it’s up to you.

Save your file as a transparent PNG file and upload it to an unlisted gallery on your site. Then click the gallery Tools button > This Photo > Make into Watermark. We’ll then let you set up the opacity, placement and other settings for that Watermark. Don’t forget to give it a unique name!

Tip: If you plan on using several watermarks, or if you’re experimenting with different ones, you may want to be specific and call out placement and the font, like “Center Helvetica for portraits” or “Bottom right logo 2013.” Being tidy is just a good idea, anyway.

We have a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial showing you how to make a sample Watermark file on our help pages. And we have a fabulous video tutorial, too, where you can see watermarks in action.

How to Change or Remove Your Watermarks

First, create and upload your new Watermark to your site, then set it up as aWatermark with a new, unique name. Once that’s done, you can go to any gallery on your site and open the Tools button > Many Photos > Watermarking.

Change or remove watermarks

You’ll see a new screen with thumbnails of every image in that gallery. Click to select one, a few, or all of them so that they’re highlighted in red, pick the new Watermark name from the menu bar at the top and click “Watermark.”

If you want to remove watermarks from your photos completely, it’s the same deal. Only choose the “Remove” radio button at the top. Again, click the “Watermark” button to save your changes.

Note that it can take a few minutes before you see the changes on your photos, so it’s a great time to put the kettle on or stretch your legs.

How to Fit Both Landscape and Portrait Images

We get this question from time to time, but it’s a bit tricky. After all, your camera’s sensor and how you crop your images can drastically affect the aspect ratio of your final image, which changes the placement of your Watermark.

If you want your Watermark to look good on both portrait and landscape-oriented images, here’s a suggestion: Go square! This doesn’t mean that the visible Watermark has to be square, only the image file that you’re using. So try creating a square transparent PNG, center your watermark text and make sure you keep it centered when you set it up in SmugMug.

Another alternative is to make a corner edge Watermark. Simply align your Watermark’s text along the bottom and one side of your image file and when setting it up in SmugMug, choose one of the Bottom left or Bottom right placement options.

Option 3: You can always tile your Watermark so that your design is repeated uniformly across the image. (See below for example)

And finally, if you’re really picky about perfect Watermarks on all your images, you may want to create and set up two versions of your design: one for landscape photos and one for portraits. Note that you can only set your Gallery Settings to automatically apply one Watermark, but you can manually apply the second one to only the photos you want to switch.

Watermarks vs Printmarks: What’s the Diff?

These two features are cousins. The thing to remember is that Watermarks are applied to the photos displayed on your website. Printmarks are like watermarks for your prints, and only appear on products that you and your customers buy.

Set Printmarks up just like you set up your Watermarks! The only thing to keep in mind is that Printmarks, unlike Watermarks, are limited in the size and area of the photo so they stay unobtrusive. Check the preview if you’re unsure.

Tip: Great ideas for Printmarks include the event date, your handwritten signature, team name, graduation year. What else can you dream up?

When They Work Great and When They Won’t

Watermarks go a long way towards preventing image theft by right-clickers and screen-grabbers, plus they’re great for spreading the word about you… but not everyone loves them. Some people find anything extra on the image distracting, and large Watermarks can sometimes cover up vital parts of the photo.

Unobtrusive Watermarks close to the edge or in corners can be cropped out, and of course there’s always the chance (however slight) that someone with lots of time and Photoshop experience can remove it.

Finally, Watermarks can be applied to photos only, so they won’t work on your video files. For security on your videos, and for better image protection all-around, we recommend using Right-Click Protection as well.

Great Watermarks We’ve Known

For your inspiration, here’s a few examples of various watermarks we’ve found along the way. You may want to try these  yourself!

Corner:


Photo by Schmootography

Center logo:


Photo by Brian Rice Photography


Photo by Creative Focus Portrait Photography

Banner style:


Photo by Barnet Photography


Photo by Barn Door Studio


Photo by Meghan MacAskill Photography

Strike:


Photo by Trick The Light Studio

Tiled:

Photo by MJR Photography

Let’s Get You Started!

Are you ready to dive in? We’ve already pre-loaded a generic “PROOF” watermark into your website that you can use right away, but here’s a few basic watermarks you can snag to change it up.

Grab PNG files for square, portrait, landscape and banner watermarks

We hope that these questions hit all the points you may have been wondering about this powerful feature. If we missed one and you still need help, give our Heroes a shout!

Smug Tip of the Week: 6 Great Time-Savers Right Under Your Nose

April 16, 2013 8 comments

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re constantly looking for a way to maximize your time behind the camera and shrink time spent at your desk. While it’s important to keep your photos safe, secure and organized, you don’t have to blow your entire evening doing it.

Here’s few features built in to your account that will help you shave a few valuable seconds off of your photo-flow.

