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Contest: Show Us Your SmugMug and Enter to Win a 1-Year Free Membership!

September 18, 2013 10 comments

Since our relaunch you’ve been unveiling gorgeous new SmugMug sites and we’re in serious SmugLove. From elegant to inventive, funky to funny, your photo websites are wowin’ us, so we’re kicking off a contest!

From now until December 27, 2013, you can “Show Us Your SmugMug” and enter to WIN a 1-year free membership! We wanna see your new site, share your inspired vision, and get you hooked up with fabulous freebies. Celebrate the all-new SmugMug!

Enter via Twitter or Facebook

Here’s how…

Step 1: Follow SmugMug on Twitter or Fan us on Facebook
Step 2: Tweet @SmugMug or post on Facebook.com/SmugMug a link to your site with the hashtag #NewSmugMug
Step 3: Stay tuned and see if you won! One winner will be picked at random, weekly.

Official Rules

You must have a new SmugMug site to enter or win. Not on new SmugMug yet? No worries. Go to smugmug.com/migration to start playing around with the new SmugMug today.

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. You must be following SmugMug on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/SmugMug) or a fan of SmugMug on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SmugMug) to win.
3. You must use the hashtag #NewSmugMug when you tweet or post a link to your site.
4. The prize value will vary weekly between Basic, Power, Portfolio and Business subscriptions (USD $40-$300 value).  The value of the subscription prize that week will be applied to your account as a credit towards your renewal.

Winner Selection

All winners will be picked randomly by a random number generator and announced every Friday by SmugMug.

We can’t wait to see your sites! We’ll post the winners in a special Winner’s Gallery – stay tuned for some awesome SmugMug site eye candy.

***Update – Winners!*** Check out the final list of winners. Thank you everyone for showing off your gorgeous SmugMug sites! 

Prize: Basic Account

Prize: Power Account

Prize: Portfolio Account

Prize: Business Account

Prize: Basic Account

Prize: Power Account

Prize: Portfolio Account

Prize: Business Account

Prize: Basic Account

Prize: Power Account

Prize: Portfolio Account

Prize: Business Account

Prize: Basic Account

Prize: Power Account

Prize: Portfolio Account

5 Social Media Myths (and What You Should Do About Them)

May 8, 2013 4 comments

Being close and personal with our customers has always been #1 for us at SmugMug. We’ve been engaging with friends, family and our fans for over 10 years, initially through our Support Heroes and online forums, then through Twitter, Facebook and Google+. We love getting to know you! But despite the growth (and explosion) of social media, not all photographers and creatives have embraced the idea of putting themselves on the internet.

We gathered up five of the most commonly-heard myths about social media and chatted with our majorly tech savvy photo-friend, Colby Brown, as well as a round table of our seasoned in-house pro photographers. We didn’t necessarily debunk these myths because we know that everyone’s got different values and goals, but we did lay all the cards on the table. Read on and decide for yourself. 

Myth #1: All the social media services are the same.

Various social media logos

Matt’s on Facebook, Laurie’s on Twitter, Andrew loves Google+. I should be there, too, right?

Maybe. Social media is a fantastic (and free!) way to advertise your business and share your personality with past, current and future clients, but this doesn’t mean you should be there just to be there.

It’s a great environment to publicize your work and to demonstrate that you have personality. This is especially important for small businesses, where personality is key. And it’s great for you, too, so that the type of clients that you’d actually enjoy working with find and contact you. Similarly, posting examples of what you can do boosts the confidence of your past clients… leading them to refer their friends to you.

What you should do: Ask the question, “What do I want out of social media?” What you’re looking to get out of the experience will dictate what types of services you should target and use, because each platform has different demographics and feature sets. Find which works best for you.

Myth #2: People will steal your work.

This is true, in the sense that any photo you upload and post on the internet has a chance of being downloaded or used by someone else, without you knowing. The real question you have to ask is: When should you care?

