SmugMug’s Pro Pricing Change: What, Why and How.

UPDATE on July 30, 2013: It’s live! A whole new SmugMug is finally here. With it you get gorgeous designs, a powerful drag-and-drop organization and so much more. It’s all included in your current subscription rates.

UPDATE on November 8, 2012: We’ve added the ability to price and sell to the Portfolio account, based on the feedback we’ve been getting from you.

UPDATE on Sept 7, 2012: We’ve posted an update from Don & Baldy to answer your most common questions about these changes.

UPDATE: In case there was any confusion from the email, you won’t see a price increase until after your next renewal date if it’s after October 15th. We are not billing anyone on October 15th unless that was their annual or monthly renewal date.

Dear Pros,

For the first time in 7 years, we’re raising the price of some SmugMug Pro subscriptions, something we tried hard not to do.

Pros who sell at a markup use far more storage and features than pros who don’t, so we split our pro account into two types:  Portfolio and Business.

Portfolio is $150/year or ($20/mo) and still provides access to our pro labs for both you and your visitors, plus pro features like watermarking.

Business lets you set prices and earn profit.  It will be $300/year (or $35/mo) for new customers, but existing subscribers who set prices will be asked to renew at $250/year (or $30/month) beginning October 15, 2012.

Personally, if I were asked to pay more for a service, I’d want to hear from the person responsible for the decision.  That’s me, so I placed my dSLR on a tripod, and looked it right in the lens imagining it was you.  I tried to offer a peek inside SmugMug and our thinking:

What will I be charged when I renew?

If your anniversary date is before October 15, no worries, you’ll renew at our existing rates.

  • After October 14, we’ll guess you’d like to renew at the Portolio rate if you aren’t setting prices.
  • Also after October 14, we’ll guess you’d choose to renew at the Business rate of $250/year (or $30/month) if you do set prices.

If we’re guessing wrong, you can upgrade or downgrade in a few seconds in your Account Settings.

What’s the diff between Portfolio and Business?

The short. Portfolio has everything except commerce features.

The long. Portfolio lets you build a beautiful site, protect your photos and print pro-quality prints. You get everything in the Power account, plus:

  • Watermarking
  • Printmarking
  • Backprinting
  • Access to Bay Photo and WHCC. (Loxley in the works. We’ll say when.)

Business has every bell, whistle and feature we offer, including:

  • Commerce tools: Custom pricing, Sales tax, direct deposit
  • Marketing features: Events and favorites, Coupons, Packages, Order branding
  • Workflow helpers: Proof delay, Personal Delivery, Boutique Packaging

Our features chart has all the details.

Do I get something out of this?

Yes!  The other big reason for doing this is to invest more engineering in SmugMug to make your lives better, which is exactly what we’re doing.

We love that many of you have been with us for almost 10 years and it’s stunning to think how far we’ve come together.  Thanks so much for all the great support you’ve given us.

Thanks for being a part of the SmugMug family,

Chris MacAskill (aka Baldy)

Co-Founder & President

Published by

Chris MacAskill

co-founder of SmugMug

1,461 thoughts on “SmugMug’s Pro Pricing Change: What, Why and How.”

    1. Ahhh I should have read closer, you did say if our anniversary date is AFTER October 14 renewals would be at the new price. Well, that gives me almost a year to see if that much of an increase is worth it. I agree with Cynthia, I know prices go up, but I am afraid THAT much of a jump is going to make some of US jump!

      1. Not happy at all. Price increase is way too much… will move on with some other competitor once the current terms expires.

      2. Chris…what have you guys done? You guys are going to lose sooooo many customers. Look at all the comments below. Sorry this is happening to you guys. I’ll be leaving too unfortunately. I’m sure your competition is loving the news you provided this evening.

      3. I’m not going to jump ship mid-ocean but it’s taken the wind out of my sails and I will certainly downgrade come April – unless I’ve already decided to move on by then. At least some of us have time to think.

  1. I love smugmug, and I could understand a small bump in price, but a $100 increase? That’s pretty steep to drop on us out of the blue. I’m just doing this on the side at the moment until my son goes to school full time and don’t have the income from sessions to support this increase😦

    1. Agreed. This is a steep increase without warning. I’ll be looking around and weighing my options. Thought I would be with smugmug for years. But after a few recent issues with customers’ orders and this price increase, maybe not.

      1. I will definitely be looking for another solution. A nearly 100% increase is not reasonable or acceptable without an increase in usefulness or service. If I didn’t have way too much stuff sorted, organized, and posted, I’d quit immediately. As it is, I will be wide open to another solution.

    1. Not having the smaller caps that other sites do its the main reason I stick with smugmug. If I had to pay per GB I’d be SOL.

  2. As a new photographer this hurts me, I love your site and service but this will push me away as I will no longer be able to afford it.

    1. We’re so sorry to hear that, Dale. We resisted this for years, thinking surely storage costs will drop faster than uploads will increase, but alas…

      1. There should be an option for us photographers who don’t use much space and uploads are a minimum. You should have thought about the little guys here and how it would affect them.

      2. I’m more worried about where this is going, than this particular increase. This isn’t a huge deal for me, but I am wondering if how much trouble you are in, given the size of the increase. You’re held hostage by Amazon at some level…I’m wondering how bad that could get. I”m wondering if lack of SmugVault sales drove this. It all just gives me pause about your business model and where it’s going. I know it’s not an easy business to be in and have wondered how you pulled it off for so many years. I’m just trying to figure out if I should bail now or if you are solid with this change. Your service is great!

      3. Why would you hold off needing to increase the price. Everyone, even the customer, should expect a slight price increase over time. But a 100% price increase is ridiculous.

        I would have gladly taken a small price increase over the years I have been with smugmug. However, since you decide to drop a price increase this large, out of the blue, with no new features, I shall be looking for other options with your competitors. I agree with everyone in that I am sure they are loving this news your dropped.

        On top of the fact that its a month before my renewal date and only a month away. I would have dropped you immediately after reading the email had I not spent years of time, effort and money setting up my site with you guys.

      4. Sorry to hear that this price increase had to happen. Like several others, I’ll most likely be considering other options.😦

        I fully understand SmugMug’s need for the price increase. The service you offer and the storage/cost model you provide to end users is amazing, but also represents and unbound and growing overhead for your business model. It was one of the things I had been scratching my head on when I joined and I figured that so long as the majority of users stayed below a certain threshold of storage consumption, that you would be fine. But I’m guessing that with the new higher MP cameras, that threshold is quickly being crossed by more and more people.

        I don’t envy your position. You have a loyal and established user base that has a certain expectation and it must have been very difficult even with this $100 bump.

        Wishing you guys the best. You’ve been and will continue to be my favorite online photo service(hosting/printing partner).


    2. Dale, you can’t afford 10 bucks more a month? You mean it’s not worth it for you to stay. Not that you can’t afford it.

      1. Mark as a photographer its not the $10.00 extra per month ( $100.00 per year). I can up my packages. What its all about is exposure for me. I dont sell commercial products, but sell a service. I do post wedding albums but have not sold enough in a yr. to cover even the $150.00 fee. I add wedding albums as a way to steer friends,family & guests at a wedding to view my site, in the hopes that I could get another wedding. There are so many of us PHOTOGRAPHERS that dont depend on selling photos on line. For me its all about steering new clients to my site not buying photos . I will have to consider another web site.

  3. If too many large images being uploaded is the issue why not add in a new pro level at ~150 and set a maximum monthly uploads/space for it? I am not uploading an absurd amount of images monthly and this price increase is not something I am excited about

    1. I have struggled to continue my love and passion for photography. I can’t afford a new camera, my D200 is held together with duck tape, my old iMac is now outdated to the point I can’t really use any new software on it. I’ve always been happy with smugmug but I will have to do some serious soul searching and decide if I can justify spending more on something that brings back very little money for me. It’s a sad day.

    2. It sounds like you should try ShootProof, I only pay for the space that I use and they are commission free, it’s great! Also I have been able to change plans and keep all of their features no matter which photo space level I’m in…

      1. The cost for me at Shootproof would be $720 per year based on my total number of images on line – and based on their very weak look website – I really can’t tell what my final website would end up looking like – good luck you at you shootproof – doesn’t look like it even is close to what smugmug has to offer.

    3. Yes, something like a part-time pro or newbie package versus a full time package! I’d really appreciate something like that and would definitely stay if that were an option. Right now, I’m not sure. This business is more and more competitive and expensive… le sigh.

  4. Wow. “raising” the price is one thing. “DOUBLING” it is another. Especially since basic features that so many of your customers have asked (BEGGED) for over the last two years still aren’t implemented. Which feature would I specifically be talking about? Increase of gallery/category/subcategory levels. Without this, unfortunately Smugmug gets more difficult each year for me to effectively categorize my images, at ANY price. Luckily for me, my renewal date falls end of September, so I can “afford” to wait another year in hopes that this gets resolved before I would have to make a decision on a $300 per year renewal.

    1. I understand Belinda. One thing to note if it helps is renewals for existing customers are at $250, not $300 like they are for future customers.

      1. Why stop at $250. Greed is the driving force that cripples America. I’d shoot for the $250 a year and double that to $500 the following year and use the latest hurricane excuse to justify the gouge!

    2. Chris said they’re using the money to hire more engineers. If they have more engineers, they’ll hopefully be able to deliver more of those features you want. Maybe if you didn’t want those new features faster the price would not need to increase?

      Personally, I’m very satisfied with SmugMug and have both a personal and business account. I’m going to keep both.

      1. Add features, then raise prices. Given how many years we’ve all been waiting for some oft-requested features, I’m not going to throw a bunch of new money at them and just hope the new engineers will deliver overnight.

    3. You’re going to DOUBLE the price?? NOT NICE AT ALL!! Wow… I will be forced to look around for other options now. Thanks for causing me a lot of problems!

  5. Sorry but I think this is a really bad move. I just tried out the SImply Studio system for $49 a month and while I would prefer you AND shoot Q it’s a bad business decision to keep you both for around $70 a month when, if clients order prints they credit BACK my monthly membership. So bummed. I love the new features you’re rolling out such as KISS integration but they’re not worth that much to me. IT seems like everywhere we turn around we’re being nickel and dimed and I, for one am going to find the most bang for my buck in this economy.

  6. So if I started my account August 24, 2012, when can I expect my rate to increase to the new pricing?

  7. That’s a big % jump and lets down people who budgeted and built that into a longer term plan when they commit to your service. Looking for other options is a waste of my time, but I will.

  8. Though I can’t say I am happy to pay more, I can say that I understand the need to raise the rate. If I choose to go with Portfolio, can I upgrade to Business later? If I do go that route, do I keep my grandfathered rate of $200/year? (Iv’e been here a LONG time. 😉 ) Thank you for all help, and storage over the years.

    1. Hi Mike, you can absolutely change your account level at any time. In fact, we added a new option to downgrade, not just upgrade, without the need to write an email to our Support Heroes. But ping us if you end up switching back up to the Business plan, so we can honor your grandfathered status.

      1. Thank you schmoo. After sleeping on the rate change, and talking it over with the CFO (wife) we are staying put.

    1. This is a deal breaker for me as well. I don’t understand a company that charges you more for bring them additional revenues by taking a cut on our sales. What Smugmug needs to do is to increase their commissions takes, so the accounts that are making the most profit (and using more services) will pay more. I make very little sales from my account, and paying into the pot to make other more successful photographers to make more money just does not make sense.

    1. I agree, while there may be some cheaper options out there, the unlimited uploads at SmugMug is kind of a steal at $250. I currently have about 20,000 photos on my site, and with something like ShotProof I’d actually be paying more to have that amount of storage. I can’t say I’m thrilled about the price increase, but it’s understandable and I will definitely be staying put.

      1. I am someone considering starting with Smugmug and find it quite expensive especially when starting. Reading a lot of the comments I see that some people use Smugmug to store their photos. Uploading 20000 images seem to be the reason why prices need to increase so much. It seems unfair! I want to sell photos so I want to upload my best ones only which shouldn’t be more than just a few hundreds in total. If people want to use Smugmug as a storage system THEY should pay more.

  9. I’m not very happy with the new pricing. I think it would be a lot more fare if you simply charged for more storage to those that use more storage. I personally believe I fall into a category that I don’t have tons of photos stored, but want to be able to sell a photo from time to time to try to at east recoup some of my expenses. Now the price is doubled for me even though I can’t imagine I’m using all the storage that some others are simply because I won’t to make a small profit. You are making it very difficult for people like myself to try to fulfill a dream of having a small photography business.— I’m paid up until May, but may have to look for other possibilities in the future.

    Sent from my really cool NEW iPad (3rd generation)

  10. What about an “in-between” account? Like, a portfolio account with commerce options but also with a limited amount of uploads? (Basically, something for photographers who want to sell their art but only have a few dozen images in their portfolio, and not thousands of images for clients).

    1. Rather than limiting uploads, I’d rather see a less-expensive Pro account with no support for videos. I’m purely a still photographer and it’s irritating to see the cost of my hosting affected by storage/bandwidth hogs uploading tons of 1080p videos.

    2. Great idea, Nicole! But do you think if they really “agonized” over this decision, they wouldn’t have thought about offering that option? If many of us came up with the idea on our own and posted about it here, surely they thought about it.

      If you read between the lines, SmugMug has decided Pro customers who don’t do volume printing are costing them too much money, and they don’t want us anymore. It’s not about new features.. Who raises the price for a product saying it’s going to be for new features, without even mentioning the new features. It’s a weak attempt to cover the truth, which is they did a monetary analysis of the types of customers they have, and determined which ones makes them money, and which ones costs them money.

      They’re not offering a Portolio+Small Commerce option because that is the exact type of customer they need to convert to Portfolio (to stop them from losing money), or to Business ( so they can cover their costs with the increased pricing).

      1. How is it costing them more money for those who use the site very little? I would think the small end photographer, like so many have said on here, who sell a few photos and want the option of doing so, without having their own site built, would cost them far less, than someone who uploads tons of photos and or video every week and has dozens of customers also accessing the site which would cost them more. I send a few people to my site a few times a year. I am costing them hardly anything. Yet if I want to sell any photos after my next renew date, I’ll be in the red all the time with the increase. For me it was just a way to build business, albeit slowly, and have the option to sell some photos.

      2. That doesn’t even make sense! I’m a pro customer and cost them virtually nothing. I don’t use much storage and upload very little. If smugmug is like virtually every other service on the planet, then I’d wager that 20% of pro users consume 80% of the bandwidth, more or less.

      3. It’s hard to say, maybe they just wanted to “simplify” the options? They’re smart folk over at SmugMug, I know they’re not trying to screw us over but it’s possible that they didn’t consider an in-between account.

        All I know is that there is definitely room for a third or fourth option for photographers who aren’t full-time portrait/wedding/event/etc. photographers and upload thousands of images for each shoot. I don’t do any of those things, and only upload my images for “fine art printing”. For photographers who use SmugMug similarly a $300 cost do to that is too high, especially when there’s no guarantee of sales.

        It sounds like the main reason for the price increase is cost of storage space, and it only makes sense to have something for photographers who aren’t eating up their servers the way the power-users are.

    3. I like the in-between option too. I don’t do huge amounts of volume, and rarely sell a print, but it’s nice to have that option. Of course my renewal date falls a week after the cut off.

  11. My renewal date is June 25th, 2013…are you going to start charging me more come October 14th or not until my renewal?

    1. calanan and Jennifer, you won’t be charged anything in October. That’s just the date we’re going to start charging the new rates. You’re all paid up until your anniversaries, whenever they fall.

  12. Seems like Smug is trying to price competitively with zenfolio… except that zenfolio offers more features. If both are charging $250-$300/year – then with larger file size allowances, multi-user account access and a few other nice features… Zenfolio is now a better deal.

    1. Zenfolio is going to be my new choice, thanks , ,$60 buck a year for unlimited is great option for me.. Good to know I will be actually saving money with the move… Too bad though , have enjoyed being with SM for sooo many years… Pricing is just out of hand here though.. Didn’t anyone learn anything when netflix just went crazy with their increase and just about sank like the titanic.. lol Come on.. Seriously.. Understand an increase to some level but this is just wacky.. for the amount of people you will lose its going to be hard to gain new people with all the other alternatives around…

      1. Agreed. I’ve struggled to pay the $150 each year because I’m simply a part time on the side photographer with only a couple of jobs a year that are not ordered through smugmug. I don’t upload a boatload of images and don’t expect $100 is a fair increase for those who aren’t as big of users just so we can set our prices. The economy is still in the crapper so this is highly painful to a lot of us…and disappointing in a company that I loved and preached about to my friends in the beginning. Chirstopher, does your $60 a year for Zenfolio mean you can set prices too? Also, does anyone know of a painless way to get all images to another host?

        1. HeatherHerrmann :
          …, does (your) $60 a year for Zenfolio mean you can set prices too? Also, does anyone know of a painless way to get all images to another host?

          To set prices on Zenfolio, you need the $120/year plan which is $30 less than the current SM Pro account.

          The Zenfolio site lists several tools for transferring files. UploadJunction has been mentioned several times, and if you go to that site
 the author gives a referral code which will give a 15% discount on the first signup fee, although if you ask ZenFolio they seem to be quite willing to give new users, particularly those coming from SM a 20% discount.

  13. Will our images still be backed up and saved forever (as long as we are smug members) in the portfolio set up? Also will we still be able to have direct download of images with the portfolio set up? I use my website mainly for viewing images, direct download, and storing my images. I want to be sure all of these things are still available with the Portfolio because I cannot afford the business account. I hardly ever use the commerce tools, marketing features and the workflow helpers. So are those the only things that will be “taken away” if we choose to “downgrade” to the portfolio package?

    1. Hi Meghan,

      Yes, the Portfolio account has the same handling of images, so if you don’t use the commerce features, you should be good to go with Portfolio.

      1. Thank you for letting me know. I liked having the option of selling images to clients, and coupons and different neat things like that, but like I said I hardly every used it. I think I’ve had maybe 5 sales in the past 2 years. Maybe one day I will upgrade to the business account, but in January when I renew I will just get the portfolio account.

  14. I understand raising prices. I don’t understand doubling the price. I appreciate the great work you guys do and the great customer service but if I doubled my prices I would never get another gig. I’ll be looking at other options for the next 8 months until it’s time for me to renew.

      1. Must be nice to have 8 months. I have 2. After a mostly good experience, this will leave a very sour and bitter feeling. The costs of storage and the economies of scale as an industry have been decreasing on a per gb level, so I hardly see the justification.

    1. I could have written this post myself. I just renewed so don’t have to worry about it for a while, but almost doubling the price?? I have a hard time justifying that. I will be in the camp who is looking for another alternative in the meantime.

    2. You guys are exactly right. Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper while the client-side GUI at SmugMug has barely changed in the 5 years I’ve been using the service. Absolutely no justification for this large of a price increase. With the amount of sales I have in a year I would be better off in just using the drop ship option with BayPhoto or some other lab.

  15. Interesting the timing on this price increase.. I was recently looking at what other options I have available to me as a photography professional. In an industry where profit margins are shrinking… we are now faced with increasing costs of doing business.

    After doing my research, I had ultimately decided that my other options (your competition) were not competitive enough with your pricing to warrant the inconvenience of making the change. Now that you’ve changed the dynamics by increasing the price.. I can confidently tell you that my subscription with SmugMug will not be renewing.. I have two smugmug accounts and both will be migrating to a new site.

    My experience with SmugMug has been at best barely satisfactory. Your GUI for my clients is a nightmare, and it is difficult at best to manage pricing and I have been charged excessively for downloads for my clients. A SmugMug pro gets charged fees at every turn.. and now you want to tack on a 100% price increase… Thanks.. but no thanks… Its time for me to move on.

    1. Totally agree. I would love to hear the option you select, as I will spend my next few months searching also. This is ridiculous. photos @ stepshows . com

    2. Echo’s of my own thoughts, if they offered self fulfillment, and/or WordPress hosting like you can get from godaddy for dirt cheap, the price increase would be manageable, or do tiered storage plans. Otherwise the poor templates, lack of a true template system, or a real cms, awkward backend, it’s just too much for too little. I’ll be checking out PhotoShelter, it doesn’t seem too expensive anymore.

  16. A 100% increase for Pro users….NOT COOL AT ALL. Not that I’ve been a member since day one, but I have been a paying Pro user for several years. If anything, the longtime users should be receiving some sort of discount. “Hey, we truly appreciate your being a member for xx years, here’s a coupon good towards your next renewal…” Not, “Hey loyal PRO user, here’s a 100% price hike.”

  17. For me, Smugmug business is worth the increase. Smugmug has been good for me for a long time, and I like the unlimited storage, the ease of use, and the attitude of the company. I plan on staying.

  18. $100 increase with no direct benefit to your customers? That doesnt seem right. Ill be looking for a new service to switch to before my renewal date. Just goggled ‘sites like smugmug’ and came up with quite a few. Sorry smugmug…you have lost me

  19. Not happy about a sudden $100 jump. But here’s the deal, I’ve looked around at cloud file storage, and it gets expensive, DropBox is double the new asking price for the SmugMug business account for just 500GB of storage. I would rather see a price increase than a storage limit. I’m staying.🙂

      1. True, but many other options impose speed limits (mozy) and other things that limit the usability as a backup. I know there are other photo tools out there, but even though this is steep as an increase, it’s less than $10 a month more. Most people’s cable bills jump by that or more every year. I’ve consistently wondered every year when I renewed when we’d see a price increase. Now I know. I don’t agree with a sudden $100 “gotchya.” A better model would be to gradually increase it. Regardless of that, in the grand scheme of things, the use of this site justifies it to me. Not saying I’ll stay forever. But this is hardly enough to make me cry “the sky is falling.” If $10 a month will put you out of business, then something else is wrong.

    1. I agree with what most here are saying about the huge increase all at once. Hopefully it is like removing a bandaid, ouch this hurts now but then it is all over with. I haven’t been around as long as some here but for the time I have, I have mostly been impressed. A rate increase was inevitable in these economic times but if I am not mistaken can’t you use this fee as a tax write off? I know for myself, I only need one good gig to pay for a year’s subscription. Also, I like the simplicity of these galleries for my clients. It is so easy for them to view and choose their photos. I am also impressed with the printing labs. I prefer not to look around for another site, I did that when I came here and it was more than the price that brought me here, and besides, just because they are cheaper right now doesn’t mean they will stay that way. And unlimited space is a Godsend to me!

  20. sorry guys its been great,, but there are some competitors out there, I wont be able to sing the super increase,,,,,,, gonna probably pack up and head to photo $9 bucks a month there, no contract, pay every two weeks. ,,,,, its been nice,,,,, you will have me until my sub expires in the meantime,, will be looking at options

  21. Thanks for the honest discussion, but I can barely justify the pro cost as it stands now. Sadly, I think it’s just better we part ways entirely when my renewal comes up. I know there are others out there who will allow for setting my own prices at (much) less than the new rates. I’ve always stuck with SM for the great community and customer service.. Kills me to leave, but I guess I need to start planning a move. Best of luck Chris & SM crew, I will miss the Mug!

  22. I’m trying to build my motorsports photography business and frankly smugmug is the best option for my needs. I’m not going to lie, this hurts my pocket. But, at the same time, I just invested a lot of money in a new Canon T3i to improve my work. So, with that said, if I have to spend a bit more to improve my business then I’ll bite the bullet and do it. It may hurt in the short run, but I’m hoping in the long run the gamble is worth it.

  23. Like many, that will likely push me to researching my options now with other solutions and fleeing smugmug day or two before my anniversary renewal. I suppose that the flight of customers has been factored in to the new fee structure.

    Honestly, I recently bought the whole deal on Camera Awesome solely because I wanted to support smugmug. Bad move on my part. Looks like Camera+ is getting redownloaded as well. It is 10% the cost for 90% the app. I sense a theme.

    At least I have a little time to research my options and get the little stuff like DNS details all worked out. I’m grateful for that.


  24. Not a good justification when new uploading services are coming out daily for a dime of the price you already charge. already your pricing is pretty high in regards to what other uploading sites offer but you make up for it with the other services that are catered. HOWEVER adding an additional 100+ makes me decide I want nothing to do with you and your Indian giver attitude.

    I think this will quickly be the end of smugmug.

  25. Sorry but that is quite shocking! I won’t be renewing!! I’ll be off to Zenfolio who offer pretty much the same service for 20% less and they use a better and bigger choice of pro labs in the UK as well as self fulfill!! My opinion is you have let us down.

  26. Wow. I think that those of you jumping ship haven’t really looked at the other options and/or don’t really need a pro level account anyways. At $300 it’s still the best deal going considering unlimited uploads and the fantastic interface. There are cheaper options out there, but they’re just that: cheap. If you can’t absorb and account for an extra $100 over the course of a year, you should re-evaluate your business model.

      1. This seems to be what I’m going to do.
        I had decided to get back into my website after my family and I made a cross country move. Now I need to build a clientele in a new town with a regular full time job, knowing zero amount of people with barely any time.
        I’m glad I just renewed the other day with my current $150 a year price to have time to decide if smugmug is worth it to me. I was unsure if I wanted to because I don’t know anyone in this all. I hope that this price increase will not further hinder me from photography! I hope to have time to make a price increase worth it to me and any potential clients. I also hope that I have time to work out pricing and find that clientele in the mean time.

        I really appreciated smugmug for all of its features, but now I’m kind of nervous about what it might do for me in the long run. I only renewed in hopes that I might make a I HAVE to make one.

        I really don’t understand if a user isn’t using a ton of space why they should have to suffer with a downgrade to where they can’t set prices vs some other user who is using a lot of space and isn’t being charged more. It would make more sense to me to charge for overages and maybe even give people (like me) a break on price who aren’t..not being able to set my own pricing will stop me from downgrading but charging more for something I’m not using will cause me to look elsewhere.

        I hope that smugmug and co will figure out that there are some flaws in the new pricing LIMITS they’ve set upon their customers.

    1. Let’s just ignore your passive-aggressive comments, and focus on the numbers. ZF’s premium option at $120 offers the ability to set prices. The cheapest way to do that with SM now is $300. Most of my customers like Mpix, and don’t care if their photos come from a pro-level printing house, and for the client that does, I can self-fulfill.

      Take a look at ZF premium vs SM Business and show me what that extra $180 gets you, because I honestly don’t see it. SM has great service, but after getting my site set up initially and a random order here or there, I never talk to them.

      $180 a year isn’t a lot of money and I think many of us could pay it if we had to, but it’s about the value.

