By UK Award Winning Photographer Rebecca Goutorbe
Disclaimer – This review & website contains affiliate links to the products and services SmugMug offer, you won’t pay any more for the products or services they offer but I may get a commission Thank you
This SmugMug review was updated in January 2021. As a Dog Photographer I have used SmugMug websites for over 5 years. I have used every different plan SmugMug offer and I am currently using the SmugMug Pro account.
Protect, share & sell photos with SmugMug
At one point I had three SmugMug websites. One was for photography, one I used as my dog breeder website and the other was for my dog grooming business. This is because they are so easy to use and the image quality is just brilliant. Whatever device people are viewing the photos or the website on the images look fantastic. The websites worked great for each purpose.
By using a SmugMug website for my dog grooming business I managed to easily get it to the top of page 1 of the google search engine results page in my local area. The website was on page 3 until I simply filled in the boxes which SmugMug provide on the pages and galleries. It was that easy.
Private online galleries
I now use, and have always used my SmugMug website for the private online galleries feature which SmugMug are known for. The private online galleries are the galleries of images which I send to clients after the photo shoot on a link via email.
Photographers alternative to IPS (In Person Sales)
Sharing a private online of gallery of photos to a client is the best alternative to IPS for a photographer. If you don’t know what IPS is, it is ‘In Person Sales’. My SmugMug website has always been part of my photographers tool kit. But throughout 2020 proved to be invaluable once Covid-19 arrived. Once the Covid restrictions eased in my local area, I was still able to get the Outdoor Photo Shoot done. Then send out the photo galleries for clients to view the photos and purchase the images safely at home.
Basic plan SmugMug
I also use the website for the unlimited photo storage which all the SmugMug plans offer. Both these features, the photo storage and private online galleries are available with the basic plan from SmugMug. The basic plan from SmugMug is also the cheapest plan for just under £50 per year.
Who is a SmugMug website for?
Anyone can have a SmugMug website, they are designed for professional photographers, and enthusiasts, but anyone who takes photos and wants to display them on a website or create a portfolio for their images would be suited to a SmugMug website.
Securely store photos online
Anyone who wants to sell their photos online, or wants a safe secure place place to store an unlimited amount of photos and videos would benefit from a SmugMug website.
What features do SmugMug websites have to offer?
Free SmugMug website templates
SmugMug have a number of easy to use website templates with customisation options to choose from with drag and drop blocks which you can add to the page like text, titles, videos, galleries, single photos and more. You can change the colour of the background, change the style of the text, you can customise a lot, just click the customize button in the top right of your screen and the customiser will open up.
Unlimited Photo Storage
With any SmugMug account you get the unlimited photo storage, which is worth the plan fee itself. The file types you can upload to SmugMug are Jpeg, PNG & GIF with the max photo size being 200MB, and the max video size 3 GB. For the price or less than the price of an external hard drive you can have a basic SmugMug plan and safe secure storage for all your photos.
Secure photo backup
Believe me external hard drives don’t last forever. I found this out the hard way this year with not one but two external hard drives which completely broke. Hard drives are great when they work but when they don’t as a photographer you are in trouble. Every photographer needs secure photo backup.
Download the SmugMug app on your device and you can access all your photos, galleries, videos straight from your phone, and download photos. You can upload to your SmugMug account from your phone, add to a photo gallery or create a new gallery all from your phone also you can order prints and photo products.
Mobile phone photo app
By having the SmugMug mobile phone app it is so handy when you have private online galleries you have sent out to clients. You can access the galleries if you need to straight from your phone without having to wait to get to a desktop it’s brilliant.
Sell photos online
With a Portfolio or Pro SmugMug account you can start selling your photos and videos online, set your price and sell. The price you set for each product is the same across all your galleries with the Portfolio account. You can sell digital images, prints and photo products. You can choose from the products available which one’s you would like to sell, all the products are from the best professional labs (in my opinion). You keep 85% of the mark up price, and you can switch the shopping cart on and off different galleries.
Wedding photographers website
This feature is a fantastic feature SmugMug websites offer which is great for all photographers, beginners to professional. Perfect for event and Wedding photographers to increase sales easily.
Share SmugMug gallery on Facebook
When I was photographing the Gundog events for the Kennel Club it definitely helped to increased the sales from the events being able to sell direct from the website. Once all the editing was done and the photos were uploaded into the galleries, I would share the links to the gallery of photos on Facebook. I put a link on the home page of the website to the galleries from the event and everyone could go to the website to order digital images to download and order prints from the events. This was all done from the website and paid through the website too.
Uploading to SmugMug gallery
After photographing dogs for 5 days, then editing the photos and uploading to SmugMug you just want to be finished. Although you want to sell your photos after an event, the thought of then sorting emails and orders out, ordering prints from suppliers and resizing images again into web files and high res files. It was so much easier to just switch on the shopping cart on the website. Then let people order straight from the website.
When you drop ship you sell an item from your website but you don’t physically have the product. Once you receive an order on your website you then order from the supplier and have it sent to the person who ordered from your website. You are like the middle man
Pro's of drop-shipping
You don’t need a big warehouse to store any stock
You don’t need to layout a large amount of money to set up.
There is no picking, packing and delivery to sort out.
Con's of drop-shipping
The problem with drop shipping is that unless you have a unique product you are competing on price with everyone trying to sell the same type of product. Also you are relying on suppliers to have enough stock for when you order and to deliver items on time.
