SmugMug takes Jackson Hole.

Once a year, SmugMug embarks on a company trip that isn’t just for employees, but for their families, too. This year, 250 people from all over the world descended on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a week filled with employee team building, family fun, and lots and lots of photography. It was a fun-filled week with the Grand Tetons as our backdrop.

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Hey, hey, the gang’s all here!

The yearly SmugMug trip is 50% work and 50% play. We take the week to innovate new and exciting features, product upgrades, and anything else that can make SmugMug an even better experience for our customers. Employees work all week on hackathon projects that always produce much-loved ideas that go into production. This year was no exception, and we’re pretty sure you’ll love what was dreamed up and will be released in the near future. We can’t tell you what they are just yet, but they are thrilling. Additionally, our incredible Support Heroes were working all week, ensuring that customer service never wavered.

Upon arriving, all employees were placed on teams for a Color War. With activities and games throughout the week, points would be won and accumulated so one team would be victorious and awarded bragging rights. Puzzles and games were completed, and a photo Scavenger Hunt that took us all over the town of Jackson ensured that ridiculous fun was had. In the end, Team Yellow was victorious. But the rest of the colors will be avenged next year at the next company trip. We will not go quietly into the night!😉

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Team Yellow having fun on the photo scavenger hunt. Photo by Jennifer Praniewicz.

One of the biggest highlights was a presentation followed by an employee photography workshop with Artist-in-Residence, and James Beard–nominated, food photographer Eric Wolfinger. Eric gave an incredible, awe-inspiring presentation on his journey from bread maker at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco to a career photographing the biggest names in the restaurant industry. Afterward, Eric led 21 employees in an epic six-hour workshop that began with an overview of his techniques, then led into a two-and-a-half-hour hands-on photo shoot at Il Villaggio Osteria. We are a company of serious foodies, so to shoot food, eat, shoot food, eat, and repeat over and over for hours was perfection. Then, when we were stuffed from all the delicious food and had taken photos of half the menu, Eric led us in an incredible post-processing tutorial. It was a fantastic experience that every single employee loved and put into practice immediately at their next meal. Looking for your own food photography tips? Check out our Facebook Live interview with Eric that was fun and informative. And whiskey fueled.

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Eric Wolfinger leads an incredible food-photography workshop in Jackson Hole for employees. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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The highlight dish of the workshop: steak! Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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The juice is real. Photo by Bobby Yang.

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The food not only looked gorgeous, it was delicious, too! Photo by Bobby Yang.

No trip to Jackson Hole would be complete without photo excursions to Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Throughout the week, employees and their families trekked all over the beautiful terrain to take gorgeous photos of mountain ranges, wildlife, hot springs, and geysers. Additionally, there were many nighttime photo shoots that captured breathtaking stars and the famed Perseid meteor shower.

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The majestic Grand Tetons. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Sarah setting up to get the previous shot. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.

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Grand Prismatic, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Snapping all the grandeur in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.

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Family of bison. Photo by Andres Ruiz.

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What does the fox say? Photo by Aaron Meyers.

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Fall foraging for nuts has begun! Photo by Andres Ruiz.

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Incredible starry night sky in Jackson Hole by Nicky Semenza.

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Star trails over famed Moulton Barn. Photo by Mike Hurst.

When there was down time, employees were free to enjoy their own planned excursions as well. Many went whitewater rafting on the Snake River, horseback riding through the Tetons, attended a rodeo, or enjoyed the shops in downtown Jackson Hole. One family even ran into Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, while downtown. Spoiler alert: Han lives!😉

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Rafting fun in Snake River. Photo courtesy of Shannon Harris.

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The Grand Tetons were the perfect backdrop for a trail ride. Photo by Jennifer L Kirk.

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The rodeo was adrenaline-filled! Photo by Sarah Arnold.

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Harrison Ford and the Makarov family. Photo by Becca Makarova.

The week flew by far too fast and in the end, it was hard to say goodbye to beloved coworkers who came from the far reaches of the world. We are lucky that once a year we get the opportunity to spend time with those we wouldn’t otherwise get to see in person. It was an incredible week that brought us all closer together. Can’t wait for next year’s trip!

