Don’t get lost in translation. Introducing SmugMug’s Google Translate widget!

We all know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but while photography may universally speak to us, language can often be a barrier. With potential customers from all over the globe finding your work online, we wanted to make it easier for you to share it without barriers. Now it’s easy to share your photos in more than 100 different languages with our new Google Translate widget.

Once installed, our Google Translate widget allows your guests to select virtually any language, and your entire SmugMug site will be translated to that language. Customers only have to select their language once, as all subsequent SmugMug pages they visit will be translated to that language. This includes translating gallery titles, picture descriptions, and more. It’s simple and fast to install and allows you to expand your business, or share with friends and family around the world, with just a few clicks.

english1With the widget installed, customers can choose their language from a drop-down list.

japanese1In the blink of an eye, your website is translated!

Ready to take your SmugMug website to an international level? Here’s what you have to do:

1. Select “Content and Design” from the “Customize” tab.

2. Under the “Add Content Block” > “Services” section, drag and drop “Google Translate” on to your page.

3. Hit “Publish,” and you’re done!

Don’t believe that it’s really that easy? Watch below:

Google Translate Widget

While you may not parlez français, now your SmugMug site does!

 

The upgrade your phone (case) actually needs.

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Phones aren’t just phones anymore. They’re part of us. They’re important, they’re delicate, and they’re personal. We have them on us at all times so it seems outright wrong to protect them with some garish, or worse, a generic case that says nothing about the person carrying it. A meticulously designed phone deserves an elegant case that is unique without looking like a circus attraction. Look no further than SmugMug’s newest addition to our print product line.

We’re now offering phone cases that can be customized with your favorite images giving you an unbeatable look that will make your friends jealous and keep your phone a little safer all at once.

Our new customizable phone cases are available for the Galaxy S7 and iPhone SE, 6, 6s, 6+, 6s+, and even 7 and 7+. The cases come in two styles: Slim and Tough. The slim case is sleek and thin, keeping your phone from unwanted dings or scratches without adding extra bulk. The Tough case is more rugged using a thin, scratch resistant plastic shell with an inner silicon insert for added protection for those who need a sturdier case.

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Custom phone cases start at $25. You can order your case now through your SmugMug site by logging in, uploading or selecting a photo, then clicking BUY and then THIS PHOTO, and start customizing your phone case. Those with Portfolio and Business accounts: don’t forget to add the Phone Cases to your Pricelist and set the prices at your desired price or markup. Phone cases are available for Pricelists fulfilled from Bay Photo, EZPrints, and WHCC.

When designing your phone case, there are a couple important things to remember. First, your photos must meet the size requirements. The image selected must be 900×1600 pixels or you won’t even be shown the option to add it to a phone case. Also, make sure to pay attention to the camera position and the cropping of your image. You don’t want to accidentally cut out an important part of the photo.

Ordering your own case is a piece of cake, but if you’ve never purchased printed products from SmugMug before, see how below.

1. Upload or select the photo from your SmugMug site that you would like to use to customize your new phone case. Keep in mind that your photo must be 900×1600 pixels or larger to be suitable for the phone cases. If your photo is under those size specifications, you won’t have the option to customize a phone case. Once you’ve selected the photo, click the green BUY button, and then click THIS PHOTO.

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2. Your photo will appear on the left while a number of product options will appear on the right. At the very bottom, so long as your photo meets the size requirements, you’ll see a brand new category—phone cases!

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3. After making your selection, you’ll be able to make sure the crop is correct for your phone case. Simply drag the cut-out of the phone case or resize to make sure the parts you want printed are within the gray box. Make sure the cut-out for the phone’s camera doesn’t cover a part of the photo that you want to show. When you’re done cropping, click ADD TO CART.

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The case will be saved to your shopping cart for when you’re ready to checkout. Then all you’ll have to do is sit tight and wait for the coolest phone case you or your friends have ever laid eyes on to show up at your doorstep.

