On this article:

  • SmugMug is a component picture sharing, half file supervisor, and half web site builder designed particularly for photographers.
  • Photographers and videographers can use the location merely as a strategy to exhibit their work and get extra purchasers, and even as a strategy to promote prints, picture books, and different image-based memorabilia to clients all throughout the globe.
  • Amongst its vary of options are thoughtfully designed portfolio templates, seamless picture import capabilities, limitless and protected cloud storage, and end-to-end gross sales help.

Professionals:

  • Straightforward and fast set-up
  • Clear, minimalist, and mobile-ready portfolio templates
  • Superior picture import perform, together with Lightroom integration
  • Limitless cloud storage
  • Security and privateness options, like watermarks and right-click disabling
  • Handy gross sales platform with analytics

Cons:

  • No free SmugMug plans
  • Web site customization can take some getting used to.

A superb photographer wants a great eye, some tools to shoot with, and, relying on the type of work they do, the power to be there when issues occur or the creativity to make issues occur. However so as to succeed right this moment, a great photographer additionally wants a portfolio web site.

That is the place SmugMug, a code-free web site builder for photographers, is available in. A number one pictures platform since 2002, the location acts like your personal customizable on-line gallery area, letting you show — and promote — your photographs securely and simply in knowledgeable, customized web site. 

SmugMug

The Fundamentals

The SmugMug web site introduces itself this manner: “SmugMug is your do-it-all picture place. Maintain each pixel protected, share them securely with whoever you need, or use our gross sales platform to earn a living promoting prints and downloads.”

And, regardless of its considerably silly-sounding identify, the corporate takes this promise critically. Although many different platforms will let you construct your personal web site with little coding talent or expertise, SmugMug pays particular consideration to the wants and needs of photographers — whether or not you’re simply beginning out or seeking to develop a longtime pictures enterprise.

Except for the fundamentals of web site making, you additionally get a photograph group and storage platform with its personal modest picture lab, in addition to an eCommerce platform that takes care of the nitty-gritty particulars of gross sales for you, from funds processing all the way in which to delivery.

Who Is It For?

Whether or not you’re seeking to make a pictures web site only for enjoyable, for revenue, or for each, then SmugMug has the options that may aid you do exactly that. You possibly can in all probability additionally use it in the event you’re a designer, painter, or every other type of visible artist, however the core demographic the service caters to is absolutely in pictures and videography.

So if you’re a photographer or videographer, then maintain studying.

What Can You Do With It?

You need to use it as a type of storefront to showcase your work with completely different purchasers and companies. For skilled photographers and videographers, there’s even a perform that permits you to share non-public or password-protected galleries, so you possibly can present draft work to purchasers or collaborate with companions.

The limitless storage additionally comes with a backup service, so you possibly can relaxation simple realizing that your onerous work is protected and, due to SmugMug’s cell app, accessible always.

In case you’re seeking to earn a living on-line and promote prints, then the platform additionally takes care of the eCommerce processes for you, too. You simply have to set your personal costs and print sizes.

Except for prints, you can too have your photographs printed on mugs and aprons. From there, SmugMug handles funds, printing and delivery for a small fee.

A Rundown of SmugMug’s Highly effective Options

Straightforward-Peasy Set-up

Creating an account and your very personal web site on the SmugMug platform is a breeze — particularly in comparison with different web site builders like Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix. Actually, the toughest step would in all probability simply be selecting which photographs in your gallery you’d prefer to showcase.

To get began, all it’s good to do is to click on on the inexperienced ‘Begin Doing’ button. This allows you to start on a 14-day trial, with out having to enter any bank card or fee particulars. You simply want to offer your identify, e-mail handle, and a password. And from there, you go straight to selecting out a theme.

Then, the platform prompts you to add some photographs. SmugMug takes these and locations them within the theme you simply selected, and tada — you will have a portfolio web site.

You’ll even be invited to decide on a URL, and it’ll appear to be: [your name].smugmug.com on the handle bar of your browser. You may also point out if you wish to promote photographs. For these, you possibly can resolve originally, or skip for from time to time come again to it afterward.

All the course of is refreshingly simple and fast, with none difficult types or complicated code. From there, you possibly can tweak the web site on the platform’s editor, so you possibly can customise your web site additional.

Now, the editor interface takes a little bit of getting used to, particularly relating to manipulating the blocks of content material in your web site draft. However for a platform designed to be each a photograph administration software and an internet site builder, SmugMug manages to do each effectively.

