SmugMug Films: Point, Click, ShootTokyo with David Powell

As a busy executive at YouTube, David Powell often found himself caught up in the hustle and bustle of his daily life in Tokyo: commuting, meetings, travel, more meetings, home, sleep. Seeking a better balance between work and life, he decided to pick up photography as a creative outlet. Since he could take his camera anywhere, it didn’t disrupt his busy schedule. It grew into a successful blog: ShootTokyo. There David shares his glimpses of the city he calls home and his travels around the world, offering business insights and other random thoughts each photo sparks.

SmugMug had the chance to tag along through the back alleys and side streets of Tokyo, discovering what makes David’s photos so intimate and compelling. Watch him in action in our latest SmugMug Film.

How would you describe your photography?
For me, it’s an expressive outlet. I was one of those people who always worked non-stop: 12-hour days, 7 days a week. Traveled a lot and never got to see a lot of places I was visiting. I would come back from Beijing and people would ask, “How was the Great Wall?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, the Great Wall is in China. Missed it.” I started thinking about how I could get a better work–life balance and see the places I was visiting. My schedule can often be erratic, and photography was something I could do on my own time whenever and wherever I wanted. Whether it’s two in the morning or midday, as long as I had a camera I could go out and photograph no matter where I was.

Photography, for me, is easy because it’s simple to always have a camera in your bag. It forces you to slow down, to explore. I tend to be a structured person, so when I started photography, I thought about doing a 365 project but quickly realized I had no time for that. I thought a blog would be easier. When I started blogging, I realized I needed to blog on a regular basis in order to keep at the photography and make blogging worth my time and investment.

ShootTokyo Best 2-10

How has your blog evolved?
In my first posts, I was trying to figure out what to do. I was writing a “how to,” or I was putting pictures up without many words. What started resonating with me and the readers was posting photos I took as I was out and about and talking about my day, mixed with some random thoughts.

I’m not a technical photographer. I’m never talking about what settings I used, and I don’t do a lot of post-processing. Instead, I focus on productivity tips: how I manage and think about things, or how I see something as I’m going about my day. I mix my thoughts on business in with my photography, which is a bit unique. Someone once referred to my blog as a photography blog with an MBA ethos, and I think that sums it up well.

When did you move to Tokyo, and how have you liked living there?
I moved here in 2001. I was living in New Jersey, working in New York City, and was asked to move to help the company in Asia. They initially put me in Singapore, but I found myself on a plane to Tokyo every two weeks. Being in Tokyo made more sense than being in Singapore. I wanted to be in North Asia because I think that’s where the living is most exciting; I really enjoy it. It’s a nice place to live as Tokyo is a very clean, safe city. It’s a nice lifestyle. You have to work hard, but you can enjoy your life here as well.

ShootTokyo Best 2-22

What do you usually look for when you’re out exploring the city?
I don’t go looking for anything in particular. Photography makes me slow down. I want to make sure I post on my blog once a week, which means making sure I’m observing the world around me, looking for interesting things to photograph. If I was on the train before, I would have my head over my phone reading or responding to emails. Now, I almost never do that. I usually have the camera in my hand, looking around for something interesting or funny or pretty.

What usually catches your eye?
It might be an interaction between people. It might be the absence of people. A lot of people look at my work and ask, “How did you set up that shot?” I don’t. I went to a photography workshop a few years ago with Jay Maisel, and he said the objective is to take the photo that nobody else is taking. We were on one of the top floors of Trump Tower overlooking Central Park. Everyone was shooting straight out at the amazing view in front of us, and I remember wondering what it would look like if you shot straight down to capture the reflection in the building. That ended up being one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. I try to see things how other people might not see them.

Are there any photos you didn’t get to take or haven’t taken yet?
The one I always wanted to take was a photo of a geisha. It might be cliché, but it was something I always wanted to photograph. There aren’t many opportunities to photograph geishas in Tokyo, so I went to Kyoto. There were more tourists than I expected, and many people were hanging out trying to take photos. I knew I was never going to get what I wanted there or, if I did, there would be 200 tourists in the photo. So I started walking the back alleys of Gion seeing if I could find a better shot.

