A Bump to Branding: Add a Custom Banner to Your Mobile Site

We updated your site-wide branding to add a feature that lots of you Power and Pro Smuggers have asked for: Custom banners for your mobile site!

One Easy step in the Easy Customizer

To do this, fire up the Easy Customizer and look for the brand-spanking new “Mobile” section on the right-hand side.

Just upload a 400 x 72 pixel image containing your logo, name or whatever you wish and Publish your changes.

Anyone who views your site on a mobile device will see it at the top of every beautiful page.

Remember that we automatically serve up the lightweight mobile viewing style to people browsing on-the-go. Want your guests to have the exact same experience on a desktop as on a smartphone? Disable the mobile site from your Control Panel, under the Settings tab.


Extra link love:

8 Unique Photo Gifts for Mom

US Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 13th. If you’re stumped on gifts, here are some creative photo ideas to help you turn the usual brunch and flowers into a truly memorable morning.

Great Gifts in Your Galleries

1. Tote bag

Most ladies love bags, but mom’s sure to grab the one that boasts her favorite photo. Plus, it’s roomy, versatile and carries it all – from diapers to groceries to yoga mats. Proud smile not included.

2. Ceramic photo mugs

Have a peaceful moment with the kids and coffee. (We’re not kidding!) A family photo on the mug lets mom sit with everyone at the table… even when they’re still asleep.

3. Mouse Pad

It’s time to retire that free mousepad from 2003. This customizable photo mousepad is an easy, thoughtful way to brighten up the desk.

4. Magnets

The kitchen is the heart of your home, a place for food, friends and family. Decorate the fridge with these custom photo magnets, or use them to proudly show who earned those straight A’s.

5. Desktop organizer

Whether it’s pens, pencils or paintbrushes (or all three), this mahogany desktop organizer keeps everything neat, tidy and looking great. Dress the front with her favorite family photo for an inspiring day at the office.

6. Box Framed Print

A beautiful alternative to a traditional printing options, these bold prints are photo paper mounted on board, then set away from the wall in a gorgeous wood box. A proud option for any proud parent, or anyone who wants something unique.

7. Custom Photo Cards

Way better than a drugstore greeting, a personalized photo card crafted around her favorite family portrait is sure to make her cry. Find the image in your gallery and click the Buy button > Create a Card option.

8. Her own photo website

The Gift of SmugMug is the perfect present for a shutter-happy mom. You can buy her 1, 2 or 3 years of Unlimited uploads, safe backup and easy prints and gifts.

Order soon for May delivery

Swing by our complete catalog to see all the goodies we offer. Remember that all print and gift items take 1-2 business days for processing and printing, so plan accordingly. Also, be sure to choose the right shipping option for a timely delivery.

We hope this sparks some ideas in you to create the perfect gift for those who make a difference in our lives. Here’s to making Mom’s Day 2012 a unique one!

Eye-Gasmic Photo Editing with PicMonkey

For all of you who are sad that Google has closed Picnik, beat your chest and howl: PicMonkey is here!

This great new in-gallery program is brought to you by the fine former folks from Picnik. But it’s better. Faster. More powerful. And it’s packed with a gazillion incredible features for both serious and sassy shooters using any SmugMug account.

Edit. Adjust. Embellish.

Log in and look under the Tools button in any of your galleries. Choosing the “Edit with PicMonkey” option will pop up their Flash editor and present tons of tasty options:

The categories are: Basic Edits, Effects, Touch Ups, Text, Overlays, Frames, Textures. It may not sound like much but we bet you’ll spend the next hour going through each of them to see what they do. We did.

You can do the usual stuff like straighten a tilted image, crop and remove red eye.

But did you ever think an online photo editor would have neat features like weight loss, spray tan, teeth whitening, hair highlights and blemish removers? You can quit the gym, break up with your stylist and buy a doughnut on your way home.

They’ve even got advanced tools you usually find in expensive programs, like Curves:

And these days it’s mandatory for photo editors to have cool retro filters, effects and fun stuff. PicMonkey has this and way more. Like film frames:

Once you’ve gotten the perfect photo, you can save it over your original image, or save a copy.

