Beer or Coffee – 12/2/16

Welcome to December! Last week might have been a holiday here in the United States, but we still kept busy, launching some awesome new features and fixing a few unfortunate bugs. Tune into our Facebook Live show, or just skip below to read all about it.

  • The big feature I’m most excited about personally is the ability to generate a new watermark simply by typing in the text you want. No longer are you constrained by your ability to generate transparent PNGs in Photoshop — now you can generate anything you want right in our watermarking tool. Learn more about watermarks here, or just dive right in and give it a try!
  • Our AppleTV app has been exceptionally well received, but we did have a few minor bugs pop up. You’ll be happy to know we are on the case, and have released a new version to address the issues we are aware of!  
  • We know how important Coupons are for running your business, so we’ve continued to polish the interface even after the recent facelift. Everything should work even better now.

Next week, we won’t be having our normal live show. Instead, we have something very special planned. Please tune in right here on our blog, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Going all in on giving back.

This year, SmugMug wanted to do something a little different for the holidays. We’ve partnered with 12 incredible photographers to bring together a breathtaking collection of photographs that make perfect gifts. Plus, for every print, SmugMug will be donating a portion of your purchase directly to Shelter-Me Photography, an organization that uses photography to give shelter pets a better chance of adoption. Shelter-Me founder, Nanette Martin, shared the origins of this literal pet project.

mas_5553-1Adoptable Animals at St. Bernard Parish Shelter as of 8.18.10

Imagine being on the edge of massive professional success in photography. Imagine having been published in LIFE, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest and many, many more. Imagine your photos in coffee table books and your work in film. Imagine being behind the lens covering national tragedies like 9/11, the Columbine massacre, and Katrina. Then imagine dropping all of that and devoting your life’s work to making compelling pictures of ownerless pets.

That’s exactly what Nanette Martin did. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an influx of families who had been displaced  found themselves homeless in Hammond, Louisiana. Many families chose to surrender their pets during that trying time, unable to care for them, but the shelter in Hammond couldn’t keep up with the sheer number of new arrivals.

In March 2006, Nanette volunteered to drive one of three vans filled with around 60 dogs who were scheduled for euthanasia from the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control Shelter in Hammond to Atlanta. As Nanette says, “That was a turning point in my life and career as a professional photography.” She tells it best.

The day before we left, someone asked me to photograph the dogs so they could post them online to give folks in Atlanta a chance to see who was coming to town. After nine hours on the road with my head stuck out the window (I had the pleasure of chauffeuring a van load of vomiting, crying puppies with diarrhea), we arrived at our destination where a crowd of people and several news crews were anxious to meet our precious cargo. To this day, I will never forget where I was standing, the angle of the sun, the direction of the wind and the look on the transport coordinator’s face when she pulled me aside to let me know nearly every one of the dogs was spoken for because of my pictures. Then she added, “Your images are making the difference between life and death for these animals.”

My career was literally in launch mode when everything came to a screeching halt that day, standing in a parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia, listening to a rescuer paint my new horizon.

I never saw it coming and I never looked back. From that day on, I focused all my efforts and resources towards photographing homeless pets. I ran out of money on a regular basis but it didn’t seem to matter. People magically showed up with resources to keep me going. I co-founded Shelter-me Photography in 2009 when it became clear that to keep this effort going we would need far more than luck and fairy dust.

SmugMug is thrilled to be partnering with such an amazing organization devoted to giving shelter pets a better chance at being adopted. For our part, we’re donating a portion of every purchase during our holiday print sale this year to Shelter-Me Photography. Whether you’re buying a brand new piece of wall art, a paper print for a friend, or a slick new custom phone case, your dollars will be going to a great cause, and that’s something to feel good about this season. Happy #GivingTuesday!

Check out the print sale here before it ends.blog-sbs-sale

Beer or Coffee – 11/18/16

Happy Friday!  We might have only shipped a single major feature this last week, but it was definitely worth it.  If you haven’t checked out our AppleTV app yet, get moving!  You don’t have an AppleTV yet you say?  Well you are in luck, we are partnering with SLR Lounge to give away 3 of them. Hop on over and win one!

Join us on our Friday morning Facebook Live show to hear us talk about what you can do with our new app.

Our very scary Halloween contest results.