I ended up getting a picture of a geisha entering a tea house, and I got her profile from behind as she entered. I was shooting on film at dusk with a manual-focus lens—it was the worst possible conditions for taking the photo. She was moving very fast, and I wasn’t shooting with a fast film. It ended up being a really cool photo. That was the photo I always wanted. Once I got it, I was super happy I did.

Geisha in Gion

Do you have a favorite location your wandering has led you to so far?
Shinjuku is great for photography because there are so many great scenes out there. You can walk through an iconic district, and there’s lots of stuff to photograph. Like Yakitori Alley. Golden-Gai used to be fun, but it’s a bit overrun now. Yurakucho is also great. It’s an area between Shimbashi and Ginza.

Ginza’s the really high-end fashion district, and Shimbashi is a business area. There’s a train line that runs between them, and underneath the train line, weaving in and out, are all these little restaurants and alleys. It’s always a really fun place to go shooting. It’s smoky, it’s pretty, it’s a bit dirty, and it’s full of little restaurants. It’s an awesome atmosphere. You can loop through these little alleys and each time you’re going to see something different.

One of the things that make any big city good for photography is its repetition. If you find an alley that looks nice and it has the right light, you know a pocket of smoke from the yakitori restaurant is going to come out every few seconds. A businessman in a suit will walk through every few minutes and give you the opportunity to capture great photos.

Suzuki Yakitori

Do you ever make a plan before you go out wandering the city? For example, this is a shot you might try to get today?
No, only locations. If somebody says, “Hey, let’s go to dinner,” and I’ve been to dinner in Shinjuku three times in a row, I’ll say, “Let’s go to Yurakucho or some other area.” I do think about what would be an interesting spot to photograph on the way. I’ll avoid very stale hotel or office areas for the alternative to find something a little more interesting. I try to be efficient because I don’t have a lot of personal time to go out shooting. I get a lot of emails asking, “Wow, how do you have the time to go out shooting?” I don’t. I simply always have my camera with me, and it’s not in a bag. It’s in my hand or around my shoulder or around my neck.

Has there been a photo that’s been particularly challenging for you to get?
There’s one from Singapore I really like and found particularly challenging, because it took persistence. You’ve got to get up at four in the morning. You need the right mix of light, the right mix of rain, the right mix of everything. I usually don’t do landscape photos because you have to have a lot of patience and Photoshop skills, and I don’t have the skills, patience, or time. I travel to Singapore all the time for work, and this is a photo I had to take. I tried to get it 20 or 30 times. One day the lighting was bad, one day the sky was white. On this day, it had just finished raining so everything was nice and wet. That was a good photo; it felt like a nice accomplishment. And I sold the photo an hour after I posted it. That was exciting.

Good Morning Singapore

You mentioned earlier, and in previous interviews, that you’re not very technical with shooting. What, if any, are your gear must haves?
I go out with the absolute bare minimum of gear possible. When I first started, I was shooting Canon. I used to carry a backpack, my tripod, and four to six lenses. It was so heavy. Today I carry my Leica Monochrom with one lens. If I go on a one-month business trip, I’ll travel with one body and one lens, always a prime. I think I used to carry so much gear because I was afraid I was going to miss a shot. Eventually, I started shooting more minimally. When I got my 50mm lens, I shot only with that lens for a week. Then I put it away and I would only shoot with my 21mm for a week, then with my 35mm, and then my 28mm. This allowed me to learn what looked good with each focal length.

Do you have a favorite prime that you like to go out with now?
I probably shoot with my 28mm or 35mm the most. The 21mm and 50mm can be a bit limiting. At this point, I only have three lenses: a 28mm, a 35mm, and a 50mm. If I could only have one, it’d be my 35mm because I find it’s a good focal length. If you’re going to a dinner, you’re going to catch the person and a little bit of everything else in the scene.