There are as many opinions about watermarking as their are watermarks in the web. There are obstructive watermarks and subtle watermarks, big ones and small ones and pretty ones and ugly ones. They are all designed to ensure that the artist’s name stays with the image, and we’ve always said that use of watermarked images means free advertising for you. And let’s not forget the fact that some social networks strip your files’ metatdata on upload, so a watermark may be your only recourse to establishing copyright.

But many folks still believe that no matter what the size, they’re distracting. And even if you do watermark, there are sneaky ways to crop around them or even remove them via a photo editor.

Consider the different types of theft: If Joe Whoever saves your image for their personal collection of inspiring photos, do you get an ulcer? What about a mega-corporate chain using your image on their homepage, without your permission? In which situation would you actually send a bill?

What you should do: Think about whether or not the kind of unauthorized use of your images is something that keeps you up at night, and formulate a plan. Note that if an image is not registered with the US Copyright Office, it will be difficult to prove infringement when your images are used in a for-profit manner. If you choose to watermark, SmugMug’s watermarking feature is completely non-destructive, which means that they’re applied to your display copies only, and any legally purchased prints will print clean. Our Publish to Facebook feature will also allow you to export watermarked display copies to Facebook, saving you time.

Myth #3: Don’t show your unfinished or unprocessed shots.

Pro travel photographer Elia Locardi shows us examples of great post-processing.

Trade secrets, ahh! In the creative world there are plenty of good reasons to worry about protecting what makes your style unique, and with photography a good chunk of that is in the way your process your images. Plus, do your clients really care how bland the in-camera image was, as long as you delivered a beautiful, perfectly-balanced photo? Will they start to worry that they’re paying you for smoke and mirrors?

Unprocessed photos aren’t always the scary, client-repelling skeletons in the closet you think they are. Depending on your niche and who you’re catering to, before/after comparisons can be what drives them out the door… or what drives people in. In the landscape and fine art genre, teaching and photo education has become a huge market that inspires and endears fans all over the globe. A great photographer who shows – and shares – what he or she did to get the shot becomes that much more valuable to the people who follow them on social media. They hang on to you, hungry for more. This can help your followers relate to you in a personal way because you’re willing to let down your guard and show that, just like everyone else, your images aren’t magically amazing on their own.

What you should do: Consider the type of photography you do, or what you aspire to do. Are you an event or wedding photographer who shoots and delivers one-shot deals? Or do you want to create a fan base who keeps coming back for more? You’ve got to decide if delivering a perfect image –and only a perfect image – is what your clients care about, or if you’re looking to build great relationships with aspiring photographers over time.

Myth #4: Never share your shoot or location information.

Where did Colby Brown take those photos in Iceland?

Like the above, it’s understandable to keep a gorgeous and dramatic place under wraps, otherwise people will copy what you do. And in the case of a protected or pristine location, you may want to keep the name particularly secret in order to keep it clean as long as possible.

But in the age of the internet (and GPS coordinates in your camera), chances are that if you don’t tell people where the image was shot, someone else will. Go ahead and raise the bar for great photos in a famous location. Show the world how you skillfully brought a fresh perspective on a well-known place! Doing so speaks volumes for your abilities, and inspires a whole new generation of photographers. Plus, public venues will love you for making their space look great.

What you should do: Decide if inspiring photographers and standard views is a challenge that you’re willing and eager to take. Plus, are you ready to say no to your fans and risk the backlash of withholding tasty information?

Myth #5: Social network companies will sell your photos.

Google Plus and Facebook for photographers

Beautiful and effective social media pages for Smug Pro photographers Ivan Makarov and Michael Bonocore

This one is hot stuff in the media lately, and with good reason. Is there really a dark side to all the great things free social network companies do for you?

The truth of the matter is, once you put something on the internet, it’s out there. There’s no 100% guarantee that it won’t or can’t get taken and used by someone else, even though there are measures you can take to be sure that your name stays associated with the work. In fact, the only way to assure that nothing ever gets stolen is to never post anything on the web.