      1. I have done an in depth comparison of SM and ZF. One thing that I would strongly consider if you plan to switch is that ZF does not have smart collections. This is a big deal for me. If you search around, you will find people who say that you can workaround this using smart collections in LR, but I have found this to be false. LR will help with automatically creating the collections and adding images to them, but images in multiple smart collections will appear on the website multiple times, creating duplicates when using the search function. Secondly, I dont think that the shopping cart interface on ZF is anywhere near as nice looking as smugmug’s. I will stay with SM although I was shocked by the suddenness and size of the increase. I really hope that we see some awesome updates in the very near future.

    2. Tim- Good points, but it’s the users without a formal business model, because they are not making a living nor intending to, where the increase is a show stopper. Don’t need a pro account- probably true. Nice to have the commerce option to make a few bucks and cover hosting fees? Yes for the old fees, but likely not the new. These users are lower volume, lower storage, (lower upkeep cost), yet they will likely be the largest group to leave. Smugmug will no longer attract students/startups/serious amateurs, some of whom would have become heavy, full pro users.

      Seems to me they’ve drawn a line, and said ‘this site is for full-time pros only.’

      They likely anticipated their loss of other (lower-cost) users, which is why your increase is so high.

      1. You are exactly right, Roger. You said what I’m thinking much better than I did in my original post!

    3. $250 might be a ton of money to a small photographer, someone like me. I don’t make $250 off prints from Smugmug in a year, and all the money I make from my sessions goes directly into the bank to help pay my mortgage. When I started out that wasn’t the case, but in the last year we have taken a huge hit financially. But I have loyal customers who come to me because I keep my prices very low, andI also do free shoots to people who can’t afford it. I can’t change my prices or “re-evaluate my buisness model”. That might be stupid in a buisness sese, but my goal when I started my buisness was to give back, and at the time, I could afford that, and I can’t change that now. With something like smugmug, I could do those free shoots, or set my prices really low for people who couldn’t afford it normally. It completely kills all of it with the price increase. I refuse to raise my prices. I can’t do that to my clients. I can’t change how I feel about helping others. So I’ll have to leave once my renewal comes up, which is thankfully next year.

    4. How long do you think the unlimited storage last? It’s a ponzi scheme at best. Tiered storage/bandwidth is the only way forward

      1. Or they’ll just keep jacking the prices up until all they have left is a bunch of photographers who can’t edit their shoots and want a place to back up every one of their out-of-focus shots. Then they’ll just turn off the photo features and admit that by targeting the wrong customers they went from a photo site to a backup site.

  27. Your reasons makes sense in the video. Larger files have been a issue. Quality service? That has yet to be proven to me. $20/mo was a killer deal. $35/mo? It’ll have to be considered.

  28. This is my first year with SmugMug after having been with another service for about 8 years. I have to say, I don’t see the value when compared to alternative services. Once my account expires, I’ll be moving on. It isn’t offering enough to justify the $100 increase.

  29. I’ve been a SmugMug user for quite some time and have recommended to many other users. I can’t afford the new pricing and therefore will be downgrading and eventually switching over to another service. The price increase is too steep and drastic.

  30. I am angered… I’m sure we all understand inflation as we photographers work out our pricing every year or so as well. But an almost 200% increase? That’s ridiculous. If I were to personally increase my business by that percentage I would probably lose all of my clientele. I think you guys screwed yourselves over here. I love what you offer so far, don’t think you work on critical issues such as gallery expirations to REALLY help the pro-clients best, and feel you should have worked out more major issues to continue to prove yourself before increasing by THAT much. As many other pro users I think we would have been okay with a subscription increase, we are logical people and understand how business works, but you all really went way over the top here.

    There has been so much “engineering time” spent on making the user interface more “pretty” by your standards. I really don’t care what it looks like on my end logged in. I want features updated/upgraded for my client user-ability and ease on my end. Too many things have been untouched and not responded to on the website you have for new ideas that SHOULD be no brainer items for a gallery site especially for pro account holders.

    I think I’m going to be forced to check out other means and really shop around through this next year. I also think anytime someone has to explain themselves in full video detail they are already afraid of what they just did and that it might not sit well with people.

    1. It is not “almost a 200% increase.” $150 to $250 for existing customers is about a 60% increase and $150 to $300 for new customers is a 100% increase. For existing customers the increase is less than $10 per month.

      Go ahead and research the competition, but in my opinion SmugMug is still the best option.

      1. Look I understand a price increase…but this much this fast is not good! What if you increased your clients by this much? I dare say they would bolt and fast!

  31. Oh wow, you just eliminated 100% of any new, startup, or student based photographers. Lol trust me if our taxes went up that much percentage wise, we’d all be changing governments! If the features aren’t jaw dropping and astounding ….it may be time to defect!

    1. I agree that there is no longer a stepping-stone level on Smugmug, and they will not only lose current customers, but a lot of future pro business as a result. That may have been by design, and the increase may have been priced to absorb the immediate and future impacts.

      If not: trouble ahead for Smugmug.

  32. I think I’m with everyone else. I can understand a price increase, but doubling it is crazy! I do have a lot of photos stored on smugmug, but only because I didn’t have to remove them. If the problem is storage space, feel free to limit the amount we upload and if we go over we pay more. I’ll be happy to delete galleries every so often if it keeps my yearly fee down.

  33. Sorry, I won’t be renewing at this price increase. I do this as a hobby and only make enough to offset the cost of the service. I will be cancelling my account at my renewal date next summer.

    1. I am in the same situation. I don’t do photography as a business, only as a hobbie. I don’t make 100$/year by selling photos online, but I want to offer the option to sell some of my photos with the website I host them. A such high increase with no benefit is not acceptable at all in my position. It is sad such a thing happens, I will have to check my options matching the type of photographer I am.
      I don’t know, ZenFolio, when you do not pay the high price, they take a percentage on each sale. That’s alright when you’re in only for the hobby.

  34. Ouch, that price increase hurts. I can understand the reasoning, but it hurts. I don’t sell enough to cover that huge of an increase. I like some of the ideas pitched here about a 3rd business option, with limited uploads per month or something like that and still be able to set prices for $150/year. I’m going to weigh my options before I commit to that amount of $$$.

  35. If increased storage costs were a known issue – it seems to me that it was NEVER a good idea to enable VIDEO uploads as you did several months back. That in itself is a HUGE increase on server storage AND bandwidth. Yes, I realize storage is merely a part of this cost decision – but I’m just pointing out that this was a new feature that doesn’t seem like the best decision to spend time on – vs more basic features that directly impact and provide value to your actul PHOTOGRAPHY clients.

  36. Since I’m renewing before Oct. 15, I won’t be affected for another year, but wow, that’s a big hit all at once for the business level. Especially since we long-termers are so established with you. Why not consider an incremental increase? $50 one year and $50 the next? Or even better, I do like a mid-level pro account with limited uploads-or limited galleries with pro pricing. Not all of my galleries are active for pricing-I keep them live for portfolio purposes. And, I only do about $300/year in pro sales.

    Something in between would be easy to swallow, and make it cost-effective for us to stay.

  37. Just a question about the Portfolio account for $150 vs Business for $300. You mention that customers will still have access to the print labs etc. Does this mean that the account holder can’t mark up the price at all on image costs and therefore make ZERO profit on any sales at all ? Just so I understand… or will there be a set default mark up of say 100%

    Thanks Luke

    1. Hi Luke, at the Portfolio level you can set your print lab to EZ Prints, Bay Photo or WHCC (Loxley in the works), and that’s where prints will be fulfilled. You won’t be able to set pricing or a markup, but just like the Basic and Power accounts you can enable the Buy button in any gallery and you or your fans can order prints at-cost.

  38. I can understand an increase of $10-20, but doubling the price is absurd. I’ve been contemplating another service provider anyway since your prints and products are expensive compared to local options. Doesn’t smugmug get a cut from every photo/gift order? That money alone should be huge! I can’t image that user fees are where the majority of your profit originates. Memory continues to cost less, so I wonder what the real push for this increase is? Photographers already hurt from increased competition and poor economy, must you jump on the bandwagon as well? I’ve been using smugmug for 6 years, and it’s going to hurt moving all of my files elsewhere. I’m sad you’ve chosen such an extreme route.

  39. Will have to scrap pennies in the economy to keep the simple Pro account, just wish we had see some front end improvements this year to help with the sticker shock that was just given to us…It seems like SM answer to front end UI improvement is …hire a third party company or try out the forums..which I did, but in my opinion SM should have refreshed their front end with better slideshows both onsite and for websites, better ways to categorize images and then dazzle us with some of their cool wizardry… Maybe the folk(s) that did camera awesome should be assigned to this instead of getting to do side projects (maybe that was to harsh but I kind of feel that way).

    I’m going to stay at the Portfolio level as my date is Dec of this year so that gives SM a year to dazzle us as other sites are going to start (or have) improved. I have the Pro account for videos and the Pro labs…I guess if I was a pro bringing in six figures this isn’t such a big deal but for us wannabe Pros this is tough.

  40. You are dropping this on us “Just like that” Really?? I shoot some college sports, High School and small ball sports…and this will take a big hit on me. Right now folks cant aford extras like (photos) with the way the world is with cost increases. This would mean Id have to raise my prices, and I wont do that!!

    I just renewed in May…

    If I recall, Smug was down alot this year, and you want to raise the prices?? and since I got you here,

    Please tell me how I can upload all the photos I have on Smug back to my computer!!! You see, hard times hit me when my hard drive went bad 3 weeks ago, and “HP tech support in India” took control of my PC and said… “They saved my photos to my external hard drive”!! Well, guess what, they didnt, I lost all my photos!!! So could you help me with that please???

    and If you are going to raise prices, How about a 800 number so we can talk to a tech if needed.

    1. In each gallery you can use the download all option. It will send you a link to your email with the files in a zip file.

      1. This is very disappointing. At least allow portfolio grade to set prices for digital downloads. Very few people sell in sufficient volume to justify this price increase

    2. I very much support David in suggesting an 800 number for tech support. Though, it would have to be very efficient without long hold times, and it would NEED to be an American who answers!

  41. This will def cause me to look around at other services. If the value is still there I’ll renew.

    I appreciate the improvements to the site, keep ’em coming. I hope you’ll keeping adding features aimed at pro photographers, esp with the price increase.

  42. This is very disappointing. At least allow portfolio grade to set prices for digital downloads. Very few people sell in sufficient volume to justify this price increase.

  43. Alternatives anybody? What have we got:
    Zenfolio, Photoshelter are looking pretty good right now.

      1. Interesting – thanks for the info, Nicole. I’m considering Zenfolio. Price is about the same as the new Smug rates, but they have a LOT more features, and the user interface is so much better. A friend of mine who uses Zen says, that her favorite feature is how her clients can save favorites and send them to her or others. She can create albums quickly from those faves and she can also have clients proof albums online efficiently.

  44. That’s a large increase for those of us who do this on a part-time basis! I upload and sell photos for a tiny non-profit. They get all the money and they pay the annual fee. That’s a huge increase for twice a year sales.😦

    Can we renew before the anniversary date to save money?

    1. Hi Melissa, we’re sorry that we can’t renew folks early at their current rate, but we do have incentives for non-profits. If you haven’t already talked to our Support Heroes when you opened your account, please write to us with your account info. We’ll see if there’s anything we can do to help:

  45. $100 increase is too much. I just renewed earlier this month, and have been with SmugMug for numerous years. I don’t see me renewing again next year. I do like to attempt to sell some of my images from time to time, but not enough on a regular basis to pay a $100 more per year. So now I’m forced to to decide if I want to sell and pay the increase, or not sell at all after investing all that time and energy uploading and customizing my SmugMug site.

    I think the fact they know what a pain in the butt it is for someone to move their site and all photos gives them that captive audience where many and most will just ‘suck it up’. I’m very disappointed as a customer who has always recommended SmugMug as a value for ‘everyone’ to sell their photos, not just the big time Pros. Now, it’s really just a product for those who make enough income to justify it.

  46. Mark, I’m with you, The price has gotten up with the competition who offer a lot of the same services. For SM to do this, I’d rather use a lab’s order side then go through a third party. SM has been great but I don’t see that I’m getting double the service for double the price!

  47. We are a long time customer with 9 pro accounts and more planned. We have annual online sales around 50K, of which the labs and SM already keep ~13K. We have plans in the works to exponentially increase our online sales through SM. We seriously considered working directly with the labs as we retooled, but found the cart and customer service offered by SM to be too good to pass up. We will have to reevaluate this decision now.

    1. That doesn’t make sense to me that you make that much and you have to reevaluate because of an extra $100 a year. Sounds like you are just blowing smoke dude.

      1. A 66% increase is a 66% increase. We all operate on slim margins. Across 9 plus accounts, that extra cost is more than enough to justify the development cost to work directly with ezprints.

    2. What happened to the comment from the SM employee telling them to contact them via Email as the work with “Volume” clients on an individual basis? Not very fair for the rest of us you think? That comment got deleted? As did mine calling you out for it?

      1. Hi Ryan. Sorry about the comment deletion. I actually found Chris’ personal email address and wanted to reach out to him directly. We do not give volume discounts. Sometimes these types of accounts require manual invoicing and much more support, which could actually make them more expensive than a regular account.

  48. Like many others, I am just doing this on the side, and barley making much money doing it, especially with prints. Last year I only made enough profits from prints to cover my subscription and walk away with a whole $12. No I did not forget a zero. Only $12. There is no way I can afford this price increase. Judging from other comments, it seems that the amount of money you may have gained by raising the price so much is going to be greatly offset by the amount of subscribers you are going to lose. I’ll certainly be one of them. I think there are a few other places out there that can offer a similar service at a lower rate. Thanks for being good to me while I could afford it.

  49. My anniv. is May I have paid for the year…when will this new charge affect me??
    It will be out of my budget unless something changes, Maybe one thing you could do would be help us market our page….

  50. I agree with several of the earlier comments. If this is about storage costs, then the obvious solution is to get rid of the silly unlimited upload feature and charge additional fees for large amounts of storage. Instead, I think you are just raising your prices to the competition’s price point to increase margin. I have no issues with that; you have no obligation to provide me with cheap service and you should do whatever you think will make you the most profit. However, I think you’ve badly overestimated your competitive position. Doubling your prices brings your costs into line with competitors, but you are far from achieving feature parity. Good luck with that strategy, but I expect the invisible hand of the market is going to give you a nasty knock upside the head for it.

  51. I enjoy Smugmug but will almost certainly not renew at that price. Just a thought for you guys at Smugmug, look at the business model for Netflix and see what happened to their stock when they made a very similar move. I immediately dumped Netflix when they about doubled their pricing.

  52. Baldy,

    Your email, received on August 31st describing a near doubling of price to occur on October 15th smacks of extortion. Of course that is most likely the plan, knowing full well that some of us have no choice but to pay. $150/year plus a 15% skim on any sales we make was not enough.

    1. After reading more comments, I’m betting this was part of the plan. Get rid of the casual users who do not generate a lot of sales (so 15% of their sales is very little for smugmug), and for pros who have a ton of photos stored and a personalized site created here- and generate good sales for SM’s commissions- they will not be leaving for a hundred bucks or so.

  53. ugh i dont even make $250 in sales some years most year under 1000, so you are still taking 15% from me and now i need to foke over $100 more. or 25% if i make $1000.
    $1000 – 15% = $150 + 250 = $400 = 40% just to use your site………… so you just took another 10% from me or more…………………………….. i don’t even have that many photos uploaded only about 10GB worth

  54. The economy is still way down, I’m sure most of us and I know at least I have lowered my prices just to make any sales! Faster uploads ad better technology isn’t going to increase my sales one bit. I’m struggling to make my ends met an to have to make your 40 programmers ends meet doesn’t set well with me!

  55. I, like many others will be researching my options. The pro level does exactly what I need as far as a portfolio goes, but lack of a print option in Australia is killing me – while the options for the UK and the US might be great, there are no sales at this time for me in these regions and with the price rise becomes increasingly difficult to justify only half a service for a business price.

    1. Yes Print options in Australia would be great… Its hard for my customers to want to commit to a $10 print when postage is $20 3 week delivery

      1. I agree, time to move on. In australia there are a couple of options to consider. Smug capitalism at its worst. Follow apple or ikea more uptake cheaper pricing.

  56. 100%! Wow, talk about smug! Might not hurt as much if we were getting something extra for the money, but not so. And a 50% increase for [less] service?–that’s even crazier. How disappointing. Much as I prefer not to, time to see what the competition can offer.

  57. I enjoy SmugMug, but when your biggest competitors offer more for less than what you are charging now, I just don’t/can’t see the increase. They’re still doing it so likely there is something you’re missing that is causing far higher costs.

    Thankfully my account renews right before the price hike so if I want the status quo I won’t get socked with this unreasonable increase. But I’d been contemplating leaving anyway. Guess I get to spend this weekend contemplating whether I stay or go.

  58. I do agree with many of the others above. I would love to see a “Semi-Pro” pricing option. While for some unlimited uploads are great, I try to only post what I think are my best and images people have specifically asked for. But I do want the ability to have price lists. That was the number 1 reason I signed up for SmugMug – well that and I love Bay Photo!

    But thankfully my anniversary date is in September, hopefully the price increase will seem worth it by next year.

      1. I am a “semi-pro”. I don’t use SmugMug to archive my photos, that is what all the hard drives in my house are for. I use SM to sell my photos. I photograph high-school theatre and amateur auto racing and events. I got a SM account to mange my sales. If I wanted to give it away free I can use flickr (and I do for family, friends, etc). SM for me is a place to have a (relatively) easy e-commerce site. I have never had a complaint about the prints or the download service (although I really don’t understand the overhead cost for the downloading).

        The cost of doing their business is covered by 1) my yearly membership and 2) their surcharge on all products. What they should have done was to have smaller yearly increases based on the cost of living or something. I cannot pass a %100 price increase to my customers, they just won’t buy my work. I have just recently renewed so I have many months to find a place to move to. I’ve heard good things about Zenphoto and will have to try some demo prints from them to check quality. I’ve spent many hours setting up my SM site and the thought of redoing it all is not pleasant but in the end it may be required. I am very glad that I didn’t pay one of their experts to do my site coding. That would have been wasted money.

  59. Wow, understandable. I have one word ‘Netflix’! They too tried to split services and raise prices, and quite frankly it more of a hassle then need be. I like, as I’m sure others do too, the one price full service idea.

  60. Can you please explain the difference between Power and the new Portfolio product? It’s not clear what you get for the additional $90.

    1. You don’t have any lab printing capabilities with Power, you can print with Portfolio but apparently you can’t set your own prices. If I stay with SmugMug I will be downgrading to Power and just do the printing and sales side myself – I don’t do too much. I see no reason to keep the Portfolio myself if you only occasionally have an online sale from a random visitor. When I print I go directly to the lab and avoid SM’s 15% take anyway. Other than that they are the same.

      1. I’m pretty sure I would be able to buy my own images through SmugMug on a Power account, I just wouldn’t be able to choose or specify Bay Photos. Otherwise, what’s the point? Really hoping the SM folks will answer this one.

      2. Hi Margy, you also get Watermarking, Backprinting and Printmarking with the Portfolio account. So you get all of the image protection features, too.

      1. What have you done? what have you done? ughhh
        What a mistake Smugmug is making. I can’t believe it.
        You are going to lose soooo many customers.

      2. Let’s see, I can watermark to protect the images that I give awayway. I make nothing off of sales. I’m sure you get acommission off of my sales as you do with the Business account, but I don’t. I don’t sell enough to go with the Business account and I don’t see what I get with a Portfolio over a Power to justify an extra $90.

  61. I very recently joined SmugMug as a Pro and spent a great deal of time customizing my home page, galleries and price lists. I had decided to give it a year to see if the $150 was worth it. At least this price jump won’t affect me until next year.

    While the business and technology-improvement reasons for this nearly double price hike make perfect sense, I agree with others here who say it is unfair to charge the smaller storage users the same as those who have unlimited storage and use the heck out of it as a serious business user.

    I hope you will reconsider and add the commerce features back into the Portfolio level, but put a cap on the amount of storage that can be used before it jumps to the next level.

    Personally, I don’t see the point of paying for the Portfolio level without the commerce features.

    Thank you.

    1. E-Commerce is the most important feature for a beginner or part-timer…that’s the biggest sticking point to make us leave!

  62. Pay more and get less. I don’t see how having only the option to submit photos with no commerce function and only the option to have prints made where only you profit can be considered a “pro” feature. You can do that from pretty much any other photo download site. This is going to take some consideration. I can do this in other places for far less money.

  63. I am sad to see a double increase in pricing. For a starting out photographer trying to sell art as a side job is very hard to justify. Might have to search for other option and leave smugmug.

  64. Wow, a 66% increase.. for current Pro Business customers. 100% for new. In this age of such high price sensitivity, SM is taking a huge gamble and quite frankly is overestimating their value in our market. What would you do if your grocery store suddenly increased every product price by even 15 or 20%? Shop somewhere else, that’s what you’d do. SM’s product may not have as many legitimate competitors as our corner grocery stores.. but they still have competitors.. Photographers who use SM as a platform for customers to view their portfolios and make their selections/purchases – can go elsewhere. Photographers who seek exposure from SM’s already established traffic may think twice. We renew just 4 days before the increase.. so we get to be witness to your enhancements that are billed as a substantial value-add. Time will tell! Wew, five days later and I’d be shopping.

  65. This breaks my heart, I’ve loved Smug Mug since the day I found it. The annual fee and the 15% I gave up for your service made setting competitive prices difficult and my pathetic income small but I always told myself I can justify it. Now though with my annual fees doubling I’m now forced to start looking for another service. For someone who’s been struggling to break out and even cover costs this much of a drastic increase is back breaking and I have no options but to look for alternatives or worse yet, give up.
    Smug mug you have gotten me closer to my dream then anything else but this… This slap in the face when margins are razor thin, no one wins. I gave up on on-site servicing because your services delivered and freed me up to focus on getting work but now…. Damn it!
    Maybe this is just my gut check reaction but when I see such a huge increase and nothing in return other then business as usual… Damn it
    If $300 is back breaking maybe it is pretty pathetic to keep trying, puts the whole “Dream” into perspective.


  66. What a slap in the face for our loyalty. The competition has lower prices already and it has been hard to justify not jumping ship, but if this is how loyalty is repaid … wow. This isn’t cost of living, or expense cost increases, it is just greed when it goes up 67% all at once for no additional benefits. You should learn how to grandfather in new pricing so that you don’t lose all of your customers. Give the new pricing to new customers and honour the established pricing with existing customers (or have a modest increase).

    I have pricing set on my pro account and I get an e-mail telling me I don’t have pricing set. You don’t even know who has sold through your website?

    I’ve been advertising and selling SmugMug on forums, websites, to colleagues and my neighbour just signed up … and this is how my efforts on your behalf are rewarded? Your best marketing is word of mouth and you just spat in the face of your best volunteers.

    Thank you SmugMug for disrespecting us like this.

    1. Hi Steve,

      I’m really sorry you feel this way. Unfortunately, when we raised prices in 2005 and grandfathered our existing pros, we found that they can really add a lot of storage over the years. We still offer all of our existing pros better renewal rates than new pros get, even though many have had years to build up storage, because we know so many of you are responsible our success. Raising prices is so painful, there’s very little in this world we’d rather not do, and I know it’s even more painful for you.

      1. My need is the ecommerce, not the storage. Tax those that put zillions of meaningless little kid soccer photos on your servers, and let us that have a few art photos be. This is very poorly thought out and if not changed by my renewal date, I’ll be gone. Not that my business made you any money, but it certainly didn’t put pressure on your system, either. Will be sad to go, but this wasn’t thought out very well at all, Chris.

      2. If people who store a lot are the issue, then charge based on storage used in addition to features. I’ve had a Pro account for a while now but I have only around 1500 images in my account, so I’m not the reason your storage costs are out of control. But now you want me to pay $100 a year more just to retain the features I already had, or cut back to Portfolio level and lose any chance of making any money at all off of my hosted images. It’s not a good deal for me either way. If your intention is to drive away all Pro customers except those who sell prints in large enough quantities that they don’t care about another $100 a year, then I think you’re on the right track.

        If you could either charge per GB above a certain threshold instead of raising subscription prices so radically, or if you would even just give the ability to set custom prices to the Portfolio level, then I think you would have a much better solution.

  67. Very bad decision, You are going to lose A LOT of customers . I just joined this a few months ago after careful research of other competition and this is a very bad mistake to raise the prices so high and or take away e-commerce for the $150 subscription . Now I will have no choice but to reconsider other options . Especially in this economy, shame on you BALDY! I just joined this and started building my site now I am not sure if I will be adding more and wasting my time. Thanks for ruining my weekend.

  68. What a shame. I would’ve gladly accepted an increase but this is too much. This sounds like the end of my 5+ year relationship with smugmug and I wouldnt be suprised if it leads to the end of smugmug as well…

  69. Wow.. at first i thought this was some sort of a joke… I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasnt April first.. but alas.

    Can anyone think of another business that has dropped 100% price increase on their customers like this one? I know if i doubled my price I would be out of business in a matter of months.

    If the problem truly is the amount of photos some people upload… then let those people pay for their massive amount of uploading… not those of us who only upload a few gigs a month. or less. Create some pricing structure based on how much you upload or how much bandwidth is used by viewers . Or how about have a lower user level with ads. Give us some options other than a broad sweeping price hike of 100%!

    I can say with 100% certainty that if this is the way things are going to be..I will not renew.

    For someone like me who doesnt sell photos and simply uses it to display them for my customers enjoyment.. it just makes more sense to use something like facebook.. which has no limit and a better GUI for commenting and sharing.

    Now I have to pull 8 years worth of photos off smugmug.

    Ive made mistakes in my own business so I’m far from perfect but this is bad business move in my opinion.

  70. I’m not a “professional” photographer, so doubling the price so that I can keep selling photos… WOW! I did not make enough to cover the full cost of the account. But selling an occasional photo helped pay for some of it. With a 100% increase, I will have to sell more photos or downgrade my account. If I downgrade my account I won’t sell any photos… If I don’t sell any photos I have to cover the FULL cost of my account.

  71. No reward for loyalty I guess. Unless the “Business” account is a significant upgrade in functionality over the existing Pro accounts to justify the additional cost, it will be “Bye-Bye, SmugMug” for me.

  72. I’ll be moving all our SmugMug accounts. (we have more than one). I think SmugMug is going to take a huge loss on this decision. I can’t justify the price increase. Adios SmugMug.