How’s that for some Hotline Bling?

FACEOFF! SmugMug Portrait Contest: Win a Portfolio Review with Clay Cook!

Feeling pretty smug about some of the mugs you’ve shot? Well, we want to see what your portrait photography is made of! SmugMug and Clay Cook are excited to announce a portrait photography contest, with the winner taking home a one-on-one portfolio review (via Skype) with Clay Cook, a free SmugMug Business account (one year), and plenty of SmugMug swag!

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Photographer Clay Cook

Clay has a sharp portrait, fashion, and editorial eye, and experience with many premiere talent agencies such as NEXT Model Management, AMAX Talent, and BMG Model. His work has been featured in USA Today, ESPN, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Modern Salon, American Salon and many, many more. He also is a contributor to FStoppers and shares behind-the-scenes of his shoots on his YouTube channel.

Model: Karah Leigh Cannon Hair: Micah Severo Ruelas Makeup: Micah Severo Ruelas © Clay Cook | Photography LLC 2012

Photo by Clay Cook

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Photo by Clay Cook

To enter, all you have to do is upload your best (or favorite) portrait shot to this SmugMug gallery. All entries must be received by September 30, 2016, 11:59 pm PST. The winner, chosen by Clay himself, will be notified and announced on (or before) October 10th, 2016.

A few important details to note:

  1. You can only enter once. So choose wisely!
  2. Be sure your file is named as your email. For example: johnsmith@smugmug.com.jpeg (We need this to contact you if you win!)
  3. The one-on-one Skype portfolio review with Clay Cook will be scheduled on a day and time that works for both parties, so no need to worry about missing out on that super-sweet prize!

Good luck!

Good Luck!

Five Reasons I Ditched my Giant DSLR for a Compact Mirrorless Camera

Guest Post by Brent Gilmore, SmugMug customer and subject behind our SmugMug Film ‘Just a Dad with a Camera’.

“The best camera in the world”… we all know the biggest cliché in photography, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Because, as I learned firsthand, if your amazing, bleeding-edge camera stays in your closet, it’s certainly not the best camera in the world, at least not for you.

I like to think of myself as a “just a dad with a camera.” But for a stretch of 18 months I was just a dad with a camera in the closet. Then I “moved down” from a pro-style DSLR to a mirrorless compact. And I am over-the-moon, blown-away happy.

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Predictably, when my wife was pregnant with our first child I upgraded my Nikon DSLR, which I had been shooting with casually for almost 12 years, for the just released Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 24-70mm. Yes, I spent the equivalent of our new baby daughter’s first year of college tuition on a huge pro DSLR and lens combo.

And for me it was love at first sight—both baby and camera. Neither one left my side. Every day was a formal portrait session. Almost hour-by-hour I documented our daughter’s life for the next 18 months. Until our second child, a son, was born.

Suddenly, my setup seemed way too cumbersome and photography became no fun, for three main reasons:

  1. Carrying or pushing a stroller with two very young, active children while attempting to use my almost six-pound camera with one hand was impossible.
  2. Waiting for those massive 36MP files to process was maddening, straining both my MacBook Pro and my patience.
  3. Storing all those files was becoming unsustainable.  A casual afternoon in the park might leave me with 8-10GB of photos. Even with today’s cheaper online storage solutions (like SmugMug), I just don’t want to have to deal with another terabyte of family photos every year.

So, the beast of a camera went on the top shelf in our junk closet. Eighteen months and two family vacations later, I realized I hadn’t touched the beast even once. I either passed up opportunities to document our life as a young family, or I haphazardly tried to capture fleeting moments with my iPhone.

Either way, I wasn’t having fun. I missed shooting. I missed capturing more than just iPhone moments. But not enough to haul the DSLR beast down from the closet.

What I needed was a camera to fill the gap between my iPhone and my DSLR, something with better quality than the former, and way better portability than the latter.

