Going all in on giving back.

This year, SmugMug wanted to do something a little different for the holidays. We’ve partnered with 12 incredible photographers to bring together a breathtaking collection of photographs that make perfect gifts. Plus, for every print, SmugMug will be donating a portion of your purchase directly to Shelter-Me Photography, an organization that uses photography to give shelter pets a better chance of adoption. Shelter-Me founder, Nanette Martin, shared the origins of this literal pet project.

mas_5553-1Adoptable Animals at St. Bernard Parish Shelter as of 8.18.10

Imagine being on the edge of massive professional success in photography. Imagine having been published in LIFE, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest and many, many more. Imagine your photos in coffee table books and your work in film. Imagine being behind the lens covering national tragedies like 9/11, the Columbine massacre, and Katrina. Then imagine dropping all of that and devoting your life’s work to making compelling pictures of ownerless pets.

That’s exactly what Nanette Martin did. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an influx of families who had been displaced  found themselves homeless in Hammond, Louisiana. Many families chose to surrender their pets during that trying time, unable to care for them, but the shelter in Hammond couldn’t keep up with the sheer number of new arrivals.

In March 2006, Nanette volunteered to drive one of three vans filled with around 60 dogs who were scheduled for euthanasia from the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control Shelter in Hammond to Atlanta. As Nanette says, “That was a turning point in my life and career as a professional photography.” She tells it best.

The day before we left, someone asked me to photograph the dogs so they could post them online to give folks in Atlanta a chance to see who was coming to town. After nine hours on the road with my head stuck out the window (I had the pleasure of chauffeuring a van load of vomiting, crying puppies with diarrhea), we arrived at our destination where a crowd of people and several news crews were anxious to meet our precious cargo. To this day, I will never forget where I was standing, the angle of the sun, the direction of the wind and the look on the transport coordinator’s face when she pulled me aside to let me know nearly every one of the dogs was spoken for because of my pictures. Then she added, “Your images are making the difference between life and death for these animals.”

My career was literally in launch mode when everything came to a screeching halt that day, standing in a parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia, listening to a rescuer paint my new horizon.

I never saw it coming and I never looked back. From that day on, I focused all my efforts and resources towards photographing homeless pets. I ran out of money on a regular basis but it didn’t seem to matter. People magically showed up with resources to keep me going. I co-founded Shelter-me Photography in 2009 when it became clear that to keep this effort going we would need far more than luck and fairy dust.

SmugMug is thrilled to be partnering with such an amazing organization devoted to giving shelter pets a better chance at being adopted. For our part, we’re donating a portion of every purchase during our holiday print sale this year to Shelter-Me Photography. Whether you’re buying a brand new piece of wall art, a paper print for a friend, or a slick new custom phone case, your dollars will be going to a great cause, and that’s something to feel good about this season. Happy #GivingTuesday!

Check out the print sale here before it ends.blog-sbs-sale

Make Way for a Whole New Lineup of Photo Cards

You’ve just packed the kids off to school. What’s that mean?

Time to start planning for the holidays!

We’re kidding. Mostly. Savvy photographers like yourself are always on the ball, so we know you’re already itching to put together your 2012 holiday cards.

Brand-New, Beautiful Card Designs

We’re so excited to tell you about our brand-new, easy-to-love designs. Whether you fancy rustic, elegant, or simple designs, you’ll find something that you’ll love. We swear on our marshmallows!

Best of all, you can customize every design with your own words and your favorite photos. In most of the designs, you even have your pick of a variety of fonts.  Too much of a good thing? Never.

Can I make a card with my Basic account?

Yes! No matter what account type you have (Basic, Power, Portfolio or Business), every SmugMugger can turn their favorite photo into a beautiful card. Or 100 cards, if you’re popular.

Here’s what you do:

1) Open your gallery and find the first photo you want to use.
2) Click Buy > Create a Card.
3) Browse designs to find the one you want, and drag in your photos.
4) Save it, add it to your cart and check out.

Did you know? You can edit any card you haven’t yet bought. Just click the Tools button > This Photo > Edit to reopen the card builder and make it perfect.

