Cake Smash!

As soon as we saw this we loved it. Julie Lawson is a wonderful portrait photographer but this lucky little boy’s 1st birthday shoot really caught our eye. An adorable baby and a beautiful, scrumptious cake? Put ’em together and you have a winning combination:

You can see lots more great examples of Julie’s work right here.

Introducing NiceNames – August 13th, 2009

Thanks to the persuasive case many of you made, we’re introducing URLs that can hugely boost your search engine relevance. Plus, they’re so simple you can describe them over the phone.

Behold the power of a NiceName:

Old URL:

New URL:

NiceNames can skyrocket your findability (SEO)

Choose your NiceNames well, and your galleries will have much more relevance in searches.

Old URL:

New URL:

How it Works

Every gallery, category, and subcategory on SmugMug now has a NiceName (NN). We pick them for you, based on your gallery titles or category/subcategory names, but you can tweak them. With the exception of galleries set to hide owner, every gallery URL now looks like this:

No worries, the old URLs you’ve given out over the years will continue to work.

NiceName notes:

  • A subcategory NiceName will only be in the URL if your gallery is actually in a subcategory
  • If Hide Owner is set to “yes”, we’ll default to the soulless SmugMug URL you’re used to:
  • If the gallery is Unlisted, it requires the albumID_Key to be included in the URL. That prevents someone from “guessing” the URL and finding an Unlisted gallery.
  • A NiceName must be unique within the subcategory or category it lives in, be a max of 30 characters and contain alphanumeric characters and dashes. No spaces, though most foreign language characters are ok.
  • You can tweak gallery NiceNames in your customize gallery settings. Category and subcategory NiceNames can be tweaked via the Control Panel > Customize tab > Categories/Subcategories pages.
  • An added bonus: category names are now less restrictive in terms of characters they can contain, because the Category NiceName (and not the category name itself) is shown in the URL. You can now have categories called “Jenny’s Favorites” or “Bridal Portraits” without worrying about ugly spaces in the URL or having to leave out the apostrophe.

Critical NiceName gotcha

The albumID_Key part of the URL is optional for public galleries, but we show it by default because without it, the URL is not a true permanent link. If you were to tweak a NiceName, or move the gallery to a different category or subcategory, the original URL will no longer find the gallery unless you included the galleryID_Key as part of it.

Example: If you give your fans this URL to find your pictures:

.. and you later change the category NiceName to “stunning-landscapes”, the above link will not work. However, if you give your friends this link:

… you can reorganize your site all you’d like and the link will still take them to your gallery because they have the link with the albumId_Key in it.

More NiceName info is on our help pages. And, we added a page on helping search engines find your site. (Keep in mind, if you do NOT want search engines to find your photos, it’s as simple as toggling SmugIslands to “No”.)

More in this release

Our SmugMug User Group meetings have been well-attended (thanks for your enthusiasm!) and we’ve added a calendar to our SMUGs pages so you can easily find speakers and dates and times for upcoming meetings.

We also have a new contest for Landscapes lovers, sponsored by the Ansel Adams Gallery. Enter your best images.

Finally, no release is complete without a few updates and fixes:

  • Backprinting now includes the filename of the source image by default. Pros with custom backprinting won’t see any change.
  • Your Control Panel comments pages are now paginated and the numbers should properly increment.
  • Fixed a bug where the slideshow viewing style hid the fullscreen slideshow button if printing was disabled in the gallery settings.
  • Fixed a bug with both the fullscreen slideshow and gallery slideshow that was causing it to hang.
  • Updated our video player so when it’s embedded it’s no longer darkened before playing. Now you can see the video preview image more clearly on the page.
  • Updated the video player in the gallery to show the share link at the end only if you have easy sharing enabled. If you want to hide that link in an embedded video, you can modify the url to add ‘se=0’.
  • Fixed the error that was being thrown occasionally about return type in our slideshow and video player.
  • Improved the way our favorite in-browser uploader handles filenames with spaces in them.