I was really hesitant to write this blog post on SmugMug because I wasn’t sure I would be able to relay my level of excitement through writing when it came time to talk about this fff-mazing online photo gallery provider. Well, the time has come… I CANNOT keep it in any longer… let’s talk about how SmugMug has helped my wedding photography business & workflow. =]
The most basic plan is $5 which comes out to just $40 a year for UNLIMITED storage. Yes, you heard right. You can store ALL of your clients’ photo galleries without having to worry about staying within a certain storage threshold. SmugMug also has an $8, $20 & $35 plan which includes more features such as themes, html customizations, the ability to use your own domain name, custom watermarks, right-click image protection and the ability to sell your images for profit. I’ve been on their $5 plan since I signed up 3 years ago. Their basic plan gives me everything I need and have not found the need to upgrade.
Galleries Don’t Expire.
I love the fact that I can tell clients that their online gallery stays up forever (unless SmugMug goes out of business which is highly unlikely ;p). Most Miami wedding photographers in my area only offer the gallery for one year so it’s a good selling point when I can say that they will always have access to their wedding images. It acts like a digital album… minus the top grain leather. ;p
Included in my pricing are the digital files (high-resolution jpegs)… every single one of my clients get them. Their $5 plan allows you (the photographer) to request a download link. In about 5 minutes, you will receive an email with a link that, when clicked, will download all of the images from the gallery straight to your computer. I just forward this link to my clients and… boom… I’ve never has to mail out a CD or USB again. The gallery also allows the client to download individual photos which is a great option when you just want to download a few of them. However, it is convenient to have all the images download at once with just a click of a button which is why I love that they include the “digital download” feature in their basic plan… especially when you’re giving your clients’ 600+ images from their wedding day. Can you imagine having to go through each one of those 600+ images on the gallery and downloading each one? Merppp.
Because SmugMug has no storage limit AND they keep your photos up forever, I’ve decided to use it as my main backup for all of my exported jpeg images. SM gives me organized, easy access to all of my galleries/jpeg images. Since I can download an image right from the gallery, I can post to Facebook & Instagram daily (for marketing purposes) because my images are so easy to find, navigate through and download. Also, this method of backup storage for my jpegs frees up room on my external hard drives for my client RAW files.
The best part of SmugMug is that you can customize the appearance of your gallery to look JUST LIKE A PASS GALLERY. There is a setting under the Gallery Appearance options called “Collage Landscape” which will give you the same feel… minus the $29 per event that PASS charges to have a gallery up for only 1 year.
The $5 plan doesn’t allow you to make profit off the images your clients buy from the gallery. If you would like to make profit off these sales, then you would need to upgrade to a higher plan. Since, all of my client’s receive a digital download containing all of their images, the fact that I am not making profit doesn’t really bother me. I am just glad to have a lab that will deliver ultra sharp, good quality prints to my clients if they choose to purchase through their gallery. Sure, most of my clients use their digital high-res files and print elsewhere but SmugMug gives me the ability to guarantee great quality.
They Have An App.
I have access to all of my photos from any mobile device. I can seamlessly show off all of my work through my iPad during face-to-face appointments with a potential bride. I don’t have to lug around my laptop anymore which is much heavier than an iPad.
These are only a few… but main reasons why SmugMug has my heart and why I think it is the best online gallery company for wedding photographers. I have compared them to Zenfolio, Pass, and Pixieset but these others have fallen short on either cost, storage space, download capability and/or gallery expiration.
What online photo gallery provider are you using and are you happy with them?
*DISCLOSURE: SmugMug gives referral discounts to all of their photographers – including me – who are mentioned by new customers. This has zero bearing on the reasons I chose them. Use this SmugMug Coupon Code: po5AJKhudgLxE and receive 20% off your subscription.
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