Don’t get lost in translation. Introducing SmugMug’s Google Translate widget!

We all know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but while photography may universally speak to us, language can often be a barrier. With potential customers from all over the globe finding your work online, we wanted to make it easier for you to share it without barriers. Now it’s easy to share your photos in more than 100 different languages with our new Google Translate widget.

Once installed, our Google Translate widget allows your guests to select virtually any language, and your entire SmugMug site will be translated to that language. Customers only have to select their language once, as all subsequent SmugMug pages they visit will be translated to that language. This includes translating gallery titles, picture descriptions, and more. It’s simple and fast to install and allows you to expand your business, or share with friends and family around the world, with just a few clicks.

english1With the widget installed, customers can choose their language from a drop-down list.

japanese1In the blink of an eye, your website is translated!

Ready to take your SmugMug website to an international level? Here’s what you have to do:

1. Select “Content and Design” from the “Customize” tab.

2. Under the “Add Content Block” > “Services” section, drag and drop “Google Translate” on to your page.

3. Hit “Publish,” and you’re done!

Don’t believe that it’s really that easy? Watch below:

Google Translate Widget

While you may not parlez français, now your SmugMug site does!

 

The upgrade your phone (case) actually needs.

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Phones aren’t just phones anymore. They’re part of us. They’re important, they’re delicate, and they’re personal. We have them on us at all times so it seems outright wrong to protect them with some garish, or worse, a generic case that says nothing about the person carrying it. A meticulously designed phone deserves an elegant case that is unique without looking like a circus attraction. Look no further than SmugMug’s newest addition to our print product line.

We’re now offering phone cases that can be customized with your favorite images giving you an unbeatable look that will make your friends jealous and keep your phone a little safer all at once.

Our new customizable phone cases are available for the Galaxy S7 and iPhone SE, 6, 6s, 6+, 6s+, and even 7 and 7+. The cases come in two styles: Slim and Tough. The slim case is sleek and thin, keeping your phone from unwanted dings or scratches without adding extra bulk. The Tough case is more rugged using a thin, scratch resistant plastic shell with an inner silicon insert for added protection for those who need a sturdier case.

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Custom phone cases start at $25. You can order your case now through your SmugMug site by logging in, uploading or selecting a photo, then clicking BUY and then THIS PHOTO, and start customizing your phone case. Those with Portfolio and Business accounts: don’t forget to add the Phone Cases to your Pricelist and set the prices at your desired price or markup. Phone cases are available for Pricelists fulfilled from Bay Photo, EZPrints, and WHCC.

When designing your phone case, there are a couple important things to remember. First, your photos must meet the size requirements. The image selected must be 900×1600 pixels or you won’t even be shown the option to add it to a phone case. Also, make sure to pay attention to the camera position and the cropping of your image. You don’t want to accidentally cut out an important part of the photo.

Ordering your own case is a piece of cake, but if you’ve never purchased printed products from SmugMug before, see how below.

1. Upload or select the photo from your SmugMug site that you would like to use to customize your new phone case. Keep in mind that your photo must be 900×1600 pixels or larger to be suitable for the phone cases. If your photo is under those size specifications, you won’t have the option to customize a phone case. Once you’ve selected the photo, click the green BUY button, and then click THIS PHOTO.

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2. Your photo will appear on the left while a number of product options will appear on the right. At the very bottom, so long as your photo meets the size requirements, you’ll see a brand new category—phone cases!

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3. After making your selection, you’ll be able to make sure the crop is correct for your phone case. Simply drag the cut-out of the phone case or resize to make sure the parts you want printed are within the gray box. Make sure the cut-out for the phone’s camera doesn’t cover a part of the photo that you want to show. When you’re done cropping, click ADD TO CART.

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The case will be saved to your shopping cart for when you’re ready to checkout. Then all you’ll have to do is sit tight and wait for the coolest phone case you or your friends have ever laid eyes on to show up at your doorstep.

How’s that for some Hotline Bling?