Armed with zero knowledge of any brand but Nikon I went to my local camera store. Based on my must-have list, they introduced me to the Fuji X-T10. Quite simply, I fell in love, and fast. It seemed to meet every requirement and then some.

Never mind my original quest for a “gap” camera. This compact mirrorless wound up completely replacing my DSLR, and I couldn’t be happier. I am shooting, processing and posting every day again. I’m loving the results, and, most importantly, I AM HAVING FUN AGAIN.

The five reasons I am in love with my new mirrorless:

  1. It shoots JPG and RAW. This gives me the option to edit in Lightroom or use processed JPGs right from the camera OR both! This is a perfect scenario for photos I just can’t wait to share on Instagram or with grandparents, but allows me the flexibility to edit RAW files in Lightroom later. This fits my workflow perfectly — share in the moment, then perfect my favorite photos to showcase on SmugMug later.
  2. Always Connected. The Fuji has built in Wi-Fi with an amazing mobile app! Using the mobile app is the simplest, fastest, and most reliable way I have found to immediately transfer and share photos. Half of the fun of photography, for me, is sharing and now I find myself doing that twice as much.
  3. Faster editing. My Lightroom time has been cut from hours to minutes. That’s not hyperbole, I literally mean minutes. Because the sensor is smaller, file size is relatively tiny while not sacrificing any of the image quality I actually need. I spend time massaging the photos I love to perfection — not staring at the Lightroom ‘processing’ bar. Happiness and productivity up! Frustration way down!
  4. It’s compact. The X-T10 is small, OK, it isn’t pocketable but it’s tiny in comparison to the DSLR.  The camera has become an extension of me and literally travels everywhere with me with NO hassle.  Embarrassingly (or not) it is literally on my shoulder even when I take the trash out!
  5. It’s affordable. Remember, I’m just a dad with a camera, not a rock star, so the price was incredibly attractive. Body and lens set back my childrens’ college fund (kidding!) exactly $1,000.  With the proceeds from the sale of my DSLR I actually made back a chunk of change. Change that I can later use on some really amazing, really affordable Fujinon lenses.

The first real test was a family vacation to Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts this summer. It was the most fun and effortless shooting I’ve ever experienced. And the photos I took are some of my favorite, ever.

Maybe the old cliché is right after all: the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. Provided that that camera makes photography effortless and fun — and helps you create images that are part of an enjoyable, sustainable process.

Check out some of the first images I captured with the new camera and judge for yourself. I credit all of the photos and the amazing shooting experience to my new Fuji X-T10 and the tiny 18mm pancake lens.

Cerie and Xavier flying east into the rising sun.

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See the full gallery here.

Find Brent at:

SmugMug: GilmoreGang.com

Instagram: @lbrentgilmore

The dark art of concert photography.

By Sarah Arnold, QA

I’ve been surrounded by music my entire life. I grew up in a family of musicians, one of whom toured the world in the sixties. Being drawn to concert photography was only natural for me as music was such a vital part of our family. I loved feeling the music through my feet and eventually through my fingertips while photographing the musicians on stage. Starting at the age of 14, concert photography has become a large part of my photography business. I’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years through huge amounts of trial and error. Here are some of the things I’ve learned that can be useful to anyone just getting started in concert photography.

Getting in

Don’t be shy. The majority of the concerts I’ve shot, I’ve walked straight up to the band and asked them directly, “Would you mind if I take photos?” 99% of the time, they are excited a photographer is interested and have absolutely no problem saying yes. You have to be a bit of reporter when trying to track down the band. I usually find where they’re located backstage or wait until they are on stage setting up and simply approach them. In many cases, I’ve ended up becoming friends with the band members and am given stage passes as well as put on the guest list for future shows. Stage passes are key for great shots of the crowd and band interaction. These shots are usually the ones bands use for marketing purposes, which in turn can bring a lot of traffic to your site when the band gives you proper credit. This brings up a very important rule: ALWAYS make sure the band is giving you credit when they post your photos. ALWAYS. This can be a verbal or written agreement via email. You can also draft a quick and simple photo session agreement before releasing photos to the band.