Do you shoot everything manually?
I shoot everything aperture priority.


Other than always having your camera on you and ready, do you have any rules when it comes to your photographic process?
I don’t have a lot of rules. I won’t photograph somebody in a compromising position because I don’t believe in posting images that would make anybody look bad. One time, I happened to be walking by a bar where somebody was being thrown out by the police. He had two cops holding each of his arms, and he was kicking and yelling. I took the photo, and the photo came out great, but I didn’t post it because I don’t know the story. I don’t know if he did something wrong. I don’t know if he’s innocent. I have no idea. I have no context for what’s happening and neither will my viewers. I’m always careful if I post somebody’s photo. I always try to let them know, and I want to make sure they’re being shown in a positive light.

What do you look for in terms of light or framing in your shots?
I don’t do anything aggressive with the lighting. I’m not jumping in front of people as I don’t think that’s a very nice way to shoot. I want people to be happy in my interactions with them. Often, I let people know before I even take the photo that I want to photograph them. If you’re walking down the street I might say, “Hey, I like your hat,” or whatever it was that caught my attention. Then I might ask you not to pose or not to smile, and I’ll take a street-style portrait. Usually I give people a card and say, “If you want a copy, just let me know.”

ShootTokyo Best-114

I try to make sure my subject is right in the middle of the frame. I look in the corners of my images to make sure there aren’t any extra things that are cluttering the image. At 28mm, you’re going to be very close to your subject. I can put my hand straight out and touch whoever the subject is. I’m shooting that close.

Your portraits have struck me as being very intimate because they’re so close. How did you get over your fear of photographing strangers?
During Jay Maisel’s workshop, he asked, “What’s your most uncomfortable thing?” I said, “Photographing strangers. I’m not sure how to approach people.” He told me to go out and photograph 100 people and come back. I had to literally go out and stop 100 people on the street, hand them a card, and say I’m a photographer, I’d like to take your picture. You have to figure some small percentage will reject you. But you’d be surprised, many more will say yes than no. I got very comfortable with stopping and photographing people.

There’s this one photo I took of an older Japanese man who’s squatting down looking at his old flip phone. If you’ve never shot at 28mm before, you can see him and all the turnstiles—the entire scene in the frame. I had to have been a foot and a half away from the guy. I remember I just walked up to him and said, “Hey, I’m a photographer, do you mind if I take a photo?” He sort of nodded and went back to his phone.

If you’re shooting with a 200mm lens from far away to sneak a photo of someone, they’re going to get angry. If you walk up in a very friendly way and say, “Hey, mind if I take your photo?” you get a genuinely friendly response. People will feed off your energy.

ShootTokyo Best-104

Do you have a favorite story you like to tell from your experience in photography?
I’m surprised how many people I’ve met through my blog that I’m now really good friends with. One time I was leaving a company, and I mentioned on my blog that I was going to another company but hadn’t said where I was going. One of my readers who I’d never met before said, “Oh, you must be going to this place.” I asked how he knew. As we talked, he let me know that he’d figured out where I was going based on where I’d worked and my industry. Then he asked me to say hi to someone—who was the person who hired me. This reader told me he’d hired the person 25 years ago to work for him. I mean, wow, really small world. Our lives are surprisingly intertwined.

You mentioned you don’t really use Photoshop, but do you have any post-process that you follow?
I use Lightroom. For my color images, I do next to nothing. Occasionally, I might add light vignetting if I wasn’t shooting wide open, as my lenses naturally add it wide open. I might add a little bit of sharpening, contrast, and clarity, and that’s about it. I probably spend about 25 seconds per image. For my black-and-white images from my Monochrom, I’ll do more as the camera produces a very flat image.

How do you get your photos from Lightroom up to SmugMug for your portfolio and prints?
I use SmugMug’s Lightroom plugin. It’s the most useful tool. I literally just drag whatever images I want to the SmugMug folder in Lightroom and it uploads my images automatically to my site.

