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!

untitled-27-2Straight as an arrow.

untitled-70Smuggy tape measure FTW!

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.

untitled-25-3YAY!

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!

First Smuggy Tat

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.

New Feature: Gallery Downloads for Your Visitors

We’re excited to announce that we’ve added one more card to the digital-file delivery deck: Gallery Downloads for your viewers. You’ll now be able to give friends, family, or clients the power to quickly and easily download an entire gallery of full-quality photos themselves.

Have a set of birthday party photos that you’d like grandma to have, or a prepaid photo shoot to deliver to a client? No more need to send a disc or thumbdrive, or request the gallery download yourself and then forward the link.

Simply set this up in the gallery settings and remove yourself as the middleman in your digital-file deliveries.

You’re in control of whether or not this feature is available within a gallery, as well as who can use it—you can even set a password for the download process if you wish.

Combine Private Sharing with Visitor Gallery Downloads to create a personal, powerful, and private photo-delivery experience for your adoring fans. Private Sharing allows you to send a unique invitation for a gallery to specific guests. If you’ve got a SmugMug Portfolio or Business account, you’ll be able to customize this experience even further with your Client Area.

Of course, all our other digital-file delivery tools still exist. As the account owner, you’ll always have peace of mind knowing you can recover your original files from any gallery by clicking the download icon in the Organizer. SmugMug Portfolio and Business accounts can sell gallery downloads and individual photos by adding them to their Pricelists.

Learn more about Visitor Downloads, selling digital files, and Private Sharing from our help center.