One of the requests we’ve heard time and time again from you over the years was the ability to visually organize all of your photos and galleries from one screen. So that’s what we did in the New SmugMug, and we keep hearing from Smuggers using the new site-wide organizer just how essential it is to their everyday workflow.
Whether or not you believe in making resolutions at the New Year, we think it’s worth it to try and be more organized, no matter when. More time, less digging, easier path to your favorite memories – What’s not to love?
New SmugMug gives you 5 layers of organization, too, which means you can sort your photo up to 7 layers deep. That’s a lot of trips! (and weddings, and soccer games, and…)
Without further ado, here are the 4 best reasons why you should try out the Organizer and how it’s a ginormous step up over the Legacy way of doing things. And since we’re intent on sharing tips, there’s a few of those thrown in to help you find your way around, too.
P.S. Are you still using Legacy SmugMug and want to try the new Organizer? Get started now by migrating your account, or read our FAQ for answers to the most common questions longtime SmugMuggers have asked.
In the last year we’ve put out a lot of posts on this blog: product announcements, tutorials on taking better photos, tips to make more moolah and articles on how to get the most out of SmugMug.
So in case you weren’t glued to every moment we typed here, we’re sharing one last chance to catch your top 5 favorite articles that you may not have seen:
1) 5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell
2) How to Make a Photo Blog
3) The Save Photo Reminder
4) 5 Killer Locations for Your Portrait Sessions
5) Guide Your Guests to the Gold
Why confuse your site visitors? We picked some of the best examples of beautiful, easy-to-navigate sites on SmugMug and show you just why they work so well. Read more >>
And since we’re talking about recaps, it only makes sense to share the “top” five of the more subtle articles that deserve a second round in the spotlight! Here they are:
1) How to Succeed in the Business of Love
2) Why Events Are Best for Your Business
If you’re a pro with a Business account, Events are our #1 favorite tool that you probably don’t know about. Here’s why they work, what your customer will see, and some tried-and-true suggestions for integrating them into your portrait and wedding workflow. Read more >>
3) 5 Things Your Client Needs to Hear
Are your subjects happy? Confused? Confident in your ability to get the shot? Here are our pros’ top tips on what to tell your models so that you have a successful photo shoot… and they have a great time, too. Read more >>
4) How to Make your Visitors Feel at Home
Having a great website is more than just throwing some photos up on the web. Here are our suggestions for creating a helpful, pleasant experience for the people who browse your site. Clients, too! Read more >>
5) How to Organize a Photo Walk
Our photo-fiend-friend Scott Jarvie is known for his ability to rally local photographers to get up and get out shooting! If you’d like to take action and inspire your photo-neighbors to go snapping with you, here’s a few planning tips to get you on your way. Read more >>
We hope you have a safe, warm, happy and thoroughly joyous holiday!
Since our launch we’ve gotten a ton of feedback… and even more tickets, requests and emails than we ever imagined! Our amazing Support Heroes have been feverishly busy, so if you have a basic question and would rather not wait, please join us online.
Getting Started: 7 New Live Webinars
Excited? Nervous? Can’t find the right button to get what you want?
We’re here to help with questions like:
“How long can we keep using the Legacy web site before we are forced to go to this new version?”
“My site was customized and I love it now. Can I move everything ? What about my guest book – will that move?”
Tune in for a one-hour introduction to the new options and tools on your SmugMug website. We’ll touch on migrating, choosing and editing designs, how to customize and how to use the new site organizer.
***UPDATE*** Our first 1-hour webinar is now on our video channel, so you can skip right ahead and watch it now.
But if you still have questions that weren’t answered, pick a time that works for you and register below:
**Another update! New Webinars for Brand-New SmugMuggers**
Did you just sign up for a SmugMug account and want to get your website going right away? Join us for our next Getting Started webinars:
SmugMug Basics Fri, Aug 2, 2013 11:00 AM PT (2:00 PM ET) SmugMug Basics Fri, Aug 2, 2013 5:30 PM PT (8:30 PM ET) SmugMug Basics Mon Aug 5, 2013 1:00 PM – 2 PM PDT (4:00 PM – 5 PM PM EDT) SmugMug Basics Mon Aug 5, 2013 5:00 PM – 6 PM PDT (8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT)
See you online, and thanks to everyone so far for your support and feedback!
