The Non-Photographer’s Guide to SmugMug

SmugMug was born and bred by photography lovers, but this doesn’t mean that SmugMug can’t be great for everyone. SmugMug is an awesome place for people from all walks of life, and we feel strongly about photography being an essential part of your life — no matter what you do.

So what’s the benefit of a photo website for people who don’t “do” photography? Easy! A beautiful and safe place online to keep everything that’s important to you. Whether you’re a mom, a student, a lawyer, a small business owner or a chef, your photos (and videos) are how you get your message across to other people.

If you or someone you know didn’t think you were pro enough for SmugMug, here’s a list of reasons why we think we’d still be a perfect fit.

Spitfire Coffee in New Orleans, LA

1) You can show off big, beautiful photos.

From XS thumbnails to edge-to-edge huge, SmugMug is based on huge, gorgeous photos that show off every pixel of what you do. Even if you’re not a photographer, big pics have a place: as a background image on your homepage or in a sample gallery that shows off your cooking, your offices, your portfolio of what you do best. No matter what your profession or what you love to do, we’re pretty sure that it’ll look great in pictures.

2) Build completely custom pages for anything you want.

Custom web pages let you create anything you dream up on your new site: price sheets, About Me, directions to your storefront or anything else you want your visitors to know about you. Fun facts? Easy! Lists of your favorite vendors? It’s a snap. Here’s a little tutorial that shows you how to do this via our easy drag-and-drop design, so you can build any page you can imagine.

20×20 Studio‘s beautiful portfolio website

3) Automatically get easy-to-read URLs.

In addition to being able to grab your own custom domain, you can make sure any page on your website has an easy-to-read link. We call them NiceNames:  easy, readable, search-engine-friendly URLs that make it drop dead simple to tell someone where to find your website, even if  you’re not at your computer. Pssst: they look great on business cards!

  • Example:
Martin Sundstrom Design‘s beautifully branded website

4) Tie together every page with your brand.

Whether you’re the head of an internationally-reknowned restaurant or you just love the colors blue and green, your website should reflect your brand. SmugMug gives you dozens of one-click themes to match virtually any mood, and the ability to create your own if you don’t find what you love in the list. And if you’ve already got a logo designed for you, set it across all of your galleries and pages so your visitors know that you’ve got your act together.

Here’s a page that shows you how to do this, and you can take a look at some beautiful examples of uniquely branded sites right here.

5) Never have to worry again about site stability & bandwidth.

Once you’ve done all the work of building your new website, the last thing you need is for it to max out when too many people visit! Not at SmugMug – we’ve always offered unlimited bandwidth and traffic because we believe that photos are meant to be shared. We’re backed by Amazon and use the most cutting-edge technology to be sure that your pages load blazingly fast, no matter where you or your viewers are. Want proof? Our site status page is always open to you:

Example of a family genealogy site. Learn how to archive here!

6) Complete flexibility in how to structure your site.

You can create whatever kind of site you want, from simple to complex to deep. SmugMug’s flexible organization lets you nest folders inside folders up to 7 levels deep, meaning you can organize your photos, videos and pages in a million different ways. And you can create as many folders as you wish, with more folders or galleries inside each to make the nested hierarchy of your dreams. Perfect for perfectly organized family history, your children’s lifetime in photos or anything else you do. Best of all, you can easily manage them with a clean, beautiful drag-and-drop site-wide organizer.

So what do you think? If you’ve got a website for a non-photography lifestyle or business, we’d love to see it! And if you’re still not yet sold, check the sites above to get inspiration and see what you can build.

Happy customizing!

Link list:

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SmugMug brings you beautiful, personalized online galleries. We love photography and believe that taking pictures makes life better. We're here to help make it fun, enjoyable, and easy for all.

5 thoughts on “The Non-Photographer’s Guide to SmugMug”

  1. I use SM for my non-photo business website & for the most part it works pretty good. There is one major shortcoming of using SM for this purpose though (something that’s been a hot topic for a long time on the forum, even with photographers). Despite what this article says (“Build completely custom pages for anything you want”), users can’t copy a page’s layout from one page to another – which means you end up creating each & every page from scratch every time you want to add another one. This should be a simple fix for SM, but for some reason they keep ignoring all the requests.

    1. Hi Daren and thanks so much for sharing this feedback! We love this idea and agree that being able to create templates of pages would be great. It is on our radar, no worries.

  2. how about a blog on non-pro use for sharing with multiple families. i have been a user for a long time and use SM instead of facebook for all photos / videos i share with family. Now i have a challenge of rearranging my folders to be easier to maintain for longterm. i was setting them up as needed which some are now hard to find. i could use best practices for folders / galleries when sharing images with multiple families where you might want to keep some galleries separate (in-laws, divorces, etc.). doing by year isn’t great because you might not remember the year. so i am dividing up by general topic – frequent locations we visit a lot, Big holidays i would always get photos, individuals (extended family baby pictures where mother might want to see them all on a page over time), and work related shots. thanks

  3. Locked Galleries and Hidden Galleries. SM ‘s ability to have different galleries with different settings is enormously key for me, along with being able to download an original sized file.

    I opened my SM account when I was trying to sell freelanced print magazine articles.

    I never worried about protecting my written text, but I was very worried about maintaining control over my photos, when an editor turned me down. Before I found SM when I submitted an article on speculation, I had to either send editors a disc with full-resolution files, or sometimes a couple full-res files for a quality check and the rest low-res. Either way the editor had a permanent copy of my work, not a problem if it went to publishing. As a beginning freelancer, however very often they were turned down and I simple moved on to a different publication, sometime going through the process 4 times before I sold an article. I also have many that never sold. Even though I requested that my files be destroyed if they weren’t accepted; I had no idea what really happened to them. Especially as some editors don’t even return the courtesy of having considered or even received a submission from a freelancer.

    I solved the problem immediately with SM: I put my full res files into a gallery for each specific article, set a password (usually the editor’s last name) and locked the files down from dowload. Look, but don’t touch, in other words. An editor could view all photos as originals, but the files remained in my possession until if and when we did business. Furthermore, I could see if someone had accessed that passworded and locked gallery and how many times.

    After 2 weeks, I would send a second email to the editor asking if he/she had reviewed my article, with a reminder where the photos were located along with the password. If after another 2 weeks I hadn’t heard from the editor, or heard in the negative, I simply changed the password, and submitted to a different publisher.

    When an editor did agree to run my article, I simply unlocked the gallery.

    I am an amateur at this but I wanted my page to appear more business like. I actually pumped up my “public” page with several locked galleries with ficticious articles that I was either working on or intended to write in the future. I had to put a single place keeping photo in them, but it made me appear to be far more prolific than I was.

    On a personal side I started digitizing my parent’s old family photos, along with my wife’s parents’ old photos. I discovered that hidden galleries don’t appear on the public page, so I have actually “parked” many more family photos in various ancestral galleries than I have “profesional” photos. I simply emailed the secret address to various siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc. and they can view or download them to their heart’s content.

    I have also put up my photos of family weddings, reunions, etc into other hidden galleries where they are available for all.

    I feel like I have 2 SM accounts when it is all really one that has the features I need.

    1. Mark, this is awesome and we love hearing how people are using the features to do things every day. We particularly love that you are using your one account for two completely different purposes, but that each use reflects a big portion of your life. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

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