  73. Ok, the timing of your announcement REALLY bothers me more than the new pricing.

    You chose to announce this the Friday before Labor Day weekend? That is lame. You can claim ignorance, coincidence, call me cynical, but the timing is obviously calculated to minimize the attention this announcement receives from the internet.

    “Taking out the trash” on a Friday before the holiday weekend undercuts all the effort you undertook to be transparent and definitely dents my opinion of Smugmug as a company run by photographers for photographers. I’m no longer so idealistic about you guys. I’ll use you guys because you offer good value, my brand loyalty is gone.

    1. +1. Smugmug works hard for years to be approachable, friendly, likable, and vaguely cool. Why do the MacAskills throw that all away? Really, what a dick move! The price hike is obviously outrageous, and that’s compounded by the Friday-before-Labor-Day timing that’s straight out of the sleazy playbook of some political campaign. The whole thing is calculated and cynical and cheap — the farthest you can possible get from cool and friendly and likable.

  74. Wow looks like someone needs to compete with you so all us pros can move pure greed!! I used to like your sight looks like I’m looking for a alternative. I think you might find that you are cutting your own thought with this steep of an increase in this economy. Very greedy bastards over her you got my negative vote.

  75. I will be looking at my options before my February renewal date. If I stay with SmugMug I will NOT pay the extra money and drop down to portfolio or most likely power so you will be losing money from me. If I can’t set my own prices then why would I want eCommerce options. I can arrange sales and printing myself and not worry about your cut. My main question is if you will notify users when their renewal is due about the price increase. Do you give credit for downgrades?? Better yet if you would give downgrade credits before the renewal date I can just downgrade my subscription and just be done with it.

  76. Looks like Zenfolio is going to be getting my business pretty soon…I’m not really seeing any advantages of staying with SM.

  77. Wow, so “volume” clients can be worked with but the low level shmucks are the ones that have to fork over the extra doe without exception. This comment shows SM’s true character. Really thought this company was a little different. Unbelievable.

  78. WOW! Looks like the overwhelming opinion is this is HUGE mistake. Personally, I was thinking of the “portfolio” option for $50 more per year… maybe I too need to look at other options. Which really stinks, since I have been here so long.

  79. I enjoy the ease of my smug mug account, Until this year I had barley made any sales at all with my pro account but things have started to change for me now and the money is starting to come in. I am not pleased with the recent price change but thats the cost of doing business and to be honest smug mug makes my business easy!
    Now, how about at least throwing some smug mug swag our way for those of us that are not jumping ship!

  80. i just looked at zenfolio. i can have unlimited uploads and set my own price for $120 a year.i dont see what smugmug offers that would be worth DOUBLE the price.

  81. Really frustrated that the assistant password is restricted to the most expensive account. I don’t sell *anything* but had a pro account for the extra features. I work with a sports team that credentials me for events and then needs access to my full-size images via the assistant password. That’s the only “business” aspect I need–and it’ll be way too expensive.

  82. Please, simply move to a tiered storage plan. I *just* signed up with smugmug less than a month ago. There is no way I’ll be able to use enough storage to make smugmug economical for me. I was taking a chance when I signed up, and now wish I could get a refund on my $150, pro-rated for the less than a month of use. I don’t want to continue uploading new photos, and giving people the web address, when I’ll just have to move everything in a year. Bummer. I even signed up for smugmug-pro a week before my free 14 day trial finished. I feel a bit silly now. Seriously, why not a tiered plan? Phone companies do it for data plans. The all-you-can upload setup is nice but leads to LOTS of wasted space, I know, I’ve run computer systems — no disk quota always means full disks. I bet by introducing a tiered plan you immediately get back 1/2 your disk space from people cleaning up and save more money than you make by raising prices and losing some customers. Please please please go to a tiered plan, or I’ll have to say goodbye — I will simply never be a power user. At $150 it was a fun hobby. At the new prices it is serious pro only. One final point, a mathematical one… (I’m a scientist) if you don’t move to a tiered plan, I can guarantee prices will go up again. Storage prices do indeed go down — but SLOWER than the rate at which users accumulate data in an unlimited plan. No matter what price you pick, if the rate of data accumulation exceeds the rate storage gets cheaper every year, you will need to continually raise prices. The only way to solve this is tiered pricing.

  83. I’m happy to pay $300 a year for the high level of service and overall value I get from SmugMug. The Lightroom plugin alone is worth $300 per year. That plugin cuts my workflow time in half or better. No other similar service comes close to SmugMug in terms of integration with other systems. This is huge and I thank all the heros at SmugMug for building such a powerful service.

  84. I’m a “professional photographer” in my spare time, but I support myself as a Labor Economist. Now it doesn’t take an economist to see that this increase is onerous and outrageous. Yes, costs go up, yes it’s a “free market” and you can do what you want, but as others pointed out, you are DOUBLING your prices all of a sudden. I got news for you. My salary hasn’t doubled, nor have my “profits” on smug mug.

    I built my site(s) with the understanding that I casually sell photos to visitors at a profit. that’s why I chose smugmug, along with the look and feel of your site which I do appreciate. I also understand that programming costs are high. However, it takes chutpzah for you to refer to smugmug as “your smugmug family”, because families don’t put a gun to each other’s heads and demand double for some amenity, unless they are the Corleone family. If you think that I’m making too much money thanks to the programming that goes into your site, a)you are mistaken b)why don’t you go and increase your base charge for prints, or whatever money you receive from the printing “partners”. Someone like me who barely makes back the cost of the website can no longer stay. As far as the 150.00 “option”, that’s no option at all because if you want to post photos w/o being able to sell at a profit, there are many FREE alternatives.

    I’m not even going to get into the service issues which have been a hassle. You admitted it yourself. Because I am not a high volume seller and felt that the yearly charge was reasonable I was able to live with the outages, etc etc. No more. I will have to seek alternatives, as your new prices make no business or common sense to me, and I do not like doing business with an organization that betrays my trust. Double the price, while inflation essentially ZERO, give me a break.

  85. As difficult a task as it may be, I am inclined to switch to an alternative service before my current renewal expires next year. I’ve been with SmugMug from practically the beginning and I seem to recall that I was promised that my yearly subscription wouldn’t increase. So much for respecting the promises to the customers that supported you out of the gate. Raising the pro rate by $100 is INSANE!

  86. Sorry guys, there are lots of other options out there – for me, there are free options if I just devote the time to setting up my own software (as a SW engineer). The old price was on the margins for me – I use few of the bells and whistles and you make a fair amount of money from me for very little “service”; the new price makes it well worth my time to “roll my own” using some of the free open-source stuff out there. I feel bad for the less technically inclined folks here who will have no alternative but to stick with you. As it is, my site “profit” barely covers the existing fees so it’s time to shut down and move on…

  87. maybe with the increase you’ll add a “customer service” phone number. however, i highly doubt it. my site has issues and i have no idea how to fix them. like most of the people above, I too plan to find another source. yes, your site is awesome when it works, but $100 increase, yikes.

  88. Why not store low-red images on SmugMug, and then when an order is placed, request the original file from the user? That would solve the storage issue.

  89. I have been using SmugMug for 2 years now and could not be happier with their service and have no problem with a $100 increase. My partner and I shoot for theatre companies in the SF Bay area and Seattle and the ability to catalog our images makes it so easy to work remotely without have to send DVD’s.

    I really look forward to what the new rollouts will be and would like to commend SmugMug again for an amazing product.

    1. Thank you so much, Tracy. I know that no one likes a price increase and if we could avoid it and still make an awesome product, we would.

      1. How about you stop cherrypicking comments and start answering the questions and concerns of the overwhelming majority of people here who are telling you that your 100% price increase is bad for them and bad for SmugMug? Thanks.

  90. My first reaction was horror!! Shocked!! I even became upset. But I pulled my calculator and did some numbers. $250 a year is $21 a month. The cheapest pictage account is $29.95 and you get hit with a 20% commission from each sale and their print prices are higher for 4×6 to 11×14.

    So I think $21 a month still a pretty good deal when you look at the numbers.

    That said, some things need and have to change even if still a good deal. Smugmug need to become more Pro. There are many features that need to be added to make it a better tool for us to sell images.

    Right now it feels like two system: Smugmug and the Pro are the events. I should be able to upload the event images, categorized, within the event, all at once and not gallery by gallery like we currently do. It is a waste of time and we have to babysit the process. That is one of the reason I havent make the full switch from Pictage yet.

    One of the MOST important is to add a tag system that will help customers sort their images and select the ones for their album.

    We need to be able to offer more products to our clients. Mugs with photos and mouse pads are not the type of products I care to sell but more like books that the client himself creates.

    A way to do album proofing would be really nice.

    That people an purchase prints and products should be more obvious.

    And it should not take years to upgrade.

    I do not mind paying more if I get a system that look and feel more pro and not an amateur products with a facelift so we can sell.

      1. What?! Coffee mugs and aprons aren’t pro enough for you? What do you want, better labs, more than one level of hierarchy, actual pro products like books, a customizable shopping cart that doesn’t look like a holdover from the 90s, and the ten-year-old custom domain bugs fixed? If you want that kind of stuff, you’ll have to pay way more, like, uh… well, like $300/yr. Hmm…

      2. Lol… You’re right. Instead of a wedding album, I’m going to start offering my clients a deck of playing cards with their photo on them. If I can get a different image on each card I can just glue them together on one side and market it as a “mini album.”

  91. Now they are trying to hide stuff! This comment thread is being scrubbed! Someone from smug mug replied to this comment

    “We are a long time customer with 9 pro accounts and more planned. We have annual online sales around 50K, of which the labs and SM already keep ~13K. We have plans in the works to exponentially increase our online sales through SM. We seriously considered working directly with the labs as we retooled, but found the cart and customer service offered by SM to be too good to pass up. We will have to reevaluate this decision now.”

    asking them to contact via email as they work with “volume clients” on an individual basis. Doesnt sound very fair to the rest of us does it? Shortly After I replied to that thread BOTH my comment and the comment from the SM employee were deleted! I hope others can read this before THIS comment is scrubbed too. all I can say is WOW! the true smug mug shows itself.

      1. post # 94 had a comment from a smug mug employee asking the person to contact them with an email address on it saying they “work with volume clients on an individual basis”. I then called them out for it. Both comments were deleted moments later.

    1. Hey Ryan, your reply is still there, it’s #155. Looks like you replied to the post, not to the comment. So it’s a few pages away from what you were replying to.

    2. Hi Ryan. That comment was from me! I didn’t see that you replied to it. I apologize. I found Chris’ personal email and wanted to contact him directly. As I answered in your earlier post, we do not give volume discounts. Sometimes these types of accounts require manual invoicing and much more support, which could actually make them more expensive than a regular account.

  92. And, BTW, I am getting SICK AND TIRED of having to REPEATEDLY log-in because of the ridiculous custom domain bug that SmugMug can’t seem to fix. You guys have gone from being one my most admired web services to one of the most annoying. And now you want me to pay MORE for the dissatisfaction!

  93. Chris MacAskill :
    We’re so sorry to hear that, Dale. We resisted this for years, thinking surely storage costs will drop faster than uploads will increase, but alas…

    There should be an option for us photographers who don’t use much space and uploads are a minimum. You should have thought about the little guys here and how it would affect them.

    1. They did think about them. It’s called customer purging. Keeping the cream of the crop.
      I think a sellout to a corporation would have been easier to accept.

  94. $50 I could’ve handled, $100 (66%!!) is a huge jolt to the system. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do, glad I have until next June to see how things play out and make up my mind. (Would be nice for starters if you gave us the ability to make some profit on the frames and mattes that we can now ‘sell’.). You have effectively eliminated all of your semi-pro photographer market with this pricing.

    A pro photographer selling fine art prints would not have as many files uploaded as a wedding/portrait/stock photographer, and I think some type of tiered Business pricing based on storage usage would be a more realistic and fair way to approach this problem.

      1. Except that you can’t customize zenfolio sites very much, and their layout options are ugly.

  95. So your prices increase, service is down more then in years past and you take 15% of our profit. Looks like I will be using my local lab from now on.

  96. What’s next? Maybe ” we have listened to our valued customers and decided that a near 100% increase is way to much, we have decided to be good to our customers and give you a great deal and only raise prices 90%”, it will makes you want to thank them for a 90% increase.

  97. I love SmugMug, but I feel like this is a mistake of Netflix proportions. Lots of “family” are going to feel betrayed for a profit. The search engines and blogs are going to be burning up with discussions of SmugMug alternatives. Bad form. Bad planning. Bad move.

  98. I don’t even use sM for my website anymore. Too confusing. I went and paid extra for Photobiz and only use SM for sales. SM was too damn confusing to make a nice looking website. If they charge his much, they need to make it where anybody can have a nice website with out having to know how to do it.

    1. Ok, so I don’t even know how you can double the prices with a straight face. Double. That is insane. And 67% increase in one year is crazy too. You didn’t even bother to make the service better. I am not talking about the helpdesk. But there is not one benefit with the price increase.

      Why not offer those a lower storage capacity if it needed to happen?

      For me, I don’t make any profits, but I HATE having clients go to order prints through my gallery having change. I round to the nearest dollar. So the $.30 profits per print I am destined to make in the future, will not dent the cost to keeping this website that looks like someone from the late 90s designed it.

      Also, I have spent a year on my own working on my site since the basic structures is horrible…and ALL of the smugmug galleries look ridiculous. So I paid 175 to a company referred by smugmug site whose service and response time is terrible. They can’t return a phone call and refuse to talk design over the phone. And now for me to make ANY changes (including the name of a gallery) I have to pay them. Oh, and they take forever. I digress.

      I agree a user, if you are charging this much, can’t you START the higher prices when the basic look to the site is great and you aren’t promoting smugmug? Why do my clients need to know who I am using if I am paying you $250? I would pay 250 a year if the basic smugmug looked good.

      At least zenfolio, removes all of their marking and branding when you pay 250. Is smugmug doing this as well? It is the main reason I HATE using smugmug. Who wants their portraits by someone associated with smugmug? (that is just a rant)

      I am not cancelling just yet, but if my customization can’t be done well at a reasonable price and quickly, I too am out.

  99. I’ve made $13.11 in 6 months… not so much commerce here, for an extra $100 … Will we see any MARKETING on their part? I doubt it.

  100. How about adding Custom watermarks to the Power level account. So i can keep my links up for a while. This price jump is huge concidering I don’t upload too many photos. What you should of done is grandfathered us into the old pricing structure.

  101. I can afford 150 to speculate that by business will take off and become profitable. I cannot afford 300. I don’t have a massive amount of images stored online, so I cannot justify paying 100% more. Sorry, at the end of my current year, I will be leaving.

  102. Wow not happy at all, I’ll be looking to make a change when my renewal is up, almost double is just not acceptable when there are great websites out there

  103. Look, I shoot sports ( small ball, I call it )… as I mentioned in earlier post, “Look at my account” You tell me what I really need.

    I leave my prices set for all my photos….If I stay with $150.00 can I “sale” my photos like I am doing now?

    1. Hi David, if you’ve set your custom pricing and don’t do anything, your account with transition to the Business account level. To stay at the $150 price point you will need to switch your account to Portfolio (found in your Account Settings), which doesn’t include custom pricing. You can keep your Buy button in your galleries for visitors to buy, but they’ll be offered at-cost.

    2. In other words…No….you can’t and they want more money from you so you can’t sell anything at a mark up???

  104. Wow, that’s a big jump in price. If you didn’t have competition maybe you can charge prices like these. My website is so integrated to SmugMug it stinks that I have to reconfigure now to Zenfolio. I am giving a class to my camera club on how to get their images on the web… I guess I will be recommending Zenfolio. It’s been a good run. I was a loyal customer and big advocate…

  105. Attn :baldy

    The increase is too high with too short of a notice too. I did like Smugmug and would recommend it to almost anyone but now I can’t say that anymore.

    I will be contacting my photography friends and see what they use and go with a cheaper option.

    I’m very disappointed to see your email and the first thing I did was call my photographer friend and ask if he saw the email and he did and he was bummed and upset as well and will probably leave Smugmug too.

    Sad day for Smugmug folks tonight.

  106. I understand that the economy is tough for all of us but $100 increase per year seems a bit like gouging to me. I have been a loyal customer here for a loooong time and until now haven’t thought about looking at other options. I will, however, be doing just that.

  107. After the original sticker shock, we definitely feel it’s worth the increase. SmugMug definitely has been the cheaper option, however the only other option that is comparable in what we have is the exact same price we’ll be renewing at. (speaking of, will every year be the 250 or after our first renew will that go up?) SmugMug has the print guarantee and we’ve never had a problem with the customer service. For the pro’s $100 sucks but if you factor in the time to research, purchase, transfer images and set up a new site, you’d actually be losing money. I want a professional and fun organization to help us grow.. so here’s a shocking positive comment.. thanks SmugMug for all of your help in our business. Our clients love you and so do we:)

  108. Zenfolio Premium – $120/year PREMIUM
    Complete professional website with everything you need for selling online.

    Includes all the features of the Unlimited plan, plus:

    Your own portfolio and proofing website
    Unlimited storage
    64 MB maximum file size
    Set your own selling prices
    Client access page
    Sell digital products (8% fee)
    Marketing tools, coupons, gift certificates
    Zenfolio branding is removed
    Can be used with external website
    Client proofing and Favorites
    Sell products from partner labs (12% fee*)
    Self-fulfill your own orders (4% fee)

    1. Yeah I don’t understand. The prices is not even competitive with Zenfolio. I can move over there for 250 a year and have more features than your offering with this new 350 price tag. I just renewed for the year but I think I will be looking for a new home here soon and preparing for the long process of migrating all of my content over. I would really rethink your pricing and align yourself better with your competition or you will soon be left in the dust.

  109. I use this for the online store. Not the storage.. I have maybe 25 images I sell right now. I have to pay another $100 a year? I signed up 1 month ago and now I have to reconsider this service. Its really not for anyone who wants to use it as an online store for a small number of images. I am sure the minimal storage space I use allows a nice margin for you guys, and now I have to give you more. I dont have a problem with paying more, thats part of progress. But nearly doubling my subscription, on a VERY short notice, with assurances of ‘better service’ reaks of empty promises. Sad day..

  110. In this economy, it is hard to imagine any business attempting a 66% increase and thinking it will not impact their customer base. I believe most of us would agree you have reason for some form of increase, just not this much in a single jump. I fear you are going to shoot yourself in the foot and are setting yourselves up for a significant decrease in your customer base, which could leave you stuck holding on to a significant storage investment with no one to use it. I’d urge you to reconsider the amount of your rate increase.

  111. For my personal needs, it looks like Zenfolio’s $120 Premium account will suffice. I resisted before since it was “only” a little more per year and I have thousands of pictures on SmugMug, but now it’s over twice the price. I have to somewhat agree with the extortion comment someone made above – Smugmug was probably banking on folks not wanting to upload thousands of pictures to another site and go through the website design process. This will take a long time, but have that time since my subscription isn’t up for months. So, SmugMug, you used to get $150/yr but your greed means you won’t get any more. Like others, I could handle, say, $30 (that’s 20%!) but I can’t handle 67%. Plus it’s the principal, which in this case appears to be greed.

  112. Increasing cost of storage is really a bogus excuse. Most of the Pro/Semi-pro users barely make enough to cover the cost of the subscription (I, frankly, don’t…). If your concern is storage, make people pay for storage by setting upload limits. That way you are going to have less garbage images on your servers, and won’t drive away the casual/semi-pro users. Wedding photogs who do volume selling through the site will pay extra for more space because that is justified by their business. By the way, I bet a lot of that storage is taken by the videos, so maybe you can set the upload limits for that. The old price of $150 was too much, the new price feels like a joke.

    I am going to take a second look at Flickr. If I am going to loose features, I might as well look into a FREE option.

  113. Will there be unlimited RAW uploads included for the added $100 per year?
    That would be worth it.

    Are we getting this spike because you are farming out your services to the cloud instead of managing them in-house?

    1. Good question, Steve. No, we’d have had to raise prices many years ago if it weren’t for the rise in cloud computing and how rapidly we’ve been embracing it. It’s driven down our costs significantly – but not as quickly as our high-megapixel fast-shooting Pros have driven them up, alas. 😦

      1. Then make those “high-megapixel fast-shooting Pros” pay for the privilege of uploading every freaking shot they make. We all use the same ecommerce platform, its the storage issue that is supposedly driving this. Keep the current Pro fee for the “store” and let those that need a damn warehouse pay for it. I just need a small stockroom. I’ve been to a few “sports” shooter sites on SM and seen literally thousands of crappy pics of 6 year olds playing AYSO soccer that have been there for months. Now you want me to pay for that??? Be reasonable, guys….

      2. I am still on the fence as to whether or not I should go through with this smugization, which isn’t cheap. Unlimited RAW photo uploads at no extra cost is pretty crazy if that is allowed. As of right now it’s already unlimited uploads at all levels, at no extra cost. At some point, Smugmug, in my opinion, has to look at doing what’s best for SMUGMUG, so you can remain in business for a long time. You must make policies that won’t bankrupt you. This unlimited uploads thing is scaring me. Again, file sizes will just keep increasing, and individual users will upload a million files if you let them. Just because your competitors offer unlimited uploads at no extra cost does not mean it is the right thing to do for SMUGMUG.

        And lets say the unlimited uploads isn’t the main issue for the price rise. Reading through the employee comments, I’m left with a feeling that you are just winging it. And that is making me access whether to invest this money and trust smugmug with my online presence. It looks like you are losing your customer’s confidence, to what degree who knows.

        I’m left wondering why you are holding on so hard to this unlimited uploads thing. It must be because so many people have no editing skills and they just blindly dump files onto smugmug, and all these customers think you need “unlimited” or they will go to your competitors?

        And your fast responses to the comments and the way you respond with reasons for certain things and not others- I get your transparency thing, but it is hurting you more than it helps you in my opinion. We customers are left confused by the whole thing.

      3. As a company, you devote so much time and effort to blogging, it makes me wonder what would happen if you spent that time on your product instead. It’s a blogging world I know. But you decide at some point and get a focus.

        Still no answer to why there is no tier for amount of space used. Thousands of disgruntled customers left with no answers.

  114. I won’t be able to keep my account. I don’t sell enough to justify it. I could have lived with a smaller increase, but this is too much. Our economy is tanked, no one wants to spend money & prices are going up……………………….. not a good move for me just starting out!

  115. Oh great Baldwanna, keeper of all my visual digits…. may your tribe continue to increase.. may the shiny bits which make your digital widgets whir never go clank, your may your pages flow smoothly, your customers grow happier, and your family continue to enjoy the business. and may you continue to be a great American success story, of a small family business who beats all the odds…

  116. This is unfortunate. I’ve wanted to join Smugmug for a few years now and, a month ago, I finally signed up after selling something to join. Now, I already have to start looking for somewhere else to go.

    Too bad. Learn from Netflix.

  117. I guess I feel like some immediate improvements would help soften the blow. I am very happy with my Smugmug service other than the shipping time, which seems crazy slow and way more expensive than other labs. If an order is over a certain amount, how about a break? That’s pretty standard at other labs…………

  118. Dale :
    There should be an option for us photographers who don’t use much space and uploads are a minimum. You should have thought about the little guys here and how it would affect them.

    I agree with this option – those of us “part timers” who aren’t the storage hogs shouldn’t get penalized for those who are. How ’bout the unlimited option is increased $100 and the put a cap on uploads or different steps for the rest of us??

  119. I felt I was paying a “fair” price at $150 up to now, but as many of the earlier posts state, the “little guy” will really suffer from a $100 /year increase. I might have been OK with $50, but doubling it was hardly fair. I’ll most likely find something more reasonable for the volume I sell per year…

  120. If I am not mistaken, the “portfolio” option is the same price as the previous “PRO” option. So if you don’t need the extra oomph of the “PRO” option, your price will stay the same. And since most of those complaining here are not really making anything (otherwise they wouldn’t be complaining because the amount of money being charged is minor in the grand scheme of things) so the portfolio option should work fine for them.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. Really? so you are basing that people complaining are not making money? please go and reread every post.

      Just an FYI currently if all the people here Cancel like they have said they will Smug-mug will lose close to 30k. This is only 1 hour after they even send that email out.

      Now yes they will retain some people I’m sure they did the math. Just like Netflix did the math.

      I myself was making more then they proposed new cost but that new cost is unacceptable when its 2X.

      Just like they said they haven’t raise prices in 7 years. So they start at a X2 increase? ya that’s logical…..

      That would be like YouTube suddenly saying you have to have an account to upload and its going to cost 100$. Oh OK well i guess I will no longer be using YouTube would be my response.

      Just because they own the product doesn’t mean its there’s to alter. They will learn this. It will more then likely take a year for them to notice the difference however i see it being a steep decline at that point.

    2. You’re missing something. If a current Pro decides to stay at the same price and downgrade to the Portfolio option they lose the ability to set prices. Therefore, they lose the ability to charge a fair price for their work. No one makes any money by giving away their product for free. So no, the portfolio option absolutely does not work for anyone who wants to make a profit or break even on the cost of the account, plus the time it takes to set up the account, upload, direct customers through the very confusing buying process, etc. And just because you’re making a lot of money from your photos doesn’t mean you should have to overpay for any service you use to get that money. This is all just bad business.

  121. If the problem is people using too much storage then charge people more based on how much space they use. Don’t just make a sweeping generalization that everyone who wants to name their own price also wants to upload 20 billion photos. I use just over 2GB on SmugMug. Photoshelter will give me 10GB of space and let me set prices for $109 a year. Plus they allow more than just JPG and have wonderful, free educational guides for photographers and business owners. Definitely switching. Can I get any money back if I cancel my account before my year subscription is up?

  122. I am sorry to hear this. I have loved SmugMug for years but the sad fact is that I simply don’t make enough in sales from your site to justify the rising costs. I am very saddened by this but will have to move my home to a more affordable venue. Best of luck.

  123. Wow! Bad move guys especially a so big jump! I tough you well in fact we was special as you say we are a big family but you dropped the ball this time! I can understand that as a business you have to make money but you could find a better solution that this one! Will have some time before renewal but unless you make BIG improvement FAST like go to your forum suggestion and implant ALL OF THEM and even more I will sadly will have to “let’s you go”! Oh by the way the Loxley lab is more expensive for us by Smugmug that directly to them….!?! And seriously the fact we can’t implant several labs is really a pain especially when living in UK…So long!

    1. I agree – Even offering a simple self fulfill (like Zenfolio do) would help. Loxley are already very expensive (although a great quality lab). I have until April to see if features improve or I too will move.

  124. Chris MacAskill :
    Hi Steve,
    I’m really sorry you feel this way. Unfortunately, when we raised prices in 2005 and grandfathered our existing pros, we found that they can really add a lot of storage over the years. We still offer all of our existing pros better renewal rates than new pros get, even though many have had years to build up storage, because we know so many of you are responsible our success. Raising prices is so painful, there’s very little in this world we’d rather not do, and I know it’s even more painful for you.

    So, if long-term customers with seven year old photos on the site are a problem, again, I say – charge the space hogs more. Those of us who aren’t, let us be – OR – in a limited space option, have the option to have images “archieve” or “delete” after a set period of time (say 12 months) because, really, for us part time portrait people, who comes back after 12 months let alone 7 years and says “hey, I really want a high quality print of that portrait you took of me 7 years ago”. At that point I’d rather just give/sell them a CD and say “have at it”

    1. You notice Chris MacAskill has not once answered the question as to why they don’t just charge the people using the extra space. It makes me think that the price increase has absolutely nothing to do with storage costs.

  125. I can understand that the company needs more money considering how often the site has been down (a few hours, every few weeks). IF I renew at this price (which almost feels like a slap in the face considering you make profit off my sales as well) will I be guaranteed that the site will improve? With this extra money will you be able to bring the site up to meet the standards of a $300/year membership ($250 for renewal). If not, will you then reimburse me?
    Highly unlikely. Although I love SmugMug I may have to temporarily move to another site until I can see the proof in the pudding. Your loyal customers have stayed with you, even though this last year has been quite frustrating at times.
    One last thought. You are able to cut your profits from digital downloads yet increase our costs by 100%. To most people this does not make sense.

  126. A big strategic error from Smugmug…so sad to see this from what have been a great site !! Please, at least, let the Event feature in the “portfolio” account…. I think storage cost is the not the real reason, otherwise you could have charged according to space used….

  127. Holy crap… my e-mail is blowing up with all the comments, I can’t imagine what Baldy is thinking now, and all this within a couple hours. Wait until everyone gets back from “up north” on Tuesday.

    Glad to have the new “mail” that condenses all these for me! LOL!!!!

    1. It will blow over. People are expressing outrage and threats at the shock of an admittedly eye-popping increase. Over time, people will make the decisions they make. I assume SM have done the math on the number of users whose profits from sales would be swamped by the increase, and are expecting some fall-off. If I were Baldy, I’d assign a Support Hero to monitor the boards, answer the factual questions, and not get upset. Then wait until they see what people actually do. As a private company, they can adjust if they need to.

  128. I just reread the posts. The consensus seems to be some increase is justified, but the magnitude is not. If my landlord doubled my rent I would move and moving is 100x the hassle of moving my images. i was always on the fence with smugmug. Liked it enough to stay a “loyal customer”, but got frustrated with outages, and constant changes that were touted as improvements but were often hassles. I think that you want to lose many customers because you will, especially “semi pros” like myself. When my yearly bill for each of my 2 accounts came, I’d default to pay it rather than shop around, “set it and forget it” like an old commercial once said. I ignored the proliferation of free sharing sites(some of which look real good) and other fancy, slick looking pro sites. I didn’t like the gaps in the service that just seemed to happen whenever I was uploading photos or needed to get a potential customer a link. At 150.00 a year I could live with it, and keep both my accounts.

    We are living in an economy that at best has no inflation, at worst has experienced deflation. My salary on my “day job” is stagnant, and my ability to raise prices on my photos, non existent. Not only is the amount of the increase too much in % and absolute dollars, there’s a principle involved here. Remember what happened when Netflix split their service and increased prices? How can I trust a company that will double prices overnight? Maybe some customers are loading gigabytes of images every day, or making thousands of dollars in profits, An alternative would have been storage limits or changing the amount per print that smugmug or it’s labs get. Instead,you have squeezed out the semi-pro, I used smugmug because it looks good and I have the option to sell. I can go to a free site to simply display my photos or find a competitor where I can do sales. Do I want to? no. Will, I? Yes, due to money and the feeling that smugmug is no longer a partner.

  129. In the scheme of things, an extra $100/yr is probably not a deal-breaker for a professional photographer, but you’ve clearly alienated a lot of people with such a proportionally big increase. I can’t help but think that if more time had been spent on the front end to make purchasing prints and downloads easier (less confusing and overwhelming for your customers’ customers), you’d be receiving increased funding through increased photo sales. The up shot of that is that you’d not only not need to increasing costs for your customers– but you’d be helping them increase their own profits at the same time– everyone could have won!

  130. Ok Just saw the E-mail and I propose another option instead of all of us paying and extra $100 for pro because of video larger file size. Why not charge a premium for pros who upload video
    IE. a pro account with video = $350 and leave the rest of us alone at out current $150

    I hate to say it ZF premium at $120 is almost starting to look good

  131. this increase plus still taking a percentage of my markup? I just downloaded the CSV’s and built out the calcs…there’s been hundreds of dollars go to Smug for your %age of all the orders that have been submitted through my site (the 85/15 split).

    I certainly could load client galleries up and give them 60 days to place orders then remove to save storage. Doubling my price will force me to research if you are the best solution to my needs. Thanks for the heads up. I can reorder business cards and fortunately I own my domain. The impact is minimal if I have to move and doable, kind of like a rebranding. You’ll be the second to know!

    1. I was okay with $150 a year. Another $100 a year is $8.33 a month. I’m staying. My fear, you guys will eventually fade away. I’ll be positioning to protect myself if that should happen.

  132. Hey BALDY! I am in the IT business, I see your point but storage did not go up it went down. I know what you mean, larger uploads, etc are at a higher cost, so we are footing the bill. Please offer what the competition is offering, unlimited upload including RAW, that will keep your customers at Bay.

  133. In these times, of everyone working extra hard and making less, and you are increasing rates 100% you are going to lose a lot of business,

  134. Unfortunately my subscription renews in November so end up paying the new pricing at the front end. As a loyal SM customer the renewal is $250. I’m guessing the grandfathering is only for the first year, with SM’s strategy being that an additional $50 increase later on will be more palatable and all Pros end up paying $300 in subsequent years! I would appreciate an answer from SM on that. Basically for me the price increase wipes out what little profit I make from my site!

  135. Thanks Smugmug. I really love the service and product on offer – even when the site goes down or into maintenance, you still have a way to keep us informed. The service is superb and without question. I also think the uniqueness of the site, its continual communication and personal nature of the people behind the product, is what I love the most. I feel when I place a image on here – is it almost like I am showing it to my family. So well done Smugmug are real!

    Now about the prices.!!

    Tough times for all. I understand that everyone is struggling, and there are quite a few of us who feel that struggle. The way I see it for me is – I want to support Smugmug for the earlier above mentioned reason. That is – it resembles, very much a family environment that has kept me and supported me. I wouldn’t want to sever a relationship, just because I don’t like what is being said, or that it is going to cost me and It owes me or similar. Whatever the situation I want to support it because it is seems the right thing to do for me… Sure it may cost a little more, but I can’t really put a price on great relationship, apart from my respect and loyalty. I’m staying.

  136. Heeey Baldy…or should I say “attn: Baldy” first of all I want to say Thanks for not doing like most people responsible for making the decisions. What I mean by that is making the decision to accept the heat. As a “Customer Passion Evangelist” my friend and customers know me as the person who believes the customer should be taken care of at all cost. I know most leaders speak of this but very few back it up.

    Thanks for making good on trying to “back-up” your belief in looking out for the customers at Smugmug. I watched your video and I want to commend you on keeping it short and to the point…not looking for ways to skirt past the main issues. Thanks for being willing to take a Risk and make a bet hoping that the cost of storage would drop faster than uploads would increase. Unfortunately that hasn’t worked out yet. Thanks for trying to show what the issues were as you slowly unveiled some of the customer benefits hidden in the smugmug landscape. So I just want to say Thanks for trying.

    Unfortunately I haven’t been with Smugmug like most of your pro photographers have been and so I can’t appreciate all of the benefits that a long term user whose a professional would. I can’t even really complain about challenges I’ve had with the Smugmug product although I’ve read about more than I’ve experienced. So being a newby here who just purchased smugmug last year (and it just so happened that I joined Smugmug last year October 15…LOLLL…how coincidental…LOLLL. For some reason I thought I joined Smugmug in September late but I guess that’s when I started to research all of the possibilities for photo sites LOLLL…and I guess it took me a few weeks before I decided which only makes me wonder “Why did you guys choose my anniversary date to do this…LOLLL…most people look forward to the joys and memories of their anniversary being a BEAUTIFUL return to a great experience but it looks like my Anniversary is going to be Bitter Sweet).

    See I was not a professional photographer making heaps of money when I first came to Smugmug…I was just a businessman who had a good eye for shooting pictures and a love for carrying my camera everywhere I went. I actually really didn’t start using my site for uploading pictures until December but that’s not your fault. I’ve finally just started to get a feel for how I could bring my customers More Value but I’m still not getting the value out of the Social Media aspects of it from a photo listing standpoint. Good news is I’m creeping up on over 30,000 views of my photos but I would think that would translate into more online impressions on google but for some reason I’m not seeing that and of course me figuring that out would be good for me and good for Smugmug because every site carries built in branding power for Smugmug.

    So while I do use the promodel and I set prices I’m not experiencing the advantages of that feature. But tomorrow I’m hoping all that changes because I have a client who has expressed an interest in purchasing online from my site with other family members…so will see…and if it’s not I’ve got a decision to make. Well I just wanted to say Thanks for being willing to do what other leaders rarely do. If you were my client I would have told you to do exactly what you did so I just wanted to also say I’m Proud of You and I’m glad you did it the way you did. The only thing I don’t like about Smugmug is that I’m not a part of what you all do. Thanks “Baldy”. KEEP SMILING…I love you and Smugmug.

    lovingly loving you Deremiah *CPE

    ..but please do me a Favor…AMP UP the SMUGMUG CULTURE…Go BIGGER…PUSH the ENVELOPE UP ON IT…If you’d like some more ideas…I’d love to share them with you…but remember nothing’s Free…LOLLL…I hope you’re SMILING because I sure AM…Like A Buck Tooth 2nd Grader!!!

  137. So essentially as a business, i’m now paying almost twice for the same service ? Since you are not announcing anything new being added.

    You can see where i might have issue with this even if i completely understand having to raise the cost.

    This is gonna irk some people, but as a business i do not enjoy having my costs raised because some people are uploading 1000photos in a single gallery with 10duplicates per shot.

    Put a cap instead of raising the costs, anyone who wants the cap off would be willing to cover the extra costs, others who are more quality oriented will not need the extra monthly uploads.

    So lets see whether SM can listen to their customers and find a better way.

    1. Oh, but there WILL be new things added. Really! Your new fees will be used to hire new engineers, who will eventually add unspecified new features, and if we’re really lucky, maybe figure out how to get the site to stay up for more than a few days at a time. It’s like a scratch-off lotto ticket, except it costs $100 and you have to wait like a year to find out what, if anything, you won.

  138. Yeah, no.. Sorry… I’ve got 15+ years in I.T.- Storage goes DOWN in price, it skills and support are getting CHEAPER. All photogs that I know are challenged by a public that wishes to pay us less and less for their work.

    I’m not saying you guys are lying, I’m wondering if you are letting your business process burden you so you have to hammer us with this massive increase in such a short time.

    I have LOVED, PRAISED, AND EVANGELIZED about Smugmug… I’m sorry to say this will end today.
    My small time business cannot afford these two pricing levels. I will seek another option.

    No hard feelings but I wish you all well.

  139. They have made other changes in their costs charged on digital downloads which help to offset this increase. However, the over all cost structure of Smug is now equal to the other full service providers. I prefer a lot of aspects of Photoshelter and given fixed costs are now similar, I will be leaving Smug once my current year runs out. So, Smug, you are on borrowed time and have about 9 months to win back my business by improving your service to be equal to the price you now charge. I fear your finance team learned nothing from Netflix disaster. I fear that your management team is lost in the woods, by not charging for a cost driver (storage) you have a bastardized business model doomed to fail.

  140. I think the site needs a lot more functionality, connectivity, etc – templates to use in joombla, wordpress, that can allow you to sell prints right from your site. I feel like the increase has come at a time when I’ve seen the site down more often than in previous years with less innovation. I’ve never even made $150 off of sales as I mainly keep galleries for sharing and personal prints. The increase is too much for me. I could see a staggered plan – with usage rates. Higher volume uploads and storage should pay more than someone with a handful of galleries and images just starting out or maintaining low inventory.

  141. Sorry guys….was doing this as a hobby and don’t make enough to justify the huge percentage price increase. I would be in favor or a limited data plan or even a different percentage plan for what you take from each purchase (even though i sometimes feel that is already high when paying an annual fee).

    I wish I could stay, but I’ll have to find a new vendor in July.


    1. and wow…200+ announcing leaving within 2 hours of the post, on a Friday, holiday weekend. This is going to hurt I suspect. Hopefully all of the new $300 folks can cover these loses for you guys.

  142. Keith Burrows :
    I’m not very happy with the new pricing. I think it would be a lot more fare if you simply charged for more storage to those that use more storage.

    Totally agree. This is a bloody foolish move by SM. Those who have spent time and money developing their SM site are beholden to SM, and now a 67% increase for blatant falsehood explanations is astounding.

    Looking at the positive and negative feedback on this, the dGrin forum thread, and the YT comments, there is overwhelmingly a negative tone.

    Listen to your Customers and provide US with choice, not mandated decision from upon high. Keep the pricing as it is but look at your Customers who have high upload and storage and put a quota on the rest of us Pro’s. We’re not children, we CAN live with that.

  143. Raising the price doesn’t bother me, but there are some sorely needed updates to SmugMug on the Pro side. I was a Smug Leader for my area and it’s been a year or two since I’ve spoken with someone about these updates. At the time they said they were busy working on it. But nothing ever came through.

    Changing the price by that much, and not really offering any new pro features is sad. As a pro I have invested heavily in depending on SmugMug. Changing isn’t an easy option. I would like to see SmugMug step up the need of the pros, especially if you are raising the price by what you are.

    1. Hi Karl,

      Thanks so much for being a smug leader and for supporting us like you have. Yes, we’ve built up the engineering team a lot and are working feverishly on some of the things most requested, and unfortunately that’s one of the reasons for raising prices, so we can invest more in feature improvements.

      1. Chris, please answer why it doesn’t make sense to charge more for those “power users” who use more storage space and video. Why would you not charge less for those who use so much less? There are many “small business” photographers on here that need to set their own prices but don’t deserve to foot an equal portion of the storage and engineering bill. Why are you blanketing all “pros” as though we were all taxing your system to the same degree? A tiered subscription based on usage needs would be a better, fairer, more empowering system… and would result in much less ugly backlash.

      2. Thanks Jeff for responding, I hope you are right regarding increasing the number of engineers. It pains me to think about the money I loose for SmugMug not having some pro features I want. A more robust “Events” section with features that allow me to mass email to people who sign up for an event. Even set automatic emails to notify people. Or even offer a black friday sale on all my galleries. I see so much room for increased revenue and I just need SmugMug to catch up with this.

  144. I’ll be leaving Smugmug. I’m sure that there are other alternatives out there. A 66% increase is ludicrous! Don’t invest too much in your new engineering… because at the rate that people are jumping ship, you won’t require it. While you’re at it… perhaps you should re-engineer your tag line to, “Your Photos & Videos Cost More Here”. We’ve all been Mugged by Smugmug.

  145. I’m dismayed by this as well. I agree, $150 was about right to put up with the multiple glitches that always seemed to take away from the professional/custom look of the site. Something always peeked through or went wrong to show it was a SmugMug site and not really a custom site. People (customers) ARE confused to use it, I myself get confused wading through thousands of forum posts and cross-talk among users to find answers to common problems. It’s not worth it to take that and pay a hundred dollars more a year. I will now look at some of the other hosting sites that offered premium site features for what seemed a premium price.
    Smugmug, i think you’ve hit a tipping point where your price has just spilled your customers into your competitors’ laps. Priced yourself into other companies’ markets

  146. Wow. This is an unpleasant surprise to say the least. I have been with SmugMug only since February 2011, but I’ve worked very hard to build and promote my website with you, -and have been very happy with the quality of service you have offered. But to raise the price 100% like this is going to force me out as well. My photography business is just getting off the ground, and even though I have “set” my pricing to include a modest markup, I have in no way sold enough prints though my site to warrant that kind of cost increase. -I know that it’s still a “bargain” for unlimited uploads, and that your “heroes” are always available for questions….but I just can’t justify that type of increase for a service I’ve budgeted half that amount for. Personally, I feel you might have been able to cover the expenses you’ve encountered by spreading that increase over the whole of your services, rather than expect us “pros” to foot the bill. -Perhaps then you wouldn’t be making us feel so “singled-out”, and the increase would have been much less .-But it’s not my business to run, and I’m sure you’re doing what you feel you must. I’m just really sorry I won’t be able to remain with you after my renewal date. -I wish you all the best

  147. Wow. Doubling the price. I can’t do that to my customers. My cleints would laugh if I told them my fees doubled starting in a few months. After many years and lots of recommendations I’m now going to look elsewhere. I don’t do a lot lot sales but I appreciate the few I get. I do upload a lot but asking me to double what I pay isn’t nice. I suppose I can turn off the ability to buy prints at the new portfolio level (I can can’t I?) I’ll just have the customers contact me directly. I can get fulfillment around the corner and bump my prices up to handled the extra time and expense of doing that myself.

    Why not just take a higher percentage of printing? And/Or raise the print prices?

  148. Mark Booth :
    And, BTW, I am getting SICK AND TIRED of having to REPEATEDLY log-in because of the ridiculous custom domain bug that SmugMug can’t seem to fix. You guys have gone from being one my most admired web services to one of the most annoying. And now you want me to pay MORE for the dissatisfaction!

    1. True, the worst is when you using your facebook for log-in and that you’re on your page >>>> go to facebook >>> log back to personnal FB >>> back to smugmug >>> refresh >>> log-in >>> not on the page you wanted >>>> !!!!

      1. Agree with the Facebook integration issues. I don’t even bother. I just upload everything to both SM for our website and FB so people can tag themselves and their friends. Sharing from the SmugMug site doesn’t accomplish the community goal. Also, a direct link with Aperture, pretty please? The third-party apps are buggy and a PITA when you change an image after uploading.

  149. I’ve been a SM pro account holder for two years, was planning on a third, but since I haven’t sold enough to through my site to cover the cost of one year, let alone two, I’m going to be looking at options.

    My renual is at Christmas time, so I may very well be giving myself the gift of new hosting, unless I see some pretty good upgrades to convince me to stay. So very sad to think my time with SM might be drawing to a close.😦

  150. I started looking at Zenfolio after reading the SmugMug price increase email. It looks like all the features are listed here (showing all pricing options compared:

    Here is what I\’m finding. At the $100 Zenfolio level, which seems to be their top tier, the feature list seems to do everything I would want. They handle digital downloads…it looks like for digital downloads our clients will have to their gallery, select all, and click download (assuming you have it enabled)….not that big a deal I think.

    So, check out the competition. I would LOVE not having to research this. It isn\’t like a small business person in the middle of shooting season has extra time. Arg. Anyways. I\’ve always been a raving fan of SmugMug but, this just seems like a VERY large increase for no real benefits. I\’ll make time to figure out if SmugMug is still a smart decision for my business.

  151. I just renewed, so I’ll stay a year and see if things improve. SM was state-of-the-art when I joined 8 years ago, but not many new features have been added and I find that other photo sites have surpassed this one. I have resisted moving because I have over 8 years-worth of photos up here and we all know what a PITA it is to migrate that much data. But if SM doesn’t use this new influx of $$$ to improve the site and service, I will deal with the migration issues and find a new photo home. Anyone staying and paying the increase is going to be watching VERY carefully to see if the doubling of fees results in any benefit. If not, I suspect SM will lose any loyal customers that they have left after this initial exodus of outraged customers. It’s too bad. People are suggesting much better ideas, like having tiers of storage amounts, or raising the rates more gradually, like over two or three years. I don’t think SM thought this out too carefully or got any input from the loyal customers they call “family.”

  152. Waaaaaaaaaaay to much of an increase. I’ll be looking at the competition, you’re not the show in town!

  153. Only signed up this year, thought it was a good deal for a small business, but to double the cost before I even make profit is really poor form. I will be looking elsewhere for something that is better value for my type of interests. I think u should charge a bit more on sales, not punish the user here. Really p o’d. Feel like I’ve wasted my time setting things up here when you go and pull this low blow.

  154. I’ve been using Smugmug for a long time, but unfortunately I don’t sell enough to justify the price increase. I’ll be either downgrading to the Basic plan and selling my photos through someone else like Redbubble, or cancelling my account completely and going with Zenfolio.

  155. After the initial knee-jerk reaction I went out to the pricing structure and looked closely at the services offered at all the various price points.
    Since I don’t print using the service and I don’t care about watermarks (most of the watermarks I see on other peoples prints are horrible anyway) the service can supply I’ll happily be downgrading from Pro to Power user. It saves me 90 bucks.
    Thanks SmugMug!

    1. our contributors have had their work stolen, David, on other sites, so I’d strongly suggest you rethink watermarking! It’s a good deterrent, but I agree, some people do it all wrong. HTH🙂

      1. Work gets stolen all the time. Watermarks don’t prevent that. Crooks will be crooks. Registering work is a must. Anyway, I can add watermarks before I upload. But I’m off topic. I did go out and look at zenfolio. There are other sites as well that I’ll look at in the coming weeks. I might just get a trial to see how effective the migration tools are. The Upload Junction tool looks like the way to go. The easiest and laziest thing to do is simply downgrade service. SM hero service is excellent and I will probably miss that if and when I change providers.

    2. Yep, that’s where I came out, too. At next renewal, I will likely move to Power. So tonight’s news is actually a blessing, since I hadn’t realized that the Power level allowed custom domain and site customization. I’ll miss Bay Photo for my own orders of art prints, though, but I see they also sell direct.

  156. I’ll be leaving Smugmug too. I was a pro, but now it’s just a hobby. The price increase is too much to justify the expense. Darn.

  157. I do find the price increase surprising, as it is a huge jump, but I have also wondered how Smugmug could possibly allow us to have unlimited storage at the old prices. I understand the need to raise the price and will stick with SM. The major reason is simple; I have never experienced the same level of customer service anywhere on the internet. I am willing to pay for that level of service alone. It’s a level of service that I strive to pass onto my customers as well. Customer Service, in my book is huge. I love having the unlimited storage as well and have saved myself considerable grief at times because it is much easier for me to find a file online that in my numerous external drives.
    Do I love paying more? Of course not! Will I? Absolutely!

    Christina McWilliams

  158. QUESTION:
    (1) For existing customers, will the $250 annual rate be just for the next renewal or if I stay a Smug customer at Business level, will this be the renewal rate for following years as well?
    (2) Are you planning on charging any additional amount for storage in the following year or will unlimited storage at no additional cost continue to be one of your differentiators?
    These answers will assist me in my research to determine if I stay at Smug or make the change. I also want to applaud your openness and engagement with customers, I think you have really shot yourselves in the foot but I want to acknowledge your are still living up to your promise of customer engagement.

    1. Hi Scott, if you were already a Pro your $250/year rate is good for the following years you stay at the Business plan. And we are firm about keeping unlimited uploads on all of our plans, because we don’t want people to have to choose which photos matter most.

      1. “we are firm about keeping unlimited uploads on all of our plans, because we don’t want people to have to choose which photos matter most”

        That’s the issue right there – you want us to have those other bundled useless channels ( er, features ) – some of us just want a simple plan in the $120 ballpark

        custom prices with similar 85/15 split
        coupons & packages
        proof delay
        back printing
        bay photo with color correction
        e-mail shopping cart link
        100G of storage

        let’s hope this doesn’t take 8 months to resolve like the new digital pricing announced today

  159. Let’s see if I have this correct –

    These are the items no longer included for a Pro if selecting the Portfolio level:
    I cannot –
    1. Print and sell products from Bay Photo, WHCC, EZPrints and Loxley (UK).
    2. Set prices and make profit
    3. Create custom coupons for promotions
    4. Create custom single and multi-image packages
    5. Let customers heart their favorites
    6. Sell more with event marketing tools
    7. Sell digital downloads
    8. Option to adjust photos after receiving orders
    9. Let your customers design their own greeting cards
    10. Add local sales tax to orders if your state requires it
    11. Collect profits via direct deposit
    12. Assistant Passwords

    So, if my sales are not stellar, and they’re not – I’m actually winding down, and I still want to sell a photo here and there; I would order what the customer wants in my name, I would pay SmugMug, have it delivered to me, and arrange for delivery and collect the payment from the client. SmugMug would no longer collect the payment for me.

    My subscription is paid for at the business level until June 2013. Am I correct in assuming that I will not receive an increase until then if I keep the same level. If I step down to Portfolio at that time it will be for the $150/yr. If I want to leave it the same at that time, I’m in for $250/yr.

    In any event, I don’t have to make a decision until June 2013… Correct??

    1. Actually Portfolio users do have access to pro labs. And buyers should be able to make cards still. The rest of what you listed however, you’re correct.

      One option for the portfolio folks is to drop ship orders directly to customers. (A lot of folks actually do that today.) Basically the same as what you suggested, only you put the buyer’s address in as the shipping address and it gets shipped straight to them.

      And your understanding of the timeline for billing looks spot on… nothing now, nothing in october… between now and june you can decide to either stay at business for $250/yr, or step down to portfolio and stay at $150/yr.

      1. The list of items is taken directly from pointed to in the original post from Baldy.

        Since I’m in until next June, I was not in a hurry to jump ship. To move everything I have here would be a huge PIA. Additionally, I have always been treated as if I was their number one and only customer. Always treated with courtesy and respect.

        Let’s face it, this economy sucks, their costs have not gone down. I do believe, however, that another tier between Portfolio and Business may have been possible based on the individual gross sales of the Pro. Not knowing SM’s financials, this is purely a guess. I do hope that they revisit the new policy. This is like Coca-Cola changing the formula; you can always change it back.

  160. For smaller businesses a “small” increase is a few dollars. $150, or double is not. I agree with others that the service is great, but not worth double the money. Maybe if I saw more features upfront? I don’t know… This is a let down. For bigger businesses who have a constant profit this is nothing, but for people like me – time
    To jump ship. So long!