You’re a photographer who’s oh-so-ready to make money. We hear ya. But if you’ve gotten every hair in place and you’ve still not seen that “Cha-Ching!” email, here are a few possible reasons why you’ve not been getting bites.
1. No Buy Button
Is it there? This is possibly one of the most dire but easiest flubs to fix. Maybe you disabled this or applied a Quick Setting that hid the Buy button from your galleries, but if you don’t switch it back on you’ll never sell a single print. So be sure to check your galleries and if it’s missing, enable printing in your Gallery Settings. Easy peasy!
2. No Pricing
We hate asking this, but… you DID set up your pro pricing, right? With Pricelists it’s really easy to set a pro markup on just the products you want, then apply that pricing to any or all galleries across your site. But if you forget to do this, you won’t make a dime.
Tip: If you don’t want to think about this ever again, check the “Make this my default pricelist” at the top right and we’ll automagically apply this pricelist to all current and new galleries on your site.
Also, are you charging enough? It may seem counter-intuitive, but we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your prices high and charging what you’re worth. In short: Don’t be cheap.
3. Nasty RCP Message
We’re all about protecting your photos and making sure that you have peace of mind when putting your best work on the web. But there are ways to use them, and then there are better ways to use them. We’re here to show you the latter.
Like your Right-Click Protection message: It’s there to foil right-clickers looking for an easy download, but most photographers just put a boilerplate copyright message, or a threat. Instead of slapping your customers, try to guide them to your Buy button for a profit-making purchase. You’ll look competent AND helpful all at the same time. Fix it under the “Photos” line in your Easy Customizer.
4. Originals On
So many SmugMug users use their galleries to share photos with friends and family. But as a Pro, being that generous may not be so good for business. Originals (and full-res downloads) are on by default, but it’s a quick fix to change this. Just remember to do it!
Open up your gallery settings and look for the Security & Privacy option. Set the radio button to anything smaller than Originals (like XLarge), and to check, log out and take a breeze through your galleries. You’ll always see a Save Photo option when you’re logged in as the owner, but you shouldn’t see it when you’re viewing your site as a guest.
5. Zero Marketing
Ah, the feeling of sweet success on the morning you unveil your website! But wait… did you share the link?
Like relationships, you’ve got to put a little effort in to get something back. So be sure to enter in your keywords, captions, meta description and meta keywords to be sure you get picked up in search engines. Also share the link to your site with friends, Facebook and anywhere else you go online. After all, you can’t make sales if nobody knows you exist.
6. Password Foibles
Many clients want their event galleries locked down with a viewing password, and, yeah, we understand privacy. But our Support Heroes hear from more people than we’d expect that get hit with this one. We hear from confused clients, curious pros who expected instant sales, but the culprit is usually that the password never got shared! So if you’ve just put the finishing touches on your latest wedding gallery and your inbox is a ghost town, think back to whether or not you’ve completed this vital step.
The lesson? Don’t forget to share your viewing passwords with the people that matter most. Since passwords are cAsE sEnSiTiVe we recommend copying and pasting what you type in your gallery settings right into your emails.
7. You Launched Yesterday
It’s possible to find overnight success on the web, but patience is still a virtue. You can plug in every keyword and meta description properly, shared with your Facebook fans and distributed your business cards to shops across town, but you’ll still have to wait to see the effect. It takes time for Google to do its work, and for tongues to wag.
So instead of stressing out, grab your camera, keep on shooting and work on honing your craft. Your soon-to-be clients will only love you more.
- How to create and apply Quick Settings
- Gallery Settings: Your key to almost everything
- What’s Visitor View and why do I care?
- Stop slapping your customers with a good Right-Click Protection message
- How easy is the Easy Customizer?
- Save Photos for site owners
- The Great Pricing Hoax
- The art of getting a link to share
- Warning! Sharing photos will make you lots of money
- SEO and SmugMug
- A privacy cheat sheet
- Publish to Facebook from your SmugMug galleries
- SEO made easy on SmugMug
These days, everyone has a website and we think they’re great. But how do you know exactly what your friends, family and fans are really thinking when they see it? And if you’re a pro making money from your craft: Are you sure that your site is doing everything it can to get you clients and seal the deal? How much business are you losing from silly mistakes?
After browsing tons of sites and hearing the advice from our marvelous team of Support Heroes, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best, most effective and appealing website you possibly can.
1) Your Contact Information
Omitting or hiding ways for people to reach you is a grave mistake, one that you may not even know you’re making. Think it through: If someone finds your site and wants to talk with you, how would they do it? If you forget to include your contact information (or hide it several clicks deep), would you expect them to spend more than 5 minutes hunting for it before they give up? Chances are you don’t even have that long before they move on.
It’s true that putting your email address or phone number out in public can be risky. But there are plenty of great ways to let your fans reach out to you without throwing the door open to everyone that walks by.
What you should do: First and foremost, have a way to contact you either at the top, bottom, or in the navigation bar of your website. With SmugMug it’s easy to add a link using the Easy Customizer, plus we highly recommend that SmugMug Portfolio and Business users fill out the Customer Email info in their Account Settings. This way, anyone clicking the “Contact” link in your footer will get a safe, handy pop-up box where they can send you a direct message. You can even customize the text and place that link in your navbar.
The great thing is that everyone has a website these days, including you. But the downside is… everyone has a website these days. How will you stand out? The answer is: Be yourself! You have a personality and it’s completely unique. Use your witty language, goofy selfies or whatever it takes to show the world that you’re way more than just another link on the web. Talk about what drives you and why you’re so passionate about your work. They’ll absolutely love meeting you in your studio or your next gallery show.
What you should do: It’s hard to talk about yourself and it’s even harder to weed out what strangers want to hear (vs what’s TMI), but don’t be afraid to browse through some of your favorite websites and see what sticks in your mind about their bios. And what doesn’t.
3) Punctuality, Punctuation, Competence
Nothing looks more sloppy than a super-slow website with broken images and dead links. Even if you aren’t looking to make money through your website, you still want to look poised, polished, and perfect as any pro. Right? So do a regular audit of your site, click those links and update them regularly to make sure they work the first time, every time. When you’re logged out of your site and viewing like a guest, what do you see?
What you should do: On SmugMug, we already give you warp-speed page loads and unlimited traffic and sharing. So become as famous as you want. We can take it. Our Share button will generate handy share and embed links for all your photos, so you can be sure those images look beautiful every single time.
Your gorgeous photos may speak for themselves, but if your site’s a mess the message will still get lost. K.I.S.S. When you have house guests you clean up, so extend the same courtesy to your online space. No one needs to see (or trip and fall into) the photographic equivalent of your laundry pile.
What you should do: Curate a few examples of your very best work and make it easy to find via a slideshow, featured gallery at the top of your homepage, or a straightofrward link in your navigation bar. Similarly, create a clearly-labeled About page and a way for them to contact you. Love to archive? That’s OK. Just keep the rest of your photos neatly organized, too, so leisurely browsers can find their way around.
5) Your Brand
Panic not, weekend warriors. Even if you’re not a working professional, it’s important – but easy! – to give your viewers a unified look and feel that translates to a cohesive experience. Yes it sounds markety, but simply using the same colors and font size from page to page can keep your fans feeling grounded and sure that you’ve got your stuff together. And you do, right?
If you’re a pro, having your company’s name, logo and a simple set of colors can be all you need to say, “Yeah, I got it.”
What you should do: Customization on the new SmugMug is as easy as drag-and-drop. You can add your own logo to the top of your site, pick your own colors and even create your own Themes that match your brand. It’s easiest to just try it, but you can get an idea of how it’s done by browsing the articles on our help pages.
What you should do (for Legacy SmugMug): The Easy Customizer makes it easy for Power Users, Portfolio and Business SmugMuggers to add a custom logo graphic to the top of every page. Choose matching colors using the tools under the Background, Text, Boxes and Photos bars and you’re all set to go. Read more about our customization options here, and, pros, don’t forget about Order Branding, too.