If you’ve already placed your order and need to make changes, be sure to email our Support Heroes with your order number ASAP.

Pros: How to Price and Sell Cards

If you have a Business account, yes… and you’ll make a few bucks, too. Price your cards like your other print products and your clients can create their own cards using the photos in your gallery.

You shoot. They buy. We deliver.

Here’s how it works:

1) Visit your Pricelists and create a new Pricelist, or edit an existing one. Whether you use Bay Photo Lab, WHCC, or EZ Prints, you’ll  be able to add in photo cards, which are fulfilled by EZ Prints. (Please note: at the moment, customers using Loxley Colour are not currently able to add cards.)
2) Set your profit (or price) and be sure to apply the Pricelist to your galleries.
3) Share the gallery with your clients. They’ll see a “Create a Card” option from the Buy button, and take it from there.

Did you know? Business pros who use Proof Delay can fix typos and swap images in clients’ cards before they go to print. Just open the order details, click “Edit Project” and make your changes. Then release the order when you’re done.

Watch the video below to find out how Business account holders can sell cards.

Pros in the Know: Our favorite money-making tips

As a working pro, reach out to clients you’ve shot through the year and tell them about your photo card options. They’ll love featuring their favorite images from past shoots on their holiday cards.

Try these tactics early in the season to warm up your clients:

  • Order a few sample cards using your best photos. Let customers hold them, feel the paper and see how beautiful custom cards can be. They’ll imagine sending their own to envious friends and family.
  • Create and send “Thanks!” cards to last year’s portrait and wedding clients. This does double-duty of keeping you fresh in their minds and demonstrating to them the quality of cards they’ll buy from you.
  • Don’t forget: Pets are family, too. Even if you’re not a human photographer, you’ve still got a healthy pool of clients who’d love to feature their furry babies on holiday cards.

And for your ongoing portrait sessions:

  • Set prices for cards lower early in the season, and raise them as the holidays get close. Get it done in 3 seconds with Pricelists.
  • Use Events to avoid wandering eyes. Events keep customers focused by grouping and sharing the good stuff, and the good stuff only. Plus, they can tag their favorite photos.

The bottom line: SmugMug’s here to take the hard work off your hands, so you can get back to wrapping presents. Avoid gray hairs, the holiday rush and the dreaded mail service overload. We’ll help you get your holiday cards finished before you can say, “Hot chocolate!”

What time-saving tips have helped you get your cards out the door? Share your thoughts with fellow mailers below.

All photos by Meghan MacAskill Photography.  

Link roundup:

The Time of Year to Give Smuggy Cheer

Happy Cyber Monday, Smuggers! The Gift of SmugMug is back.

The dishes are done and the tree’s all lit up. Now it’s time to get back to the office, dust off your keyboards and… start shopping for sales.

We know you’re scouring the ‘net looking for good deals, so we’ll make this one quick.🙂

What’s the Gift of SmugMug?

An easy way to give your photo nut in your life one, two, or three years of safe, unlimited SmugMug service. Unlimited uploads, worry-free subscription and peace of mind for their memories. What’s not to love?

We’ve brought the Gift of SmugMug back into our header, so you’re one click away from gifting that person that already has everything.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the plan, you can gift as little as $35, or three full years of Pro for $360.  The more you buy, the more you save.

Look right here to see all the details on how it works.

Do I get anything?

You bet. Don’t forget that when you give them their own safe, unlimited website, you get $10 to go towards your own Smug Self. Now that’s good karma!

A New Chapter in Photo Book Ideas: Notebooks, Planners and more

Today we’re having our good friends at Blurb share a few of their hottest gift ideas for the coming holiday season. You know Blurb as those peeps who bring you easy, affordable, beautiful photo books. If you haven’t, check them out now! They make your SmugMug images totally shelfworthy.

Keep the Pages Turning With Useful Gifts

 Smart photographers know how to get their photos in peoples’ hands. As the gift-giving season approaches and you’re looking for that special present, know that there are lots of great, useful alternatives to the traditional photo book out there… and you can easily make them using your SmugMug photos and Blurb:


Use Blurb BookSmart® to design a custom Notebook filled with your photos and blank, gridded, or lined paper. In addition to paper choices, you can order them in Hardcover, Softcover, or Hardcover ImageWrap to complete the look. They’re as little as $6.95 for a 20-page softcover.