Even though you should take time to read the Terms of Service on the different sites you use, remember that these companies (SmugMug included!) are required to have these terms so that they can display the images you upload to different users, often at different sizes and resolutions. And that’s the whole point of you using those services, right? Plus, big companies have a lot on the line, which means they’re not likely to risk selling your images without your consent.

What you should do: Only share what you’re willing to have taken, and read the fine print on any services you use. When it comes to SmugMug, you can always watermark your images as described above before sharing, to be sure you get credit.

We hope these discussions helped ease any concerns that you may have had about sharing your photos online. Do you have any other scary monsters lurking in the back of your head? Let us know!

Small World: How SEO and Social Media Close the Gap Between You and Your Fans

April 18, 2013 4 comments

They say it’s a big world, but it’s not always true: Photographers (and anyone, really) on the internet are coming to know that search engines and social media are two extremely important ways to bring the world – and new clients – right to your doorstep.

Please join us for our upcoming podcast and webinar that will help you be a better, more reachable photographer on the web.

Plus, read to the end to see how you can use social media to win $50 of SmugMug subscription credit!

Social Media Basics with Aaron Hockley

We’ve recently recorded a podcast all about social media. In it, we define what social media is, discuss how social networking can help your photography business by meeting your mentors to finding new clients. From getting started to becoming a pro with social media– we cover everything!

Aaron Hockley is a professional photographer with a strong tech background, and founding organizer of a conference for WordPress bloggers. He knows the detailed ins and outs of social media for photographers, and we sat down with him to hear his thoughts on common social media questions.

We ask the following:

  • How can social media help a photographer?
  • What do you think the first steps are in jumping into using social media for a photography business?
  • Can you rank some of the social media platforms you use in order and how often you use them?
  • How do you integrate social media into your work day?
  • To share or not to share?
  • What mistakes have you made along the way with social media?
  • How do you measure success?
  • How do you stay current on social media changes, news, research and methodologies?

Download the podcast and listen on iTunes!

Essential SEO for Photographers with Jason Grubb

What is SEO? Why is it essential for photographers? View this free webinar to learn the bare essentials for becoming findable by your clients on search engines like Google. This webinar will cover the basics of SEO and what you need to know to get started.

Jason Grubb is a Denver-based wedding photographer who developed a niche SEO consulting firm serving photographers around the world. We’ll talk for an hour about SEO and why it’s important, and answer your questions, too.

April 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM ET
Duration: 1.5 hours
Register now at GoToMeeting

During this webinar you’ll learn:

  • What search engine optimization is and why it’s important
  • How search engine ranking works
  • The bare essentials to implement on your website/blog for solid SEO
  • How to develop strategic content on your site for SEO
  • Simple off-page SEO, what it means, and how to do it

Jason will be giving two lucky photographers 25% off an Advanced SEO for Blogs Package from his site, Be Findable. All you have to do to enter is to join the webinar! We’ll announce and contact the winners on April 26, 2013.

And a SmugMug Giveaway! Share What You Learned and Win

Tweet @SmugMug during the webinar and tell us about one cool thing that you learned. We’ll randomly pick one person to win a $50 credit towards a SmugMug subscription (new and existing SmugMuggers are welcome). Winners announced April 26, 2013 on Twitter.

Are you ready to close the gap? We’ll see you online!

OK, We’ll Bite: SmugMug’s Black Friday Deal

November 22, 2012 18 comments

Getting good post-Thanksgiving deals doesn’t always have to involve waking up camping overnight and fighting off mobs of fellow shoppers. With just a few clicks, you can get ahead on your holiday shopping.

Save 30% off new accounts

We’re kicking off Black Friday with the biggest deal of the Smuggy season. Use code SMUGGYTHANKS30 (expires November 25, 2012 at 11:59pm PT)  to get 30% off any SmugMug subscription (normally priced between $40-300 a year) when you sign up for a new account!

There are 4 great SmugMug account types to pick from. Don’t take our word for it though. Watch the videos below to see why all kinds of photographers trust SmugMug with their photos.

Bonus Contest Alert!