6) Your Services
The key to making great sales is to do the thinking for potential customers so they don’t have to. The most basic way to do this is to be crystal-spanking-clear about what your specialities are and which services you offer. Whether you shoot BMX, babies or brides, making it obvious in your brand and portfolio is the best (and most efficient) way to make sure that the right customers are finding you. After all, if you’re a commercial fashion photographer, do you want to be fielding questions from the local high school sports team?
What you should do: Create a specific page on your site that lists out what services that you do offer, and give your fans a phone number, email address or other way to get in touch with you. If you just want a guestbook for comments, we recommend uploading at least one photo and turning on comments so folks can say hi. Check out FAQ 29 and 30 to see how to do this if you’re using Legacy SmugMug. Here’s a tutorial that shows you how to create a custom page in the all-new SmugMug.
7) Your Best Work
People are looking to see just what you’re made of, so this is your chance to sum it up and show it off. Curate a gallery that contains the best examples of what you do and keep it updated with fresh new photos as you take them. Choose images that really show that you love what you do, and show the full breadth of your abilities: Lighting, posing, serendipity, emotion… this is what people love to see! As an added bonus, you’re choosing the clients and fans who resonate the most with what you do.
What you should do: Take a swing through the photos that you remember best and that you think represent yourself. It can be hard, but you can always use Collect Photo to add a virtual copy to one gallery, then easily remove the ones that you don’t think make the cut.
8) Your Location
The web is a wonderful thing and brings people near and far to your doorstep, but this can be a setback, too. For example, it’s obvious to you that your town of Springfield is in New Jersey, but potential Googlers in Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon and Missouri may not be so sympathetic. Be specific about the areas that you serve so that you’ll score top search results by clients looking to hire locals like you.
What you should do: If you talk about your location in your homepage or About page, be specific about the state or country where you’re willing to work. You can also add those terms and keywords in your Account Settings > Discovery > Search section so that Google and other search engines pick you up ASAP.
9) Good Grammar
Need we say anything about this, really? Your website is a representation of you, right down to the words you’ll use. Please be sure you make sense, you’ve put in the effort to have it proofread by someone else, and that everything looks as clean and polished as you are.
What you should do: Write, edit, then get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Read the copy on your site out loud. Check your spelling. Sleep on it, then read it again. All the usual tricks of the trade will help you step back and get as much perspective as possible. The best part is that any- and everything is easily changed on your SmugMug site at any moment… so edit as much as you like!
We hope that these 9 tips come in handy the next time you’re spring cleaning your website. Got more great ideas for getting fans finding you? Please share!
- Account Settings and what they do
- SmugMug’s four fabulous account types
- Get a Link to share (with one click)
- How to feature slideshows and galleries on your homepage
- Get organized with Categories
- How to start branding with the Easy Customizer
- What are my customization options?
- Order Branding: The SmugMug pro’s secret weapon
- Leverage SmugMug to make the most money
- Copy-and-paste customization FAQ
- Collecting photos for easy portfolios
- SEO made easy on SmugMug
Over the last few weeks we’ve been thinking about our big planet and all the weird riddles that concept brings. We’ve brought you information about tiny photography, tips for your small business, how to shrink the gap between you and your fans, and how to make your time sitting at your desk smaller so you go to out and explore this glorious world.
Here’s a quick recap.
Photo by Liquid Drop Art
- Brian Valentine’s Beautiful and Savage Garden Fantastic (and useful) tips for taking your own stunning macro bug and flower photos.
- The Weird, Wonderful World of Droplets eBook author Corrie White shares her story of how she got started taking intensely gorgeous droplet photos… and how you can, too.
- Tilt Shift Miniaturization Honey, I shrunk New York! An interview with fine art photographer Richard Silver.
Your small business
- How to Stay in Business Our friend Varina Patel magically juggles her photo education business, travel, and her family. She shared some great tips with us about how to keep the first afloat.
- 7 Rules for Small Businesses Will your small business survive? Quickbooks Certified Advisor Kathy Rappaport has something to say about that.