What’s with the monkey face?

Some of the tools you see are previews of premium features available soon. Use them now for free and stay tuned when PicMonkey launches their Royale subscription packages.

But I’ve already paid for Picnik Premium!

A lot of us did, too, and we’re just as sad about the timing. Please remember that your payment went to Google, not SmugMug, so while we love to help we cannot give refunds for your upgrade. You should have already received your refund, but if not please check out Picnik’s terms of services for details on their money-back policy, or contact them here.

Anything else to know?

  • By default, PicMonkey resizes your image to 2800 pixels as soon as you open it so that it edits quickly. If you don’t want to compress it that much you can hit the Undo button (the back arrow in the bottom left corner) right away, and your pic will remain big, up to 16 megapixels. Read more about it on their help FAQ.

We think that you’ll love this new photo editor as much as we do. It’s got all the features you know from Picnik and lots more for good measure. And it’s totally free to use. Have fun!

Tony Corbell’s Top Tips for Stellar Portrait Sessions

Today’s terrifically informative guest blog post is written by pro photographer and SmugMugger Tony Corbell. If you’re a part of the PPA or the wedding industry you’ve probably heard of him. But even if you haven’t, a guy who’s had the grace and honor to immortalize three US presidents, 185 world leaders and tons of international bigwigs with his camera is definitely not small potatoes. This guy knows – and loves – what he’s doing and we’re thrilled to have him share his know-how with you. Best of all, since he’s VP of Nik Software, you’ll find a SmugMug-exclusive deal on Color Efex filters at the end of this post. Keep reading!

Do’s and Don’ts for Portrait Photography

by Tony Corbell

For more than thirty years I have photographed people of all types in all kinds of situation. There have been brides and grooms, fashion models, commercial products for a catalog, and political figures. In addition to my clients, I have taught workshops and spoken at seminars literally all over the world. And often I have photographed people in these situations as well as the average people on the street.

One thing is certain: you cannot spend that much time with people and not learn a few things. So I thought it might be helpful to put together a Top Ten list of things to know in order to succeed and thrive in professional photography. If nothing else, these things will at least get you on the right track and hopefully will prove to be helpful.

1. In the studio, NEVER leave your lights set-up overnight. The problem is that if you do, the last session of the day will look a lot like the first session tomorrow. Is that what you want? If so, fine. But if you advertise creativity, don’t give everyone the same session. Having learned the foundation of your craft moving your lights and setting them up differently the next day will soon be second nature. You’ll be amazed at how much more creative you can be.

2. Don’t look through your camera too long. Here is the situation: You are looking at your subject, maybe focusing, maybe looking at your digital LCD, numbers for aperture, shutter speed or the settings in the viewfinder, etc. Any time you are operating mechanically, you are not operating creatively. Remember that once you connect with your client, do not disconnect until the end of the shoot. This includes talking to them, interacting and generally enjoying the session. You’ll find your average sale will be considerably higher.

3. Don’t be distracted by other family members or a studio assistant. Again, the client is number one and more important than anything, so it is important to stay connected with them at all times. Make them feel like they are the most important thing going on, not you. By focusing on them you are telegraphing that you are worth every cent they are paying you and will have no problem in recommending you and your services to others in the community.

4. Don’t be unsure of your exposures or color balance. Complete all of your testing before your client is on the set and project professionalism and a sense that you are very clearly in control of the shoot. Remember, “if you project a sense of confidence, they will project a sense of trust.” This is a terrific saying to try remember and as you gain more and more skills at our technique, you’ll naturally move throughout the shoot with more fluidity and ease.

Visit my SmugMug site to read the other tips on my list, and browse around to see my other photography articles. To say I am a SmugMug fan would truly be an understatement! Come back soon and often to see the things I’ll be adding, including a fine art print store.

Save Time With the Right Post-Processing Tools

Enhancing your images is another area of expertise that you can master quickly and easily if you simply make it a priority. In the example before/after images you can see the result of my using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 professional plug-in filters for Photoshop, Lightroom & Aperture.