ShootTokyo Best-101

Why did you end up choosing SmugMug for your print sales?
I used to use Livebooks but hated it because it was Flash. It was too hard. I couldn’t do anything with it. I was really trying to sell prints, and I didn’t want people to be able to tell where ShootTokyo started and SmugMug ended, since I have my blog and print-sale sites separate. I wanted my menu to have one item for prints and one for my portfolio, and I wanted my visitors to click between them and not be able to tell they’d moved to another website. Setting it up was simple. I get to run my blog and visitors can buy prints. SmugMug pays for itself in spades.

Are there any other SmugMug tools or features you use the most?
I use the app quite a lot. It’s hard to show professionals the blog if I’m out at dinner or something, but it’s very easy to pull up the SmugMug app and quickly scan through my photos offline. I also use coupons a lot to take advantage of things like Black Friday or other events where you might want a sale to grab some momentum.

Do you have any advice for those looking to pursue a similar path in photography or blogging?
Take lots of photos. And take them for yourself. One of the most frustrating things is trying to make my audience happy. Instead, make yourself happy and hopefully your audience comes along for the journey. It takes a long time to build an audience.

I also have a personal policy to update one post a day. I go back to my older posts and review them, rereading to make sure all the links are good and any content that should be updated is refreshed.

The Noodle Maker

What about advice for capturing the image?
Don’t be afraid to take the same photo over and over and over again. You have to work at your shots. If you think one particular scene is interesting, make sure you’re shooting at 6:00 a.m., at noon, at four in the afternoon, at 8:00 p.m., at midnight. When it’s raining out, when it’s snowing, when it’s hot out, when it’s sunny, when it’s cloudy. Just keep shooting it to learn the difference and find the shot that works. Photograph it for a thousand days, figure out what’s interesting about it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I got was to always carry a camera. It’s hard to take a good photo if you don’t have your camera with you. Another is to take the same photo a lot. When we started Jay’s workshop, he asked, “How many shots does it take to get the photo you want?” Some people said two or three. One guy said he got it the first time every time and was super proud. Then Jay said, “I must suck as a photographer. It takes me, minimum, 800 times to get the shot I want.” I think that really surprised everybody. His point was try harder. Shoot the scene in the rain, in the snow, in the morning, at noon, in the evening, in the middle of the night. See how it changes.

So keep shooting. Keep photographing the same scene until you get the shot. And make sure you always have your camera on you.

GIVE the gift of SmugMug for 40% off, GET a 20% renewal credit for you!


The holiday season is in full swing. Your to-do list isn’t getting any shorter and those lines at department stores are only getting longer. If only there was a way to shop from the comfort of your own home (pants optional) and avoid the chaos. Well, thanks to the glorious Internet, SmugMug has an answer to your all shopping needs and desires. Yes, even sans pants.

May we introduce to you the Gift of SmugMug, the gift that gives back to you!

GIVE a new account subscription for that special someone at 40% off and GET a 20% credit (off retail price) towards your SmugMug future subscription. It’s our gift to you. That’s a total savings of 60%! And best of all, it’s delivered instantaneously, so procrastinators rejoice.

This is our BEST deal EVER on the Gift of SmugMug! You can purchase one-, two- or three-year subscriptions and rack up the savings. To break it down:

To give the Gift of SmugMug, head over here and start clicking to wipe out that holiday shopping list.

And don’t forget to point the new Smuggies in this direction to help them set up their new galleries. Fine print reminder to be read at the end of this commercial, er blog: This offer is only good on new accounts and can’t be combined with any other offers. And in order to get the 20% credit, you must be a SmugMug account holder yourself.

Here’s to getting what you give this year! And remember, it won’t last long, so be sure not to miss out.


The SmugMug Family

Join SmugMug and Renee Robyn at PhotoPlus—October 21–24 in NYC.

Calling all big-shot (and wannabe big-shot) photographers: if you live in the NYC area, or are planning to be there October 21–24, make plans to visit us at the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo 2015.