Weekly Planners

Use Blurb BookSmart® and make a weekly planner using our custom planner templates for 2012. Each month gets an image, plus you can customize the front and back cover. You can even add extra pages in the back for notes or more photos. At 131 pages, they start at $23.95 for a softcover.

Small gift books

Our Small Square (7×7-inch) size is a perfectly portable size for a photo book. Compact, but still big enough to showcase your work. These start at $10.95 for a 20-page softcover.

Personalized books

The ultimate personalized gift. Since you can order just a single copy of a book with Blurb, you can add dedications and make books with specific photos for just one person. Using our online Blurb Bookify™ tool, you can easily pull in your SmugMug photos and make as many dedications as you wish.

A Holly Jolly Discount

As an added bonus, SmugMuggers can save 20% on their Blurb book orders through December 15th.* Just use the code MERRYSMUG when you check out.

You’ll find Blurb in the Buy button in any of your SmugMug galleries, under “Create a Book.” Try out these fabulous custom book ideas and keep them thinking of you (and your beautiful pics) all year long.

The Blurberati

* Coupon valid once per person, for purchase of books you’ve made yourself. Expires December 15th, 2011 at 11:59 PM, local time. Max coupon value $100, $120 AUD/CAD, 80 EUR, 60 GBP.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Photographers

Did you wait? It’s never too late! All of us at SmugMug put our noggins together to share our best, most gratifying gift ideas for photo nuts like you.


We know it’s a shameless plug but we do think that completely unlimited, safe and secure photo sharing is a pretty perfect present for just about anyone. With our newest Gift of SmugMug, you can easily bestow your budding photographer friends with just a few clicks. Choose between three account types and even save them the fuss of renewing with two (or three) years.

It’s quick, simple, and we promise to be nice to them. From $35

Camera Phone Fisheye, Wide-Angle and Macro lenses

They may be small, but these deceptive little doodads will open up your camera phone in a big way. Give the gift of focal length with this great little stocking stuffer. From $25


It’s beefier than an iPhone lens, but Lightroom will revolutionize the way you edit photos. Period. This could be life-changing, folks. What will you do with all that free time? $249

Eye-Fi Connect X2

Wireless photo transfers from your camera to your computer (or your SmugMug gallery!)  Need we say more? $49.99

Moo Mini Cards

It’s never too late to make an earth-shattering, job-booking first impression. MOO prints up gorgeous, thick, smooth, pro-grade business cards in funky little sizes. They’re business cards with a twist.  We love usin’ ‘em! From $19.99

Tickets to Sandy Puc’s The Power of Passion Photography Tour

The best investment is education. Treat yourself (or a friend) to an invaluable seminar that will kick start your business and give you an edge. They’re starting in early 2011 so snag a seat and don’t miss out. $99


Spice up your photos by turning them into arresting, hands-free videos. No more snoozing through your holiday slideshows, cuz even grandma will be dancing to your tunes.

You pick the theme. You pick the music. Animoto does the rest. $30/year

Gift Certificate for Kevin Kubota Image Tools

Inspire your photo friends with custom filters, actions and other creative image tools.  Their workflow is worth it. From $50

3-in-1 iPad Camera Connector

Don’t let a perfectly good iPad go to waste. Load photos directly to it from your camera and free up more space for shooting those holiday party shenanigans. $29.99

Re-Stickable Wall Decal Frames

A fun and totally non-permanent way to dress up plain spaces with your best faces.  Change your mind? Peel it off and pick a new spot. We use them to decorate Smuggy Central! From $20

If you’re still stumped, don’t forget to check out ClubSmug for awesome, exclusive deals on photo-centric goodies. Log in and tell them Smuggy sent you.

We hope our list has refueled your gift-buying mojo. And if you’ve already done all your shopping, we just helped you get a 12-month start on next year.

Here’s to making photographers happy together!

The SmugMug Family