SmugMug rescues nearly 200 million priceless memories from Picturelife.

SmugMug has always embraced the mission of being Heroes for our customers—leaping tall buildings to make sure their photos are safe, beautiful and accessible. So, when we heard that Picturelife, a photo/video storage company, ended their service without a way for their customers to preserve their photos, we knew we had to do something (and fast) to help reunite the Picturelife community with their memories.

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The SmugMug team offered its services to Picturelife and worked tirelessly over several weeks to develop and implement a plan to reconnect Picturelife files with their owners. As a service to Picturelife and its customers, SmugMug is now offering a zero-cost solution for Picturelife customers to access and download their photos and videos.

Our number one concern is putting as many Picturelife photos and videos as we can into the hands of their rightful owners. We’re making their photos available to them at no charge and no obligation.  If some of Picturelife’s former customers want to become a part of SmugMug’s family of photographers, we’ll welcome them with open arms, but that’s not our primary goal.  Helping Picturelife’s customers preserve their priceless memories is our goal and just another example of our mission and passion in action: providing a safe, beautiful home for everyone’s photos.

If you’re a former Picturelife customer looking to retrieve your photos and videos please visit our Picturelife FAQ page to get the process started.

Latest “gallery” hanging at SmugMug HQ – Bella Kotak!

The SmugMug headquarters can sometimes feel less like an office and more like an art gallery as you wander the halls and corridors. We have hundreds of photographs from our customers and employees hanging on our walls and are adding more all the time. Recently, we had the opportunity to hang some new images from Bella Kotak, whose unique style has earned her renown in the photography world. Blending her incredible portraits with editing and retouching mastery, Bella produces otherworldly images that can transport the viewer into a fantasy world of imagination and color.

untitled-8-2The photos ready for hanging!

untitled-16-2Sneak peeks of the gallery hanging.

IMG_1854No crooked photos on Brent’s (Facilities) watch!

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untitled-68Bella’s gallery looks stunning!

Any time we get a new selection of photographs to hang, we like to make a little celebration of it and include folks from the office who want to have a chance to learn more about the artist and their work. Bella creates mystical worlds in her photographs. Playing with light and color, she weaves visual daydreams with evocative portraits of strong females submerged in incredible scenes and settings. Her images take you away, creating a story in your mind of the subjects or at least leave you with questions, wondering where the subject came from and what circumstances might have brought her here.

untitled-48It didn’t take long for the new gallery to gain attention.

IMG_1875The Bella Kotak Gallery is open for visitors!

IMG_1895The photos are a huge hit at HQ.

IMG_1909Mobile Apps Guy, Ian, plays docent.

untitled-22Director of Operations Shandrew takes it all in.

unspecified Haley from QA and Designer Chris are inspired to begin a career in modeling.

untitled-138The complete Bella Kotak Gallery at SmugMug HQ

Our passion for photography is what fuels our fire, and we’re incredibly proud to display inspiring images like Bella’s in our Mountain View headquarters. Visit Bella’s SmugMug site to see more of her work. If you’re not a SmugMug customer, Bella even has a sign-up special that will give new customers 15% off their subscription.

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Getting inked: SmugMug style

It should come as no surprise that here at SmugMug our employees bleed green. We are passionate about our jobs — thrilling customers and delivering awesome are two mantras we all live by. Our employees show their passion every day in different ways that will forever leave happy reminders of our beloved SmugLife — including getting inked with their own SmugMug tattoos. That’s right — not one, not two, but three employees have SmugMug tattoos!

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Team SmugInk left to right: Lindy, Ben and Rich

The first in the SmugMug family to get a company tattoo was Rich, who is on our QA team. Almost 10 years ago, in 2007, Rich decided he would get the SmugMug logo (we call it Smuggy) on his calf. He recalls how he used to tell his sons, “Think about what you put on your body; what it represents,” and for him, the logo represents how much he loves the company and how it will be a part of him for the rest of his life. “I have a lifetime commitment to SmugMug,” Rich says. “This logo represents quite a bit to me about our SmugMug family. In fact, our granddaughters view Smuggy like a living being.” He likes to brag that when he’s out in public with family, he gets more comments on his Smuggy tattoo than his brother who has full sleeve tattoos. Why? As Rich says, “It’s simple, straightforward, and stands out.” No one can resist a smile!