You fantastic photographers responded enthusiastically when we announced our Halloween photo contest this October. With big-time cash prizes on the line, the submissions were varied and quite simply–awesome. We had over 5000 photos submitted ranging from epically spooky scenes that may fuel more than a few nightmares to the unbearably adorable unbounded excitement of first trick-or-treating trips.

Our fearless judging panel, which included Dracorubio whose jaw-dropping work always leaves us inspired, sifted through all the submissions and chose four distinct photographs that really captured the essence of our favorite holiday.

Grand Prize — Sarah Cruzdsc_4780-x2

2nd Prize – Julie Peveto
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3rd Prize – Richard Terborg
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4th Prize – Thomas Lieser
mirror, mirror on the wall

To see more of the great images from our Halloween contest, you can browse some of the top submissions here. A special thanks to all who participated! You helped make our Halloween truly memorable.

Beer or Coffee – 11/11/16

It’s Veterans Day, and we’d like to sincerely thank all of those who have served and continue to serve. We’ve been lucky enough to have veterans as coworkers, and also to work with spouses of active duty servicemembers. For more than a decade, we’ve been privileged to have thousands of active duty customers. Families have used SmugMug to bridge the distance between family members overseas and those left at home.  We’ve witnessed photographically the sacrifices being made by these brave men and women. On this day especially, we thank you all for your service.

For SmugMug specific activity, tune into our weekly Facebook Live show, or continue reading below.

New this week:

  • Upload directly from Google Photos or Flickr!  We know your photos often live in lots of different places. It’s even easier now to upload them directly to SmugMug. Read all the details here!
  • We changed the way watermarks are applied and removed in your gallery settings. Now, when you choose a watermark to apply to the gallery, we will automatically make sure it gets applied to every photo in the gallery. Likewise, when you decide to remove a watermark we will remove it from all photos in that gallery. This will make your entire gallery consistent.  Should you want to add or remove a different watermark from your settings, you can still use the watermarking tool in the organizer!
  • With the changes to the gallery settings, we’ve also updated the way the Bulk Gallery Settings works with watermarks. You can now apply, change, or remove watermarks across lots of galleries at once. Changing the watermark setting here will automatically process all images in those galleries. Just be aware that if you try to add, change, or remove a watermark from the galleries already processing, you’ll have to wait till the first job is finished before setting the change. This is especially powerful if you’ve updated your watermark recently, and want to use the new one instead of the old and dated one. With a few clicks, we’ll queue up all your photos for reprocessing. Hooray!
  • A few weeks ago, we introduced a new feature that intelligently auto-crops your thumbnails. When possible, we try and avoid cropping out faces so that your thumbnails are more relevant. When we launched that, it only worked on 1:1 ratio images. We’ve now expanded that to all the other aspect ratios we provide for thumbnails. 1:3, 2:3, 3:1. You name it, it works!

Editing on the road with Astro Photographer, Jack Fusco.

Hey everyone! My name is Jack Fusco, I’m a time-lapse / landscape-astrophotographer currently based out of San Diego, California. I first found my way into photography simply as a means to document my travels while playing guitar in a touring band. After moving on from the touring life, photography became my main form of creative expression. Over the last few years, my work has been featured by National Geographic, NASA APOD, LA Times, and many other outlets. During this time, I knew I needed a reliable and professional looking platform for showing off my work and offering prints online. Having the worry taken away from how my work is represented online, and how my print orders are handled, makes me proud to be part of the SmugMug family for so long.

jack fusco tangle falls jasper national park

Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park, Photo by Jack Fusco

Throughout my career, I’ve constantly looked for different tools that I can use to take my work to the next level. That can range from new gear to a new planning tool or something new in the digital darkroom. There’s often as much error as trial in these situations, but I truly believe that to continue evolving as an artist and stand out in a very crowded field, this needs to be an ongoing process.

Delivering high-quality content, be it on your own personal platforms or to one of your clients, has always and will always be important. What has been changing is the need to deliver that content in an almost immediate timeframe. Editing while on the road has never been something I would consider convenient or desirable. Not only does it cut into your valuable travel time, but the quality of work also tends to suffer. In the past, I’ve often opted for waiting until returning from my trip to share a photo and potentially missed out on a wave of excitement surrounding something like a meteor shower or an unexpected show of the Northern lights. Simply adding a disclaimer that something is a “quick edit from the road” always felt like it takes away from the impact that the final image would otherwise have had. So, I’m excited to share a way that I feel like helps bridge that gap between a subpar edit and something you’re ready to upload to both social media and your SmugMug portfolio.