Shrink your workflow
- SmugMug time savers hiding under your nose It’s gorgeous outside, so what are you waiting for? Use these tricks to save time at your desk, so you can get back to shooting.
- Kickstart your Lightroom Workflow Matt Kloskowski is a master Adobe educator and it shows. Here are his suggestions for Lightroom users to get your photos organized before you can say, “Publish!”
Shrink your world
Hectic holiday? It doesn’t have to be if you plan on uploading your photos (and videos) to your SmugMug galleries! You’ve already got your hands tied with hot chocolate, ribbons and last-minute gift planning, so here’s a few tips that will help make the picture sharing part of it refreshingly easy.
1) Show Off: Badges and Slideshows
This handy feature lets you build your own mini slideshow or photo mosaic to any size you wish, and gives you easy copy-and-paste code to embed it. You don’t have to know any nerd magic to get this going, and it automatically refreshes with new photos when you add more stuff to your gallery.
You’ll find this little feature a godsend for blogs, forums and websites. Anywhere that allows you to embed Flash objects. Here’s how to do it.
2) Guest Uploading for Party People
With all those folks at your house snapping away, you need a hub where guests can pool their photos and relive the glory of your massive decorating skills. SmugMug to the rescue!
Create a new gallery for your event and then open up the gallery settings. Set any word you wish into the “Upload key” box, like this:
The next time you fire up the uploader in that gallery, you’ll see a secret link at the bottom that you can copy and share. Your friends can visit that link and we’ll automagically pop up an uploader so they can easily drag and drop in their photos from the night.
Just remember that anyone who gets ahold of the link can upload to that gallery, so be aware when you share. More about guest uploads.
3) Make and Sell Photo Cards
We’ve been talking a lot about our holiday cards this year, but they’re so beautiful we just have to tell you again. And there is truly no better, easier way to take the best photos you’ve taken (or the best photos someone’s taken of you) and pair them up with custom, heartfelt season’s greetings.
Our catalog is bursting with new designs for everyone, whether your style is vintage, contemporary, minimalist or traditional. Or all of the above. Just look for the Buy button > Create a Card option in your favorite gallery and start building your 4×8 or 5×7 masterpiece!
Read all about cards, including how to price and sell them.
4) Custom Categories for Easy Navigation
Did you know that when our pre-loaded list of Categories (and sub-categories) don’t work for you, you can create your own? And that you can edit the URL that shows in the browser bar when you’re viewing your categories?
We make it breathtakingly easy to efficiently organize your site, share the URL verbally, and even get better Google juice. It’s like Christmas came early!
Take a closer look and bone up on the basics of Categories, then take it a step further and learn how to use Categories to your best advantage. This year, you’ll have your “I will be more tidy” New Year’s resolutions totally beat.
5) Picmonkey: Funky Photo Editing
Picmonkey may be our (unintentionally) best-kept secret. But if you haven’t already tried this smart, sassy tool to edit your SmugMug photos, run – don’t walk – to your nearest Tools button and find it now.
It’s built right into every SmugMug gallery and you can do everything from basic exposure correction and redeye fix to adding graphics, words, textures, frames and filters. And more. Tons, tons more.
It’s totally free to use — even their premium features, since they’re still the new kid on the block.
Check it out now and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your photos. :)
6) Camera Awesome for iPhone and iPad
If you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to leave the DSLR in your office. You can shoot up to 9 fps with our free camera app, meaning you never miss a moment. And apply gorgeous effects and filters to make them shine.
Best of all, your shots won’t stay locked on your phone where no one will see them. Share direct to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and back them up safely to your SmugMug account so you can visit them year after year. Download it free right now.
Bonus! Business features for Pros
Since there’s a lot of pros out there, here are three additional features we snuck in to remind you Business SmugMuggers that there’s a lot more to your website than just photos.
A) Coupons - A no-brainer for getting your customers a little extra nudge this holiday season! With a Business account, you can choose from 5 different types and create as many coupons as you wish.. which means you can tailor your discount codes to every client. Be sure to set an expiry date so they don’t sit on a good deal forever.