Five Reasons I Ditched my Giant DSLR for a Compact Mirrorless Camera

Guest Post by Brent Gilmore, SmugMug customer and subject behind our SmugMug Film ‘Just a Dad with a Camera’.

“The best camera in the world”… we all know the biggest cliché in photography, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Because, as I learned firsthand, if your amazing, bleeding-edge camera stays in your closet, it’s certainly not the best camera in the world, at least not for you.

I like to think of myself as a “just a dad with a camera.” But for a stretch of 18 months I was just a dad with a camera in the closet. Then I “moved down” from a pro-style DSLR to a mirrorless compact. And I am over-the-moon, blown-away happy.

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Predictably, when my wife was pregnant with our first child I upgraded my Nikon DSLR, which I had been shooting with casually for almost 12 years, for the just released Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 24-70mm. Yes, I spent the equivalent of our new baby daughter’s first year of college tuition on a huge pro DSLR and lens combo.

And for me it was love at first sight—both baby and camera. Neither one left my side. Every day was a formal portrait session. Almost hour-by-hour I documented our daughter’s life for the next 18 months. Until our second child, a son, was born.

Suddenly, my setup seemed way too cumbersome and photography became no fun, for three main reasons:

  1. Carrying or pushing a stroller with two very young, active children while attempting to use my almost six-pound camera with one hand was impossible.
  2. Waiting for those massive 36MP files to process was maddening, straining both my MacBook Pro and my patience.
  3. Storing all those files was becoming unsustainable.  A casual afternoon in the park might leave me with 8-10GB of photos. Even with today’s cheaper online storage solutions (like SmugMug), I just don’t want to have to deal with another terabyte of family photos every year.

So, the beast of a camera went on the top shelf in our junk closet. Eighteen months and two family vacations later, I realized I hadn’t touched the beast even once. I either passed up opportunities to document our life as a young family, or I haphazardly tried to capture fleeting moments with my iPhone.

Either way, I wasn’t having fun. I missed shooting. I missed capturing more than just iPhone moments. But not enough to haul the DSLR beast down from the closet.

What I needed was a camera to fill the gap between my iPhone and my DSLR, something with better quality than the former, and way better portability than the latter.

Armed with zero knowledge of any brand but Nikon I went to my local camera store. Based on my must-have list, they introduced me to the Fuji X-T10. Quite simply, I fell in love, and fast. It seemed to meet every requirement and then some.

Never mind my original quest for a “gap” camera. This compact mirrorless wound up completely replacing my DSLR, and I couldn’t be happier. I am shooting, processing and posting every day again. I’m loving the results, and, most importantly, I AM HAVING FUN AGAIN.

The five reasons I am in love with my new mirrorless:

  1. It shoots JPG and RAW. This gives me the option to edit in Lightroom or use processed JPGs right from the camera OR both! This is a perfect scenario for photos I just can’t wait to share on Instagram or with grandparents, but allows me the flexibility to edit RAW files in Lightroom later. This fits my workflow perfectly — share in the moment, then perfect my favorite photos to showcase on SmugMug later.
  2. Always Connected. The Fuji has built in Wi-Fi with an amazing mobile app! Using the mobile app is the simplest, fastest, and most reliable way I have found to immediately transfer and share photos. Half of the fun of photography, for me, is sharing and now I find myself doing that twice as much.
  3. Faster editing. My Lightroom time has been cut from hours to minutes. That’s not hyperbole, I literally mean minutes. Because the sensor is smaller, file size is relatively tiny while not sacrificing any of the image quality I actually need. I spend time massaging the photos I love to perfection — not staring at the Lightroom ‘processing’ bar. Happiness and productivity up! Frustration way down!
  4. It’s compact. The X-T10 is small, OK, it isn’t pocketable but it’s tiny in comparison to the DSLR.  The camera has become an extension of me and literally travels everywhere with me with NO hassle.  Embarrassingly (or not) it is literally on my shoulder even when I take the trash out!
  5. It’s affordable. Remember, I’m just a dad with a camera, not a rock star, so the price was incredibly attractive. Body and lens set back my childrens’ college fund (kidding!) exactly $1,000.  With the proceeds from the sale of my DSLR I actually made back a chunk of change. Change that I can later use on some really amazing, really affordable Fujinon lenses.

