Trumpeter Media is a participant in the Smugmug Affiliates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to keysearch.co and affiliated sites. Other affiliate links may be used on this SmugMug Review, but they do not impact on the price that you pay (in fact you get to use my discounts!) and they help me to get this information to you for free.
SmugMug is a paid hosting platform for images and videos on which users can upload photos and videos. SmugMug was created for photographers, but anyone who wants their photos and video displayed in a gallery can use it. I have used SmugMug for some time now, and I find it useful to keep all my photos in one place where they are easily shareable to my blog, social media, and photo editing apps. Given my experience with SmugMug, in this guide, I will review SmugMug’s most prominent features and the pros and cons for the service.
SmugMug Review – The Pros
SmugMug is really user friendly. You can create your account and build your visual gallery with your work in minutes. The service is easy and fast to use. You are asked to choose your SmugMug domain name and select whether you plan to sell photos. Your domain name is branded with SmugMug – such as yourgallery.smugmug.com. Mine is amytrumpeter.smugmug.com.
If you already own a domain name, you can change your DNS settings to match the SmugMug site. These options can be skipped, and you can go back to them.
After that, you can upload your photos and publish. You can easily import your photos from your computer, phone, and the web, such as Drobox or Flickr. Once uploaded, you can organize your photos into galleries and folders.
You also have the option to choose one of their portfolio templates. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your cover and profile photo fit. You also have the option to do all this from your phone because SmugMug is mobile-responsive.
If you’re a photographer, then you’re probably a fan of Adobe’s Lightroom. If you use Lightroom often, consider the SmugMug Lightroom Plug-In. This plug-in is free and once it’s added to Lightroom, you can create and manage your SmugMug galleries in Lightroom, even if you’re offline. How convenient is that?
Another plug-in that I’m a big fan of is WordPress SmugMug plug-in. From WordPress, you can link your SmugMug photos to upload to your website and articles. Ever since I added this plug-in, my WordPress site speed has significantly improved. My site loads faster, the bounce rate has decreased, and I can reuse the photos easily without having to upload them in my articles every time.
Don’t forget to download the SmugMug app to your smartphone so that you can easily upload your mobile photography to your SmugMug account. It’s always great to have your pictures backed up.
The 24/7 help support team is really reliable. You can contact the team with your SmugMug troubles at any time, as they will reply promptly. Besides the help support, SmugMug has a database of various topics like content management, selling your prints, privacy, etc. Further, you also have access to SmugMug’s video tutorials. For community discussions, you can go to SmugMug’s forum dgrin for advice on photography.
Make Money Selling your Photos!
SmugMug allows you to create a whole new income stream by selling your photos. It allows you to customize price lists and always keep 85% of your profits. Then charge people for an event and let them download every photo, or allow them to hand select their favorites for bulk download. Sell prints, gifts, and digital downloads seamlessly and securely with a fully hosted shopping cart and checkout.
SmugMug Review – Cons
There is no free plan for SmugMug, so you have to pay for the service. However, you do get a free two-week trial.
Here are the subscription costs:
Basic – $48/year or $5.99/month
For the Basic plan, here is what you get:
Upload unlimited numbers of photos and videos – and have them all backed up with Amazon Web Services
Sell photo prints, photo books and photo gifts, fulfilled by SmugMug’s printing partners
Track your visitors and sales using built-in analytics tools
Get unlimited bandwidth – so you can attract as many visitors as you want
SEO (search engine optimization) tools to help push your site up Google’s rankings
24/7 email support
Power – $72/year or $8.99/month
For the Power plan, here is what you get:
- All of the Basic plan perks
- Sell prints and photo gifts
- Create private client galleries
- Get the full choice of templates
- Customize templates using HTML and CSS
- Use your own domain name
Portfolio – $180/year or $23.99/month
For the Portfolio plan, here is what you get:
- All of the Power plan perks
- Sell digital downloads and framed prints
Pro – $360/year or $41.99/month
For the Pro plan, here is what you get:
- All of Portfolio plan perks
If you are serious about your work, then a paid website to display your visual art is worth it. Out of all, the Power plan is the best value. If you have a big portfolio and plan to go commercial, consider the Portfolio or Pro plans. Which plan you decide on, registering for an annual contract can save you money instead of signing up for the monthly contracts.
SmugMug does not offer web templates, like Wix or Weebly. The only templates available are portfolios to display your photos. On the bright side, these portfolio templates are designed to optimize your images so they load quickly. Your portfolio can also be used to sell your work online, though you don’t have to. The portfolio templates, though limited, are aesthetically pleasing because they are modern-looking and minimalist. Having less options can make it easier to select a template that looks good to you without wasting time scrolling through pages of templates. These templates also vary as some suit different types of photographers. Some are suited for pro photographers as they want to display full screen photos, some are for beginner photographers with a small portfolio, and some are designed for photo bloggers.
If you don’t like the look of the templates, there are some options to tweak them. You can delete and move blocks around to display your work the way you want. If you know code, HTML and CSS editor is available but that’s for the Power plan or higher.
With limited templates, comes the lack of mobile preview mode. Other competitors like Wix or Weebly have the option to design your site for mobile, but SmugMug does not. This can be a deal breaker for many people, as mobile usage is becoming more common than web users. Though there is no option to edit your gallery for mobile, your gallery does automatically translate to mobile browsers. You can try it with my gallery. Go on your mobile and search amytrumpeter.smugmug.com. For reference, here is what is looks like.
SmugMug Review – Summary
This SmugMug review mostly focused on SmugMug’s most prominent features. Though it lacks in versatility, such as templates and mobile mode, it is user friendly in the aspect that it’s easy to set up your gallery, and not waste a lot of effort on the setup. The service also hosts your images to be shared as an ecommerce store, to your WordPress site, or Lightroom. This service was designed by photographers, for photographers after all. Personally, I love to have a SmugMug account on the ‘Power Package’ as backup photo storage and embedding into WordPress. I hope you found this guide helpful in your decision whether to set up your portfolio on SmugMug.
Remember that you too can make money as a SmugMug affiliate…