Everyone who signs up for SmugMug using code SMUGGYTHANKS30 this weekend will get entered to win an additional prize package of $200 in Print Credits, a Smuggy Swag care package, and a $100 Gift Card to BorrowLenses.com. We’ll randomly pick two  winners on Monday, November 26th, 2012. Follow @SmugMug on Twitter or check this blog post on Monday for the winners announcement.

Already a SmugMug customer? 

We want to say thanks to you too! Help us spread the word by tweeting the message below:

Use code SMUGGYTHANKS30 to get 30% off, plus enter to win over $300 in additional prizes. More info: http://smu.gs/TeIYJ5. Pls RT.

You’ll be automatically entered to win a free year of SmugMug (any account level), $200 in Print Credits, and a $100 Gift Card to BorrowLenses.com. We’ll randomly pick one winner on Monday.

From our family to yours, we hope that you’re having a safe, delicious, fabulous holiday! (Remember to take lots of pictures.)

__________________________________________

UPDATE: WINNERS!

We tossed all the names in a hat and randomly picked Michael Edwards and Craig Dyni to win $200 in Print Credits, a Smuggy Swag care package, and a $100 Gift Card to BorrowLenses.com.

The winner of the free year of SmugMug, $200 in Print Credits, and a $100 Gift Card to BorrowLenses.com goes to Susan Crutchfield. Congratulations everyone and happy holidays!

Categories: Contest Tags: , ,

WANTED: #NicksBeard

February 21, 2011 5 comments

Have you seen this man?

You should. He’s awesome!

If you’ve never received a help email from Nick, shook his hand at a SMUG or boogied with him in Vegas then you’re missing out on one of the best bennies of being part of our family. Nick’s the real deal, and his Garbaldi is the source of his power. It makes scissors tremble and stylists swoon. Nothing can stand in its way and we have pictures to prove it.

Best of all, his beard is the Blarney Stone of the chin world. Touch it, and ye shall be gifted with undying off-camera light and perfection in posing.

Hero Nick will be stalking the pens at WPPI this week so you can come and see us (and him) at booths #1528 and #1529. If you can catch this cagey tiger and lay fingers on Thee Sacred Hairs, you may find yourself surrounded with beautiful models, zippy interns and possibly something even better.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Your Mission:

Snap a pic of yourself while touching Nick’s beard at WPPI and post it to SmugMug’s Facebook wall. Then tag yourself! And if you’re still riding on the high, Tweet your success so others can play, like this:

#NicksBeard. Snap a pic for a chance to win a prize from Andy’s gear bag. @SmugMug booths 1528 and 1529 #WPPI

Deadline is Tuesday at 9 PM, Vegas time. Winners will be announced via our Facebook Wall on Friday.

Your Reward:

Five winners will be randomly picked from all of those that show us the goods on our Facebook wall. We’ll then pick five more random winners from those who have tweeted about it, and another five random winners from everyone else who shows us they’ve touched The Beard.

Something good’s comin’ your way. We’ve got tons of swag, photo gear, bags and even a free year of SmugMug Pro ready to go.

And if Nick’s face-drapery isn’t enough to get you to hang out with us, stop by the booth for a super-special 40% off code to save on your first year of SmugMug. What else could you possibly ask for?

See you in Vegas, baby!

—————

UPDATE! Although this contest is now over, we have good news in the form of winners. There were fourteen successful posters who overcame shyness, crowds and bad wi-fi to post a pic of #NicksBeard, so they each get a free year of SmugMug Pro PLUS $125 print credit (OR $125 credit towards site customization with one of our certified companies). In addition to these great prizes, those of you who posted by the Tuesday evening deadline will get free bonus SmugSwag.

Thanks to everyone who participated, even if you couldn’t get your pic on our fan page!

If your name is below, stay tuned. Katherine will drop you a note on Facebook with details.

Winners:

If you couldn’t make it to Vegas, we have fun giveaways going on over at Facebook each week. Don’t forget to “Like” us so you can win something, too!

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