  161. I just renewed my yearly subscription this month. If I decide to leave SmugMug now, will I get a refund? So many people are talking about leaving when their subscriptions expires. But I’m thinking “Why wait?” That is, if I can get my money back.

    1. Danelle, our policy has always been that if you decide to close your account within 30 days of your signup or renewal you can get a full refund for your purchase. You can always write to our Support Heroes for further questions:

  162. As a long time Smugmug user, I’m not pleased with the doubling of the user fees. Time to shop around. Doesn’t look like I’m the only one either.

  163. Well looks like I will be going to Zenfolio! Or just not sell prints though you and go to an outside printer…such a stinking shame….I am so upset about this..I don’t do that much and this will be just to expensive…perhaps a grandfather clause for those who have been with you since 2009!!!!??

  164. I was willing to take a hit with the original pro price but now with the 200% price increase it makes it crazy for me to continue paying for the service. I don’t even make that much in average annual sales. It’s too bad there isn’t a lower tier option that still allows you to set prices.

  165. I’m using just over 3GB of storage right now and stopped actively promoting sales thru SM years ago. I never deleted the custom price lists though. I will do that and then downgrade from Pro to basic, which I believe will allow me to keep my existing photos on SM without breaking any links from online forums where I’ve embedded photos. I’ve been paying $100 annually for a level of service I don’t really need because I tend to get lazy get lazy about following up on stuff like this. Clearly, I’m not going to continue being lazy at this at the new pricing.

    My account renewed at the $100 price a few weeks ago. If I downgrade to the $40 basic plan now will I get a pro-rated credit for the $60 difference?

    1. Hi again Joel, I’m sorry that I gave outdated info on my initial response. Previously, we had a 30-day policy on refunds because our heroes had to do it manually, but since we have a self-upgrade/downgrade system now, you can downgrade at any time and we’ll apply the difference to your account as referral credits. Hope this info helps.

  166. I agree this is a pretty big increase esp since smugmug already takes a percent of each order. Are you going to decrease the percentage?

  167. I’m saddened to hear of this price increase. I have nothing against raising prices to better services and increase growth, but this news/increase could have been “softened” a bit. Also, bad news emails should be a Monday thing.

  168. You’re lumping all your Pros into one group when you know which Pros are driving your costs up the most. SmugMug Pros should be tiered and charged accordingly. Please revisit the increases and distribute the burden fairly. Semi-pros should not be charged the same as a full-time studio.

    1. Exactly. I want to hear an answer as to why it doesn’t make sense to charge more for those “power users” who use more storage space and video. Why would you not charge less for those who use so much less? There are many “small business” photographers on here that need to set their own prices but don’t deserve to foot an equal portion of the storage and engineering bill. Blanketing all “pros” as though we were all taxing the system to the same degree is not a way to answer the disproportionate increase in need. A tiered subscription based on usage needs would be a better, fairer, more empowering system… and would result in much less ugly backlash.

    1. Hi Dwight,

      You shouldn’t be going from $100 to $250. It should be either $100 to $200 (for pros who signed up in 2005 or before), or $150 to $250, no? Let me know if I’m not understanding.

      When we raised prices in 2005 (painfully, like this time) we did it for both storage and so we could invest more in engineering, not tied to a specific feature release. That’s the case this time too, but hopefully it means many improvements going forward.

      All the best,

      1. I was here for that price increase, too. Seven years later, we don’t have all the awesome features it should have paid for. Improvements (mostly irrelevant) still just leak out now and then in an anemic trickle. I’m still waiting for almost every improvement I wanted back then. Hell, it took you six years to fix a single bug in the custom domain support that was there since before 2005. I’m shocked to have that you have 40 devs there now. Frankly, I would be happier knowing that you were getting crazy rich and enjoying the good life than knowing you’re spending our money on such an ineffective team.

  169. I have been with Smugmug for almost 5 years -Im up for renewal in Nov (Lucky me) this gives me enough reason to consider switching to Pictage. It is the same price for their base service…

    Doubling the price – Smugmug is going the whole NETFLIX route….

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Honestly, Pictage is a worthy competitor and we have a lot of respect for them. We’d hate to see you go but we probably have comparable engineering and storage costs to them and that’s probably why our pricing is ending up in the same neighborhood.

      1. Customer purging: semi-pros and students please burden this and other competitors with your low-priced, low-commission galleries, and take your feature requests with you.

  170. WOW! I felt sick after reading this. I feel like my images are now held for ransom. I’ve used smugmug since I started photography. What’s gonna happen to all those images?!?! Should I start downloading them if I didn’t have them saved in my external hard drives? What are the alternatives out there? Zenfolio? ShootQ? Hmmm…

  171. Do you make interest off of our photo sales? To break down the question a little more so I am not asked to email someone. When our pictures are sold, and you hold the money for us (monthly, or until we say) where is the money? Is it in a bank account which gains interest or one that does not? I can only imagine how much interest you make off of all of us.
    Also, sending out the emails on a Friday night before a long weekend? I think that was a bad move. The backlash was inevitable, but I think you could have held onto a few more customers if you had picked your timing right.

  172. Wow. Seriously? Shoot one session. It’s one session fee. I spend more than that a year on the little flowers I stick to my DVD tins. I use both smug mug and zenfolio simultaneously to protect my client images. It’s a tax deduction. Sorry you’re getting so much drama smugmug! I’m sure 90% of your clients will just chug happily along!

    1. I personally agree about the magnitude of the change. It’s peanuts for pros. What pisses me off is that this follows a year of near-constant outages, many years of neglect, and it puts it in the same price bracket as services that offer far better services for pros. If any *one* of my developers produced enhancements as slow as the whole smugmug team^H^H^H^Hfamily does, I would fire them. If one of my sites was down as often as smugmug, would be fired. And for that kind of service I just got hit with a price increase?

  173. I like Smugmug for several reasons and recently got rid of my Pictage account entirely. There are so many holes in Smugmug that Pictage has down that I am trying to deal with. The biggest problem for me is that we are not able to organize weddings into separate categories. It makes it overwhelming for the viewer. Also when they add new products you need to update your pricing immediately or else your suddenly selling hats or mugs or odd print sizes at cost. My sales are way down with Smugmug vs Pictage but I was okay with it because the service is so much cheaper…but I would like some new perks if the cost continues to rise.

  174. As someone who put a lot of time and effort into creating my site in the hopes of just making a few sales here and there, this nearly kills my incentive to stay with Smugmug. I barely covered my pro account fee plus a small profit this last year. I’d have to nearly double my sales just to break even under the new pricing structure. I hope you reconsider this decision as it basically will likely make all my work on this site for nothing. And, regrettably, you will likely lose my business.

  175. Oh…and there are no folders so that clients can organize their images…we need some more perks!

  176. Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been meaning to downgrade my subscription but have been too lazy to do it. This significant increase has pushed me to opt for the lesser “power” package. You just saved me $40.

    1. Not to pick on you, because people have been doing this all night, but I think it’s really poor form to promote a competitor’s site on a blog that SmugMug owns. I wouldn’t blame SM at all if they shut down such comments. There are other forums for discussing the merits of different photo management companies. Just my opinion,

  177. I just read smugmug’s motto:

    Billions of happy photos. Millions of passionate customers.

    That’s a 100 Million dollars you are asking!!!

  178. Price increase would have been expected a few years ago, but since space is getting cheaper and cheaper with more and more going to the cloud, it’s hard to believe that this much of a price increase is warranted. Might as well go with Zenfolio or some other similarly priced competitor.

    Take my advice and that of Netflix, price increases that are this blatantly out-there are not in your best interest.

  179. As many of you have already stated, I love Smugmug too, but this is more than just a price increase. Everyone on your decision making team needs to realize that you are not the only paid membership or piece of the overhead puzzle for most of us photographers. We are constantly having rates go up for all different aspects of our businesses, and to make a sudden increase of $100 just seems greedy. Photographers are mostly overworked and underpaid, and when you combine an increase like this with things like PPA, WPPI, health insurance, liability and equipment insurance, studio costs, all the taxes taken out at the end and everything in between, most of us truly are doing this because of a love for it and certainly not because it will make us rich.

    This may have been mentioned before, but charging photographers more for the ability to set prices on our prints is somewhat absurd, considering the fact that the higher we set our prices and the more profit we make off of any photographic products sold through our Smugmug sights, means that Smugmug as a company gets a larger cut too. Essentially you are charging us $100 more each year to do the leg work of selling products and make you more profits. That is truly unethical.

    For years now at our studio we have been telling every young photographer, photo booth vendor or even friends and family to use Smugmug, but after the way “valued” long term clients are being treated when times are already tough enough… I will definitely be rethinking where I refer people. It would be in your best interests as a company to rethink this announcement you have made and focus your efforts on ways to help your existing clients to increase their prints sales. Then in turn you would make more money per sale, thus allowing still for the supposed increase in engineering that we are being promised as a smokescreen for what most of us on this blog post just see as an excuse to gouge a bunch of photographers who have already invested too much time and energy into uploading years of client photos to be able to migrate somewhere else. Maybe that is your goal, force those of us who have too much invested in Smugmug to pay more rather than deal with the tens if not hundreds of hours it would take to back everything up to another site.

    You have done a grave and serious diservice to a lot of loyal customers, and though you may see a large payout now… in this industry bad reviews travel much faster than good. Afterall, your email announcement only went out a couple hours ago, and look at the laundry list of complaints and clients jumping ship… maybe a more appropriate name for the company at this point would be Her Captain knew about the iceberg ahead of time too… just saying!

  180. Maybe sell off your arcade games you have in the office? If this really hurts you as much as us…

  181. Just checked Zenfolio and man you realy shooted yourself in the both foot! I’m realy surprised by this bold move! Did you hired netflix “sale” team? I appreciate your usual open minded view with your video and open and uncensured forum but it don’t make me swallow the huge increase with nothing new or only promise in return…You have few months before my renewal for make it up!

  182. I just had a thought – if all of this price increase is about extra engineers and storage costs and bandwidth etc., then why do ALL the new plans have SmugVault?

    Aside from the fact that the number of existing Pro users is no doubt commercially sensitive, let’s interpolate the usual SM comments about “thousands of satisfied Customers” (although tonight’s announcement seems to be drastically slaying that figure) and we pick say 5000 pro users. That’s now an extra $750,000 per year. Per YEAR. 750K. In one of our other businesses, IT Consulting, that would give us an extra 7.5 software engineers. So how’s your justification that you went from 4 to 40 going to work? If you have 40 S/e’s, at $100K per pop, that cost alone is $4 million. So, let’s just think about that figure…

    $4M per year means at current Pro pricing, you’d need 26,600 or so Pro subscribers (remember, we’re just looking at a single cost factor here, not on-cost, admin, different people on different plans etc.) to cover the $4M engineer cost. So, now let’s take that interpolated 26,600 and multiply it by the price increase you announce on a Friday evening of a long weekend (lesson to be learned there, Baldy, just a free FYI)…that’s another, $4 MILLION…per year.

    Something is not adding up here.

    As a CEO of a business far larger than SmugMug, I applaud Baldy’s movie, but it’s spin – let’s be honest.

    Why not roll-out the new architecture being promised for God knows how long, and provide a better opt-in offer with the new pricing? Why not circulate the new plans before mandating from upon high to those Pro’s who have expended countless hours and cost to developing their site, who are now beholden to SM because of their Customisations?

    From one CEO to another – here’s that lesson you haven’t learned yet. Communication with your Customers and Clients is crucial. This was a poorly timed and ill-communicated decision which could have been handled far better.

    But hey I’m going to tell my executives on Monday morning for all our business to put our fees and charges up by 100% across the various business we have. Because, you see, I’m kinda suicidal.

    1. Yep! Extra 100 Million Dollar$$$$$!!!

      Gordon Gekko said it “Greed is good”!

      I don’t think so!

    2. Interesting analysis. And $100k per software engineer will barely cover salary for a junior engineer. Full cost with benefits and overhead for someone decent is more like $200-250k per out in the valley.

      1. well you’re paying way too much, Christopher. You don’t have to hire “out in the valley”. It IS I.T. after all. remote working, telecommuting? Ring any bells?

  183. I would not mind paying an extra $100 if you guys would be pro active about an overdue printer option in Australia.
    This increase might not makes you more attractive to already establish opposition here in OZ.
    Most of us have been asking you for months.
    After a few years on Smugmug, I might have to let you go.
    A frustrated Australian client
    Thank you

    1. Leo – sharing your pain, friend. I even offered to help Andy with great local printers here in Singapore (way cheaper than Oz and shipping to Oz from here also is cheap) but it was a thanks, but no thanks. Don’t hold your breath.

    2. Also from Australia, also was interested in this, now also saying bye bye. 10% maybe even 20% price increase I can handle, but 100% is a joke.

  184. This smacks of desperation. A 100% price increase means things have been bad for a while. I don’t get how you have 40 developers vs 4 in 2005 – the rate of feature releases hasn’t changes and there are several obvious ones that took YEARS to do or haven’t been done yet.

    Smugmug offers unparalleled customisation, but the whole thing is starting to creak. New features are glacial, the big upgrade seems to have been almost forgotten about and a 100% price increase for Pros makes me nervous.

    The irony is that you’re not going to lose the high value customers selling heaps of images and storing massive amounts – you’re going to lose the much smaller customers that want a pro account and put a much lower load on the storage.

    I’ll be at least downgrading to the new Portfolio Level, but only until I find a replacement service.

    You have seriously underestimated the impact this will have, or you’re really desperate.

  185. Another new and soon to be ex customer here. $150 was already a big stretch for me as a hobbyist looking to make a little extra cash. As soon as my current subscription ends, I’m on to other options.

    You might want to reconsider a regressive fee model that sticks it to those that have far less than 1GB of uploads and aren’t making any serious money–I’m guessing we’re the majority of your user base. Did you guys hire a retired government economic advisor as your new CFO?

    1. Customer purging: you are no longer their target user. They should just say “we only want to service full-time pros who make a living shooting.” I believe that would be an honest message.

      1. I was thinking the EXACT same thing last night as I was falling asleep… they should have just been more honest and transparent about their goal – getting rid of the hobbyist/low volume photographers in order to keep the high-volume pros.

  186. Hi guys, I love your the options that I have had with your service and I too have to think hard on this one for such a steep increase because just like everything else this price increase just opens the door for another and another just like the insurance companies and gasoline prices. Everyone has a justification for an increase to their customers. I now have a pro account and unless I go with the business account now I loose the ability for my clients to pick their favorites and for me to select my own pricing.
    You have skillfully thought this out by way of taking the best of your services away from the pro user, sticking them in a newly created business user account and charging for them at a huge premium.
    You also promise to add some new really cool stuff because you now have 40 additional bodies/minds creating improvements but wouldn’t it be more justifiable to have those improvements in place before making a promise to deliver. I think we have all learned that our government can’t be trusted with a promise nor anyone else for that matter. That is one thing (the promise) that is sure to raise a brow in wonderment and in my mind surely conceive ill conclusions of trouble. As they say, ” Promises are like…., well you get the drift. To say that it is a matter of upload storage means you clearly made the decision to increase the customer cost vs having them feel like part of a community in helping to control costs with perhaps an option to pay for additional upload space. In lieu of that I feel that perhaps $50.00 is steep enough but $100.00 ? When My insurance company does that I’m on the phone.
    I am loosing the feel of this as a SmugMug community to be more that of a corporate entity looking for a bailout.

    Here’s an idea: If I (we) can pay for a year in advance and at a $50.00 increase I (we) would be happy to stay with your service. This would get things rolling in the right direction and would also ensure us that you are not just politicizing us on your promise.

    Seriously, to ask for a sizable contribution like that all at one time from your customer base on a promise, and an excuse, whew…. that just sounds to much like trouble.

  187. I am in shock!!!! Did I miss the message asking members for other suggestions before deciding on this huge price increase? In the past I have always plugged Smugmug at other photo sites and brought you new customers. The last time I plugged Smugmug to someone looking for a site to show/sell their work, another photographer came along and listed reasons why Zenfolio was better. I contacted the SM crew for some suggestions on what I could say to convince the potential customer why SM was better then Zenfolio, but I did not get a reply from your team that I felt comfortable posting. This year I have had numerous issues with my site and some times the reply time is many hours. Granted I do much of my work after midnight, but someone should always be available to address problems within a reasonable time, since time is money. It has already been mentioned that a toll-free number is needed. Too much time is spent sending emails back and forth trying to trouble shoot a problem, when it could be done much faster with phone support. For the price increase, phone support should be added…. but I know that would just cause the price to increase more. I agree with the members that say charge people more if they use a huge amount of space. I have old galleries on here that are more or less just another place to store images, but would gladly delete them if I had the option of pay less according to storage space. I’m sure most of us dread the thought of starting over with a new site, but as you can see, many of us are more upset getting hit with such a big price increase. I have $20.00 in Referral Credits due at my next renewal in December, or lost if I switch to another site. I feel bad for the 2 people that I convinced into joining Smugmug in the last 2 months. After seeing the member feedback, I hope that the SmugMug family will reconsider and ”suggest” some other options. I want to stay with you guys, you are like family to me, but for the FIRST TIME EVER I am looking at the Zenfolio website. Thanks, John

  188. As a newr photographer trying to get my feet planted in motorsports photography I really don’t make much money. I don’t even make enough profit to cover my monthly paid subscription. I pay it put of pocket as I’m a startup. I spent a lot of time customizing my site to the way I like it. I may consider locking in for a year and paying the annual fee but that makes things really tight for me right now. This increase is way too much baldy and I hate to do it but I’m out. I really wished I took the advise of some local photographers now and gone with zenfolio. I went with you for pricing and the attractiveness of the overall site. The ” business” package is the one Id need so I can set my own prices, which is the only reason I went with the pro. I only upload about 300mb a month. $35 a month is ridiculous.

    I think with this increase you will be doing more harm than good.

  189. Oh, and you can’t even call somebody at smug mug, it’s all email!!! Damn, when I need help I need help now and not wait for somebody to answer me later that day. Then after several emails into the next day I have an answer. It just takes too long!!!!

  190. SmugMug, we need to talk. It’s just not working out for us. Seriously, it’s not you, it’s me. You’re really great – everybody says so – and I’m sure you’re going to make the right person really happy some day. I’m just not that person any more. You see, I met someone named Photoshelter about a week ago. That refined, unbranded interface… the awesome charming way it gets along with my mother – no, wait, I meant my WordPress – without any trouble at all… the built-in upload integration that makes Aperture feel as much a part of the family as Lightroom… the rational, fair-minded approach to allowing all file types (even Raw!) and charging on an as-used basis for excessive storage… Well, I must say, it quite blew my skirt up. So long, SmugMug. We had a good time together while it lasted, but my Pro subscription expires this month. Best of luck to you.

  191. All I have seen on here is people complaining about how they don’t make enough money to support the price increase. If $100 PER YEAR throws you out of business, SmugMug is not your first problem, running your business is. The photography world has tanked because ANYONE can be a photographer and sell their product for pennies. If you don’t want to run a business, don’t have a pro site. If you do want to run a business, invest in the tools that will help you make more money. If you’re actually using your pro site and selling prints at a profit, you shouldn’t be worried about the price increase anyway. It’s $8.34 more per month. I hope that’s at least the profit you’re making on one print or jpeg sale.

    I appreciate the honest explanation and drive to increase the quality of their product. I value a company that wants to invest in being better, not cheaper. If you want to succeed in photography, which is an overcrowded marketplace increasing in amateurs everyday, you should invest in making your services better too.

    1. I agree with you Joy. I could not have said it better myself. Being a pro photographer does not end with a small increase in a service fee of 100.00. Smugmug you have delivered and my business is up 300% because I have paid you up until this point a nominal fee of 150 bucks a year. Some of my profits will go to pay your increase in fees. I am a satisfied customer and my customers are very happy with the ease of use of your site and the manner in which you condcut business. Thank you for the honest answers.

    2. I’m an aspiring photographer with a Power account for the last 4 years. I’ve hardly considered upgrading to Pro, but I might have done it sooner at the lower price. It’s okay though. I’m leaning toward agreeing with “a company that wants to invest in being better, not cheaper.”

  192. Now Joy, most of my clients would rather buy in person than on Smug. For the most part I host them on Smugmug, most of the time they will call me and say I want these file numbers. I’s rather use photobiz just to host them and take orders over the phone than pay for the uprising cost of SM. Seems a lot of customers don’t like ordering fine art online.

  193. If you’re selling in person, then you don’t need the Business account and your price doesn’t change. You can simply use the portfolio galleries and sell in person. It’s only the pricelists and commerce that’s changing for smug users.

  194. Way too big of an increase in fees. Seriously… did you see how well this worked out for Netflix? If you’re intent is to lower your subscribers, I think this might do the trick. My sub is up in Feb. That at least gives me time to stand up a new site. I feel sorry for the people that have to renew next month. I went with SM and liked it because of the customization and the price. You’ve just priced your service out of the competition.

    1. Robert :
      Way too big of an increase in fees. Seriously… did you see how well this worked out for Netflix? If you’re intent is to lower your subscribers, I think this might do the trick. My sub is up in Feb. That at least gives me time to stand up a new site. I feel sorry for the people that have to renew next month. I went with SM and liked it because of the customization and the price. You’ve just priced your service out of the competition.

      Feel like we will just have to bite the bullet and pay our $250… but its now what we signed up for. I love Smugmug but I probably would not have signed on for $300

  195. Based on all the feed back here, it seems to me that you might want to consider some of the other options one more time…

    Option 1) Maybe make the rate change only to new customers.
    Option 2) Maybe raise prices by less across the board, not just on pro’s (your highest paying customers)
    Option 3) Maybe increase YOUR margins on printing (so that when they sell photos, you get larger cut).
    (plus all the other suggestions)

    It seems to me that it’s your low end customers that also have unlimited storage that would be the ones that ultimately “cost” you money… In fact, here’s what I just realized… I don’t use any of the features that aren’t in the basic account… and yet I have 100’s of GB of storage… I pay for a full account, not because I wanted the features… but rather, I wanted to be a pro community member, because well, I figured if you treated pro’s right, then I should do the same and treat you right.

    And while I still believe that, and will most likely upgraded to business simply because I can… I also believe that this is a “netflix” style move… where it’s not being done properly. You CAN do it by only having the fee’s affect new customers….. You can do it without taking features away from people who have been paying for them…

    It’s not the features that are costing you… You said it yourself, it’s the storage.

    If you can’t do it… then you might want to consider that it’s time to drop the unlimited storage… Because this will become a recurring theme.

    Or… actually, I know your on top of S3… I’d strongly consider giving Backblaze a call and asking about how they do storage pods at like 1/10th the price of Amazon… It might be time to bring the storage back in house… Afterall, I don’t see Backblaze raising their prices on my 2TB of backup storage that I have with them (and their only at $5/month).

    Based on the feedback… I’d be more worried your going to lose more customer than make more money with this move.

  196. I’ve spent the last hour looking at Zenfolio and creating a free trial website. $120 per year for the same features I currently pay $150 for and will have to pay $250 for the next time I renew.

    So far its been an absolute breeze to start a website…. WAY easier than the customizing I had to go through on Smugmug. And they have an option to migrate your photos from Smugmug to Zenfolio using It really can’t get much easier than that. I’m sure that by the time my subscription with Smugmug ends on October 10th… I’ll have all my photos at their new home on Zenfolio.

    Sorry Smugmug…. you just shot yourself in the foot. I’m outta here, you can kiss my money goodbye!

  197. I have been doing photos for 10 years on the side and as a hobbyist. However I have been running my own business for 13 years full time. I understand the statements made in the explanation, I do, its about costs and wanting to expand the company and hopefully expand the features and make a better product. Every business wants that! however, Dropping a large price increase like that might not be the smartest move. As some others have said a smarter and more professional way to handle this would be to do a gradual increase. My experience has been good with this company. However this increase is way too much to drop on your customers in one swoop! I love the idea of smugmug, I wish you had more features and i understand you are working on updating those features, so i might stay one more year. However within that year, after paying that increase, i do not see any real amazing features added to the business accounts, I will go with one of the many other competitors out there that are dancing happy with your announcement. I hope this move pays off because I really love the idea of sm working, but a price jump like this is going to lose a lot of people. I give you one year to hold fast to those promises, don’t let me down.

  198. Your slogan includes “Millions of passionate customers.” Maybe it was hyperbole before, but those customers are sure passionate now!

    I’m out of here. I always thought highly of you guys, but it seems to me that you have destroyed your business. Since I used the service very lightly, my account was nothing but profit. And there are so many more like me than those heavy uploaders that you used as an excuse for this price doubling. If the issue was really the massive increase in storage, you could have instituted a data cap like a cell phone provider.

    Isn’t it nice to know that the NetFlik VP for customer service found a job at SmugMug?

  199. I’m sure you guys crunched your numbers and counted the costs of estimated fallout. You may come out on top financially. But clearly, as you can see, the goodwill and grass-roots support that you’ve worked so hard to engender is quickly eroding. I used to offer your services proudly to new photographers, now, I’m not so sure. Again, maybe you’ll make money off of this move, but I think the cost for your company may outweigh the extra money you make.

    Heroes, I’m sorry you have to read through all these comments (as truthfully, I would expect nothing less). Maybe you can help convey some of these very real concerns to the money people. A lot of us really love you guys, but this is a tough pill to swallow.

    1. Bad reputations are by-products of customer purging, for those who are purged. For those who remain- it’s a nicer neighborhood with all the riffraff gone.

      This was thought of in advance.

  200. I understand your decision but regretfully I do not think I will be renewing. I have 6 months to decide and I guess I will get to see what improvements you will be making with the additional revenue. The costs I incur with subscription and the commission is a tough nut to crack.
    I would happily cut the amount of images I upload for a cheaper service. I feel though you will be loosing enough clients that you will not likely see much of an increase in your bottom line.

  201. Double pity! 1st you raise the prices way too fast and too high, and when people jump ship, it’ll be too late so 2) SM is going to wither away. Once people are gone, it’s impossible to get them back.

    It’s really a pity, since SM was nice, great crew and fun, but doubling pricing, no matter what service you give, will never be accepted.

    It’s true that having to pay double when you’re not a power user with gazillion of photos stored makes no sense.

  202. I started with smugmug in 2008. Coolest thing ever. I didn’t make any profit with smugmug that year, but $150 was a bargain to reduce the hassles of ordering single 4×6’s for a client. My initial print pricing strategy was to make enough to pay for the subscription, and I’m way beyond that now. Thank you smugmug.