PhotoPlus is the largest photography and imaging show in North America. How big is big? Check this out: over 21,000 professional photographers, photography enthusiasts, filmmakers, students, and educators from around the world are planning on attending this year. Now that’s a massive amount of photo firepower in one place. This year we’ve teamed up with Bay Photo, so look for us in their booth #554. Both SmugMug and Bay Photo will have awesome show-only specials and giveaways. So stop by the booth, flash your smile, and get your hands on the big deals and some serious swag.

Register before October 20 to receive a free pass to the Expo!

Looking for some creative inspiration? We’ve got that covered, too. SmugMug is proud to sponsor the one and only Renee Robyn at PhotoPlus. Renee is an incredible and inspiring photographer and composite artist. After a devastating motorcycle crash left her almost paralyzed, she turned to composite photography to let her imagination run free, and in the process, created surreal and mysterious images that get talked about and shared all over the world.

Renee will be teaching a master class and leading a photo walk for additional fees:

#1: Thursday, October 22, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.—MC07-Upgrade Your Photoshop Toolbox

This master class will cover more advanced techniques to improve your already-existing process. Whether you retouch people or landscapes, or create composites, there’ll be techniques useful to many styles of photography.

#2: Friday, October 23, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.—PW28-Building Backgrounds for Composite Images

Join Renee on a photo walk around New York City, where she’ll show you how to capture useful and beautiful background images to incorporate into dynamic composites. The walk will cover lighting, perspective, camera angles, and creative problem solving for photographers who like to shoot their own background elements.

If you’re planning on being at the conference, go ahead and sign up for her classes right now.

Drum roll, please…And, for all you Renee Robyn super-fans, here’s one more reason to stop by the SmugMug booth (#554). At 1 p.m., on both 10/22 and 10/23, she’ll be on hand for a quick meet and greet. If you’ve ever wanted to meet Renee and bask in her creative energy, this is your chance—don’t miss it. Oh, and if you haven’t seen our recent SmugMug film on Renee, you can check that out right here.

We’re excited to be at PhotoPlus Expo this year, and we can’t wait to see you there.

The Answers to All Your Private-Sharing Questions

Last week thousands of you joined us for a webinar about SmugMug’s latest, greatest feature: Private Sharing. (Did you miss it? No worries. We recorded it for you!)

We’re thrilled that you were as excited as we were about it. We received some fantastic questions during the webinar and after. Below are all the answers to the questions you had about Private Sharing.

Don’t see your question among the FAQs? Feel free to ask it in the comments or send it to our Support Heroes, who are always standing by to help.

How does this affect my current privacy and security settings?
We haven’t changed your existing privacy and security settings. Everything you had visible before is still visible, and anything you had locked down is still protected and under wraps. In other words, your passwords remain intact, Unlisted galleries are still Unlisted, and Private galleries are still available only to you.

The settings tab was renamed and the security drop-downs look a bit different, but the settings are the same as when you set them.

Where did the Security & Privacy tab go?
The settings didn’t go anywhere, but we’ve split them into two new tabs: Security & Sharing and Photo Protection. All your Access and Visibility toggles are in Security & Sharing. Your photo-protection settings—like external embedding and right-click protection—are now located in the Photo Protection tab.

How do I change my privacy and security settings now?
Everything’s still in your Settings menu for galleries, folders, and pages. You can find them in the Security & Sharing tab. 

Where can I find the private sharing settings?
You’ll find your private-sharing options in the Security & Sharing tab, too! Set any gallery, folder, or page to be accessible by “People I Choose” to enable private sharing. You can manage your invitations within the contextual Settings, or from your Account Settings using the Contacts tab.

To secure your entire site with private sharing, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People I Choose.”

How do I set my password now?
For gallery, folder, and page passwords, you’ll create them in the Settings > Security & Sharing tab. Change your Access to “People with Password,” then create your password and password hint the same way you did before.

To set a sitewide password, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People with Password.” Create your password and password hint, save and exit, and you’re set!