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Want this shot? You’re gonna need a stage pass!

Plan ahead. Some concert venues require permission from the venue as well as the band, sometimes as much as three weeks prior to the event. In such cases, reaching out to the location on social media is a good way to start. Mention that you’re a photographer, share some previous concert galleries you’ve photographed, and tell them you would love their permission to photograph at their venue. Persistence is key in this case. Follow up with them if you don’t hear back. Not hearing back from the band manager? Try reaching out to individual members of the band. Still not hearing anything? Reach out to other bands in the line-up. Ask if they would like your photography services. Even if you don’t get approval from the headliner, you can still shoot for the opening bands. They can report their experience back to the headliner and, in the future, you’re more likely to get approval once they’ve seen what you’re made of!
Get official. When shooting for festivals, the best approach is to start at their official website. They usually have a “media” section where you can request to be part of their media team. This process can be a bit more picky. You must have a concert portfolio and usually they require a list of all the gear you own and plan to bring. Most of the time you’re signing a contract saying they have full rights or “own” your work, but you’ll get attribution for the shots you’ve taken. The bigger the band, the more likely they are to take full rights from you — meaning you can’t sell the photos. If this is the case, make sure you’re being compensated properly. Keep in mind you won’t be making money selling prints and digital downloads. Calculate this into your final price so you’re walking away happy and not feeling taken advantage of.

Gear up, Buttercup

The bare necessities.

Concert halls by nature are dark, making low-light lenses a necessity. The lower the aperture, the better (f/2.8 and below) because the lens opens up wider, allowing more light to reach the sensor. This means you can get away with using lower ISOs, minimizing the graininess of your photos. You’ll still need a faster ISO setting given the lighting, approximately 1000 to 2000 in order to not get too much movement. A shutter speed of 1/50 of a second is the lowest you should set your camera to when shooting drummers and other band members who are likely moving very quickly.

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Don’t let graininess overshadow the emotion you’re capturing.

Don’t get flashy, kid.

Whether it’s natural spot lighting or a colorful light show, concerts have unique lighting systems. Usually the stage lighting used produces a much more natural capture, while flash can distract the musicians during their performance and can interfere with the experience for those involved. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from using a flash. It won’t add anything to your photos that the stage lighting isn’t already providing for you.

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Say yes to starbursts and no to flash.

Beware the spots.

When relying on stage lighting, you have to be careful that your shutter speed isn’t TOO fast. Lights pulsate in a way that the eye can’t see, but the camera can. So you don’t end up with spotted lighting, a slightly longer exposure will allow the sensor to have full light on the entire band. When I shoot concerts, I tend to have my camera set to aperture priority. This way I ensure I stay at the lowest aperture and don’t miss capturing key moments while adjusting the manual settings thanks to constantly changing light.

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Streaking is only fun in college, not in concert photography.

Get the shot!

Framing.

Details, details, details. Bands love getting close-up shots of each member working their craft and playing their instrument like a pro. One shot I love to capture is where you can see every single band member’s face. This can be tough given all the equipment on stage, the placement of the drums, band member movements, etc. But getting a full shot of the entire band is a money maker. Some of my favorite shots are when the band members interact with each other. It shows a bit of fun and the relationship that the band has with each other.

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Forget cowbell, 2016 is the year of the tambourine.

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I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

Location.

Moving around is key. You want to get entire venue shots showing the band and the concert attendees from behind, as well as those awesome detail shots taken from the front of the stage. The bigger the band, the more likely the front of the stage will be crowded and difficult to navigate. Staying in one place is easier, but you’ll miss some great shots. Usually if you show concert-goers your camera, they’ll move out of your way to allow you to change location. This is another example where having a stage pass comes in handy. You can skip the crowds by being directly on the stage.