B) Events and Favorites - Intimidated? Don’t be. Events let you corral galleries into groups, so your customers can easily view only the photos that matter to them most. Best of all, they can tag and save their Favorite photos to a special gallery only they can see. All which makes browsing and buying a breeze.
C) Order Branding -This feature actually consists of three separate (and awesome) tools: Cart Branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints. All of them ensure that you and your brand stay connected to your customers until the prints are sitting in their hands. And you can easily switch up your Order Branding designs from season to season, so you look super organized… even if you’re not.
GIVEAWAY! What’s Your Lifesaver?
In the spirit of giving, we’re digging through Smuggy’s workshop and rounding up some of our best swag items.
To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and tell us which SmugMug feature you find helps most during your holiday rush.
We’ll pick a random winner and announce it in this space on Friday, December 7th, 2012.
From all of us at SmugMug, we wish you a picture-perfect holiday! And we can’t wait to hear what you can’t live without.
**UPDATE** The Magic SmugMug 8-ball chose Melissa Ponder as our winner. Congrats Melissa and we’ll be contacting you directly. Thanks to everyone and have a great weekend!
- How to properly show off your photos
- Let your friends upload photos to your gallery
- How to make scandalously good holiday cards
- SmugMug’s full catalog of custom photo cards
- How to master Categories and Subcategories
- Free photo editing with Picmonkey
- Free your photos with Camera Awesome
- Make and use custom discount coupons
- Events and Favorites: The easiest path to more sales
- Cart branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints
You’ve probably taken a spin through our catalog of 2012 holiday cards and seen how easy it is to build, buy and sell photo cards through your galleries. But if you’re still trying to decide on what to send, here’s a few tips that may help you narrow it down based on what’s important to you.
Holiday shipping deadlines! If you’re shopping for someone this season, be sure that you get your orders in no later than the following dates for December 24th delivery. (For domestic US and UK orders only)
- 6-10 Business days: December 5th, 2012
- 3-5 Business days: December 12th, 2012
- 2 Business days: December 17th, 2012
- 1 Business day: December 18th, 2012
1) Cards For Word Nerds.
Had a busy year? You can tell your friends and family all about it in these templates that give you tons of space to say anything you wish. Fill it with your family newsletter, your favorite recipe or a festive poem.
Inside you’ll see plenty of space to write whatever you wish, perfect for inviting your readers to curl up with a mug of hot cocoa and read what’s new with you:
2) Cards For Studios
We get asked a lot if any of our cards include a text box on the back panel to add a business name. The answer is: Yes! If you want to type in your studio name, website URL or even a surprise message on the back of your card, look no further. These designs rock a little text field so you can have the last word.
Find them in the “Back of Card Text” category in the card builder.
Here are two fabulous examples:
3) Cards For Multi-taskers
Christmas comes but once a year, but there are so many more occasions worthy of great photo cards. We offer several designs that let you simply change the text and photos, so you can take your favorite card from “New Year” to “New Baby!”
These designs boast clean layouts or multiple color options, so you can dress them up for any event.
4) Cards For Happy Snappers
For those of you who love to share lots of photos and can’t pick out just one or two, try these. We offer lots of designs that give you space to drag and drop in up to 8 different images.
You can easily find all the photo-heavy card designs in our catalog. Simply look at the top and click the “Sort by: Number of Photos” link you see there.
We hope that you’ll find the perfect card in our catalog to suit any photo and any holiday greeting you’re dreaming up.
Happy holiday planning from SmugMug!
Tips, info and inspiration with cards:
As the holidays creep ever closer, we thought we’d ask for (and share!) some sage advice from someone who seriously knows beautiful cards, beautiful photos, and how to put them together into beautiful designs. Today, we’re going to share what we learned from Meghan of The Shoppe Designs, who gave us 5 great tips that will help take your holiday cards from “yaaawn” to “YEOWSA!”
In short: Start with a beautiful design, then follow through with smart and effective personal touches so that your holiday greetings become the talk of the town.
1) Match the mood between your photos and the design.