Can Google find my privately shared photos?
If you have your Security & Sharing Visibility set to “Public,” and you have Web Searchable enabled, Google and other search engines will be able to see that a gallery, folder, or page exists, but they (and anyone not invited) won’t be able to see the photos within. If you don’t want Google to know the photos exist at all, we recommend changing the Visibility to “Unlisted” and disabling Web Searchability.

What can my guests do with their Guest Account?
They can view and enjoy all the photos you’ve privately shared with them, as well as comment on SmugMug users’ photos. They won’t have access to any other SmugMug features unless they upgrade to a full account.

Can my guests upload photos to the privately shared gallery?
Only if you allow it! You can control this using the Guest Upload setting for the gallery.

How is this different from Sharegroups?
The sharing part might look really similar to your users, but the privacy of your photos is entirely within your control when using Private Sharing. If you share a group of galleries using a Sharegroup link, your friends and family could forward that link to anyone—allowing strangers and folks you may not have intended to view your Sharegroup photos.

With Private Sharing, each invitation link is unique and tied only to your friend’s SmugMug account. Once their invitation is redeemed, it doesn’t matter if they forward their invitation link to others. No one else would be able to use it or accidentally gain access to your photos.

Use Sharegroups if you want to share a group of galleries that you don’t mind others viewing if the link gets passed around. Use Private Sharing if you want to ensure your photos remain completely private and inaccessible to anyone you didn’t intend.

What about my Pro brand? When my clients sign up for a guest account, will they see my brand or SmugMug’s?
Once your client clicks to view any privately shared photos, they’ll see your site branding. On their own account page, which contains all the links to shared photos, your client will see a very basic SmugMug-brand page. It looks like this:

Is there any way to import an email list?
Not yet, but that’s a great feature request!

Can I customize the invitation email?
Not currently, but we’ll add it to our feature requests.

If a gallery is Public and then you share it with someone specifically, is it no longer Public and only viewable by the invited people?
No, you’re actually tweaking two different settings. Visibility (Public) and Access (Share with People I Choose) are settings that operate independently of each other. “Public” Visibility means anyone on the Internet can see that something exists on your site—so they could come across your galleries by browsing your site. Access controls whether they can actually get in to view the content.

If you have a gallery set to Public visibility and People I Choose for access, and a stranger finds the privately shared gallery through a search then clicks on it, they won’t be able to see anything within that gallery. Instead they’ll see an error message alerting them that the photos are private and can only be viewed if they’re invited.

Tip: To avoid having even a preview image show, double-check that you don’t have a feature image selected in your private gallery’s settings.

If you want to prevent your privately shared galleries from even showing up in searches, you can turn off web searchability in your Account Settings and change the gallery’s visibility to Unlisted.

Does private sharing work with the SmugMug mobile app?
Not yet, but we’re actively working on it!

If I add a new email address to a gallery I’ve privately shared with others, will only the new address receive an invitation when I save?
Yes. We won’t send new invitations to people you’ve already invited previously.

If I add new galleries to folders that I’ve privately shared, or new photos to galleries, will my private guests receive a notification that I’ve added content?
Not at this time.

If I privately share a folder, does that automatically give the people I choose access to all subfolders and galleries within that folder?
Yes. The access you set at the highest level will override any access settings applied to anything within that level. This is also true if you choose to use sitewide Private Sharing in your Account Settings. Anyone invited to privately view your site will have access to all your visible galleries, and you won’t be able to choose a different access setting for individual galleries. However, you can invite additional people at the gallery or page level.

If you choose to use sitewide private sharing, you can still send individual invitations for each gallery, folder, or page, and all your galleries will be protected with Private Sharing. And if you invite someone privately to view your entire site, then they’ll have access to everything on your site.

In other words, if you have invited to privately view your entire site, you can’t exclude him from the Making-Fun-Of-Crazy-Uncle gallery via gallery settings.

However, you can completely restrict galleries from everyone, even invited guests, by setting the Visibility to “Private (Only Me).”

