Maintaining a portfolio website is a lot of work. Keeping track of your backups is a lot of work. Trying to sell prints is also a lot of work.
Combining all three together? Much better! Especially when all the tools are provided to make it easier and manageable.
Those of you who read me regularly know by now that I never stress enough about keeping backups of your work online. Hard drives can fail, work can be lost, but there’s less chance for a big website to suddenly disappear and lose all your images.
Keeping up a beautiful website is also a lot of work, especially if you want a beautiful design, lots of facilities and the ability to sell prints/digital copies.
Smugmug manages to do all that, and in a beautiful way. I’ve been a Smugmug user since October 2010 and frankly, I’m a happy customer. I never encountered any problems or bugs. Hardly any downtime at all too.
But what Smugmug has that many other competitors don’t is: Super Heroes! It has a fantastic support team, always on the listen, and you never feel alone when you run into an issue, or have a specific request. They’ve had their ups and downs with the new redesign, or the price change last year, but they’ve always listened to the customers and provided solutions and new options. I haven’t seen any other website do that. It’s usually a “like it or leave it” policy.
If you are interested in giving SmugMug a try after reading this review, You can get a 20% discount by using the code COLP20 (expires Nov 1, 2013, hurry!) for your first year membership.
So what can Smugmug do?
I – Organize your backups and photo collection:
Every time I’m done editing an image, I upload it to Smugmug in full resolution as a backup. If you ever use Lightroom (you should), there’s even a plugin included to directly upload to SM within the software.
This enables me to have a copy of my final edited image in the cloud, as well as physical hard drives. I can also organize my images in different collections, keyword them for SEO purposes, hide the ones I don’t want to be shown, create private galleries, etc..
II – Create a beautiful website to showcase your portfolio:
A few months ago, Smugmug unveiled a brand new design, with an easier interface to create the website you desire. Before that, you had to have HTML and CSS knowledge to tweak it to your own liking.
Now, it’s all intuitive, very fast and the results are gorgeous. I seriously redesigned my website in less than 30 minutes, without any prior coding knowledge.
These aren’t just your basic templates, but more like a starting design to personalize your website the way you want it. Every font, color, size or gallery can be tweaked and your photos show up in BIG to have the maximum impact.
III – Sell your images in print, digital or various formats:
If you think your images are worth hanging on a wall, you can also decide to sell your images if you go with the Smugmug Pro account. Hey, you can even set your own markup and make a huge profit if you want!
I’m not going to lie, selling prints is difficult and you probably won’t make a lot of money from it. It’s your choice to pay for a Pro account or a Basic account to just store your images and have a beautifully designed personal website. You can check the differences between what each plan offers and their prices on the features page. For $40/year, you really can’t go wrong.
You have multiple choices to backup your photos on the web. I’ve tried many from Flickr to Photoshelter, but I’ve been the happiest with Smugmug as I’ve always felt someone was listening to me. The prices are also VERY affordable and you get to store your valuable images in the cloud and not worry about them.
If you are interested in giving SmugMug a try, You can get a 20% discount by using the code COLP20 (expires Nov 1, 2013, hurry!) for your first year membership.
Try it, and let me know what you think and come visit my own portfolio at http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/ to see how it works.