    I don’t like price increases from vendors, but I like hassles even less. A $100 increase is worth noticing, but not changing or investing the time to even look elsewhere. You deserve a return on your time and investment the same way everyone else does. Thanks for letting me know, and you’re still worth the increase.


  203. Ah… will history repeat itself? I this looks like a page from Netflix book from last year…. I will be looking for other provider, this is not cool. You will loose a lot of business (new and existing) by doing this.

  204. I’ll echo an important question that I haven’t seen answered yet….

    I renewed my Pro account in June at $100 (been a customer since before 2005). If I DOWNGRADE my Pro account now to a Power account, will SmugMug refund me the pro-rated difference?

    Switching to Power is the only viable option I can see to preserve my existing galleries. I’m simply not going to give SmugMug $200 under any circumstances. But rather than wait until next June, I might as well switch now and get some of my money back. Will you give a pro-rated refund?

  205. Your message begins “for the first time in 7 years…”

    Well that’s just poor business planning on your part. If your costs have been increasing and margins falling, a sensible approach would be gradually implement price increases or find other ways to tier your service offerings so revenues are better aligned with costs. Instead, with one month’s notice, you implement a 75% price increase (67% on annual payments)?

    I would venture to guess that many of the customers you’ll lose from this are those with the smallest space and bandwidth requirements (in other words, your highest margin accounts).

    Personally, the price increase alone won’t encourage me to seek out alternatives, simply due to the time and costs involved in changing providers. I’ll continue to be your customer even if it means paying $100 more. In exchange for my $100, you’ll lose the dozens of recommendations I give for SmugMug both online and at photo workshops each year.

    But you could have had both — an extra $100 and a happy customer that praises your service — if you had simply handled the price increase in a professional manner.

  206. I’m at least glad I can renew at the normal rate for one more year. I was just about to say goodbye to SmugMug which would be a shame. That year will give me time to look into different options since I don’t think I will be renewing at the new prices.
    I do understand the need to raise prices but that much of a jump is too much to swallow. Reminds me when I was in Bolivia and the prez tried to double gas prices over night. Can you say riots?

  207. I got this smuggy account a couple years ago as a courtesy to a few people who swore they’d be buying prints. Much to my surprise, two of them actually did – I think the total came to something like $50. (Another said that the system was too complicated and he couldn’t figure out how to order from it, but he’s a liar; he just wants freebies he’s not going to get.) The account hasn’t come CLOSE to paying for itself.

    And see, here’s the serious kicker. In the last year, every single expense I have for this profession has gone up, usually around 20%. Income has gone down, roughly 65% it looks like. Every client has either gone out of business or cut way back; new ones are offering far less work at obscenely low rates with truly vicious contract terms. Pay schedules went from 14 days to 120 days to “court order.” Many of us out here are told we’re not worth more than the summer HS intern, who’s willing to work for free to get his foot under the hammer.

    And I’m supposed to find another 40%? (Yeah, I’m old enough to know how to do fractions)…. That ain’t gonna happen. I’ll look at the other guys – I get a lot of good promo from PhotoShelter and Zenfolio. Alternatively, I’ll go back to handling the fulfillment of the once a year print order manually.

    Normally I’m stupid loyal, but a kick-in-the-body-parts price hike makes me think HARD about my online presence setup, and since I’ve already GOT my own hosting account, I have my pick of several gallery software packages, all free. So basically you’ve reminded me that you’re a very trimmable expense at a time when most of us are looking hard for those.

    Maybe not such a great idea….

    1. Photoshelter and Zenfolio should have a banner on their site: “Welcome Smugmug Users!”. If I was in their marketing department I’d be working on the coupon code right now.

  208. Wish I could stay, but we’re in a recession. People dont have money for prints. Raising rates during a recession is usually a bad idea. Hope you do well, but so many of us are barely making a living as it is.

  209. I don’t think $100 will affect your high volume pros, but it will affect someone like me. Maybe that is the idea, to drive out the people like me that don’t make enough money for you in sales to be worth a few GB of space taken up.
    I have until January to either have a huge jump in sales, or to move to somewhere else. From what I read, overall you are better than Zenfolio- but they offer a lower level that STILL allows you to make a profit. Don’t tell me about the “portfolio” level, because I can have people print photos from almost any online site for far less than $150. Flickr is cheaper for that, or facebook would be free (although lower quality)
    In a way, it seems weird that I am writing this on your blog. I have never had a blog throughout my years with smugmug, but it looks like if I do switch to Zenfolio they give me one of those, too.

  210. I had sticker shock for a minute then did the math. The memory of website creation and customization is too fresh in my mind for me to feel anything but joy that I’m able to get such an incredible feature set and continued improvements for one fixed fee. My images have not been stolen, beyond screen dumps which are of course unavoidable. My customers rarely report issues with ordering, and when they have, it’s usually been a browser issue.

    Might not be the busiest pro out there, but a glance at sales history shows over 3,000 items sold since spring 2006–with an account since 2004, I didn’t use SmugMug for print fulfillment until they added the features I wanted. I need and will pay for robust event-oriented back-end, marketing and sales support, and when the fee is amortized over a year, it’s certainly justifiable overhead for my situation.

  211. I agree with the other comments about storage. I’m a small shop that can’t afford the very steep increase. I’ve been with you guys for three years now and I love your service. My renewal isn’t up until about next July, so I have some time to look around. I can’t afford the increase. My one big question, what extras are you going to give us after you almost double our costs? At the same time, I know I’m one of the one’s that uses a lot of storage. Why? Because I wasn’t given any limitations on what I could upload. It was easier for me just to upload the full size images rather than resize my uploaded images. Now, there are things I can do to reduce my storage footprint. As part of my renewal, if you gave me options for limiting my storage, I would gladly take a limited storage option and keep my same rate or possibly even lower my rate.

    Guys, I understand rate changes, but $100 is entirely too much. I don’t think this was well thought through and not much consideration was given to the little guys. You are keeping your service level and offering the same, but going up on your rates.

  212. Very bizarre business decision. As has already been said, the users you are most likely to lose are those that store very few files and don’t see the value they are getting out of a Pro account. All you needed to do was to set upload/storage limits or increase fees for the heaviest users. Also, many users that sold only a small amount of photos will probably no longer continue to do so which means that Smugmug won’t benefit from the mark up that they made on those orders.

    The photography world has changed enormously in the past 10 years and many people (like myself) decided to ‘dabble’ at pro photography. I now make no money out of it but wish to keep my site live as a portfolio. What this has made me realise is that I don’t need the ‘Pro’ features anymore and so will downgrade to a Power User account, saving me $40/year at the moment and $140/year moving forward!

    Paid for storage is, in my opinion, now going to struggle against the many free/lesser cost options out there and for many people these free/lesser cost options will work fine, although of course they are not for everybody.

    For years I have recommended Smugmug to many many people (& benefited from the many referrals I received) but like others have said I think this decision ‘breaks’ the bond that I felt with Smugmug and I now view it purely as ‘another business’ and accordingly have no qualms in looking around for alternatives at the appropriate time.

    This seems to be the sign of a dying business, the equivalent of a struggling restaurateur being told by his bank manager that to make a profit he has to increase his prices, which of course just serves to drive down business further.

    Will the increased revenue from a smaller number of customers cover the loss of business? Time will tell, but I doubt it. And to be frank I don’t think I really care any longer. After all, Smugmug is now just ‘another business’ of which there are many alternatives available to me.

    All your email has served to do is to make me review my needs, which I should have done a long time ago. It has encouraged me to reduce the amount of money that I will need to pay Smugmug in future. So, bizarrely I should be thanking you for your decision, although it will cost you money!

    I wonder how many ‘clever’ people sat around the Smugmug boardroom table thinking up and agreeing to this incredibly damaging business decision?!

    Best of luck, I think you and all of your employees are going to need it!

    1. Well the cost and price game isn’t new. Raising prices is the most effective way to improve revenue. Cutting costs is a very ineffective way to improve revenue. However, as many others have pointed out, there is a Netflix effect here from the backlash to a major price increase.

      Now this would all be different if we could log into a private site and see something that is so over the top ‘WOW’ that we would even pay more to be a part of the coolness. Reality is that SM is in a more competitive marketplace than when I joined years ago and I was getting the best of everything.

      SmugMug may be the new leader in pricing increases in the industry as well. Only time will tell if that plays out successfully.

      Someone else pointed out that us working pros are seeing declining revenue streams from existing business models and we have to keep reinventing ourselves and finding and retaining multiple revenue streams in order for us to keep afloat and to (barely) grow our business in the recent depressed economy. For the Pros that are making a lot of money profiting from print sales and using your (ever expanding) back-end print fulfillment services this increase isn’t that big a deal. For the majority of the industry, we are constantly struggling to find the next gig, the next client, and we have to play in a marketplace where anyone with a digital camera (including cell phone) can call themselves a photographer and hang out a shingle on any photo sharing site. We spend more time educating our clients in the differences between what we do for a living and the punk down the street with a Rebel that will sell you an 8×10 of anything you want for 5 bucks.

      Maybe it’s time to exit for SM to exit the market: Have the founders cash out; Sell the customers to other firms. I’ve seen it happen to other firms. It happened to me at a photo sharing site I used to work for years ago. Consolidation isn’t a bad thing.

      What the change does is drive me to redo my site. I’ll guess most of you are shaking you head that we should go back and look at our site redesigns. This event is an opportunity to go look at other vendors and see what we can do with the tools others have to offer. The last thing I want to do, but something I need to do is to do a site redesign and incorporate that look into WordPress. Migrating 60k images will take some time but it is manageable.

      Of course, maybe I’ll be lazy and simply downgrade to ‘Power’ user and put off my much needed redesign efforts, because I need to spend more time hustling work.

      1. I never mentioned solely ‘cutting costs’, although efficiency is of course at the very heart of a successful business.

        What I did allude to is that SM need to consider increasing costs for those who do use lots of storage and not use some arbitrary measure to charge all Pro accounts that sell photos. I have never sold any photos through SM primarily because until very recently they didn’t offer UK printing. I also only have 6GB of photos stored on SM, so it strikes me as incredibly unfair to punish every Pro account user!

        I think paid for hosting is a dying business in that when SM was set up there wasn’t much option for ‘everyday’ users (by whom I mean non-pros) and certainly Facebook either didn’t exist or didn’t offer the free hosting it does today which suits many casual users. So effectively Smugmug is going to end up having to be financed by an ever decreasing number of users, many of whom are not casual users but are Pros who are not prepared to compromise by using a free storage solution. So as user numbers decrease costs will continue to rise per user and at some point in time this is likely to become unsustainable. As you suggest, getting out now may well be a very good option for the site owners!

  213. QUESTION:
    (1) For existing customers, will the $250 annual rate be just for the next renewal or if I stay a Smug customer at Business level, will this be the renewal rate for following years as well?
    (2) Are you planning on charging any additional amount for storage in the following year or will unlimited storage at no additional cost continue to be one of your differentiators?
    These answers will assist me in my research to determine if I stay at Smug or make the change. I also want to applaud your openness and engagement with customers, I think you have really shot yourselves in the foot but I want to acknowledge your are still living up to your promise of customer engagement.

    1. Hi Scott, we answered your question above, and we want to be sure that you see it.

      “Hi Scott, if you were already a Pro your $250/year rate is good for the following years you stay at the Business plan. And we are firm about keeping unlimited uploads on all of our plans, because we don’t want people to have to choose which photos matter most.”

      1. and Schmoo – you use SmugMug, BUT don’t follow the licensing guidelines. Where’s your footer? Yeah, works well for the rest of us when YOU can bend the rules, but make the rest of us pay more.

        Oh, and no, you did NOT answer Scott’s question. Are you just TRYING to be

        (a) foolish
        (b) foolish
        (c) foolish
        (d) ALL of the above

      2. Heeey Schmoo, last year when I signed up I signed up to a pro account using a coupon. I received an email from smugmug stating clearly that “I will be charged $120 for my first year and just $150 after that” and that “the document I held in my possession was my receipt”. So my rate increase will not be until next year since my receipt says my renewal rate is $150 in my follow up renewal year.

      3. “And we are firm about keeping unlimited uploads on all of our plans, because we don’t want people to have to choose which photos matter most.”

        Schmoo, and baldy – People are dumping 10s of thousands of redundant images on your servers just because they can, and are too lazy to edit. It’s a massive waste of space that they are not, but should be paying extra for. File sizes will continue to get bigger and bigger. Your unlimited uploads policy is not giving smart customers confidence that you will be able to sustain this business model.

        And as another commenter correctly pointed out, what customers need most, is the confidence to know that you understand how to operate in a sound fashion going forward. “Choose which photos matter most” is a blanket statement that does not address the most important issue at hand here, which is the unlimited uploads and the burden that it is clearly putting on smugmug and will continue to do. Increasing prices is an artificial way to deal with this issue. You should attack it directly, by putting caps on usage for the plans, and making the unlimited plans more expensive. Or something to that effect. Because with unlimited uploads, the next step will be that you raise prices on ALL plans. If you don’t address this immediately, it will be harder and harder down the road to fix.

    1. I’d suggest they are trying to get in contact with a reputable Crisis Management company, Jason. Oh hang on, they aren’t calling our subsidiary…

      Oh hey, Baldy, call me, I’ll give you a discount – I’ll do it for FREE! I’ll even pay my own airfare from Singapore to help you out of the mess you’ve made of your Customers and Clients.

      It’s a serious offer.

  214. Well said Pete the CEO. SmugMug will lose a huge percentage of their user base, one that isn’t the largest resource burden. Then they’re hiring 40 s/w engineers with the profits that won’t be there because of the lost users. SmugMug will be out of business by next summer if they follow through on this plan.

    They need someone with actual business experience and intelligence in charge, that’s obvious now. You wait 7 years to raise prices because you didn’t have the brains and guts to do the right thing in the past? Then you make up for your past failure to execute all at once? Hope you have another career planned out because this one is going away soon.

    This will be taught in business classes as a sure way to drive a company out of business. Guess they never heard of NetFlix ! This is so incredibly stupid and harsh in so many ways. A good example of the Peter Principle – rising to your level of incompetence, at which point you fail, and then have to go down to a level where you are competent.

    1. Thanks Rick – kind of hard being a CEO these days I have to admit! Just to clarify my point, I don’t think they are hiring 40 new S/E’s – sorry if my words confused – my analysis was being highly focussed on the S/E cost that has “grown to 40 engineers”.

      I wish you luck with whichever option you decide to go.

  215. With all of the service issues we’ve suffered through this year, I was seriously considering trying another service anyway. I think this pretty much forces the decision on me. I love Smugmug, but I don’t love it enough to pay twice what I’m currently paying. Sorry, but I’ve been with you guys for at least 5 years and I think it’s time to try out the other guys.

  216. I just read my email from you. So sad. Did you tell WHCC you were doing this when you signed them on. I have been with WHCC for years and trusted them. I had no idea who you were but chose you because you came through WHCC. It has been so much work for me to set up my account and now you tell me you want $100 more.. UGH! I can’t even afford the lightroom everyone keeps saying is so wonderful to streamline from.
    All this investment of time and money and I might have to look elsewhere. Why didn’t you just increase slowly. I feel so taken.

  217. Is this a last ditch effort to save your company or something? Makes me wonder, if a lot of people do leave, will you be in even worse shape, and therefore shut it down?

  218. along with the previous point others and myself have made – the new plans still have SmugVault – so there’s something very fishy going on here

  219. Their PR team is gonna have a boatload of damage control to do when they get into the office on Tuesday. Do you think it’s a coincidence that they made this announcement late in the afternoon prior to a 3 day weekend?

  220. I’m out. It’s a done deal as soon as my renewal comes up. It’s not that I can’t afford paying twice the previous rate. It’s just that I find the arrogance and hamfisted approach off-putting in the extreme, as is Smugmug’s disaster of a customer retention strategy.

    I mean — wow. So this is how you reward me, and hundreds of thousands of pros like me, for years and years of being your client and spending my hard-earned money on you like clockwork?

    The thing that sticks in my craw the most is Chris McAskill’s chutzpah in IGNORING, in his slick and disingenuous little speech, a BIG FAT REVENUE STREAM that has made the McAskill family a fortune. It’s the 20-percent cut Smugmug takes from pros in print sales. I pay a fee for being a member, and a hefty percentage of my profit. Not a single stinking word from McAskill about that second part. Just whining about how storage costs are up. I got news for him: STORAGE, my friend, is cheap, and will always be getting cheaper. You know what’s expensive though? Getting customers — and making them trust you and like you. That takes YEARS. And now Smugmug has frittered that away, with one arrogant e-mail and one gobsmackingly dishonest video.

    Maybe I’ll feel less angry about this tomorrow, but right now, boy would I like to see Smugmug suffer a giant wave of defections, and layoffs, and large amounts of freakin’ CROW to be eaten by a family that seems to have forgotten that it built its success on the back of professional photographers like me.

    I promise you that this will turn out to be a huge public relations and business disaster for your company. I do. You can take that to the bank. This is Smugmug’s New Coke, and this was Chris McAskill’s Reed Hastings moment.

    Good luck with all that.

    1. 15% cut, not 20%. All you can focus on is storage cost? As if there’s nothing else that has been provided to you in terms of new features or functionality for the money? Wow.

      Hey, check out the event and/or studio pro offering at Exposure Manager. Shock and surprise–it’s close to what SmugMug is charging. $14.99 and $24.99 per month.

      I did not get the e-mail either. I think the Friday night/holiday weekend timing is unfortunate.

      1. hardly an option for professional photographers, Lynne.

        As I have mentioned before, I totally agree with you, the timing is unfortunate, and to my mind, springs certain questions…

        1. Pete, many of my fellow horse (event) photographers really like ExMan. I don’t know how you can say it’s not for pros–maybe you’re thinking of another service?

  221. Well, I’d do not even receive the email! And I am pro since day one.
    I have to say thanks. This gives me the opportunity to clean up my galleries while moving to zenfolio.


  222. Shocked and horrified to read this email. Expecting me to stump up from $10 a month to $35 a month for the same thing. Do you have any idea what a cheek this is? I will not be renewing my account and will be now looking elsewhere for something better than this. Total rip off.

  223. Wow – I guess if you can retain 66% of your customers, you’ll break even on this. Maybe hold off on hiring until the dust settles.

    I suspect we’ll be moving our sites next year as they come up for renewal. At $150, we thought it was an *OK* site with fairly good features – and a royal pain to customize with little chunks of code stuck everywhere – crazy workarounds – replacement slide show – argghh! But now you’ve really got my attention – and not in a good way.

    Several months to reseach our alternatives – thanks for the heads up. I bet your competition are breaking out the champagne.

  224. I don’t understand why “setting pricing” is the criteria to decide whether or not it’s a business account. I may do only $100/year, but I use the “price setting feature.” This drastic increase is ridiculous. Why not base it on how much a customer actually makes? This would be easy to do and wouldn’t be burdensome to your customers who don’t do a ton of business. Smug is a great site, and I have gotten others to join up. But, I can go directly to Bay Photo on my own without Smug. For a 100% increase, you are simply begging me to do just that.

  225. Having just started this site a few months ago and paying monthly, I will be changing. I have yet to make a sell, even with the portraits in front of the client. I had no problem when I do them myself. This is simply to have my albums together where they can see them and I dont have to up load them again to order, The customer having the ability to order at home was appealling but they have stated they found it hard to naviagate, I will be moving to a less expensive site. Very hard to do since I finally got the hang of it and got a good start on how to use this but I can not afford it, I am just getting started and just cant do it.

  226. Somebody fell a sleep at the wheel here. Lost their focus (no pun) on what made the company and it’s foundation principals for success, then added to many new employees, new offices lots of other overhead got too comfy etc, now trying to save the company or just killed it.

  227. If they can double the price now, then they can do it again the future, counting on the fact that the cost to transfer is less than the price increase.

    If this is some kind of kickstarter campaign to improve or save smugmug, there should be more details about what we are buying into. I dont think that Removing features from my current price point, however, is unacceptable. Making me pay for future development of mystery features just evinces a lack of respect.

    I won’t be here the next time smugmug unilaterally decides that I need to pay for more for secret improvements.

  228. I can understand the decision. With the flooding in Thailand, I was wondering how the increase in hard drive prices would affect companies heavily invested in cloud computing. I’ll probably just switch to a portfolio site, turn off the online store, and be done with it. I probably sell a dozen prints throughout the year anyway.

    But here’s where I think the problem is. You have two customer bases. The first is the total amateur base that isn’t making any money, but might sell a few dozen prints per year. The second are the super-pros who sell a lot of prints, and for whom $100 is nothing. You want the second group to pay more for more service, without hurting the second group at your base. I understand that. But I’m not sure that the proper line is simply “set your own prices.” There’s a huge difference between a 19 cent print, a 99 cent print, and a $9.99 print. The difference between 19 cent and 99 is irrelevant if I’m only selling a few prints per year, but the problem is that it devalues the product.

    Basically, in order for it to be worthwhile for someone to upgrade to the $250 or $350 account, they would need to be pulling in at least $1000 per year in sales. Otherwise, they’ll either switch to a portfolio account (which doesn’t help you) or they’ll leave (which may or may not help you, depending on how much resources they consume). You guys have more internal data on this $1000 profit group than I do. And if you want the group that makes at least $1000 from prints to start paying more, then I’m guessing their needs are a lot more specific than “set their own prices.”

    Does Smugmug charge commissions on prints? Again, I sell so few that I don’t know. But that might be a better way to go. You could cap it so that added commissions every year never exceed a certain amount, so that no one has to end up paying several thousand dollars (They may be able to afford it, but they’ll probably end up leaving). Another option might be to issue a wave for people who sell less than X orders per year, with a small surcharge on orders for the remainder of the year after that (photographers can adjust the rate accordingly).

    There are other options. For instance, you can limit editing tools and proofing tools to business accounts, while portfolio accounts will be limited. Basically, it’s not even really about the photographer. There’s a very tiny number of people who pay a high markup on prints. What do those customers want? if you can make a better experience for those customers and bring more business to the photographer, then I think that the photographers who make at least $1000 will be okay with paying it.

    For instance, here’s an idea: You can set up a feature where customers who order a print can request specific touch-ups from the photographer, and those adjustments will be priced separately. Photographers can include a list of their available services, along with “before and after” pictures. i.e., “skin softening,” “hdr style,” “rush job,” “airbrushing,” etc. A lot of photographers charge for touch-ups. How many photo selling sites allow them to charge for touch-ups separately? Not only does this give the client more options, but it also gives the photographer better data on the types of photos that customers prefer.

    In the end, photographers are only going to pay more if they’re making money, and they’re only making money if the customers are happy. I understand what you’re trying to do, and I’m fine with it personally because it’s not going to effect me. But I don’t think that it will work.

  229. Since SmugMug is an actual photography site, leave the pricing plans as they were before the announcement for all the loyal photographers! Break off the video into its own business division for those that are videographers. Charge them the bigger fees for using large amounts of bandwidth and storage. That solves both the issue of tiered pricing and overuse of data storage all in one swoop.

    When you talk to people, you might just find that many, many photographers have no interest in being videographers and vice versa. I’ve heard this from many other photographers and videographers and I too am the same.

    Finally, what about those paying extra for vault storage so that we can have larger files of all types stored but are using minimal amounts of storage in our galleries? It looks like we are paying twice for the same storage amount. We are getting a double whammy because we are already paying for the space in the (eventual) increased site fee and to have extra secure storage on upload/download from the vault.

  230. I literally logged on this morning to open a second account and then saw the email. That is a VERY LARGE jump in price and has now made me think again do I do as I intended or go back to one of the other sites I considered before I joined up?

  231. I’ll just re-iterate my offer to Chris:

    I’d suggest they are trying to get in contact with a reputable Crisis Management company, Jason. Oh hang on, they aren’t calling our subsidiary…

    Oh hey, Baldy, call me, I’ll give you a discount – I’ll do it for FREE! I’ll even pay my own airfare from Singapore to help you out of the mess you’ve made of your Customers and Clients.

    It’s a serious offer.

  232. Thats too much of a price increase for me I’m afraid just to link up with loxley, I’d had preferred a gradual increase so I knew where I stood each year your service is great and I wish it all the best in the uk but there’s too much competition not to now shop around.

  233. attn: Baldy
    Considering no one in Australia/NZ etc has a lab on offer by you I don’t see how we should have to pay more. We are currently severely hindered by the huge shipping costs and with no self fulfillment offer I don’t see how we should be paying extra. We ve waited too long for this. I’d have no issues paying more if I was able to use smugmug to its fullest, this news quite frankly is disapointing and I’ll have no choice but to move on to a company that supports Australian labs.

  234. Thanks for letting us know. I’ll be downgrading my pro account to a ‘portfolio’ account, and fulfilling my print and digital orders myself. I understand the need for the increase, but that increase on top of the 15% smugmug already takes from my profits (including digital downloads, for which you have to do nothing) is too much for a small business owner. I will keep my site and my files here for now, but I don’t see any need to pay that much for you to take 15% from my sales. Downgrading and self-fulfilling my print orders is the only option for me.

  235. Looks like a move straight out of the NetFlix management playbook. Yes, there will be those who stay on, but so many more will leave that the goal of hiring more engineers seems unattainable with the coming loss of a majority of the loyal, paying client base. I have two Pro accounts and will be looking at other options, sadly.

  236. This is unfortunate. Both the timing and the increase.

    Although my renewal is not for several months, I will be immediately searching for alternatives. SM has been good, but frankly, it’s not good /enough/ for the new price level. There are far too many issues with the service as it is — things we’ve requested for years. Now to be asked to pay more with these issues? No.

    And the timing!? I understand the idea — you’re hoping to bury the news /and/ the negative reaction. I get that this is PR, but come on — the timing is frankly insulting.

    It’s too bad really. I think you could have increased prices (I recognize the necessity) more slowly over time. Furthermore, you could have introduced tiers, especially for those who aren’t using as much storage (or for those who are), for those who use video or those who don’t, etc.

    So, sorry, but I’ll be looking elsewhere.

    1. I agree… break the news late in the Friday ether and hope it will disappear by Monday is a mistake and an insult. This won’t disappear, but it seems from the thread that the core of the business will.

  237. Dan :
    They hired the guy from Netflix to come up with this strategy.

    Thinks they may well be licking their wounds, Dan. Either that or calling their bankers.

    As from my previous points, this is a lesson from such TV hits as “What Not to Wear”, “World’s Dimmest”, and pretty much anything on YouTube involving a cat and a piano. (But cats are cute).