Sure, you can always pick a bunch of your favorite photos from the year and slap them into a card, but your friends and family will really notice when your photos and your card design match in color and style. For example, if you pair a formal portrait with a playful design, the presentation will look way less harmonious than it would when you match the mood and colors. Like music, find the chord that resonates best.
Here are some pairings that work well:
- If your family session is outdoors and the family is wearing neutral colors, try them against cards with organic and vintage designs.
- If your session included your family wearing brightly-colored clothes, a more playful and bright design would work well. Or better yet, try a simple, white card with little text so the colors in the photos really pop!
- If your photo has a lot going on it it (lots of props, colors, several family members, etc) try dropping them into a simple design like a 5×7 folded card with the photo on the front and some simple text inside. Sometimes less is way more.
Thankfully, no matter what you do, the SmugMug card builder lets you preview them together before ordering so you can be sure your design and photo work together well!
2) Use photos from a single photo session.
There’s certainly an art to arranging multiple photos together on a card, but it’s still easy. The hot tip is to use photos from the same session and even the same part of your photo session for continuity’s sake. For instance, if your photographer shot different locations for your family shoot (some in front of the barn, some in the field, etc) try filling the multiple photo layout using various photos from the field. Then spice it up with a photo or two from a different location on the inside or back of the card. This way, your card keeps a unified sense of colors and style and will visually blend together.
Another fun option is to fill in the wells of your card with a photo sequence of different poses. For example, a series of shots at the same focal length of the subject(s) doing different things from the same sitting. It’s a fun, easy way to add a little motion and storytelling to your card. As always, try to pick ones that have colors that work well with your design!
3) Edit your photos.
A well-edited photo can really make the finished card sing, so processing your photos before putting them into your cards is a very important step.
Tip: If you’re using photos from your pro photographer, they’ve most likely already done this step for you. Whew!
You can push and pull the colors to go with your design and make everything even more perfect. The Shoppe Designs offers unique Photoshop Actions that can help you do this very easily. With just a few clicks, you can give your outdoor family shoot a warm, vintage feel and then it will match perfectly with a vintage-style card. On the flip side, you can brighten up the colors of an engagement session shoot even more to make them really pop on a simple white backdrop. And of course there’s the classic black and white option, which lets your images’ emotion speak for itself.
Not all actions work with all photos, but a great action can really bring a great photo to a whole new level!
Did you know? Post-processing is usually best for photos that you haven’t uploaded yet, but you can still polish up your images even if you’ve already added them into your SmugMug account. Try Picmonkey, a great in-browser editing tool built right in to your galleries, where you can fix redeye, exposure, add filters, textures and lots more. Look for it under your gallery’s Tools button > This Photo > Edit with Picmonkey.
4) Find inspiration for your text.
Writing your holiday message can be intimidating, and it’s hard to come up with greetings that aren’t generic or clichéd. It sounds silly, but try thinking about different holiday songs and lyrics to get in the mood and those festive juices flowing! You can take just a part of a song, like “All is calm, all is bright” (from Silent Night) which makes a beautiful and yet unexpected greeting.
What songs or poems tug at your heartstrings for the holidays? Get nostalgic. Get personal.
5) Use Caution With Fonts.
Fonts can be tricky. It’s generally best to keep the default fonts in the card you pick, as many designs are based around the font. But SmugMug does give you the option to change the font on many of the cards, so just be sure to proceed with caution.
Unless you have a lot of experience in design it is generally a good idea to not use too many different fonts together. It takes a fair amount of experience to determine which fonts work together and which… don’t.
Some basic font guidelines to follow:
- If your photo is more formal or serious, usually a serif font (that’s the one with the little feet) tends to work best.
- If you’re using fun shots of kids, a handwritten font can really play up the cuteness.
- If you want a modern look, most of the simple sans-serif (no feet) fonts will complement the style well. For instance, with an engagement session of a young couple in very stylish clothes in the city, try a thin sans serif font in all caps.
- If you’re using a more formal wedding portrait, a serif font would works best. Remember to keep it simple and think about how it works with the image stye.
We hope these tips get you excited and inspired to start making your cards and filling them with your year’s best memories. More tips and inspiration coming soon!