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.
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!😉
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.
Eric Wolfinger leads an incredible food-photography workshop in Jackson Hole for employees. Photo by Sarah Arnold.
The highlight dish of the workshop: steak! Photo by Sarah Arnold.
The juice is real. Photo by Bobby Yang.
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.
The majestic Grand Tetons. Photo by Sarah Arnold.
Sarah setting up to get the previous shot. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.
Grand Prismatic, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Sarah Arnold.
Snapping all the grandeur in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Lauren MacNeish.
Family of bison. Photo by Andres Ruiz.
What does the fox say? Photo by Aaron Meyers.
Fall foraging for nuts has begun! Photo by Andres Ruiz.
Incredible starry night sky in Jackson Hole by Nicky Semenza.
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!😉
Rafting fun in Snake River. Photo courtesy of Shannon Harris.
The Grand Tetons were the perfect backdrop for a trail ride. Photo by Jennifer L Kirk.
The rodeo was adrenaline-filled! Photo by Sarah Arnold.
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!