Now’s typically the time of year when you step back and re-evaluate your life. Whether or not you follow tradition (or break it), it’s always a good idea to think about your photography, your goals, and how you want to get there in the coming months.
Note: Some of these tips are only possible in current SmugMug, so if you’ve been with us since before July 30, 2013 and haven’t upgraded your site, preview the latest version of SmugMug now. You’ll get free access to a slew of incredible new features, because they’re already included in your subscription.
Other Ways to Stay in Control
If you’re super excited to take the tidiness to the next level, here are two more great articles we recommend bookmarking to help you sort your photos and stop the headache.
As always, our Support Heroes are here to help if you have questions. We do way more than just tell you where your Account Settings are – remember that we’re photographers, too, and we’d be thrilled to help you achieve your goals for the year. Talk to us!
This year, skip the stamps and go digital for the family newsletter. Your SmugMug account is the perfect way to share a beautiful, personalized, ever-changing array of memories from the year that’s easily shared with friends, family, and everyone you wish.
Not only do you gain precious extra time to put it together (fab for busy holiday preppers), but you can go way beyond text with a custom SmugMug newsletter page. Think: Video, slideshows, maps, the whole shebang! And it’s interactive, letting your friends and family click through your content, leave comments, share and more.
Creating a custom holiday newsletter can be done as many ways as there are snowflakes in Siberia, so these tips are just a guideline. Feel free to experiment with different content and layouts until you get something you like. The sky’s the limit!
Create a Page. If you plan on making your newsletters digital each year going forward, we suggest actually going a step further and creating a whole new Folder called “Family Newsletters.” From there, you can create your Page and name it by year.
Choose a Theme. Since we’re specifically creating a holiday newsletter, try Winter, Flurries, Blizzard, or Snowflake for that seasonal feel.
Plan your content. Think through the highlights of your year and how you want to present those memories. Would you like to add in a block of thumbnails that viewers can click? Or would you prefer to display them in a slideshow? Do you have any videos you’d like to share of school plays, memorable sports wins, or your annual vacation?
Add your content. To do this, you may want to Collect just the photos you want into a special, unlisted “Newsletter” gallery, so you can easily drop it into the page and not have to select lots of photos from many folders around your site. This also keeps fans who click through to see more from getting lost.
Tell your story. Use Title and Text blocks to greet guests and tell them every detail about your year. Remember that you’re never confined to just one block, so you can break up your text and let it flow down the page around the different photos and other content.
Make it shareable. Don’t forget to add a Social Buttons box at the top or bottom of the page so your viewers can share it with other loved ones you may not be able to reach.
Have a Basic account? While the ability to create custom Pages and use the more advanced Content Blocks are available only with Power accounts and up, there’s plenty you can do. Customize your SmugMug homepage to include all the Content Blocks that tell your story, or create a new gallery and Collect your best photos from around your site to illustrate all the great things you did this year. Your Gallery Description field is the perfect place to greet your guests, and you can use the photo Title and Caption fields to expand on what happened in each and every photo.
Key Smug Features to Use
We’ve just barely skimmed the surface of what you can do, so here’s a list of Content Block options you’ve already got to build the best digital newsletter your family has ever seen.
Custom Pages. Why stop at one? If an epic story needs to be explained, link out to a second, third, or fourth page so your fans can read all about it. We love photo blogs!
Themes. If you’re in Australia, snow may not fit the holiday idea like it would in Canada. Your account comes packed with dozens of beautiful themes, so don’t be afraid to be different.
Text and Title blocks. These are key. You could let your photos speak for themselves, but we prefer tradition on this one.
Maps. If you’re a globetrotter who loves to geotag, embedding a map is a wonderful, interactive way to show your family where you’ve traveled this year.
Slideshow box. A space-saver. For those who don’t prefer the endless scroll, the Slideshow content block is a great way to show off big, beautiful photos one at a time. You can even customize the playback speed, transitions, and much more.
Animoto video. Video clips are a fabulous addition to any newsletter, since paper versions can’t do this at all. But if you’re not sure your shaky vacation clips are up to snuff, you can still create an engaging, professional, beautiful video from your content with Animoto. They’ll do all the work so all you have to do is drop it into your page. Find it in any gallery under Buy > Other Products > Create a Video.
Galleries box. An easy way to feature your best galleries of the year, all around your site.
Comments. Will grandma love this year’s newsletter? Drop in a comment box so you can find out!
Social share buttons. Because you may not have the email address of your second cousin twice removed, the one you hit it off with at your niece’s wedding. But somebody in your network will.
Tip: Pair Your Newsletter with a (Real, Paper) Card
Even if you go digital on the newsletter, you can (and should) still turn your best photos into a beautiful holiday card. SmugMug’s got tons of gorgeous, personalizable designs that complement any photo you’ve ever taken (we’re willing to bet on it).
And since you can write your own words in them, a photo card is the perfect opportunity to debut the link to your newsletter. ;)
We just think the digital newsletter idea gives you much greater creativity and flexibility when it comes to your memories since you can add, change, and update the content your family sees.
Happy holiday planning, and we’d love to see your own creative examples of family newsletters this year! Tweet us a link, send it to our Support Heroes, post it to our Facebook wall, or just leave a comment below so we can check it out.
Did you know SmugMug has a huge library of totally free tutorial videos available 24/7, 365 days of the year? It’s true. We’ve stashed all our webinar archives, tutorial videos, and great playlists on YouTube, the most popular video community on the web, so you can sit back and become a Master SmugMugger in no time.
Even better – we’re always adding new tutorials based on your requests. Today we feature eight brand-new videos, each of them under four minutes so you can get informed and get back to taking great pictures.
And because we’re rolling into the season of giving, remember that we’ve recently released a “How to Buy Prints and Downloads” video ( a short version and a full-length version), perfect for any SmugMuggers looking to help their friends, their mom, or their clients place orders without a hitch.
Since today is World Smile Day (and we love to smile), we thought it was perfectly appropriate to share a few tips we’ve written that help you better create infectious grins throughout your circle of fans.
Keeping your smiles safe, sharable, and profitable:
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.
Our friends at Je Revele Fine Art Portraiture explain their secrets behind building – and maintaining – a happy client base. Perfect for planning your 2014 portrait and wedding schedule! Read more >>
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 >>
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: