Sharing pictures of my children and special moments with friends and family is one of the great advantages of digital photography. I just love to be able to post some pictures online and have them instantly available to our extended family half way around the world. It’s just really cool! But when it comes down to choosing which online service to use, the choices are way too many. How do you pick the right service for you? Today, I’m starting my series of articles that will evaluate some of the popular sharing services available today. The first service available that I would like to talk about today is SmugMug. Recently I had the privilege of having an online interview with Sean Rogan from SmugMug. Read along to see why Sean thinks SmugMug is the coolest service for sharing your pictures online.
Question: What is SmugMug and why is it a cool place to use for sharing pictures online? What do you have that nobody else has?
Honestly, we hate blowing our horn, and we offer so much that it’s almost impossible to single out particulars, – but if I had to name the most important, our slogan says it all, “Your photos look better here.” That is a core of what we do and we pour our hearts into it. Big, beautiful gallery displays to showcase your work and ZERO advertising around your priceless photos, (or anywhere on SmugMug!)
I could go on all day, but you’d likely run out of page space, we’d rather let you decide. The best way to learn about SmugMug is to dive right in to the fourteen-day free trial – just open an account! – ya can’t beat FREE!
Is SmugMug the coolest service for sharing pictures online?
SmugMug offers three great account options, designed for all levels of user, from Soccer Mom, to Serious Amateur to International Professional. You can compare the benefit/cost of all the levels here https://www.organizepictures.com/go/smugmug/photos/photo-sharing-features/
Pro level accounts feature full commercialization. At that level, you can price and sell your photos for profit, and we handle your order fulfillment from start-to-finish > so that you have more time to shoot the pictures!
You can get started on SmugMug right now by following this link: https://secure.smugmug.com/signup.mg
Question: Let’s say someone creates a trial account. How easy is it to upload pictures to SmugMug? Are pictures made smaller by SmugMug or do they go in as full resolution?
Uploading your images is a breeze on SmugMug… you can create new galleries or upload to existing ones with just a few clicks using our SIMPLE web based uploader.
Once you activate the 14-day free trial, you can have photos displayed on your SmugMug site in minutes –
Want more options? You got ‘em!
You have access to several other upload applications, all with a little something different, and there are plug-ins for many applications for direct uploading from within – including Adobe’s Lightroom, PhotoShop, iPhoto, Picasa and more!
Unlike many other photo sharing sites, we NEVER change or compress or ‘shrink’ your original files – we store and protect your ORIGINALS just as you send them to us. To that end, you can ALWAYS download/save your original photos back to your system (at no additional cost), it comes back to you just as you sent it to us.
This would probably be a good time to mention that SmugMug accounts feature UNLIMITED storage & bandwidth. You will never run out of room on SmugMug – and this is all included in the low annual fee.
And finally – if you have ANY trouble at all figuring things out, if you get stuck or are struggling with ANYTHING on the site, Support Heroes are standing by 365 days a year to assist. You’ll get a friendly reply, usually within hours – we’re real people and Smuggers too!
Question: How about reading image metadata? Does SmugMug read EXIF information including EXIF GPS positioning information? How about reading IPTC keywords and possibly XMP style image metadata?
Question:Can a user see their pictures on a map if their pictures have GPS information in the EXIF metadata portion?
To put it simply, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
We preserve and integrate IPTC, EXIF, and other metadata – and you even have the option to make this information available to your guests (or not).
We’ll read and display your keywords and captions as well!
And we provide Google Map integration if you wish to take advantage of GPS and location data.
Question: How can a user organize their pictures on SmugMug? In addition, what is the best way to organize one’s pictures on SmugMug? And even better, how do you like to organize your pictures on SmugMug? What are the features you use most?
Wow – this is a tough group of questions, but only because SmugMug provides SO MANY options – the best response is to turn the question into a statement: A user can organize their photos on SmugMug in ANY WAY they wish!
We provide a great hierarchy and multiple ‘sorting’ choices, allowing you to catalog and organize according to just about any parameter – from automated sorts that will read the metadata and line images up accordingly (Date taken, modified, uploaded etc), to full-on manual ‘drag and drop’ arrangement. How you choose to utilize these great options, and to what degree, is up to the individual.
Question: Can anybody download full resolution pictures or can I filter who can view and download my pictures?
Again, the choice is yours. Yes and/or No depending on your wishes.
I mentioned earlier that a site owner can always download their original full-resolution photo files. If the site owner wants to make these available for their guests, no problem. If they want to ‘block’ all downloads, just change the setting.
Perhaps a site owner wants to allow downloads of ‘lower-res’ image files? But not hi-res or originals? No worries. Toggle a few settings and they’re all set.
In fact, with a PRO level account, you have the option to sell Licensed Digital Downloads for Commercial and Personal use and at various resolutions > 1MPix, 4MPix and Original.
More details on this here: https://www.organizepictures.com/go/smugmug/help/sell-digital-downloads
Question: Does SmugMug provide RSS feeds?
Absolutely! As with every feature on SmugMug, the choice to use RSS feeds is up to the individual site owner, and if ‘active,’ subscribers can receive notices for eleven distinct targets:
- User homepage — The feed includes the most recently modified galleries.
- User gallery — The feed includes the most recently added photos.
- User keywords — The feed includes the most recently added photos for a keyword.
- User popular photos — The most popular photos for a SmugMug user.
- User search — The top results for a given search term within a user’s site.
- User comments — The most recent comments in your galleries.
- SmugMug keywords — The most recent photos for a keyword on the entire site.
- SmugMug’s popular photos today — The photos most highly ranked on the ‘today’ list.
- SmugMug’s all-time most popular photos.
- Most popular photos by category — Get this on the browse page by picking your favorite category.
- Search results — The top search results for a given search term on the entire site.
Question: How does a user add security to the way they share pictures on SmugMug?
We take security very seriously here – no worries – As far as ‘filtering’ who can/cannot see your photos, some folks wants to lock ’em down, and others want to share with the world, so we provide a plethora of options – you can lock up your whole site with a password for guests, you can lock individual galleries, you can ‘hide’ individual photos. We even have an exclusive feature we call “Unlisted.’ This setting makes a gallery ‘invisible’ to a casual guest, but a guest to whom you provide the exact URL/address can see it clear as day.
Power and Pro accounts feature ‘right-click’ protection and Pro accounts have a great ‘watermarking’ feature for added security!
Question: Is it easy to print pictures from SmugMug? How expensive is it?
Super easy! Ordering prints is as simple as clicking the BUY button – selecting the image, a prints size, and checking out. Just like any other product purchase on the web.
Print prices vary depending on size, paper, lab choice and product.
Question: What other printing products (photobooks, mugs, etc) you provide for your users?
We offer soooo many products.
Aside from an AMAZING selection of standard print sizes, and specialty printing including mounted, wrapped and rolled canvas, box-framed prints and photo-cards, SmugMug offers books though respected printers like BLURB! Business cards through MOO! Calendars and posters through MyCanvas and more more more…
We have some really great catalog pages that show them all off – by all means, take a look for yourself!
Essentials for organizing your digital photosOver the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.
If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.