Plus, it’s fairly simple to navigate when you’ve gotten the hold of it — and it positive beats having to study CSS and HTML to make issues look good.

Straightforward Import and Nice Picture High quality on Safe, Limitless Cloud Storage

A part of the set-up course of we’ve already touched on is picture importing, however SmugMug’s import perform is so good that it’s price its personal part.

For starters, you don’t have to fret about storage: A SmugMug account offers you limitless cloud storage in your information. Pictures might be as much as 200 MB every, whereas 1080p movies might be so long as 20 minutes.

In case you’re already storing and displaying your work on-line, then SmugMug means that you can hyperlink your present accounts and import photographs straight from websites like Flickr, Dropbox, and Amazon Drive with only one click on. (Yup, it’s that simple.)

You may also import photographs out of your telephone or pill utilizing the SmugMug app, accessible at no cost on each Android and iOS. In case your information are in your desktop, then you possibly can add these to the platform simply, too, with the location’s drag-and-drop function.

For individuals who use Adobe Lightroom, SmugMug additionally has a neat Lightroom Plug-in that permits you to create and handle galleries from the Lightroom program itself. This may be particularly helpful in the event you’re working occasions like weddings, as you’re capable of add your last photographs even earlier than company depart the reception.

As soon as your work is on-line, you possibly can then handle your photographs and movies through the platform’s built-in file supervisor. It comes with some modest modifying capabilities like cropping, and allows you to set up your photographs into galleries.

It’s additionally price noting that the picture high quality is excellent, even on high-pixel displays. Certain, this may increasingly sound like a given on an image-sharing platform, however you’d be stunned at how different platforms can lack on this regard. Relating to ruining stunning photographs, Instagram is a infamous serial offender with its picture compression algorithm, whereas platforms like Zenfolio can lose picture high quality for bigger screens.

Photographers also can relaxation simple realizing that SmugMug’s down-sampling is fairly nice, too: When sizing down photographs from their full decision, the picture high quality and sharpness keep the identical. You even have the choice of turning off picture compression if you wish to.

As for security and safety, SmugMug permits photographers so as to add watermarks and disable right-clicking on their web site, which will help forestall web site guests from stealing your photographs.

Furthermore, as of 2021, SmugMug customers also can add RAW information for storage.

Effectively Thought-Out Templates

SmugMug’s template gallery consists of 26 designs, which sounds drastically fewer than, say, Wix’s library of 800+ templates, however that’s not essentially a nasty factor.

As a result of the platform has a extra particular area of interest, there’s no have to churn out tons of of templates for various industries. Plus, it saves new customers the effort of digging by dozens upon dozens of choices earlier than selecting one (and perhaps switching to a different a couple of days later). 

For the 26 templates that it does have for various sorts of photographers, SmugMug has made positive that all of them make the consumer’s photographs shine. They’re all fairly minimalist, fashionable, and clear, designed to make your photographs and movies look pretty much as good as doable.

And that is no small matter: Research present that 38% of customers will depart your web site if it’s ugly. 

Highly effective Customization

From these templates, customers have a major quantity of freedom to vary up their portfolios. You possibly can customise fonts, colours, sizes, margins, and fonts, and tweak the look of your web site utilizing the platform’s block system. This allows you to drag and drop gadgets like galleries and textual content into place, with out ever having to take a look at a single line of code.

In case you do have some coding expertise and have the time and power to make use of it, SmugMug additionally offers you the dear freedom to make use of customized CSS and HTML. This makes the customization choices practically limitless.

You may also customise your area by both connecting your SmugMug web site to at least one you already personal, or buy a site straight by the platform. This fashion, you’re not eternally caught with [your name].smugmug.com.

Promoting and eCommerce

As soon as your web site is all arrange, you can too begin promoting digital and bodily prints of your work. SmugMug works straight with 4 labs, particularly:

Except for Loxley, which ships prints all through Europe, these labs can cater to clients all all over the world. Because the account proprietor and printseller, you will have the choice of selecting which labs you’d prefer to promote your prints with, however you possibly can’t actually go improper with any of them.

Except for prints, you possibly can promote wall artwork, picture books, and different keepsakes.