For the portrait example, I used the Darken/Lighten Center filter in Color Efex Pro 4. The building was enhanced with the Brilliance and Warmth filter, also found in Color Efex Pro 4. Both are part of the special software edition that Nik Software has assembled for SmugMug. You can log in and download them from ClubSmug right here. (Good through June 17, 2012)

The free sample filters are all very important in my workflow and learning to use them is ultra-easy. If you’re just getting started, visit our learning page to watch videos, attend live training webinars and read Nik’s blog for workflow tips.

SmugMug Success Stories: HoofClix

HoofClix Gives Creative Ambition Full Rein

Name: Mark Lehner
Title: Owner/Photographer
Company: HoofClix.com
Location: Greer, SC
Market: Equine photography
Bragworthy Factoid: HoofClix trotted out 606,705 SmugMug photo-views in February
Website: www.HoofClix.com

Career Highlights…

  • Shot 2,500 unique riders last year
  • Takes 75,000 photos yearly; team shoots about 7,500/weekend
  • Whoa! – 33,000 pictures in four days at Nationals
  • Photographed the US, Canadian and British Olympic teams
  • Snapped some of Three-day Eventing’s biggest names, including Philip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Becky Holder and Leslie Law

Favorite features…

Bridling at the artist label

“I don’t consider myself an artist per se. I consider myself a technician and an athlete. I recognize athletic moments and know how to find the spot on the course where an athletic moment will take place,” says leading equine photographer Mark Lehner, whose work has been featured on the covers of Eventing and Practical Horseman. Lehner’s being modest—he’s a member of an exclusive group of equestrian pros who have the deep knowledge and creative instincts needed to capture vibrant, unique shots of horses and people in action. (To clarify: This involves facing huge animals with hooves.)

Spurred to shoot

Lehner, who started college intending to be an architect but was counseled out of the program after professors told him he had no “artistic” talent, segued into amateur photography after taking an undergrad course. With no formal program available, he evolved his hobby into a passion, later marrying it to his lifelong work with horses. Bequeathed a legendary family tack shop by his horsewoman mother and the father of equestrienne daughters himself, Lehner invested in several digital Nikons in 2003 after witnessing the labor-intensive nature of using film to photograph horse shows. Web-based HoofClix took off at a gallop.

Hoofing it

Knowing Lehner’s habit of posting pics quickly following events, HoofClix’s customers frequently opt to review photos later offsite. “SmugMug’s gallery hierarchy really fits into the way I organize my shows by venue, show date and rider,” says Lehner. “If someone organizes his workflow in that manner from the start, equestrian or not, he can help his customers quickly find their images once they land on SmugMug.” Lehner makes the most of SmugMug’s website and gallery customizability. “It’s the simplest way I know to let people get right to what they are looking for–pictures of themselves,” he says. Other SmugMug features that help streamline Lehner’s business are proof delay and price lists. “[Proof delay] has changed my whole workflow. I used to edit every image before uploading, which caused delays. Now I upload only low-res batch-processed images, set each gallery to proof delay and correct only purchased images.” Lehner also likes the improved price lists: “Now I can create a new list and apply it to a gallery, and, in reverse, see which galleries have a pricelist assigned to them.” Calling SmugMug’s shopping cart for print sales “the simplest way there is to purchase,” Lehner says its design makes “intuitive sense,” all of which spares him time better spent shooting and managing higher-level business concerns.

Sharing the love

Lehner has used SmugMug’s Facebook publishing tool extensively. “I am really involved in social networking, so I enjoy [it]. It’s easy to use, and I already know that it’s brought people back to buy.” Typically, after he shares a SmugMug-hosted gallery via Facebook, he checks for a spike in traffic using Insights metrics. He likes that you can even place a “Buy” button in the Facebook image flows. “People are always in the mood to look at pictures,” he says. “This is a much friendlier way to get them to visit your site than a stream of nagging reminders to look at proofs.”