1. Quick Settings (All)

Did you know that once you find that “sweet spot” of Gallery Settings, you can save it as a template? This way you don’t have to click each line to set specs on every. single. gallery. Set it and forget it! You’ll find all the Quick Settings you’ve saved in a handy dropdown bar on the gallery creation page.

How it’s done: Open up any gallery’s settings page and make sure that the settings are to taste. Scroll to the top and click the menu bar under “Quick Settings” header. You can give your current set of settings a descriptive name from this space, apply a Quick Setting, or apply a Quick Setting to multiple galleries at once. To delete a Quick Setting, simply highlight it in the bar and click the “delete template” button that appears.

Things to note: Gallery titles, gallery descriptions, keywords, the category/subcategory, NiceNames, and themes don’t get carried over by Quick Settings. You will need to set these manually for each gallery.

2. Smart Galleries (All)

Smart Galleries automate the photos that are included in your gallery. You create a set of rules to follow and we’ll listen, pulling in the photos that you’ve specified. Pick from a variety of options, like by keyword or date uploaded. The gallery will automatically Collect new photos that you  upload to your SmugMug account that follow those same rules.

How it’s done: You’ll find your Smart Gallery settings in your Gallery Settings, under “Make This Gallery Smart.” From there you’ll be able to add rules that fit your requirements, tweakable to taste.

Things to note: Freshly-uploaded photos may take a little time to be included in your galleries, but they’ll get there. Please be patient! If you really can’t wait, open your Smart Gallery rules and hit the “Click to Refresh Preview” button to pull them in. Don’t forget to save your changes.

3. Lightroom plugin (All)

We talk about the SmugMug plugin for Lightroom a lot, but we really do think it’s one of the best inventions since lens caps. It’s free, it’s easy, it automates so much of your digital workflow… pro or not, for everything you shoot. And so many smart photographers are already loving Lightroom to process and organize their photos.

How it’s done: Download the free SmugMug plugin and install it according to instructions. You can edit, organize and even sync your SmugMug galleries right through Lightroom’s modules. When you’re ready, publish your photos and upload to SmugMug with a click. Business SmugMuggers, remember that you can sync, edit and republish your clients’ Event favorites, making sure your wires never get crossed.

Things of note: The plugin in remarkably easy to use, but Lightroom can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. We recommend reviewing our Lightroom help page, FAQ and to watch our webinar.

4. Easy Customizer (Power, Portfolio, Business)

If our 70+ default themes don’t work for you, our point-and-click Easy Customizer is your new best friend. It’s super-easy to add your own logo and color scheme and have it instantly applied across your entire site. You get a preview of your website at all times in the left pane, so there are no surprises once you hit Publish. Leave your code at the door.

How it’s done: You can access the Easy Customizer right from your homepage  Tools button. Click around the many different options on the right, preview what you’ve done and then Publish to show the world! If you add any banner or background images via the Easy Customizer, you’ll find those in an unlisted gallery that we create for you, called “My SmugMug Site Files (Do Not Delete).

Things to note: For more complicated tweaks like changing specific items in certain galleries, or Javascript modifications, you’ll need to check out Advanced Customizations. We provide plenty of help on this through our Dgrin forums.

5. Proof Delay (Portfolio, Business)

Busy pro? We know. Proof Delay lets you quickly upload your unedited proof images into your clients’ galleries and get their approval the night of the shoot. This means they can buy prints while they’re still excited, and you save time by editing just the pics they’ve bought. Happy client, happy you. What more can you ask for?

How it’s done: Open your Gallery Settings and scroll down to the “Printing” option. You can enter a number between 1-7 there, which will factor into the potential shipping time quoted to your client. Once your orders are in, you can replace the image in your gallery with an edited version, then release the order to the print lab. Read more here.

Things to note: Proof Delay doesn’t currently apply to digital downloads, so if you plan on selling those be sure that you’ve edited your images before enabling or pricing that option.

6. Assistant Passwords (Portfolio, Business)

Why not have someone else do your uploading and organizing while you’re away? Assistant Passwords are one of the many time-saving features included in pro accounts, designed to let someone else do your busywork for you. Your password and billing information is never revealed, but they can take care of all those little details while you’re out on a shoot.

How it’s done: Set your assistant password from the Privacy tab of your Account Settings. Make sure it’s different from the password that you use to log in. Read all the details about what your assistant can or won’t be able to do.

Things to note: Although there are several security measures in place to ensure your account isn’t compromised, Assistants by definition have the ability to make changes on your site. Be sure that person you let in the door is someone you trust to manage your photos!

We hope that we’ve introduced you to a few way that help you get more things done in your day. Share your thoughts and tell us what’s on your time-saving wishlist!

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