The first real test was a family vacation to Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts this summer. It was the most fun and effortless shooting I’ve ever experienced. And the photos I took are some of my favorite, ever.

Maybe the old cliché is right after all: the best camera in the world is the one you have with you. Provided that that camera makes photography effortless and fun — and helps you create images that are part of an enjoyable, sustainable process.

Check out some of the first images I captured with the new camera and judge for yourself. I credit all of the photos and the amazing shooting experience to my new Fuji X-T10 and the tiny 18mm pancake lens.

Cerie and Xavier flying east into the rising sun.

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See the full gallery here.

Find Brent at:

SmugMug: GilmoreGang.com

Instagram: @lbrentgilmore

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!

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!

From Russia with love: Photographer Elena Shumilova teaches SmugMug employees how to capture childhood magic.

Employee enrichment is incredibly important here at SmugMug. We want our employees to grow and learn, not only in their working roles but also in personal and creative ways. Many of our employees are photographers themselves, and we encourage them to grow their craft every day. To help with this goal, we established an Artist-in-Residency program. This program gives our employees the opportunity to attend lectures and hands-on workshops from some of the greatest photographers in the world. It’s an insightful, fun, and exclusive experience that continually gives us unique insights on new photography techniques and styles.

One of our most recent Artist-in-Residency was SmugMug Films featured artist and renowned children’s photographer Elena Shumilova. Elena flew from Russia to California to deliver two lectures and one hands-on workshop over two days at SmugMug HQ. Elena creates incredibly magical photos of her children and pets in the Russian countryside that are famous around the world. For SmugMug, family and relationships are incredibly important, so this opportunity to learn new techniques and methods for family and child portraits was a no brainer. Additionally, this Artist-in-Residence program was extra special as SmugMug provided six scholarships to remote employees to travel to the Bay Area to participate in the experience in person.

In the morning lecture, Elena discussed how she discovered photography, what it means to her, and the various ways she approaches photographing children with animals. Elena shared tips and tricks on how to direct children, such as coaxing them to look in a specific direction or modify their body language. Later in the afternoon, Elena covered her post-processing techniques. During this lecture, Elena edited three photos, which employees had access to beforehand in order to follow along and edit them together for maximum hands-on learning.

The second day, 14 lucky employees (chosen by lottery) traveled to Hidden Villa, California, for a hands-on, outdoor photoshoot with Elena. A small group was necessary to ensure the models — in this case, six children and two dogs — remained calm and undistracted. Elena set the initial scene to photograph with one child and one dog while employees observed and determined the best angle to capture the moment. Elena was very hands-on assisting workshop participants—explaining model placement, giving tips, and admiring photos. It was far from comfortable as employees got down to the same level as the models, often finding themselves completely on the ground. The experience forced them into a new environment well outside their comfort zone. The small group also allowed Elena to engage with SmugMug employees one-on-one for further, more personalized instruction and learning. Employees loved being able to work alongside her, observing as she made decisions on the fly. They received a better understanding of how to work with children and animals. Most importantly, they discovered that even if a child isn’t responding the way you hoped, you can still end up with your best shot of the day thanks to unexpected moments.

untitled-279-2Elena shows employees some of her photography tips.

untitled-158-3Get low: staff search for the perfect angle.

untitled-134-3Elena gives Aaron, head of Product, one-on-one instruction.

untitled-243-2There are a million angles to perfectly capture the moment.

untitled-74-3Employees practicing what they learned.

untitled-197-2Never too young to become a photographer.

untitled-247-2Modeling is hard work.

untitled-116-3The Secret Garden.

untitled-255-3A girl and her dog.

It was an experience we won’t soon forget, and we are very thankful that Elena came so far to be our Artist-in-Residence and share her craft with us.