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!

Team SmugInk

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.

New Feature: Client Area

If you’ve ever wanted a special place on your SmugMug site to highlight your clients’ photos, you now have that place: the Client Area.

The Client Area takes our Private Sharing feature to the next level by consolidating the photos you’ve shared with a client in one easy-to-find location on your SmugMug website. No longer do they need to keep track of any links you email them.

Client Area

Portfolio and Business account holders can see this new client area at nickname.smugmug.com/client. Just replace “nickname” with your SmugMug nickname. You can also add a link to the client area in your navigation menu.

Just like the 404, browse, popular, etc. pages, the Client Area is fully customizable.

To get started, invite your clients to view their gallery by privately sharing it with them. Once they accept the invitation, they can view their photos in your Client Area. This feature is commonly called “Client Login,” but the Client Area is more than just a login—it’s a home for your clients’ photos.

Questions about this new feature? Our Support Heroes are always here to help!

How To Avoid Leaking Sensitive Photos

Stories are breaking on sites like Fstoppers and Brandsmash about private Boudoir photos that appeared on a creepy voyeur forum.  It’s hard to imagine a more humiliating nightmare for a photographer or their clients.

Photo Used With Permission From Je Revele Photography 

Photos came from several sites, including SmugMug, and we paid extreme attention over the last two days to how it happened.  We tried to take some comfort in observing that in every instance, it came down to passwords that were guessable in just a few tries.

The question for us was what could we do that we weren’t already?  Over the past year, we’ve done considerable work around this problem, but yesterday we decided to expose some of the alerts our systems generate to our customers.

When our systems see several password attempts on a gallery or folder, they now send an email to the owner of the SmugMug site.  It identifies the gallery, gives the first few digits of each password attempt with asterisks for the rest (bou***), and adds info like time of day and geographic location the request may be coming from.

Today our Support Heroes are receiving thank-yous from people whose family members couldn’t get in because they left the caps lock key on or forgot some aspect of the password “it’s a cap O (oh), not a 0 (zero)”.

And we read two help tickets from photographers who discovered that their boudoir galleries had password guessers.  Fortunately, they had long passwords that were too hard to guess, but they are still making changes like removing the word Boudoir from the title, and making the gallery Unlisted so only people who obtain the link can know of its existence.

One of the security upgrades that came with New SmugMug is we don’t store passwords in a form that could leak in any way, including a systems breach, a bug, or a disgruntled employee. We use an industrial grade, Cryptographic hash function.

The breaking stories are about Boudoir photos, but we host incredibly sensitive photos (all cloud services do) of unannounced products and even, we remember, photos of an upcoming TIME Person of the Year.

Best Practices:

1.  Set a good gallery password before uploading photos!

2.  Set galleries and folders to Unlisted.  Unlisted means means no one can see them unless they have somehow been given a link.  They cannot guess the link because it has a random string added to its URL.  The combination of strong password + Unlisted is extremely secure.

You can learn more about how to protect your SmugMug galleries here.

We hope this helps, and thanks for being part of the SmugMug family!

Chris & Don MacAskill

Founders