Recently, I had been beta testing Luminar from Macphun, which is a brand new all-in-one photo editor from the award-winning developers of Aurora HDR, Tonality, etc., and a feature called Workspaces really caught my attention. What this feature does is allow you save any of the filters that you may use for your edits in a unique group or workspace. The idea is that not only do you save valuable time with quick access to only the tools you need, but the quality of your edit doesn’t suffer as a result.

jack fusco luminar gui jasper lake jasper national park

Editing on the road doesn’t have to be painful

I was able to put this feature to the test during a recent trip to the Annual Dark Sky Festival in Jasper National Park.

Before leaving for my trip, I spent a bit of time setting up my custom workspace in Luminar so it would be ready on the road. I knew I would be shooting some nights with a bit of moonlight that lit up the landscape and others with no moonlight at all. So, I went through all of the filters I would normally use to edit my night sky images and created two different workspaces. I took filters like advanced contrast, color balance, and curves, and saved it as “Starry Skies” and then went through and added a few others, like Top & Bottom lighting, to save in my “Moonlit” workspace.

Once you have an image loaded into Luminar and your custom workspace selected, you’re not just limited to those tools.  Advanced editing is easily done through luminosity masks and brushes to very selectively adjust fine details in your shot. Again, it’s having all of these options quickly available that makes editing from the road less of a daunting task.

jack fusco medicine lake jasper national park

Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park, Photo by Jack Fusco

While in Jasper, having both of these workspaces ended up helping in more ways than I initially thought. Not only was I sharing new, finished images during the dark sky festival on my Instagram and Facebook, I was also uploading them right to SmugMug. This allowed me to let people I was meeting know that the photos I took last night were already available as prints on my site. This was huge! I didn’t have to hope that when I handed someone my card and said “I should have all these photos up next week!” that they would remember and return to check it out. They could pull up my site on their phone and purchase a print of a photo that I took just a few hours earlier. It felt great to have the confidence of knowing my edit was solid and wasn’t something I posted to cater to the sense of urgency while sacrificing quality.

Macphun is running a special pre-order campaign to celebrate the “go-live” launch of the software on November 17, 2016. From November 2-16, you can pre-order the software at a discount and receive some great bonuses.

I’ve really enjoyed using Luminar on my Mac and am pretty sure you’ll like it too. Check out Macphun’s pre-order page to learn more.

You asked. We listened. The SmugMug Apple TV app is here.

SmugMug knows that your memories and milestones are bigger than life to you. So instead of looking at photos on small screens, why not view your captures on a large screen to give them all the life and love they deserve? Recognizing this desire to experience your photos in a really big way, we’re happy to announce our new SmugMug Apple TV app.

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With the new SmugMug Apple TV app you can:

Display your photos. Our app beautifully displays your photos in high definition, showcasing them in all their glory.

Play a slideshow of a gallery. Share your vacation photos or your child’s birthday pics in the comfort of your own home without ever having to leave the couch or click “next” on a remote.

Follow friends, family or photographers you admire. Never miss another graduation, milestone or celebration. Just follow your loved ones through the Apple TV app and get notified when they upload new photos and galleries. And, with the holidays approaching, now is a great time to help your loved ones always have your photos available on their TV by gifting them a new Apple TV.

Discover new inspiration through our Featured Photographers. Check out some of the best photographers in the world, whose work will leave you breathless. And yes, one day there will be the possibility of you being a Featured Photographer on the SmugMug Apple TV app!

Watch a SmugMug Film. 
At SmugMug, photography is our passion. SmugMug Films is a celebration of the photographers who inspire and amaze us. From surfing in the arctic to climbing glaciers, to walking the neon-lit streets of Tokyo, our films showcase incredible photographers and adventures. See every single one of our award winning films the way they were meant to be seen and never miss a new release!

Just one more thing…

To celebrate our new Apple TV app, we’re partnering with SLR Lounge to give away 3 Apple TVs! Each winner also receives a SmugMug business account and a SmugMug prize pack. Entering is fast and easy, so head over to their website now. Good luck to all!

Our new SmugMug Apple TV app, available only for 4th generation Apple TVs, is in the App Store this very second. The wait is finally over. Got questions? Check out our shiny, new Help Page to get you up and running with our new app in no time. Also for our customers using these, check out SmugMug on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

The future of photography is here. And it’s smiling  ;D