Today we deliver a better, more secure way for you to share your photos with only the people you want. Since privacy has always been such an important part of the SmugMug philosophy, we felt that our next update should help you feel better knowing exactly who gets to see your photos.
Private Sharing allows you, the account owner, to share galleries securely with people you trust… and only them. It’s a new level of privacy that secures your gallery so its viewed only by a specific set of people that you choose. Nobody else can see it, even if they try the link. The people you’ve selected also get a new, easy way to see the photos you’ve shared with them.
Private Sharing is perfect for sharing the lives of your growing kids, for high-profile celebrity portrait artists or for anyone who wants to stay in control of their photos.
This new feature is available on all accounts Power and up, so let’s explore how it works.
Private Sharing: Let Only Invited Guests Through the Door
Because privacy is paramount at SmugMug and we want you to be super clear on how it works, we’ve split privacy into two new sections:
- Visibility: If your content shows while browsing your site
- Access: Who can actually click and see what’s inside
- Anyone with a Link
- People with Password
- People I Choose (New!)
Private Sharing is a new, fourth level in Access: “Only People I Choose.” The people you name here will receive a one-time invite link that can never be shared with anyone else.
The Experience: Private Sharing in Action
To illustrate how it works, here’s what happens when you’ve got your own SmugMug account and want to share personal photos with someone you trust:
- Visit the gallery and pick, “Only People I Choose” at the gallery Access level. Type in your friend’s email address in the box that appears below. We’ll send them an email with a link in it.
- Your friend clicks the link they receive and redeems your invite. They’ll log in if they already have a SmugMug subscription, otherwise we’ll ask them to create a free Guest Account of their own.
- They’ll see a “Shared With Me” page where they can browse all the galleries that have been shared with them.
Tip: Your invitee can create their Guest Account using a different email address than the one you used to invite them. They don’t need to match.
As long as they’re logged in to their own accounts, your friends can browse the shared galleries to their heart’s content, all from one “Shared with Me” page. If they’re not logged in, or if someone else tries to view that same gallery, they won’t be able to open it.
We’ve got extensive new help pages to show you how it works, so be sure to read through them as you start sharing galleries with those you trust.
Free Guest Accounts, Beefier Contacts List, and More Ways to Help Your Fans
Private Sharing is more than just an invite: There’s the all-new Guest Accounts mentioned above (for friends you choose) and a more powerful way of managing Contacts list (for you!)
Guest Accounts are a new, completely free, view-only level of SmugMug membership. They’re required when using Private Sharing, when the person you choose doesn’t already have their own SmugMug membership. Each Guest Account’s “homepage” will display all the galleries that are shared with them, for easy access, but they won’t be able to upload their own photos or create their own galleries.
Note: Your existing SmugMug galleries haven’t changed, so you can keep sharing Public, Unlisted, and Passworded galleries with fans, no login needed! Guest Accounts are ONLY required when you set your gallery to Access > People I Choose.
Contacts used to live in a midnight-dark corner of email sharing in the old SmugMug. We’ve pulled them out and given them a serious makeover so you can better keep track of the people you share photos with on the web. Find them now in their own tab in your Account Settings. From there you can add new people, edit their info and gallery access, and see whether they’ve accepted your Private Sharing invites yet or not.
Tip: Friends you invite to view galleries automagically get added to your Contacts list.
Finally, we’ve added a new system page to your site. A 401 error page is what viewers will see if they try to view a privately shared gallery without the proper invite. Why is this important? It’s a great opportunity to customize this page like your other system pages to include helpful information like your contact info and step-by-step directions on what to do next. It always pays to be nice!
How is Private Sharing Different From Sharegroups or Events?
Private Sharing – and the special invite link your friends receive – ties the gallery to a person, not to a link or a password, which are two things that can fall into the wrong hands. Once your invitee clicks your Private Sharing invite link and signs in to SmugMug, they’ve redeemed it and the link can’t be reused by anyone else. The only way someone else can view what you’ve shared is if they were looking over your invitee’s shoulder. That’s huge!
Here’s a chart that helps compare our top group-sharing features:
Join Us Online for a Private Sharing Demo
Want to get the full walkthrough on Private Sharing and all the new features, or perhaps you still have questions after trying it yourself? Join us online for a 1-hour live demo on Thursday, March 19th at 5:30 PM Pacific (8:30 PM Eastern) where we’ll explain it step-by-step and answer all your questions.
You made it! We know this is a lot of new info, so please don’t hesitate to peruse the new help pages and register for the Q&A above. And if you’re so excited you simply can’t wait, our marvelous Support Heroes are ready to hear from you.