Reining in photo theft

In a time when copyright infringement is epidemic, Lehner contains it by limiting proofs to medium size and using a variety of elaborate watermarks for different situations, one with strong language detailing legalities and inviting witnesses to report theft if it is discovered somewhere other than Lehner’s site. He uses a different watermark to indicate that an image has been purchased for online use. SmugMug’s watermarking functionality gives him the range of options he needs. “In the digital age, the biggest challenge is a catch-22,” he says. “If you don’t put your photos online, they can’t purchase. If you do, people will use screen capture, upload them to Facebook and steal them. My online [watermark] and print mark are different, so I can see instantly if an image was bought in print form, for instance, then scanned without permission and uploaded to the Net.” Lehner, who spearheaded an industry effort to prevent theft, emphasizes the importance of features like right-click protection and watermarking. “SmugMug has done all it possibly can short of engineering a way for me to reach through the screen. I also do a lot of social networking to help find stolen images, reach out to coaches and trainers and try to educate new riders on how they should treat proofs.”

SmugMug’s Sexy New Search

We’ve done quite a lot of work lately updating our general look and feel, but we decided that our ancient search pages needed some special attention. Here’s what we did:

See it yourself by going to our homepage here and entering keywords in the search box in the header. Or just click here. Powered by Amazon’s brand-spanking new CloudSearch, our new search is ready to serve up an endless scroll of beautiful photos for your perusal pleasure.

Look Ma, No Pagination!

Here’s a few reasons why you’ll love it:

  • It’s stretchy. No matter how big or small your monitor is, we’ll stretch to fit as many juicy thumbnails in whatever space you’ve got.
  • It magnifies. Mouse over any thumb to see a larger preview of the pic. Like it? Click it!
  • It keeps going and going and going… Scroll to your heart’s content. Especially if you’re using popular keywords like “sunset” or “motorcycle” that turn up tons of images. No need to squint and peck to click forward.
  • It’s got filters. The menu on the left lets you search by Person, Gallery, Photo or Video. Click the “Photos” drop down to filter things further via EXIF data (like camera make/model, aperture, ISO and even orientation).

Where’s my photo?

We just launched this today and we’ve got billions of photos to index, so it will take a while. This means that if you’re playing with search now and don’t see your pics right away, give us a bit more time. They’ll get there.

Tip: Also be sure that your photo’s privacy options aren’t locked too tight.

And one last thing: This new feature is on the general, global SmugMug search page right now. Once we’ve dotted our t’s and crossed our i’s, we’ll hook it up to your site’s search box, too, to blow your fans away. Stay tuned!

Smug Tip: Download All for More Than Just Backups

Backups with a Click: Download All

Our heroes get questions every day asking about how to retrieve their original photos easily.

The Download All feature is already built into every SmugMug gallery. So log in, open up a gallery and look for the “Download All” link under the Tools menu.

How do they work?

Once you request the download, we’ll smoosh that gallery’s photos, videos and SmugVault archives and hidden images (if you have any) into a compressed zip file. When it’s ready, we’ll email you a link to retrieve it.

Once you get the email, the download link is valid for two whole weeks so you (or anyone you share it with) can get it in that time.

FYI: The photos in the zip file are your Originals, not the smaller display copies you see in your galleries. See more about sizes.

Share Whole Galleries

Backups are a no-brainer. But here are some other ways Smuggers have been using their zip files:

  • Share your memories with friends and family. Maximize the fun from that reunion, trip or when you tailgated the Superbowl.
  • Thrill clients with every shot in the shoot. Perfect for pros who wrap the cost of digital downloads into their session pricing.

The sweet thing about these backup files is that you don’t need a password to grab the goodies. So forward the email and spread the love with a click.

Anything Else to Remember?

  • It goes both ways: You – the owner – don’t need a password to download and open the zip file, but neither does anyone else. Be aware when you share the link, and be sure you’re OK sharing ALL the contents of that gallery.
  • Most Macs and PCs have built-in compression utilities to unzip your file, but if want something new, try 7zip.com. We hear it’s a great option… and it’s free.
  • If you upload more photos into the gallery, you’ll need to request a new backup file to be sure the new stuff gets zipped up, too.

Want to sell your downloads, instead? Pros should check out Gallery Downloads and set their own pricing for the whole shebang.

Have you been using Download All in other ways? Share your ideas here!