Smug Tip of the Week: Stop Slapping Your Customers

The idea of people right-clicking on your website can be a bit maddening. The easiest fix is to enable Right-Click Protection in your gallery settings and foil those thieves. They get a pop-up message. You feel safe.

Right-click protection can be a good deterrent and we’ll tell you to use it together with our other image protection features. But here’s another idea that will make both you and your fans happy.

Take Lemons, Make Sales

Rather than slapping the hands of people who clearly love your photos, give them what they want: Prints! Or downloads, or merchandise, whichever you prefer.

How? We highly recommend that you write a personalized, informative message in that pop-up box. You’ll always catch more flies with honey, so don’t use a scary, “Don’t steal from me, EVER!” line… unless you’re absolutely sure that you feel that way.

Here’s how to do it:

Pro users (Portfolio and Business accounts) can open up the Easy Customizer and click on the “Photos” header. In that field below, you can enter a custom message for that pop-up window. By default it says, “These photos are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.”

But we recommend typing up something friendly and informative.

Here are some examples to get your gears turning:

Thanks for visiting this site! All images are available for purchase as print or downloads via the Buy button.

Photos are (c) Sam the Photographer. Look for the buy button to buy a print for yourself.

We love you even more for loving our pics. Click the buy button and choose your favorite format.

Love this? Purchase a 5×7 print and get it delivered to your door.

If you prefer to use your own code, you can always open up your Advanced Customization (located in your Account Settings > Style tab) and enter the following in your Bottom JavaScript box. To customize the message, simply change the text inside the quotes:

rightClickWarning = "All photos are Copyright 2013. Unauthorized use is prohibited.";

Great Idea Part 2: Use Your Gallery Description

We’ve said this before, but we can’t say it enough: The gallery description field is an amazing, untapped resource. We highly suggest that you type in some info about your photos, give them step-by-step instructions on how to add prints to their shopping cart, list any limited-time coupons you’re offering, and make personalized suggestions about which prints and products you recommend the most.

Used together, you’ll put forth friendly, informative and smart suggestions to your fans. The perfect way to use your powers for forces of Good.

Reminder! Business and Portfolio subscribers can set their own pricing and make money on every sale, but only when Pricelist(s) have been set up. Visitors can also buy photos from Power User accounts, but they can only be sold at our base prices. See what you get with each account.

What if I don’t want to sell, period?

Easy-peasy: Open up your Gallery Settings, scroll down to the bottom and toggle the “Printable” option to No. Your Buy button goes poof.

We hope that these tips help your fans love you even more than they already do, and that you’ll be more comfortable sharing your beautiful photos, too.

Links to love:

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I'm a freelance documentary photographer who loves travel, rangefinders, medium format film photography, and everything in-between.

28 thoughts on “Smug Tip of the Week: Stop Slapping Your Customers”

  1. “Visitors can also buy photos from Power User accounts, but they can only be sold at our base prices.”

    What is SmugMugs profit for selling my photos? I am a power user🙂

  2. Hi Frank, as a Power User your visitors buy things from your site at the same price that you would pay if you ordered prints from your own galleries:

    We have contracts with each lab that dictate the pricing you see there, and if you print directly through the labs you may see some variance based on services like color correction and our print guarantee. But we hope this info helps and that no matter what, you and your fans love any photo that you’ve shot.

  3. I set a custom message a long time ago, but have always wondered, is there a way to make multiple messages and have it automatically rotate them? Like, “Did you know you can click on the Share button to share these photos?” and “That picture would look really nice on a t-shirt. Click on the buy button to make it happen.”

    1. Hi Samir, that is a great idea but we haven’t see anyone doing this, at least yet. There are some great JavaScript customizations in the Dgrin forums already so it’s highly possible that someone could code a way to make the RCP message throw one of several messages. If you find a way to do this, be sure to let us know!

  4. I just followed this step by step to customize my right click protection messege and it doesn’t seem to show up…

    1. Hi Brad, one thing to be sure of is that the gallery you’re using to test the new message is set to “Appearance > Custom” (not “SmugMug”) so that it recognizes your customizations. Barring that could you send our Support Heroes your site info so we can take a look?

  5. What if smugmug changes the default to: Hey thanks so much for taking a look at this photo. You can buy any images that you like in print or a download. Look above the photo on the right side and you will see a Buy button. Just click on the “Buy” button it and its all yours!
    Or some other phrase.

  6. All this sounds good, and I will probably try it, but, nothing prevents a screen shot and stealing the shots and posting them with my copyright across them, as witnessed many times on facebook.

  7. Right clicking should be an acceptable action on the web. It should not only present the user with a message, but rather a context menu which mirrors the things I can do from the buy menu section “This Photo”. Context is the direction of the web, and you can REALLY make a great use case for it on a site like smugmug. An example:

    While I thank you for attempting to make things awesomerer than they already are (I’m a pro user and sell somewhat infrequently), I’m disappointed that you didn’t take it to this level. Context menu’s are how Windows 8 apps work, people love right clicking things, not just for stealing images but to create more efficient user interaction. I want my buy menu on the right click of an image.

  8. Thank you for your tip “Stop Slapping Your Customers” your suggestions not only make sense, but to not follow the advise is just dumb. Whether or not it results in more sales is really not material. Being able to protect our images without sounding cold and insensitive is a great feature.

    Thanks again for a great site and a great service at a great value.

    Kirk S. Jockell
    Strictly Sailing Photos

  9. Great advice thanks ref the right click text. How do I stop people taking images by using printsscreen please? Sent someone a gallery link this week and the customer sent me back an e mail with two images embedded within a day. It didn’t matter in this case. If my watermark is too big and bold it distracts from the image. Thanks.

  10. I have made the change as directed, but do not see it working when I test it out😦 What am I missing??

  11. Hi, I’ve set the custom message but it still displays the default one, What did I do wrong?

  12. I’m having the same problem…in Easy Customizer it is showing my new message but when I try it live, the default continues to be used.

    1. Hi John and Liz, as we described above you may have your Gallery Settings configured to ignore your SmugMug customizations, or maybe your gallery is part of a community that overrides your customizations. Please shoot our Support Heroes a message with a link to your website and a link to the problem gallery: Thanks!

  13. I take a lot of pictures of barrel racers as soon as I post them they are popping up all over the internet via Facebook. I haven’t watermarked my images and I hear that they download them with their iPhones or they just take a picture of the image. How can we stop this or what can be done? It’s killing my sales.

  14. I think it’s funny that this post is made just a few months before the new Smugmug is revealed where this is no longer an option. So now we’re back to slapping our clients hands?

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