Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I love Smugmug

I realize my customers may never know or even care what or who Smugmug is.  But Smugmug has been a very important part of my life for the past 5 years now and I believe every photographer could benefit in similar fashion.

So what is Smugmug?  Smugmug is the secret behind my beautiful website:

It's the company that hosts my website.  It's the company that creates and maintains the software that runs my website.  It's the company behind the presentation of my images to my customers.  It's the company that facilitates the delivery of my prints to my clients.

What do I love about Smugmug?
  • I LOVE that it saves me TIME!  The thing is, I am both a software engineer and a photographer.  I love both professions and don't want to give up either one.  The #1 thing I generally sacrifice is sleep.  So you can imagine that I spend a lot of effort looking for ways to make what I do more efficient.  Smugmug is the secret sauce of my online efficiency. YES! I could write my own software, create and maintain my own website, but then ... when would I sleep?  And how can I, alone, ever produce the quality and quantity of software updates that the entire Smugmug team is constantly producing?  When I want to work on photography, I don't want to think about coding, and vice versa. And that's the way I like it.
  • I love that creating beautiful looking portfolios for my customers is as simple as creating a new folder and uploading the images.   Drag and drop - that's all it takes!
  • I love that Smugmug is customizable.  That, while my website is simple (remember that "time" issue?) others have Smugmug based websites that look completely different from mine. 
  • I love that Smugmug takes care of the Presentation, Sales, Credit Card Processing, Printing and Delivery of my images.  And their awesome customer support has even gone to the extent of replacing prints that a customer didn't want even when the problem was clearly the customer's fault.
  • I love that Smugmug, with it's unlimited uploads, unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth, has effectively become my off-site backup. I do, of course, have local backups that I maintain. But should my studio ever burn down or my computer be stolen, all of my images are within reach of the Internet.  My customer's precious moments are guarded for a lifetime.
  • I LOVE the updates.  As I mentioned above, I simply would never have time to produce the quantity and quality of updates that the team of Smugmug programmers are producing.  From stream lining the ordering process of pictures, to the coupon codes, gallery presentations, favorites, packages, it's a constant stream of upgrades.  All ... at NO extra cost.
  • I LOVE the quality of the prints I get through Smugmug.  I have used Bay Photo for my prints for a long time, and Smugmug now uses Bay Photo to print my images for me.  It's an awesome combination!
  • I love that I can use my own domain name.  That customers don't see ... instead they see which helps them identify with me and my products.
  • I love that I can set my own prices.  
  • I love that I can offer the products I want to deliver.
  • I love their technical support.  The times that I have had a question or needed help, I have emailed their tech support.  I swear, I have never waited more than 15 minutes for an answer ... and that has been true whether I wrote the question in the middle of the day or the middle of the night.  I have no idea when those folks sleep!
  • Speaking of cost... the cost of a Smugmug Pro account is a mere $150/year.  That may seem like a lot if you're just starting out. But if you're generating any revenue at all, $150 is cheap service for all that Smugmug delivers (including being my online backup service!).  Plus, if you look below, you'll find my coupon code for signing up to save $5 off a membership.  And when you use it, it saves me some money on my renewal. To be honest, the one and only time that I ever paid full membership costs was the very first year.  I have even had a year that was completely paid for by referrals.
So if you're looking to create your very own Photography Website, I can wholeheartedly recommend Smugmug.  As I said, I've been with them for 5 years.  I've never been disappointed yet.

And now here's the promised $5 off coupon code to get you started:  Yi9EsaJKWupHM

So hop on over to and sign up.   I promise, it'll be worth your "time".

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