Drop-ship prints with SmugMug
By using SmugMug you can drop ship photographic prints and products. Photographers have been drop shipping photographic prints and products for years through SmugMug. It is how photographers work they send the products direct from the print labs to the client. SmugMug offer colour correction on the price list for the products which you can leave on or switch off.
Professional print labs
The suppliers are awarding print labs who you are dealing with so the quality of the products is top class. The products you are selling are unique photographic products once your photos are added to them. They are not going to run out of stock because they are made to order. You are not competing on price with anyone and you don’t even have to put the order in.Once the person buying from your website has ordered in thats it, its ordered. The prints and photographic products are made to order, packed then drop shipped out all done from your SmugMug website.
Included with all the SmugMug plans -
You can’t use your own domain name with the basic plan, but you don’t need to worry about any extra cost for a domain name either or anything else to do with domain names.
SmugMug Power Plan
as the list above plus -
as the lists above basic & power plus -
The most popular plan if you want to start selling photos online
What does that mean?
Turnkey storefront and e-commerce-optimised galleries means that you don’t have to build an online shop to sell your photo’s
– Just choose what photographic products you would like to sell online from the huge range of different sizes of, wall art and prints. You can sell web files, high res and the original digital images and then there are mugs, mouse mats etc.
– Set your own price for all the products you have chosen
– Choose which galleries you would like to sell photos from, then switch on the shopping cart for that gallery or galleries.
– Sell your photos.
– Wait for an email from SmugMug which say’s Cha-ching! Who loves ya baby that email means you’ve made a sale, sold a photo and made some money. But SmugMug handle everything, you don’t have to order anything or post anything it is all done for you.
What does that mean?
Set site wide pricing?
– The price you choose for each of the products will be the same for every gallery you apply the shopping cart too, for example you can’t have one gallery with digital download web files at £20 and another gallery with digital download web files at £40 the price you choose for each product is the same price site wide. If you want to be able to have lots of different prices for the same product you can upgrade to the Pro account where you can create custom price lists.
as all the lists above plus-
SmugMug Pro Review
The pro account with SmugMug is for those photographers who need the flexibility to offer money off at the shopping cart, to offer discounts to increase sales and to create custom price lists. The SmugMug Pro account is the perfect plan to do all of this. It’s the ultimate Professional Photographers website.
Selling photos online for beginners
Selling photos online for a beginner is so easy with a SmugMug website. They are not just for pro photographers, I wasn’t a pro when I got my first SmugMug website I was just someone who enjoyed taking photo’s of my own dogs. I had no idea about websites and how they worked. I did want to display my photos online and try to sell them, SmugMug was the easiest start for that.
Professional print labs
Having access to pro print labs was another learning curve on my photography journey, wow the difference in quality. I’ve not been down the high street since to print off a few photo’s, you really need to know the difference between a print and a professional print and the quality of the wall art available!
Event photographers website
I learnt so much by doing the event photography for the Kennel Club, photography wise and after sales. I don’t actually know how I would of sold all the photo’s I did over the 3 years I photographed all the events without the portfolio plan from SmugMug with the shopping cart option. I still don’t think my photo’s have ever been viewed as many times in just a few days as they were when I did my first year with the Gundogs at Chatsworth. I had over 25,000 photo views in just one day. This was a few days after uploading the photos to the galleries and sharing the links.
All the photos get tracked by SmugMug, the views or hits to the photo’s and video’s you load up appear in the stats. This was all new to me and I thought I would take a look at the stats to see if anyone had viewed the images. Yes I think they found them was the answer when I saw the stats.
Selling a few photo’s when you start out as a photographer gives you a confidence boost about your work, but your not going to sell anything if you have nowhere to display it. With SmugMug your photos are displayed at such high image quality too, which is what you really need.
So to finish off my SmugMug review, they are not just a photographers website, they are a great easy to use website platform for anyone with a camera or a business where you need to display images well. Also a great place for photographers to start on their journey. SmugMug make things easy so you can concentrate on improving your photography skills and they deal with the website stuff, find the best reliable suppliers and keep your photos safe.
Thanks for reading my SmugMug review.
No credit card required
You can try SmugMug free for 14 days and you don’t need to enter credit card details either to try it free. But no there is not a free version of SmugMug.
SmugMug is a paid photo sharing platform which can be used for unlimited online image and video storage. With SmugMug you can create a stunning photography portfolio website out of one of the many SmugMug templates there are to choose from. Or you can create your own unique photo website design with a front end drag and drop page builder either way your images will look amazing. There is the option to sell your photos online with SmugMug’s Turnkey storefront and e-commerce-optimised galleries. This means that you don’t have to build an online shop to sell your photo’s. Which makes selling images online so easy.
You get paid your profits once a month from SmugMug. If you are in the UK you are paid via Paypal.
Normal schedule for profit payment is – Automatic for every month where I have at least $500 in unpaid profit by the 1st of the month. But you can change this to Request one time payment – When I have $10 or more in profits, pay it to me the following month. Resume normal schedule after that.
To change the profit payment settings go to > Account Settings > Business > Finances > Payment Schedule
In the UK SmugMug use the print lab Loxley Colour from Scotland for prints and photo products. There are three print types available from the UK print lab which are Lustre, Glossy and Metallic available in every size you could possibly need.
In the US ezprints, bayphoto & whcc
To change your cover photo in SmugMug, go to the top right corner of your SmugMug website.
Click on the square or profile photo.
Next you need
– Edit my profile
– About me
Here is where you can change your cover photo, profile photo and the email address for the contact form.