On my Shared with Me page, will it show galleries from multiple SmugMug users?
Yep! Anyone who’s shared photos with you will appear on your Shared with Me page. No more hunting down stray links or gallery passwords. Everything shared with you, no matter who shared it, will be in one place for your viewing.

Can photos appear on my Shared with Me page without my knowledge?
Nope! You have full control over what shows up on your Shared with Me page. You still need to accept each invitation for privately shared photos, so you’ll only see what you choose to see.

Get the Legacy Look on Your New SmugMug Site

In the week since the new SmugMug was born, we’ve been blown away by some of the gorgeous websites that we’ve seen from you!

But we’ve been also hearing from folks who miss the old legacy look, and want a newer version of it instead of a completely different website. No problemo, amigo! Here’s how to do it in just a few steps.

1. Use the SmugMug design

Let’s say, for example, you miss our basic legacy SmugMug layout and our basic Theme:

After you’ve migrated your photos, you’ll see all available designs for your account level. If you’re already using something else, simply click Customize > Choose a New Site Design from the top of your page.

Choose the first design, called “SmugMug.”

2. Post your profile

Click the wrench on the top box to open up your profile settings. Fill that in with a little blurb about yourself and what you do. If you wish, invite people to leave a comment or to email you!

Tip: If you’ve already filled in your Profile, you can toggle it to automatically display the content you have there.

3. Display your galleries

If you want your homepage to display your top-level Folders and galleries, you can leave the default boxes alone. Otherwise, click the wrench in the corner to edit what shows up. From the Basic tab, choose specific folders and galleries via the “Select From” dropdown in the settings box.

For the legacy look, you’ll want to change the thumbnail Photo Size to “Small,” and keep the 1:1 ratio.

Then click the Display tab. Tweak the spacing between your tiles, and change the Info Style to “Under.”

To get the classic single column look, click the Layout tab of your customization menu, and change “Stretchy” to “Fixed.” You can specify the width here, but the default is 960 pixels.

From there, you’re all set! You’ve got the classic profile + gallery content all ready and waiting for your fans to see.

Go further

Of course, you can always tweak the settings more on any of the content on the page, or add more boxes to your heart’s content. That’s the beauty of the new SmugMug!

Links to stuff you’ll love:

What were we thinking?

Sometimes you see the dumb things companies say and you wonder, “What were they thinking?”

I never imagined that happening to us, but we did something so dumb in a blog post, we’re now looking at each other blankly and asking, what were we thinking?

The post was about image theft and we used examples from pro photographer Valerie Schooling’s site and gave the impression she was doing things wrong, which she wasn’t.

To make matters worse, we somehow embedded screen captures of her site without asking her permission.  If it weren’t such a dumb thing to do, I could explain why we did it other than the obvious: she and her photos are awesome.

Naturally, her friends and other respected photographers in the industry asked us what we were thinking, and unfortunately the honest answer was, “We weren’t.”

We learned a lesson we’ll never forget because we also betrayed ourselves, since we are photographers.  We apologize for the time and angst this caused a lot of wonderful people.

Chris MacAskill
President & co-founder
Not usually so clueless

SmugMug is on StackExchange!

At long last, SmugMug is on StackExchange! What’s StackExchange and why should you care? We’re glad you asked.

"Gee whiz. Finding answers is easy!"

StackExchange is a free, community-driven Q&A where SmugMug customers can get questions like “Why would one pay for smugmug instead of use a free site?” and “Which domain should I load users’ content (photos/videos) from?” answered quickly and easily.

Think of it as an easy-to-search sweetspot between DGrin (our community forum) and our world-class heroic support, with plenty of additional perks:

  • The best answers to a question are on top. Say goodbye to wading through pages of replies.
  • Searching is easy.
  • You can quickly tell if the person answering your question knows what they’re talking about.

We’re in public beta, which is tech-speak for “we’re just getting started,” so check out our StackExchange page today to start asking and answering questions.

Big thanks to Chief Geek Don and everyone who helped get this awesome, new resource set up!