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Rich, getting the first SmugMug tattoo in history

Rich’s wife, Lindy, one our amazing customer Support Heroes, was the second to receive a SmugMug tattoo. The culture at SmugMug left an incredible impact on Lindy before she even became an employee. “I went with Rich [to HQ] for an anniversary party,” she says. “After seeing the people and culture, I fell in love. I had to work there too. Two months later, I was a Hero!” Lindy worked for SmugMug for a year before she got her tattoo in 2008 — also on her calf to match Rich’s. She says it’s fun when they both go places in shorts and someone spots their matching tattoos. “We get a LOT of smiles. People think they are so cute. It opens up a great opportunity to have a dialog with others about the company. We often wear our SmugMug hoodies, but nothing gets as many comments as those tattoos.”

Last, but certainly not least is Ben, our Head of Customer Success. Ben has been a SmugMug employee almost since the beginning. When he hit his 10 year anniversary, Ben began thinking about getting a SmugMug tattoo to mark the milestone. However, Ben, who claims he “is not a tattoo person,” waited another year before pulling the trigger to get his own Smuggy ink. When asked why he said, “It’s a statement to me about how great a company we are. We are a cool company, we make an awesome product, and we care so much about our customers and employees that I wanted to commemorate what we’ve built over the past decade.” Ben loves the reaction it gets. “It makes people happy when they see it — whether they know the logo or not — the green smilies just light up everyone’s faces.” And despite “not being a tattoo person,” Ben is open to get a second SmugMug tattoo in another 10 years to commemorate what he does in the future. I don’t know Ben, sounds like you might be a tattoo person after all!

We’re incredibly proud of our culture here at SmugMug, and seeing our employees so passionate about what we do every day thrills us. Not many companies can boast so highly of their employees as we do. We thank each and every one of them for being the rockstars that they are and for their incredible passion. With or without tattoos.

Behind the masks and capes at SmugMug.

Here at SmugMug, we really have a thing for superheroes. As many of you know, we’ve dubbed our customer support team ‘Support Heroes’ but also believe strongly that all of our employees are heroic. In fact, we are so adamant about our employees heroism, that everyone receives their own unique superhero (or any movie,comic,book or pop culture character) themed face painting and portrait shoot. The results are hung proudly on the walls here at SmugMug HQ. It all started when we wanted to have some fun after hearing so many customers say: “You’re my hero!” After the initial face painting and photo party day, we decided it was not only fun, but was also a great way to reinforce that the entire company has to be involved in order for support to truly be heroic. And so the tradition was born. Let’s look behind the scenes at this fun tradition and take a peek into SmugLife.

When a new employee comes on board, the welcome email filled with all the necessary HR details also asks them to begin thinking about which character their upcoming hero photo shoot will focus on. There is only one rule: a superhero/character can not be repeated, unless it’s a different iteration (example: one employee may choose the Disney version of The Mad Hatter and another may choose the Tim Burton version of The Mad Hatter). Employees are encouraged to bring in costumes and props to create the most epic photo possible.

Once we have a batch of new kids on the SmugMug block, and they have a character picked out, we schedule face painting artist extraordinaire, Jodi Carr, to stop by HQ to transform them. It’s usually a whole day affair!

i-hjT4qC2-2412x1610Jodi paints AJ, Sorcerer, as Venom

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Jodi paints Andrew, VP Marketing & BusDev, as The Cheshire Cat

After the face painting is complete, it’s time to hit the studio or location for the photo shoot!

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SmugMug photographer Alex takes Shannon’s (Office Ops) photo as Harley Quinn

Then after the shoot, Alex works her magic in the studio with editing and special effects.  The results are pretty epic.

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The shot that started it all in 2007

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Michael, Head of Online Advertising, as Michelangelo

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Wordslinger Kerry as Ed (Cowboy BeBop) with Mozzie as Ein

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Aaron, Head of Product, as Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon

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Dana, Sorcerer, as Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect

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Jill, Director of HR & Recruiting as The Corpse Bride

Be sure to check out more of our awesome photos and experience the amazing creativity of our employees. We have a few new employees who are preparing for their character shoot – any suggestions or ideas on who they should pick? What character would you choose? Tell us in the comment section!