  238. I’ve been with smugmug since 2005. I was in before the last price increase. I’m a $99 pro account right now. I have almost 15k photos and log around 5k views per month on my account. It’s a hobby, not a business – but when I do occasionally sell one of my photos I do expect to get something in return for it. That was what attracted me to smug mug in the first place and why I’ve been with SM for so long.

    Now I have three options. See my yearly rate go up by 50% to $150 and loose the ability to actually make something back when I do occasionally sell some photos – the feature that attracted me to SM in the first place. Or I can see my yearly rate go up by 100% to $200 to keep that ability. Or I can drop my service and give up more features and my grandfathered status.

    Leaving smugmug really sounds attractive…but it means trying to move those 15k photos and loose those 5k a month views because trying to update all the places they’re linked just isn’t realistic…and trying to setup redirects to keep the URL’s the same gives me nightmares.

    I’m left with no good options. I don’t see the improvements described in baldy’s video. My ISP is the bottleneck on uploads and they don’t offer anything better. My own uploads have slowed as a result since files have gotten bigger on newer cameras but my upload speeds have never increased making uploads just get more and more painful. That’s not SM’s fault but it’s a fact of life for me.

    To be honest the way this makes me feel I’d rather drop my account than drop to a lower service but feel trapped because of the need to keep my existing URL’s. Between the increasing downtime SM’s been having the past year or two and this SM is quickly going from one of my favorite companies that I’ve holeheartedly endorsed and recommended for years to friends and family – to one that I’m sorry to be stuck with.

    That’s sad. That’s real sad. And to be honest it’s what hurts the most about this. I did feel a part of the SM family…and now I feel like that family is telling me I’m not wanted as a member anymore. And that leaves a really nasty nasty taste in my mouth right now. I truly hope SM does some serious thinking about this and offers solutions for those of us who don’t abuse the unlimited features but are now loosing other features or seeing massive price increases due to the few who can and do abuse it.

    1. Actually Jason, they are not targeting you. Your price increases are not anywhere near the 100% Pro’s face. You raise some very VERY good points, though. I wish you luck with whatever decision you make.

  239. lynnesite :
    Pete, many of my fellow horse (event) photographers really like ExMan. I don’t know how you can say it’s not for pros–maybe you’re thinking of another service?

    I stand by my comment, Lynne. That’s not a viable option, especially given the amount of work people do on their sites within the current SM architecture.

    I still stand on my support of your comment.

  240. I think you should add the event feature to the portfolio package. I’m not selling images over smugmug, but I want my customers to choose their favorites before I retouch them. The Business pack should be for users who directly make money using your service.
    A proofing gallery makes no sense for me without the possibility to mark favorites

  241. Like many others I’m really disappointed by this move. I’ve has my account for years and in reality am using little more than the ‘power’ features. I could be mistaken but some of the customisation and custom URL options have trickled down to lower levels in the time I’ve been a pro. About the only feature I use at the moment is a custom watermark for proofs as I’ve always fullfiled my own print orders due to the US centric arrangements you had in place. I was just in the process of starting to use Loxley as this announcement was made and am incredibly disappointed to see that any level below Business will not allow the use of a non US lab with it coming at some unspecified stage, but without the possibility of markups, to the portfolio level.

    I think for me your decision to increase costs so significantly for all pro users and the US centric nature of your other offerings means we need to part company.

  242. Well, this year was the time to choose whether to upgrade my SM account to Pro, do my own site or move. The choice boils down to only 2 options now. Bad move … manage the price increase over 2 years or give an option to have limited storage for those without 10’s 1000 of files. There is competition and, while I understand the history of not increasing prices or managing storage, the bad PR from this cannot be underestimated. It was probably one of the toughest decisions made in ages by the SM team and can only imagine the internal debates.

    However, even in my limited capacity, I have driven sales for SM though personal recommendations . Now I can no longer honourably say that SM offers the best value for money out there i that It has brought SM into direct competition with others where once is stood alone. A no-brainer has become a deliberation.

  243. I was a happy Smugmug customer until now but I do agree with most people here, that kind of price increase is not matched by more options, like easier customizing layout, or some original layouts. If I want something more complex I have to do most of the work myself…
    I understand that unlimited storage is costly and if that is the issue please tell us so but “better engineering” ?? what is that? more options? more sweet wordpresskinda themes?
    Sad to say but this price increase makes me look to other options, I will consider them after looking them up and comparing them.
    I am also a passionate amateur and did not sell any pictures at this time, but the pro account gave me enough extras to make the price right
    Although now 50% increase? for “nothing substantial”?! more engineers? but what does that do for MY account? if you could justify this by an increase in original themes (I mean the page setup, not some other color or background pi!!!) then ok I can happily live with that, but heh sounds a lot like the railway system over here, every year they increase the price “for better service” but every year trains have more problems and service is decreasing…

    kind regards.
    and my sympathy to all those other fellow smuggers who have just been hit by this smug!

  244. Wow woke up this morning to this suprise email, still trying to take it in and understand why my current pro account which based on the email will be a business account next year cost you double to administer. Having waited an age for uk processing I have recently set my site so people could buy prints, it is still new and yet to return any profit but it seems based on your comments I should now be paying the same as those seasoned Smugmug photographers who generate income from their business. To me those seasoned sellers will be able to absorb these costs within their annual sales but those just starting out have now got another hurdle to jump. Why not take a percentage of sales ? Therefor generating income from those who use the service most and allowing us new to the game some time to catch up.. Simply put and using your justification how does it cost the same to administer an account of say sales of 30 pictures a year from someone new to the game compared to hundreds or more of a seasoned tog. Seems very unbalanced to me😦

  245. “2. Business lets you set prices and earn profit. It will be $300/year for new customers, but for grandfathered accounts like yours, we’ll ask you to renew at $200/year.”

    This is from the email I have received. So, is the new price for existing business users $200/year or $250?

    On the other hand, I do think this sudden increase is a bad idea (again, this is my view). I have been using Smugmug for 8 years and, being honest, I would have preferred a gradual increase during this period rather than this measure. Alternatively, as other people have already mentioned, pros could pay for the space used (which will make it fairer) because not everyone use the same space.

    Hope you reconsider it…

    Have a good one!


    1. The $200 or $250 depends on how long you have been a SM customer. Depends on your current rate. I think it will go up $100 from whatever you currently pay for your pro account. My current is $150, so mine would go up to $250.

    1. Betting Chris hadn’t really thought this through…see my other posts, DVA.

      Kind of weird…even the Republicans or the Democrats could not make this mistake. And hey, our businesses are worldwide.

  246. This is outrageous and it feels like a kick in the teeth. What a way to treat your customers! Everything that needs to be said has already been said. I’m just here to say, sorry SmugMug, you have lost another previously-satisfied customer. I’ll be looking at the competition now, like everyone else you’ve managed to alienate. What is the point of investing so much effort in trying to build the loyalty of your online community when you’re going to turn around and do this to them? This is a sad, sad day for the little guys like me who were just happy to put a few galleries online and sell the occasional print to friends and neighbors.

  247. I’ve not used the service for a long time and i thought $20 was a bit much for what it was but i thought it looked nice and made things easier for my users. i dont use the service as my website and whilst i do want people to buy photos to help with the costs im afraid its not enough to justify the cost at all.
    i have already paid a fair bit of money i think – way more than the cost of hosting my photos. I guess the service just isnt aimed at someone like me who might be profitable for smugmug bit doesnt use the service as my website and cant see the value of these costs. I will be leaving – i just feel silly that i wasted time on this service.

  248. I’m sad that you announced a price increase, without actually announcing any new functionality or benefit for the extra price you’d like to charge us.

    I, and many other photog hobbyists, aren’t making a whole lot of money off of our Pro accounts. You’d probably suggest that we select your Portfolio service – we pay you for a place to keep our pictures, but you make the money off of the small numbers of photos that get printed, and you benefit from our hard work. In other words, your getting a whole lot out of this new relationship that we would. And if another site pops up that offers us a place to store and showcase our photos, with no upside, just like your Portfolio product, then we’d have no reason to stick around.

    Now, if I wanted to make a little money, say enough to pay for the SMugMug annual fee, and maybe even, if I get REALLY lucky, be able to buy a new lens, now I suddenly have to pay you an extra $100 for that privilege. Would I get that $100 back if I don’t make $100 more?

    Sad to say, this is what happens to companies as they get bigger. They forget that there is competition out there, they rest on their laurels and stop innovating, and they look at their spreadsheets and say, “hmmm, we’d probably make more money if we charged more, why bother to work harder, it’s not like anyone would ever want to leave”.

    Fortunately for us, these moves create a vacuum in the market, and provide the opportunity for new competitors to get sucked in, and disrupt the old players.

    Of course, what I would have done would have been to find useful new services and features to charge money for. For example, something pros, and some of us amateurs could use, which is worth paying for, is the creation of independent portfolio silos. For example, if I shoot both birthday photos, wedding photos, nudes and airshows, I don’t necessarily want my customers to stumble from one section into another. I’d like unique URLs, portfolios that are contained in independent areas, and no chance for a visitor who was invited to a section to view another section. I could see myself paying a few dollars per unique portfolio (each portfolio still can contain multiple galleries). If I had 4 as I outlined above, then I’d be paying up to $20 a month extra. I might have 6 or 8, if I decide to add a personal area to house my family photos, another for pictures of conservative clients, another for my Burning Man photos, etc.

    What else would I pay for? Lots of other things. How about selling and shipping me a hard drive with all my galleries on it, on demand? It could be my way of ensuring that my images are backed up and kept safe. How about selling me a service that would advertise my gallery to friends of those who have “Facebook Liked” any of the gallery images?

    There are ways to make money off of customers, where the customer is actually happy to throw money at you. But that does require more work on your part. It’s way too easy to just go ahead and charge more and gamble that customers won’t go anywhere cause it’s too hard for them to take their portfolios with them. Believe me, I’ve abandoned way more services because of their silly policy changes, new charges and advancement stagnation, and SmugMug’s going to be no different.

    – A Longtime Fan and Promoter, Who Can’t Justify the Extra $100 to Remain a Fan, and is Now Looking at Other Options

  249. Have just spoken with our legal eagles in NY – and hey, we live in Singapore!! There will be a lodgement filed in CA next week which, roughly, will file suit again SM for non-performance and other issues.

    Welcome to your new world.

  250. here’s the deal Smugmug. I’ll stick with you under this new rates plan. For a while. But an increase in subs needs to mean a *visible* increase in engineering performance. No more of this downtime several times a month like earlier this year. No more 6(?) years between feature requests and finally getting them implemented(foreign currency transactions). No more “I wish I had a better answer for you” responses to requests. Deal?

    1. +1000! Unfortunately, I don’t for a minute believe this will happen. If they’ve already got 40 developers on staff, and charge almost as much as Adobe does for monthly access to the cloud version of the full-blown Master Collection, and they can’t fix the crap that’s been broken for years or bring new labs on in less than 2-3 years, they’re hopeless.

  251. I only have a few shots that get purchased once in a blue moon. The new pricing doesn’t make sense for me, and the regular pricing doesn’t have the functionality I initially signed up for. Given these drastic changes, are you offering clients an easy way to migrate elsewhere or “download everything”? Cheers

  252. My SM account renews in December 2012 and I will seriously consider moving on if for $250, and all the time it has taken to improve my site w/o phone support, I do not have the option to remove ” Photo Website Hosting by SmugMug Pro … Portions © 2012 SmugMug, Inc. ” from my footer.

    Yes, there are more affordable options but I will dearly miss the excellent Bay Photo lab and the more affordable EZ Prints for print orders. As a destination photographer with no f2f available after the shoot, my clients receive digital files (built into session pricing), so losing the very convenient .zip link option with SmugMug is something to seriously consider given the high cost of DVD fulfillment via courier services. As well, the comments feature, though time consuming, has been a big help working with clients re edits; and I like that the Stats show me the most popular client photos and gallery activity; yet not being able to have control over removing SmugMug’s footer branding really bothers me.

    On the plus side, the mobile version is a good work-around the Flash slideshow on my homepage, given that 30% of my potential clients come from mobile and iPad users. It really is time for SM to produce a solid HTML5 homepage slideshow from the Customization menu and ditch the Flash. Having to go offsite to the forums and search for alternatives is time I don’t have and Java solutions are not the answer.

    Several clean CSS-based ready-made site designs that again don’t require hours on the forums (am I the only idiot to cut and paste customization info from 2006?) would be a welcome addition and push me to stay. Please consider reversing the post order from newest to oldest! It has taken me weeks of reading and trial by error and I still don’t have the look I want.

    I have fantastic phone support from my hosting company and other web providers and think it’s time SM introduced this given the steep cost increase.

    It’s a tough decision.

    SmugMug has been a valuable partner through the years and leaving will be a difficult decision, yet ultimately it comes down to overall value. The lack of a HTML5 slideshow option from the customization menu is woefully behind basic web design features, even given the many benefits I love about being a SmugMug client.

    But in the end, for me, it’s the branding issue. Give working pros like me the option to remove the SmugMug branding in my footer. For $250, it’s the least you can do to woo your up-to-now-loyal pro customers to stay.

  253. I don’t think anybody from SM is reading here anymore…… they’ll all be sick of the criticism displayed, I am sure😉

    To tell the truth, I am appalled too. About the price of $200 in this most struggling time in my 60 years old life, yes. But that goes for most of us, except the rich folks.
    But in all honesty, I can probably save a $100 from something else and continue my Pro account.

    No, what I am NOT happy about is the WAY this is presented and done. With almost 10 years of usage I now feel held hostage by Baldy and his crew. If I decide to pull my account, I will lose all those links in my 10’s of thousands of forum posts and webpages, making them useless!

    It also means destroying thousands of hours of preparing photos and posting them in the hundreds of galleries, destroying the time I spent on figuring out how to customize my (smugmug) website……

    Most of all it (further) destroys my faith in mankind and ‘honest’ people. I seem to remember numerous e-mails from the same man assuring me that for EXISTING PRO’s the price would NEVER go up (whether or not I really believed that is beyond this discussion).

    Yes, I just checked, and I just paid. So I have till August 2013 to reconsider. And yes, I have ALL those photos on my own hard disks and backups of course. And true, I never ever SOLD a picture through Smugmug so I don’t really need those extra features. (But even ‘downgrading’ would now be an increase in cost!).

    Let’s face it folks. These are troubled times for most of us, to put it mildly, and ANY increase in cost is usually offset by a decrease in income…. DOUBLE problem. So now I am FORCED to try and start to actually SELL something in order to be able to afford, no, to JUSTIFY the cost of Smugmug….. or else !

    Are these REAL problems? The expenditure, yes. The ‘income’ or ‘pro’ thing, not so much. However what I DO find a REAL problem is being lied to, for lack of a better word. The ‘proper’ thing to do would have been to raise the fees for new customers and for those who REALLY consume all that storage, and not the few Gb’s that most of us have here.

    I guess us Europeans never had too much trust in ‘Muricans’, the good ones exempted, and things like these really hurt ‘your’ case😉

    Thanks for the poster who mentioned the Zenfolio thing. Seems like a good alternative for those really wanting to sell some photos.

    A disgruntled long-time customer (WITH an ADVRIDER account as well) ,


    1. ” I seem to remember numerous e-mails from the same man assuring me that for EXISTING PRO’s the price would NEVER go up”.

      Yes. That is one BIG reason I joined and stay(ed).

      Shame it turns out now to not be true.

  254. Hmm this stings … If I use the business features you are already getting a sizeable cut of every sale, if it were a flat fee and not a % of sales this might be ok, but this is to much.. I’m afraid ill have to take my business elsewhere

  255. I originally started using the pro plan in order to support you guys. You should have considered those of us who do set prices, but are very low volume. I’ll be joining the list of those looking for another site.

  256. Wow.

    I remember signing up for Smug Mug two years ago after seeing the following promise on the front page of your web site, which is still being touted on your site under the “Safety” tab:

    “No Unwanted Surprises!”

    I don’t like surprises, so that sold me. I needed a reliable service that I could depend on with my photographic data.

    Now, I just got the e-mail about the $100+/year increase. This really upsets me. I signed up for a service a couple years ago, promising unlimited storage and the ability to sell prints at a specific annual rate. Over two years, I’ve been archiving all of my work on this site–including family photos. I have invested a lot of time and money integrating Smug Mug with my professional web site, and integrating it with my workflow. I could potentially swing the extra money, but what worries me is that if you would do this one time, you’ll do it again. Meaning that next year, the prices may jump drastically again. Or you may make some other crazy decision or change to the service that impacts my business.

    I don’t know what you call doubling your rates, but I call that one heck of a surprise!

    Let’s say that I do stick around and pay the extra $100+/year. I spend the next couple years archiving all of my work, hundreds of thousands of photos, and months of total uploading time. Then all of a sudden, I get another e-mail that says:

    “Dear customer, we appreciate your business, and we know that we promised you with unlimited storage, but your account is using excessive disk space. Therefore, we will need to begin billing you $0.20/month for every GB of storage you’re using, effective immediately. You currently have 500GB stored with us, so your bill each month will begin at around $100 and increase with your storage. We know this is a drastic increase, but since we lost half of our customers back in 2012 when we doubled our rates, we have no option but to go this route in order to stay in business. We’re sorry that our poor business decisions have created so many headaches for your business over the years. Please understand that we had to use bait and switch marketing tactics in order to become the huge success we are today. We’re excited to announce, though, that by 2015, our team of super engineers will have developed a new feature called ‘Folders’ which will allow you to finally be able to organize your photos in a useful way!”

    AT&T kept their word by grandfathering existing customers into keeping unlimited monthly data usage. It leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth, and breaks all trust and faith that I had in Smug Mug, with your decision to go this route, and your willingness to break all promises with all of your existing clients. Yes, you’re continuing to offer unlimited storage, but you’re doubling the rates to do so.

    With that being said, I will be looking for an alternative solution with more features and better business practices. This is a terrible business decision, and I won’t be trusting my hard work in your hands much longer. If you have 40 engineers developing for Smug Mug, then why don’t you have a better way of organizing photos than just a category and sub-category? Do you realize what a headache this is for anyone that actually uses the service?!

    If Amazon doubled their hosting rates on you, without warning, would you stay with them? Would you trust them? Should you expect us to do the same?

    The last I checked, Amazon S3 (the service you use to store our images) hosting rates per GB have dropped drastically over the last few years, and even more so recently with Google introducing competitive cloud storage services.

    I have no idea how many users you have, but in 2008 it was mentioned in an article that you had over 450,000 paying customers. I’m sure that number is much higher today. Your video above indicates you have over 7,000,000 GB of storage hosted on Amazon. If you divide that up among 450,000 paying customers, it comes to an average storage requirement of 16GB per paying customer. Amazon S3 storage rates for your tier are $0.055/GB/month. Therefore, one could estimate that Smug Mug’s storage fees at Amazon are around $0.88 per customer per month.

    I’d rather pay for a service that truly has “no surprises” and has a pricing plan based on actual storage and bandwidth consumed. No business owner in a struggling economy deserves to have their rates doubled with little to no warning. What will you do next? Will I wake up tomorrow to some other major change that impacts my business negatively?

    With all of that being said, $35/month is still a good deal for someone who needs to store a lot of data on reliable servers. However, what are you going to do Smug Mug when all of us have over 500GB of data stored? You will have no option but to raise rates yet again. And how much will it be then? Will it be in 3 months, a year? Will it be exceed and my budget and cause me to lose all of my hard work and precious data?

    It would be nice if I could pay a single flat fee to Smug Mug for the web interface, shopping cart, and support, and then pay actual Amazon S3 fees based on my usage. Right now, those of us paying for the pro-level accounts are being forced to pay higher than average prices for storage, just so the basic account holders can enjoy economy of scale and pay much lower prices for their unlimited storage.

    I think all of us will be expecting to see MANY major improvements to the features here at Smug Mug during the remaining time on our subscriptions. If the site remains as stagnant as it has for the past couple years, there may be a lot of people jumping ship…

    1. Well said! Smugmug is keeping us hostage!!! And I thought they were the “good guys”. They’ve gotten too BIG and now GREEDY!!!

  257. Time to rethink, guys. This level of increase for services I’ve already got is just crazy. As a hobbyist, my goal is to sell enough prints to cover my annual hosting costs with you. Now that just got a lot bigger.

    I understand that I can use the Portfolio option, but then I can’t set prices, so no real chance to recover the costs.

    And, my account renews in November, so I’ll have to make the move to a new host soon to avoid this enormous percentage increase.


  258. Oh boy. This is awful. I’m a little pro photographer, and I make extra money for my family with my small buisness. I do not have the resources to make the jump to this price increase…we are struggling enough right now, and while the increase might not seem like a lot upfront to pay (or per month), it is to me. It’s so sad that there wasn’t another way to keep your old customers at thier rate, or just a smaller increase. Or even cut the unlimited storage if that truly is a problem. This is truly going to make things really difficult to me.

  259. I have enjoyed using SmugMug…however being 65 and on a fixed income, $100 more is too much. I don’t renew until March so I have a few more months to decide whether to go to the Portfolio or jump ship.

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  261. meghanjustice :
    Thank you for letting me know. I liked having the option of selling images to clients, and coupons and different neat things like that, but like I said I hardly every used it. I think I’ve had maybe 5 sales in the past 2 years. Maybe one day I will upgrade to the business account, but in January when I renew I will just get the portfolio account.

    I am in the same boat. I like having the ability to store and download. However, my business is growing slowly because this is not my full-time job, and I barely generate enough sales through my web site to cover the yearly cost as it is. Most of my orders have been my own, and it costs less to order directly from WHCC or Bay–both prints and shipping costs–and I get my prints much faster directly from them. I do have a lot of images stored, but some of those could be cleaned out, and I don’t use a lot of the other special features, nor upload space-consuming videos.

    I have enjoyed using SmugMug and have recommended you to many people. I hope that you will rethink this pricing structure and can come up with some sort of “in between” deal between now and my renewal date next summer. I definitely will be dropping down at least to the portfolio level as it now stands.

      1. Thanks for the tip, Pete. I’ll check that out, too. I already have a Flickr account which I can use to up/download my images, and that’s $25 a year. I will have to see whether there is a file limit on that. I cannot sell from there, but I have had sales generated from people seeing my work there.

    1. As have I. As I posted earlier this morning I intended to start a second SM site which I anticipated would be my main business one. I was going to keep my exisiting site as it was even though it generates no income. Now with the price changes I have set up a Zenfolio site and will be moving my original SM site when the price rise kicks in.

  262. Just seems to be taking the lazy way out by just flat out bumping the prices up 100 bucks, I might suggest while investing in all the engineering, you find one that will be able to figure out price break downs and possibly offer your users a per service fee. I had hopes of at one point in selling photos and that was the only reason I went with smugmug. In the years Ive been with y’all I hadn’t sold one photo.. (totally lack of marketing on my side) so I got to a point where I wasn’t loading many more photos to a point where even 150/year was getting hard to justify but I was willing to pay for because I liked the way smugmug showed my photos along with the “option” of selling something if I ever wanted to take it more seriously.

    I really have no need for loading video.. totally a service I wouldn’t pay for as an example but still a space hog (which is one of your excuses for raising prices), along with a few other misc. little options you have to offer.

    anyways, w/o getting too much more into the mutual disappointment I share with others.. times change, its has been the practices of many inet companies for years.. bait em, then hook em.. and after they got you to a point of dependency.. hit em with higher prices. Usually they would go from a free service to a paid.

    but In all the years.. I have never seen such arrogance that a company hit their customers with this type of rise in price… and of course… “its only business” right…

    if you really cared or had in interest in your customer base, you would have and very well could have brought up discussion about something like this in a forum and discussed other alternatives that had been presented here on this forum AFTER THE FACT…

    You can add me as another disappointed customer after being with you for about 3 or 4 years now.. Im not necessarily dissappointed in the price increase.. I cant say I didn’t see that one coming.. Im more disappointed in the laziness of not thinking of better solutions

  263. Wow that is a jump! I would drop back to Protfoilio except for need the set your own pricing feature for two or three events I do a year, and trust me they don’t cover the cost of SM for a year. It would be better if there was a middle tier of pricing based on storage use/past history of use (my camera hasn’t increased in megapixles since I got it 6 years ago, just saying). I seriously need to consider looking elsewhere, this is getting a little pricy for me.

  264. 100$ more for EVERYBODY?
    No matter whether 1000K wants to cover pictures professional photographer or 100 pictures Hobbyist him his costs…

    I had considered very long whether I go to SmugMug. Because the 150$ were already not little…
    … I would like to increase sometime my equipment, work without a loss and MAYBE more – however, this has still moved farther.

    Without points which disturb me in SmugMug…

    SmugMug has a lot of good draughts / functions, but this is too much on the negative side. My account still runs till May, there I have to look around a little bit otherwise, a pity….

    1. Hi BOP, the price change only applies to SmugMug Pro-level accounts. The price for Basic and Power accounts remains unchanged, and if you stick with Portfolio, the price is the same $150/year that we’ve offered for years.

  265. I have to PAY Shutterfly to do my notecards because SmugMug WON’T offer them!!!!! (EZPrints has the 3.5×5 notecards. How hard is that to add?? DOUBLE my price hard??)


    1. WHCC does note cards, and I am Bay does as well. You do have to order in packs of 25, but they end up costing just over $1 each (for 4×5 cards, more for larger) because the shipping is free or minimal. If you are going to order from a company and re-sell cards yourself, then that might be a better deal for you than Shutterfly.

  266. Perhaps SmugMug can afford to lose half their customer bases after the price increase. However, in the long run, I think they will see fewer people subscribing post increase. There is too much competition out there.

    I’ve personally been gradually dissatisfied with changes they have made since being a member – especially the new pricing tool. (I still haven’t switched over.) And, the problem with many on-line service changes is that they sneak up on the users. (This is because we have other tools and services we use and don’t have time to constantly check to see what changes are coming down the pike. In addition, ‘features’ seemed to get added before bugs get fixed. What a frustration.) When I’ve complained I got, “Users have requested this feature.” Well, I’m a user TOO! Such changes have made using SmugMug an unpleasant experience.

    The majority of my clients only use my SmugMug site to view the images, and then they phone me and say, “I can’t figure out how to (fill-in-the-blank). Can I just tell you what I want?” Thus, the majority of my print orders do not come via SmugMug, per se, but via an e-mail or phone call from the client after viewing them on SmugMug. Such clients would be just as happy seeing a Lightroom generated album on-line.

    Here is a list of options I will be researching before my renewal comes due. I’m posting this to let SmugMug know that I’m serious about going elsewhere. When you amortize the cost, the rate increase is not a lot, but all the little increases add up, and in a highly competitive market place, every dollar counts.