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Sold-out crowd = visual bragging rights.

Nail that action!

Overshooting is better than undershooting. Capturing those hair tossing, spit-screaming moments can be tough, so I have my camera on multi-shot mode when I anticipate some action is about to happen. Within four or five shots, there’s usually that golden moment that results in a perfect action shot. Watch the musicians and their mannerisms. Is the singer highly animated? Does the bassist toss their hair around? Capture that! They make for great photos. I love watching drummers because they usually have great facial expressions and use every muscle in their body to keep beat. Watch for band members jumping around. Air shots are fun to capture and fans love buying them.

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All about that bass.

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Capturing character and the beat.

When the curtain closes.

Fix it in post!

Since you’ll be using higher ISOs, graininess will be inevitable. When editing with Lightroom, I use a tad bit of “Noise Reduction” > “Luminance.” This makes a surprisingly huge difference in the amount of grain that appears within your images without making the image look too doctored.

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The only noise in the photo should be the band.

Don’t sell yourself short.

I get paid for my work in a variety of ways. Sometimes the band and I have agreed to a price before the concert (which is usually an hourly rate since one set is typically an hour). However, a lot of the time, I’m showing up to a concert where the band doesn’t know me and I’m trying to get my foot in the door and need to show them what I’m made of. In this case, I bring business cards and let them know their photos will be available for purchase on my website.

Share the wealth!

This is where the beauty of SmugMug comes into play. With SmugMug, I can set up a gallery to show up on a map. Band members can use this map to locate their event and view their galleries. It’s also where they can purchase downloads or prints, and share the gallery on social media for their fans to purchase from as well. Using watermarks and a right-click message, I make sure my work is protected from theft. These features have helped my business grow in such an unexpected way. Thanks to SmugMug, I can shoot for strangers and sell my work without having to meet them or get any of their information in advance.

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No “Where’s Waldo” here!

Encore.

The dark art of concert photography can truly be a vividly beautiful experience. Whether you’re photographing a large festival or just checking out your local band, you can learn so much about your camera, how to interact with big clients, and how to market your business. Follow my tips and you’ll drastically improve your results and how you connect with the artists on stage. What are some of your experiences in concert photography? What bands would you like to shoot? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Check out more concert photos by Sarah Arnold here.

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Play us out, Sam.

 

 

 

SmugMug takes Jackson Hole.

Once a year, SmugMug embarks on a company trip that isn’t just for employees, but for their families, too. This year, 250 people from all over the world descended on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a week filled with employee team building, family fun, and lots and lots of photography. It was a fun-filled week with the Grand Tetons as our backdrop.

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Hey, hey, the gang’s all here!

The yearly SmugMug trip is 50% work and 50% play. We take the week to innovate new and exciting features, product upgrades, and anything else that can make SmugMug an even better experience for our customers. Employees work all week on hackathon projects that always produce much-loved ideas that go into production. This year was no exception, and we’re pretty sure you’ll love what was dreamed up and will be released in the near future. We can’t tell you what they are just yet, but they are thrilling. Additionally, our incredible Support Heroes were working all week, ensuring that customer service never wavered.

Upon arriving, all employees were placed on teams for a Color War. With activities and games throughout the week, points would be won and accumulated so one team would be victorious and awarded bragging rights. Puzzles and games were completed, and a photo Scavenger Hunt that took us all over the town of Jackson ensured that ridiculous fun was had. In the end, Team Yellow was victorious. But the rest of the colors will be avenged next year at the next company trip. We will not go quietly into the night!😉

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Team Yellow having fun on the photo scavenger hunt. Photo by Jennifer Praniewicz.