SmugMug’s 2015 survival guide for holiday photos and gift giving.

The holidays are fast approaching, and soon we’ll all be deep into the holiday shopping madness. Here’s SmugMug’s 2015 Survival Guide for Holiday Photos and Gift Giving! Do all your shopping from the comfort of your SmugMug account. Upload once—and send joy around the world.

Get ready to make a lasting impression. Whether you’re creating photo gifts for yourself, or a pro photographer looking to wow your clients, prints make perfect—and lasting—gifts. They’re personal, they stop time and make lasting memories, and they can be larger than life.

So, how do you go about making prints with all the great photos you’re displaying on SmugMug?

Start by selecting the photos you want to print. Once you’ve got your photos uploaded to SmugMug, it’s easy to add any image to the cart. One-stop shopping at its finest—just click that BUY button to get started. You don’t have to decide on the size of print or quantities just yet. There’s opportunity to adjust the items added to your cart later.

Once you select a photo, click the BUY button and choose a product category.
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Ordering is a breeze on desktop or mobile.

Tip: If the photos you want to print or turn into gifts are scattered throughout several galleries on your SmugMug site, you can gather them all together into a single gallery using the Collect tool or by setting a Smart Gallery ruleThat way, when it’s time to place your order, you can work from inside a single gallery on your site.

Consider the type of print you want to give. You’ve got four different paper types to choose from: Glossy, Matte, Lustre (the choice for portraits), and Metallic (particularly suitable to high-contrast scenes). You’ve got multiple standard, square, and panoramic print sizes at your fingertips. And, for that extra special someone, there are ready-to hang items such as box framed prints and mounted canvases.

Make sure your photos are ready for the spotlight. For you high-tech types, we’ve got all the nitty-gritty details you could ask for to prepare your photos for printing. BUT, rest assured that if you’re a low-/no-tech person, our great print labs will do the heavy lifting for you. All our labs offer a color correction service so your photos will be the best print that they can be.

Go beyond paper prints and wall art. There are great personalized gifts available from your SmugMug account as well. We’ve got mugs, puzzles, magnets, buttons, and much more.

Turn your photos into holiday cards. Send end-of-year wishes to family and friends by creating original cards right from your SmugMug photos. Choose between 5×7 folded and 4×8 flat varieties on beautiful heavyweight card stocks.

Make sure you order in time so your gift arrives on time. Check our shipping dates calendarand don’t forget that your prints and photo gifts need time to process as well as ship.

Perhaps our best gift suggestion (and we’re probably a little biased here)… Why not share your love of SmugMug with the people you love by Giving the Gift of SmugMugThis one’s great for last-minute gifts, and it’s guaranteed not to be re-gifted.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Smugmug.

Your Background’s Got Some New Moves

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and a gorgeous homepage for your photography website does just that. SmugMug makes it easy to have a jaw-droppingly beautiful homepage with our options for content, themes, backgrounds and layout. And now, we’ve added full-screen HD video to the already existing background options of full-screen slideshow, a single image, or a rotating series of images.

Backgrounds sit behind your navigation menus, Gallery Blocks, Text Blocks, and any other content you have on a page, so to make your video the star, you may want to consider moving—or even removing—content that cramps your style.

Of course, you’ll probably want to have your logo and navigation menu remain and be very visible. Certain colors in your background photos or video can make your site hard to read, but we have tools for solving that through background options: just toggle on a “mask” that dims or brightens the background and allows your content to shine.

This new feature is available only on New SmugMug. Videos must be less than a minute long and can’t be shortened after uploading, so make sure you trim your video before you upload it.

Once you upload your video, you’ll want to open your Customizer and select the Background tab to set it as your background. Check out this help article for the full dish on how to make your video background shine.

Is it available on my account? Basic account users can add background images, videos, or slideshows to their homepage only. All other account holders can add this content to any page(s) on their site.

You can set your video background to appear across your entire site, only on your homepage, or on select Galleries, Folders, and Pages on your SmugMug site. Tweak it to your liking in the Customizer.