The platform itself helps 10 currencies and allows you to set your personal costs for every product. You possibly can even arrange bundle offers for the completely different merchandise you supply, which might be particularly helpful for occasion photographers, although the supply of a few of these capabilities will rely on the type of plan you buy (extra on this under). 

These capabilities might be particularly helpful in the event you’re simply beginning out and do not know learn how to promote your work. That’s as a result of SmugMug takes care of every thing else — you’ll by no means have to fret about coping with suppliers, packing, and guaranteeing supply achievement.

Do be aware although that in alternate for this service, the location takes 15% of the earnings of each sale you make. It is a bit increased than the likes of, say, Zenfolio, however it’s a small distinction of 3-5%. The advantage of it’s that the corporate is fairly clear about that 15%, and even enables you to construct your worth record with it in thoughts.

Works and Seems to be Nice on Cellular

One other neat function is SmugMug’s mobile-friendly method. From importing your photographs to setting your worth record, the platform can be utilized on-the-go by its app, which is accessible on each iOS and Android methods.

This may be particularly helpful whenever you’re collaborating with companions or seeking to ship photographs straight to purchasers — there’s no have to need to lug round a laptop computer or wait to get house to your desktop.

Plus, the web site you’ll make on the platform robotically adjusts to completely different display sizes, so that you received’t have to fret about making a mobile-friendly model of the identical portfolio. 

Analytics for Enhancing Your Enterprise

That will help you ensure you’re getting probably the most out of your SmugMug web site, the platform additionally offers you entry to detailed analytics in its “Stats” perform.

Right here, you’ll be capable of see your web site’s complete views, referrers, gallery and picture traits, and so forth, so that you get a way of how effectively every picture or video in your personalized web site is performing. Over time, this will help you study what sorts of content material to function to get probably the most views and gross sales.

SmugMug’s analytics feed additionally ties in with Google Analytics and StatCounter help, which give much more element on the behaviors and preferences of your web site guests. This fashion, you possibly can check out completely different settings to search out the one which’ll lead the most individuals to your digital retailer.

Useful Person Help

Final however not least, SmugMug offers a complete help service — starting from searchable and detailed guides, to a assist chat perform (with responses “from an precise human,” the location guarantees).

The guides are so thoughtfully made that you simply’ll seemingly discover the reply to no matter you’re questioning about in both the articles or the video tutorials, that are additionally accessible on SmugMug’s YouTube channel. These even present eCommerce suggestions and inspirational materials in your subsequent shoots.

Our One Critique

The one critique we’d lodge on the web site is that there’s no free plan exterior of the 14-day free trial, not like with different web site builders. After the two-week trial interval, you’ll be requested to select from one of many platform’s 4 plans, that are:

  • Primary: $9 per 30 days, or $75 per yr
  • Energy: $13 per 30 days, or $110 per yr
  • Portfolio: $28 per 30 days, or $225 per yr
  • Professional: $42 per 30 days, or $360 per yr

However, it is very important be aware that for these costs, you do get numerous bang in your buck.

The Primary plan alone offers you the luxurious of limitless cloud storage, a customized pictures web site, detailed privateness and safety controls, apps, and 24/7 help.

These seeking to eliminate the “.smugmug.com” should go for the Energy plan, whereas these hoping to take their pictures enterprise to new heights will profit probably the most from the Portfolio or Professional plans — the latter of which even enables you to supply your clients gift-wrapping choices.

The Backside Line

Nowadays, there are many choices to select from in the event you’re seeking to make a functioning web site with out subjecting your self to the dizzying ordeal of CSS and HTML. However in the event you’re a photographer or videographer hoping to create knowledgeable web site that shops, showcases, and/or sells your work simply, then you possibly can’t go improper with SmugMug.

Its array of storage and advertising options means you should utilize it for merely storing and sharing your photographs and movies, and even run a profitable enterprise to promote your work. 

There may be, nonetheless, the shortage of a free plan to consider, as that may be a barrier for rookies attempting to get off the bottom. However in the event you’re keen to shell out a little bit each month (or get large financial savings by paying yearly), then the options on SmugMug are greater than price it after you’ve mastered the platform’s distinctive and highly effective instruments.

In case you’re nonetheless on the fence, you possibly can see these instruments for your self utilizing SmugMug’s 14-day free trial — no bank card data required.

Disclosure: This put up might include affiliate hyperlinks. Once you purchase one thing utilizing these hyperlinks, we might earn a small fee at no further value to you.

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