    Here’s a list (and I’m sure there are other services out there). For those casual users who don’t sell a lot on-line, the commission-only based services might be a great alternative. I’d like to hear from other pros who have used other services and what they liked and disliked.

    D.I.Y. – no additional cost above my current website hosting costs
    PhotoReflect – $9/mo
    Zenfolio – $120-250/yr
    Shootproof – $100-600/yr
    Photostore – $199-299/yr
    Printroom – $99-$199/yr
    Photoshelter – $29.99-$49.99/mo.
    Eventpix – pay-per-event or $69.95-89.95/mo.
    PhotostockPlus – $24.95/mo-$499/yr
    MPO – $29.95/mo
    Picproofs – flat-fee per event $10-$25 (no commission on sales) – $19/mo – $149/yr
    Nextproof – $9/mo – $99/mo
    MorePhotos – $49/mo (includes website & portfolio too)
    PicsCliq – free (commission-only based)
    dotphoto – free (commission-only based)
    MomentShare – free (commission-only based)

      1. Pete, I don’t like the price increase, but you’re being juvenile. Sure, have a whinge, let SM know what you think, but a Lawsuit brought about because they put their price up? You’re coming across like a spoilt brat. (I don’t care what reasons you say the ‘lawsuit’ is for BTW, it SOUNDS like it’s because they put the price up)

      2. Lawsuit for what? They can raise their prices, in fact, when companies do stuff like this it is good for the consumer base. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Zenfolio or doesn’t jump on this as a chance to pick up more customers. Nah. I don’t want to sue them, and I hope this doesn’t put them out of business. However, I think their decision, of not reversed, might just do the latter.

      3. Yes, I think the SmugMug folks need some time to read through and digest some of this feedback before the option for legal action. A lot of good ideas have been presented in this discussion. I’d rather wait to see whether they have our ear. I think the best way to show support–or lack of support–for a company is by choosing to buy or not buy their product.

      1. Carolyn :
        Ahhh I should have read closer, you did say if our anniversary date is AFTER October 14 renewals would be at the new price. Well, that gives me almost a year to see if that much of an increase is worth it. I agree with Cynthia, I know prices go up, but I am afraid THAT much of a jump is going to make some of US jump!

  267. Took the night to evaluate my original post and I’ve come to this…
    Who the hell do you think you are? When I joined SM I didn’t join because of you, I joined for them, the thousand people posting here. SM strength has been its community, your customers. They’re your marketing department, they’re your first line in support and this is how you repay them? I can understand the need to cover costs of storage, this isn’t about that, if it was you wouldn’t jump the price this much. This is about SM wanting to expand and not take out loans or take on investors, again who the hell do you think you are? I’m putting together business plans to take on loans to get the gear I need, what makes you so damn special? I know the answer to that, its us. This move will cost you existing customers but more likely turn away new customers but it will break your strength and there is no repairing what you’ve broken.
    Thanks to your community I know now what options I have and I will be leaving and not parting on such sweat sorrows but flipping you off as I hit the door.

    Who the hell do you think you are?

  268. This is disappointing, I understand a modest increase on a yearly basis, but one of the attractions for me to Smugmug was your pricing as well quality of product. I’m an amateur photographer looking for a place to park (and be noticed) my images in the hopes that someone would enjoy my photos and maybe make a purchase. I’ve made a total profit in over two years of $6.11, which brings me to my next point. You have the capability of distinguishing your higher volume users from those just trying to make a start. I would suggest a plateaued approach to your pricing structure as to not diminish or detour those just trying to make a go.

    This past renewal, I gave it a second thought, due to the cost and the slow progress I’ve made in this field. And with this price increase it will be harder for me to justify retaining your service. But maybe I’m not the client type your looking for!

  269. Hmmm, bad news. I am about still one month to renew and even if it is before 15th october I will close my account here. The worse thing I do not know where to migrate? Zenfolio, Photoshelter? I tried both and smugmug liked the most in the ratio with servis to price. But now?

  270. Alright… I’ll bite to all the whining. You can go to my site. I use this site as archiving & I’m heavy on the pictures. 21MP full image. Is every image worth saving? No, still I have them here & the service SmugMug has been able to provide over the years is stellar! I’m going on my second year and even with my renewal point being next summer I’m staying. Other competitors on the web are much cheaper but I didn’t want to install software to manage the photos. Smugmug offered the “cloud” plus ways to put photos in people’s hands. I liked that… I liked every bit of it. If they raised to the price $1000 dollars I’d find a way to pay it. We all have to live… have passions, dreams, & goals. Sometimes it takes few extra shinny pennies to do so.

    As for James above, they think they are the “Best In the World”. As for the naysayers, call me arrogant if you wish but don’t wait your money on suing a good company that’s done really great work of providing an excellent website. Agree to disagree.

  271. I’m not a professional photographer, but I do sell some photos. I love that I can fully customize my site. I also like it that I can have price lists and make some (small number of) sales to justify being able to pay for professional photo hosting. Your justification for an increase does not fit with what I do AT ALL, and I’m sure there are many others out there with a similar profile to me, it certainly sounds like it from these posts.

    Some stats:
    I’ve been with SM for 3 years.
    I’ve made $600USD total in profit to date from sales
    I currently use 16GB storage on SM

    So my sales barely cover my SM hosting costs as it is. I currently make about $50 per year by the time you take out the SM hosting costs (not counting any other costs). Enough to justify having a SM Pro account.

    Given your changes, I appear to have no reasonable option of continuing, this is what I can see:
    a) Keep selling photos on SM and lose $50 per year ($200 – 250)
    b) ‘downgrade’ so I can no longer sell and lose $150 per year
    c) Move to another host
    d) ???

    Any suggestions as to which I pick? I’m afraid you’ve made the ‘Portfolio’ option barely better than Power. If I can’t sell photos at a profit, then the ONLY difference between Portfolio and Power is watermarking. Being able to print them is of no use at all, I can do that anywhere. This makes Power/Portfolio have only a very small feature diff for a very big price diff.

    What I’d suggest is a ‘hobbyist’ (/student/?) account, where you have the following limitations:
    – No unlimited storage (given this is what your main problem/cost is), I’d suggest around 100GB, but base it on what your costs are.
    – Have a limit of sales (profit) per year before you have to upgrade to ‘business’, I suggest around $1000 per year profit minimum.
    – Everything else remains the same as the ‘business’ account (full customization etc).

    This way all the people that seem to be having MAJOR issues with this huge price increase (those that don’t make a lot of sales and don’t use a sh$tload of storage) would have an option to continue with SM instead of looking elsewhere. I also think it is better than your new ‘Portfolio’ option for us AND you, as you still make money off sales as well and get to keep a lot more of your customers.

    I’d continue paying the $150 for this type of account, but to be honest I think you currently make a LOT more than that off me and people like me, and if you made this cheaper you’d actually build more business, and have a better path for people to start small and increase to a business account than the ‘Portfolio’ option.

    The problem you’ve created is that you’ve identified an issue (storage costs), but instead of solving that issue by dealing with changing that directly, you’ve tried to find something else related to it (I’m guessing because you want to be able to keep saying ‘unlimited photos’ for all account types). From all this feedback it is obviously not related closely enough, and you’re going to lose a large number of profitable customers. All because you want to be able to say ‘unlimited photos’.

    I can see how you justify this from a pure numbers point of view though, say you lose 20% of customers, but of the 80% that remain their extra subscription fees easily covers the lost 20%. The lost 20% are also the ones with the least sales, so not as much commission loss either. So it might make sense from a numbers/profit point of view, but it’s a really bad move when there are ways to keep them all, increase the costs of the ones using all the storage anyway, and keep everyone (comparatively) happy. Making so many people this annoyed and looking at other options can only be bad for business in the long run. Add an option that keeps all the people complaining (hobbyists) happy and you’ll do a LOT better out of this.

  272. Curious if Smugmug will raise there “cut” (at approx 15%) with every photo you sell off their site? I think the current hosting is fair and the cut is fair. However, by increasing the 1 year to host is not a smart business plan. Reminds me of the Netflix debacle, look how well that turned out. Unfortunately for me, I’ll be closing my account once I migrate to a new site.

  273. Well – if SM were looking for responses they are certainly getting them in spades…….

    Here is how I see it.

    Most pro/semi pro photographers who are turning over a moderate income PA will be owning/renting photo gear to the total value of probably $2k-$4k+++ (easily).

    In addition, you will have probably gone through the process of some site development (to the tune of $100-$500 depending on scope).

    Also, you probably have ongoing costs of other promotional items (nice cards, a few freebie jobs to get your name known). Not to mention a PC/Laptop and SW (Photoshop/Lightroom etc)….

    My point is – all up – it takes some serious dollars & time to be in this business, and produce photos that sell. That is before you factor in the cost of your hosting solution…..and here is my point: even at $250 – $300 per year, it is a relatively small fraction of the expenses you incur as part of the running costs….

    No one likes a price increase – but I am prepared to pay as long as the service that I depend on to be the online engine room of my business continues to run well, is supported well and continues to evolve no matter how the overall SM business scales.

    My own (and my customer’s) experience with the SmugMug customer service has been consistently fantastic (I am in Australia) – super responsive, helpful, and the service itself has been very reliable for me (managing my site) and my customers. Like a few other comments I would love an Australian photo lab to be hooked up – but to date it has not been a serious hinderance.

    Tough decision – but appreciate the effort to communicate.

  274. First of all, many current features SUCK! (eg the limited layouts and how you can only have as pages for your website) The Price increase is way too much! 100% I just dont think i can afford it! once the current terms expires I will be switching to someone else. I know that zenfolio has $150ish and $250 package too buuuut just because they have that does mean you one up them! Seriously think of your current costumer! You know that if you want to justifiy the price increase you need to show the improvements now not later. Tell us what what we gaining not what we are losing PLEASE. Sell it to me. Show us the new Stuff… If any….. Beacause I’m tellin you that your current product is not worth the extra money for many people.

  275. SmugMug/Baldy —

    When you came up with your new pricing scheme, I hope you factored in the countless people who will drop your services as a result of the price increase. And you can add me to that list. (Come to think of it, perhaps the price increase is that large in order to compensate for the lost accounts!) I don’t know of one photographer in my circles that is NOT planning to drop you like a blind date with a cold sore.

    That’s unfortunate. I spent a great deal of time developing my platform, and have been quite happy with both the service and support to date. Once I got things to where I wanted them, it was ‘set it and forget it.’ Now I’ll have to migrate to another service, costing me even more time, money, and headache. Thanks a bunch. You’re affecting MY business, now.

    You still have time to save this disaster, you know. I’m sure that most of us would accept a more reasonable price increase as the cost of doing business.

    I would suggest two actions:

    1) Pull back the price increase to a more reasonable level for existing customers, and

    2) Offer partial refunds for cancelled accounts to help ease the pain of your users.

    Sheesh, dudes… I can’t believe you just handed this much business right over to Zenfolio and other providers. Was that a smart move for you? Really?

    1. Hi Rob.

      I couldn’t help but comment on your post.

      Any Pro should be able to afford an extra $100 per year for such a great service. If you have spent a great deal of time developing your current website with SmugMug, it only seems crazy to leave over a mere $100. As a photographer, your website is critical to your ongoing business, so to dump SmugMug because you think that less than $1 per day is a rip off, sounds like a downward spiral for a business model.

      Anyone that is jumping up an down over this needs to ask themselves a few key questions.

      1. How much do you charge per hour?
      2. How many hours of your time will be wasted switching?
      3. Do you honestly think anyone else can supply better value for money?

      Think of the value for money you are getting!

      Of course, nobody ever wants to pay more for a service. I would much prefer it if SmuMug never raised their pricing., but I honestly believe they are constantly striving to provide us all with the very best service they can, and these improvements don’t come free.

      Let’s support SmugMug, stop wasting precious time complaining about something we can’t change, and just get on with taking awesome photos.

      1. Mark —

        Thanks for your input on my note.

        “Pros” work at different levels of business. For high volume pros, the new pricing could be easily absorbed and will seem like a minor speed bump. Not so for others. YMMV.

        Then there’s the principle of this move. It’s a HUGE increase announced on a Friday night before a (U.S.) holiday weekend, dumped on a base of loyal, mostly happy users and evangelists. It does not breed good faith.

        And “complaining” can be fruitful sometimes. If enough people voice their displeasure, and IF SmugMug hears and considers it, this situation CAN change. It’s not too late for SM to repair the damage done. I’m sure many users are loyal enough to forgive them if they rollback the change to a more reasonable level — I know I would. I don’t feel that anything is ever set in stone… these are good people, after all, and we can work together to come up with a more reasonable solution to the issue.

        It’s worth MY time to be here voicing my opinion, and to switch platforms if I can’t abide by the changes. It’s my choice to do so. If you have better things to do with your time, then that’s your choice as well. (Not to sound snotty with that, but all of this situation is based on choices made by people, and is not set in stone.)

      2. Hi Mark,

        I couldn’t help but comment on your post.

        I mainly shoot fashion. I don’t do any events because I shoot on the side, and I hate event photography and the demands that go with it. I make enough money with fashion work that I could cover the price increase, but why would I? The only reason I sell prints is for friends, family and the occasional travel shots that people run across. Those sales cover my smugmug fees, so it’s a win-win. I mean I make more in Getty royalties than I do with SmugMug per year. If I can’t make a profit with SmugMug (set my own prices), what am I paying them for? It’s now costing me $150 a year to offer those print sales with no hope of recouping that cost.

        I don’t need smugmug hosting to sell my fashion work. I can do that with a $100 HTML5 side-scroll template and 30-40 photos on a random host. Agencies could care less who my host is, and if they can buy my prints through WHCC, they want to see a portfolio and that’s it.

        So yes, many, many companies can supply a better value for me. There are a lot of pros out there like me who don’t do churn-and-burn studio portraits or event work who will leave because of this.

        SmugMug has made it clear that they only care about users who use their service as a retail front. $150 for portfolio is a joke, it’s not even closely competitive with their customers, and they know it. It’s their way of saying, we don’t want you as customer anymore, but if you want us, you’re going to pay out the ear for it.

        No thank you, SM. There are a great deal of Pros out there who don’t do “volume” photography but still want to sell a few prints to cover their hosting cost. You’ve just given that entire user base a reason to leave, and I can take a hint.

      3. Yes that is it Mark let put our head in the sand and smile while smug mug raises the price great idea (rolls eyes). First off you are already paying a 150 and smugmug gets a cut off the action on all photos sold already.

        Most people while unhappy would be accepting of small increase over time but i want you to start charging 60% more to your clients then last year and see how quickly they are like mark who?

        who to say next year they will not raise the rates again?

  276. I have a personal account as well as a business account with my company. So you are about to lose 2 paying accounts with this decision. I understand some increase to cover overhead but this is just too much.

    I second the points made by others in that you need to rethink your solutions and offer a top tier account for those that are uploading a ton of images and just place a limit on the monthly uploads ( within reason ) on the existing account levels. You have to give your customers a reason, a want to stay. Charging double for the same thing they are already getting for the most part, bad idea. Keeping it the same but limiting certain things like uploads then offering a way for them to make the choice of upgrading to a higher tier account gives back control to the client. It makes your customers feel like they have a choice to upgrade or deal with the limitations that are being set. Right now, the only choice you are giving your loyal customers are do I stay or do I go. Not a wise business decision.

    If you don’t change your mind on this decision, you will be hiring developers to just sit in a room for nothing. Listen to your customer, your loyal customers, step back, regroup, admit this is wrong and come up with a better plan. Otherwise, the money you make off this increase from the few people that stay, won’t make up for the money lost from the people that leave. Not to mention the bad press, word of mouth that will be spread out of disappointment and frustration. Is this really worth it?

  277. I just signed up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud at $29.99 / month. It’s amazing to think that I can run the entire Creative Suite Master Collection on two computers for only a few pennies more each month than SmugMug—and when I do cost / benefit analysis on each… I just don’t think I can justify a SmugMug subscription anymore.

    I understand if you’re business model is unsustainable. But a 100% price increase just says to me that the folks who make financial decisions weren’t thinking long-range. Maybe instead of hiring 36 more programmers you could have hired two or three quality accountants and financial analysts: they would have told you to phase in your price increase over five years. Which photographer here could stay in business if they doubled their prices all at once?

    I hate to cancel my subscription, because I like SmugMug… but it was tough to justify at $150, and impossible to justify at $250 or $300.

  278. Everyone, including SmugMug… Let’s think with our business hats here. If SmugMug doubles their price, they can afford to lose 1/2 their clients and still have the same revenue. In fact, that’s even better because they have 1/2 the clients to support. (good for SmugMug)

    However, the ripple effect will most likely result in more than 1/2 the customers leaving, and it will decrease the number of new customers (perhaps by more than 1/2). (perhaps bad for SmugMug)

    From a SmugMug user/customer perspective this puts us in a position to go look elsewhere. Perhaps we’ll find something we like better and at a better cost. (good for us, bad for SmugMug).

    From a SmugMug competitor perspective, competitors always like it when their competition raises the price. (good for the competition, bad for SmugMug).

    From a consumer (our photography clients) perspective when suppliers/B2B services raise their prices, the cost increase must be passed to the consumer ultimately. Consumers hate price increases. In fact, in today’s global economy this had resulted in a flood of Made-in-China products that can be purchased on eBay for cheaper than U.S. postage to ship the dang stuff. If we raise our prices our customers, just like SmugMug’s customers, might go elsewhere. So, we in turn look for a better priced alternative. (Which we should always be doing anyway.) In the long run, the consumer rules. (good for the consumer, bad for price-raisers like SmugMug)

    I think SmugMug will end up regretting this decision. Of course, only time will tell. But, I’m quite sure there is some entrepreneur rubbing his hands together and snickering, “Now’s the time to steal away those SmugMug’s customers.” I know I would.

    1. It was more of an evil cackle than a snicker, but yeah. I’m thinking about it, and I’m sure others are, too. Smugmug has a huge base of serious enthusiast users who don’t use a lot of storage, love having the nerdy do-it-yourself customization features instead of a small collection of ugly presets that only allow colors to be changed (e.g., zenfolio), and are just all-around good people and loyal customers. There’s nothing I’d love more than to give them a new home where they can be the focus, instead of the guys who post 50 blurry shots of the same pimply-faced soccer kid and expect to store them all indefinitely for free.

      So, several other smugmug customers and I who are software developers and entrepreneurs are talking about it. It’s easy to go from zero to production with modern PaaS options. It would take a lot of months for the user base to ramp up; it’s a huge hassle to move from existing providers, though SmugMug’s handy API would make it possible to build something that does the move FOR users. And of course, SmugMug may come to their senses, reverse this decision, and go back to the drawing board to come up with a new tiered pricing model that actually makes sense. For now, we’re waiting to see what they do, and what the existing competitors do.

  279. db walton :
    Lawsuit for what? They can raise their prices, in fact, when companies do stuff like this it is good for the consumer base. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Zenfolio or doesn’t jump on this as a chance to pick up more customers. Nah. I don’t want to sue them, and I hope this doesn’t put them out of business. However, I think their decision, of not reversed, might just do the latter.

    Your seriously think the 338 e-mails supporting this action, and I’m going to give the basis away? Are you just …go look after your own investments, At least I’m looking after everybody else as best I can.

  280. I’ll stick with the $150 Portfolio plan… Removed all image sales options from my site… Customers can now contact me directly for any online purchases or requests…

    I understand the costs of running and upgrading tech but… I think you are going to lose a lot of valued members… Subscriptions to the Pro plans just aren’t going to be as popular anymore…

    Price increases are a dangerous road to go down for any site hosting company… Good luck!

  281. Sure, no one wants to pay more. But in reality, my SmugMug account easily pays for itself over the year, and will still pay for itself at the new rate. No worries, guys. Keep on doing what you do!

  282. SmugMug rocks! To anyone complaining about the price going up in one big hit, listen to the video. SmugMug have tried their hardest to keep it at a low fee for years. If it went up incremetally, you would have paid more for this service over the years.

    For a pro level website with eCommerce attached, this is still great value. I for one am looking forward to seeing further enhancements, and hopefully an Australian Lab (hint, hint:) so I can utilise the Pro features.

    Keep Rockin’ SmugMug and bring on that Australian Pro Lab🙂

    1. Wow really mark just because smug mug says it prices went up (how about some facts and figures)…company must love people like u just take what ever bs and take it as true.

      Increase is one thing but a increase of over 60% in one year for exactly the same thing is another.

      try charging your customers 60%-100% more then last year and see how that works out for u

    2. You allege that “SmugMug have tried their hardest to keep it at a low fee for years. If it went up incremetally, you would have paid more for this service over the years.”

      Really? ‘Cause by my reckoning, an inflation-adjusting increase of a couple of percentage points over the last seven years would have been a TOTAL increase of roughly 15%, not 100%. And if Smugmug had raised its price by FIVE percentage points over each of the last seven years (which seems high and just a touch, you know, nomnomnom), the total increase would have been about 40%, not 100%.

      The math you swallow hook line and sinker amounts to disingenuous spin by a company that prided itself on friendliness and forthrightness and on being (dare I say it) honorable. Guess that was yesterday. Today we wake up to a different reality.

  283. Sad for sure. Zenfollio charges $120 for what SM will charge $300 and ZF takes less of the profit. After 7 years with SM I will be moving to ZF.

  284. I understand if you have to raise your price – but DON”T do it in such a big step. A hundred bucks in one leap???”?
    It would be much easier to take if it was a smaller increase. You know – like the supermarkets and gas stations do! I don’t think this is the best way to do this.

  285. I’ve had a chance to sleep on it, now, and unfortunately, I’m still considering a move. It’s not so much the price increase — if I had not been experiencing frustrations with the site for the past year or so (site being down, pricelists doing wonky things, customers complaining about navigation, and a couple of other things), it wouldn’t be a question. Only two reasons kept me here for the past year — I’m not crazy about mPIx or zenfolio and I dreaded the thought of moving all of my galleries/pictures.

    However, my online sales volume simply doesn’t justify paying that much. I sell enough that I need to be able to adjust my prices and make it available, so the portfolio (or less) won’t work for me, but not enough to justify paying more (I’m in the black, now, but with the increase, if things continue on my end the way they have, I will be losing money at SM).

    So, since several of my pro friends are raving about other sites, and have been encouraging me to “jump over,” I may very well start investigating what all is going to be involved in moving. My renewal isn’t until May, so I’ve got some wiggle room to make the decision. If I don’t see anything change in the next few months, I will not pay more for a frustrating experience.

    I understand costs go up (for whatever reason), but I do agree with others that perhaps something else could have been done to separate the low volume from the higher volume professionals?

    It’s your business and business model, and I sincerely hope it works out for you.

  286. Even if I drop down to the portfolio-only price when my subscription is up, one feature I still will have that really irritates me is the way watermarking works. I recently wanted to change the position and strength of my watermark. This seems to take affect on all the new galleries I create or new images uploaded, but in order to change it on existing ones, the only way I can figure out to accomplish this is to un- and then re-watermark every single gallery. I understand that it is a good thing to be able to individualize galleries, but couldn’t there be an “update watermark” button to do this? If there is, I have missed it in all the bells and whistles updates that I don’t always have time to read. I state this here, because several people have mentioned generically that they are disappointed with some features. I just want to give a specific. I like the idea of being able to sell, but not at another $100 per year. I don’t need/use most of the other bells and whistles. I don’t mind a tiered price level for storage–I need to clean out some files, anyway. If it weren’t for the watermarking aspect, I would drop down to the $60 plan. I need the watermarking because I have discovered people downloading images via search engines.

  287. Baldy, I’m guessing nobody at SmugMug watched what happened to Netflix when they changed their pricing structure in a similar way. I’ll admit that the email showed a little more couth, but a 100% increase is ridiculous. Did you use the set prices “100% increase button” to come up with this? You should have learned from Netflix. -jamey

    1. Hi Ariella, I see that your account is paid monthly so you will continue to pay the old rate until your first renewal AFTER October 15th, 2012. Then you’ll be charged the new rate. You can also new switch your account type and payment plan yourself from your Account Settings, if you wish.

  288. I’ll probably just go back to the Power level. You really don’t lose much compared to the Portfolio level now that there are no upload size distinctions between any of the levels. But I’ll also be looking around, because the trust is now broken. If they’ll throw a 60% price increase at you, what’s next?

  289. I’ve been happy with SmugMug, but the value I get with a Business account at the new pricing level is at best, questionable. I’m not a wedding or event photographer and so I don’t do a great deal of online business (99% of my business is offline). I’ll be looking at other options before my subscription anniversary date.

  290. I would love to see some studio management type software integrated with the top plan. That would rock my socks… and y’all are still cheaper and better than that $99/month option out there! Ha.

  291. Care to highlight what new features are on the horizon with the increased investment in engineering? And when?

  292. Netflix was the first thing I thought of when I saw this. I got ride of them might have to do the same with SM.😦

  293. i only make at most 1000 year (that was my best year) and i use about 10GB of space. I thought $150+ 15% was high, but now $250 + 15% is just way to much. I was rudely told on you-tube by one of your employees that “I don’t need this service” well yes I do becuase I’m not going to sell the photos I do sell at cost. I have a full time job and this is a hobby. the money i make help me buy new camera gear. but now you are taking 40% off the top.

  294. Dear pro account holders that don’t sell a lot of prints,

    If you downgrade your account to the Power level, you’ll lose e-commerce and custom watermarking, but you retain unlimited photos and bandwidth, including videos. And, you actually SAVE $40 to $90 per year over your previous pro pricing!

    Now think about that… Downgrading to the Power user level STILL allows you to upload all of the high megapixel photos you want (eating up “precious” SmugMug storage space), AND it eliminates the possibility that SmugMug might make a few dollars off of your print sales, AND it gives SmugMug $40 – $90 per year less in revenue!

    You’d still be using the same amount of storage and bandwidth, and SmugMug would be getting less money for it than you are already paying!

    Someone please explain to me how that business model jives with the reasons given for SmugMug’s price increases!????

    1. And this doesn’t make any sense either… (From Baldy’s message at the top) “Pros who sell at a markup use far more storage and features than pros who don’t.”

      Uh, isn’t SmugMug taking 15% from those “pros who sell at a markup”? The more photos the pros sell (and the higher they markup their photos), the more money SmugMug makes!

      So, in a nutshell, SmugMug is complaining that the pros who make SmugMug the most in 15% commission are the pros causing this need to increase prices?

      That’s some really whacked out logic!