News and Views from Dave Wilson

Archive for January 16th, 2011

New SmugMug Site

by on Jan.16, 2011, under Photography

Hamilton Pool is a popular and spectacular swimming hole in western Travis County near Austin. The location is dominated by a huge rock overhang formed when the previous cavern roof partly collapsed.

I was fortunately enough recently to win a 1 year subscription to SmugMug, the photo sharing and print-selling site. I had been thinking about joining for a while since the features offered appeared to get round some of the limitations of the printing services I currently use (ImageKind and Fotomoto) and I’m pleased to say that this does indeed appear to be the case. In particular:

  • I can set prices for commercial licensing of images. Up until now, I’ve had pictures on ClusterShot and Getty Images but both of these suffer from problems. ClusterShot gets practically no traffic and I’ve sold only a single image in the whole time I’ve had an account there. Getty, on the other hand, sells images regularly but the photographer payout on each sale is only 20%. SmugMug allows me to set my own pricing for various different types of license and takes only a small commission on each sale. I expect, however, that I will still do most of my licensing “manually” based on email from people who find images on my photoblog or on Flickr but enabling licensing direct from the site is a nice additional offering.
  • I can choose the printing lab I want to fulfill print orders and have choices that are suitable for fine art prints as well as cheaper, higher volume printing for any events I may cover. ImageKind and Fotomoto both price their prints based on a fine art model (which is fine for the majority of the images I want to sell) but don’t offer a cost-effective way for me to publish 500 images of kids’ sporting events and allow parents to buy a couple of dozen 6″x4″ prints.
  • I can upload images into private and public galleries. Images in a private gallery don’t appear on my homepage but I can provide a URL allowing access. Once again, this will be a great feature for any future event photography I do.
  • I can offer a far wider range of print sizes and finishes than with the other providers. This includes larger panoramic sizes which provides me a chance to offer some of my panoramic landscape images for sale.
  • I can offer other interesting products such as mugs, mouse pads, T-shirts, jigsaw puzzles and fridge magnets at reasonable prices.
  • On top of all these benefits, the SmugMug site management features are great. I can upload directly from within Lightroom (as I do for Flickr already) and the site customisation is very straightforward indeed. Finally, my initial experience with their technical support department has been excellent – they got back to me within 30 minutes when I emailed a question last weekend.

    Overall, I’m delighted with the SmugMug experience so far and I invite you to take a wander over and let me know what you think. Alternatively, click the image at the top of the post since it is hosted on SmugMug and links to the same image on their site.

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