One of the biggest highlights was a presentation followed by an employee photography workshop with Artist-in-Residence, and James Beard–nominated, food photographer Eric Wolfinger. Eric gave an incredible, awe-inspiring presentation on his journey from bread maker at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco to a career photographing the biggest names in the restaurant industry. Afterward, Eric led 21 employees in an epic six-hour workshop that began with an overview of his techniques, then led into a two-and-a-half-hour hands-on photo shoot at Il Villaggio Osteria. We are a company of serious foodies, so to shoot food, eat, shoot food, eat, and repeat over and over for hours was perfection. Then, when we were stuffed from all the delicious food and had taken photos of half the menu, Eric led us in an incredible post-processing tutorial. It was a fantastic experience that every single employee loved and put into practice immediately at their next meal. Looking for your own food photography tips? Check out our Facebook Live interview with Eric that was fun and informative. And whiskey fueled.

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Eric Wolfinger leads an incredible food-photography workshop in Jackson Hole for employees. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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The highlight dish of the workshop: steak! Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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The juice is real. Photo by Bobby Yang.

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The food not only looked gorgeous, it was delicious, too! Photo by Bobby Yang.

No trip to Jackson Hole would be complete without photo excursions to Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Throughout the week, employees and their families trekked all over the beautiful terrain to take gorgeous photos of mountain ranges, wildlife, hot springs, and geysers. Additionally, there were many nighttime photo shoots that captured breathtaking stars and the famed Perseid meteor shower.

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The majestic Grand Tetons. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Sarah setting up to get the previous shot. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.

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Grand Prismatic, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Snapping all the grandeur in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.

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Family of bison. Photo by Andres Ruiz.

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What does the fox say? Photo by Aaron Meyers.

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Fall foraging for nuts has begun! Photo by Andres Ruiz.

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Incredible starry night sky in Jackson Hole by Nicky Semenza.

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Star trails over famed Moulton Barn. Photo by Mike Hurst.

When there was down time, employees were free to enjoy their own planned excursions as well. Many went whitewater rafting on the Snake River, horseback riding through the Tetons, attended a rodeo, or enjoyed the shops in downtown Jackson Hole. One family even ran into Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, while downtown. Spoiler alert: Han lives!😉

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Rafting fun in Snake River. Photo courtesy of Shannon Harris.

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The Grand Tetons were the perfect backdrop for a trail ride. Photo by Jennifer L Kirk.

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The rodeo was adrenaline-filled! Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Harrison Ford and the Makarov family. Photo by Becca Makarova.

The week flew by far too fast and in the end, it was hard to say goodbye to beloved coworkers who came from the far reaches of the world. We are lucky that once a year we get the opportunity to spend time with those we wouldn’t otherwise get to see in person. It was an incredible week that brought us all closer together. Can’t wait for next year’s trip!

SmugMug rescues nearly 200 million priceless memories from Picturelife.

SmugMug has always embraced the mission of being Heroes for our customers—leaping tall buildings to make sure their photos are safe, beautiful and accessible. So, when we heard that Picturelife, a photo/video storage company, ended their service without a way for their customers to preserve their photos, we knew we had to do something (and fast) to help reunite the Picturelife community with their memories.

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The SmugMug team offered its services to Picturelife and worked tirelessly over several weeks to develop and implement a plan to reconnect Picturelife files with their owners. As a service to Picturelife and its customers, SmugMug is now offering a zero-cost solution for Picturelife customers to access and download their photos and videos.

Our number one concern is putting as many Picturelife photos and videos as we can into the hands of their rightful owners. We’re making their photos available to them at no charge and no obligation.  If some of Picturelife’s former customers want to become a part of SmugMug’s family of photographers, we’ll welcome them with open arms, but that’s not our primary goal.  Helping Picturelife’s customers preserve their priceless memories is our goal and just another example of our mission and passion in action: providing a safe, beautiful home for everyone’s photos.

If you’re a former Picturelife customer looking to retrieve your photos and videos please visit our Picturelife FAQ page to get the process started.