SmugMug & How I use it.
SmugMug – The Way I use SmugMug
This page is an overview of how I have integrated SmugMug into my workflow & use it as a way to interact with clients, customers and at the same time provide myself with peace of mind anywhere. To me, SmugMug is way more than just a website or a place to host my images. It is the very core of my photographic workflow.
Check out my SmugMug site: www.davekaipiper.com
(A the moment, SmugMug is offering a 15% subscription discount Click the link for more info)
The Capture & Import:
It all starts with the shoot – There are two options.
- Shooting tethered direct into Lightroom.
- Shooting to Memory Card.
Which ever method you are using, the rough sequence is the same but shooting tethered is faster and more direct. During the shoot – everything we shoot is brought into Lightroom where we make the first round of cuts. In the catalog there is folder called Shoot Archive. This is where all the images go from the shoot. This is the ‘online’ backup of the JEPGS. As a rule this happens live with the shoot or the very first chance I have an internet connection – usually I make a hotspot using a phone or MiFi device.
*note: In the image below I am using a laptop on location. Since Lightroom does not sync between computers in an effect way for this type of work, if you are shooting using a laptop then using a workstation in an office, there can be some extra steps to keeping a clean workflow. In this case, you can either just mark images you want to upload later or, still upload images to the Shoot Archive then re-sync that folder when you have moved the images to the Workstation drives. SmugMug will sync the images it has uploaded with the RAW files on your local computer.
You can apply presets or tones to images at this stage before uploading or upload them ‘as shot’. Either doing this on the import & tethering settings though lightroom or doing it image by image manually. Normally I do this on the import as the image comes in but checking to make sure horizon lines are correct also as I mark them for upload.
To Sync a gallery :
There could be many reasons you wish to update or sync a folder. Mostly I do this when I upload images to my SmugMug account from a different computer than my main workstation. Synching this way keeps your lightroom catalog in the right order and up to date. If SmugMug finds a few files with the same filename – it will give you a pop up and ask which image you wish to sync the SmugMug image with on your local computer. Right click on the main title of the folder you wish to sync and click the Edit Folder button. From here – just follow the pop-up to sync with the gallery or just the images.
RIGHT CLICK > EDIT FOLDER > SYNC FOLDER.
Moving images into the SmugMug Folder.
There are multiple ways – here are two, one being a little more complex using Smart Galleries and a more normal way.
Here are some things to think about / check:
- Ensure lightroom is in Library Module
- Ensure you know which keycuts do what.
- There are many ways to ‘tag’ images – stick to one and don’t change. Numbers, colours or flags.
- Some people use star ratings – I would use that later on or for different things – not this step.
- Green for Good & Red for a No is a simple way to go – this is what I use.
This is how I have my Keycuts & colours. You can turn of if you wish to use CTRL+Num or just the Number in settings. This is just a personal preference. You can change the text next to each colour if you wish to – this is great if your working with a team. It means other people can use system and there is no confusion.
#You can also change the Preset setting from Lightroom to Bridge – this means it will use the Colour Label settings you have in Bridge & show all the tags you have made in Bridge.
Next Step – Preparing the Folder
Move the highlighted images into the SmugMug Shoot Archive Folder.
Create the gallery where you need it to be – Right Click on the text which will put the gallery in the right Folder. Then the next pop up box loads – this is where you put the info about the shoot description and the custom URL.
Create either a normal Gallery or a Smart gallery.
This image shows the bottom half of the Smart gallery or all of the normal Gallery settings box. The Custom URL is where you set the URL & the description box, Keywords are equally self explanatory. The Quick Settings tab links to any settings you have pre-made on via the settings page in your SmugMug page. These are presets made up from the 5 tabs below. Go though them and have a look what you can do ( which is quite a lot). The one you NEED TO CHECK IS THE COMMENTS ARE ACTIVE. This is the way your clients are going to send you messages about which images they like and which they want editing or modifying. Normally – I don’t have any of these gallery folders open to the public – so using the Security Settings I set the gallery to UNLISTED. This means only people with the direct URL can see the page and that it’s not a gallery that can be found via the front end of SmugMug.
If you selected Smart Gallery – a larger window with more options will appear. It will look like the image below. You will see a few + icons on the top section. I have circled the bit you want to look at first. Here is where you add the ‘smartness’ to the gallery. In short this works by automatically adding images to the gallery if they have the correct tags. In the image below I have added there examples but you can have one or two or more elements / tags. The downside to using Smart Galleries is that you MUST REMEMBER TO PUT THE RULES back to normal after the shoot. If you don’t do this all the images from the next shoot will go to the same folder.
Next step is to make sure the right people have access to the gallery. SmugMug have a cool way to do this which means that when you add someone to a gallery – they get send an e-mail with all the info about how to access the images. From then on they only ever have to go to one link to see all the images you have given them access. This means no messing about with URL’s or lost links in e-mails, they just need to click on the CLIENT AREA link on the main page and log in. The other added bonus is that the images are super safe. No one can see these images unless you have given them access – even if the original person shares the URL. You can more than one person if you need to though.
Knowing Which Photos to Edit.
Now the images are online – I simply ask the client to comment on the images they wish to have edited or ‘finished’. It’s really simple to do. Heres how:
When you see the images in grid form, if you click on a photo it will go large and full screen. If you look to the bottom right of the image you will see a row of small icons that look like this.
The speech bubble is the one to click – this is the comment button. A box will pop up like below
Once the comment is posted SmugMug e-mail to say that an image has been commented on which lets me know to refresh and check Lightroom. The comment is left will shot on the comment section which you can find under the Metadata settings in the Library Module like in the example image below. The name of the person displays in white.
For example – Say the your clients wanted to see this image in black and white – if they comment that in the message you can reply – make the change and re-publish the image. If your using a PSB or PSD workflow then these changes are super easy to make and reverse if the client would prefer the older one after all – or you can make a virtual copy and you can upload both for them to compare. Either way – your client only ever has one link and you are not exporting new images every time you make a change to a file. SmugMug lets your client and you proof your images in a super simple way.
This workflow removes the need for resizing and sending images though Dropbox & gives you a clean TIFF or PSD workflow.
Delivery – The final step.
Once your client is happy and they like the final images they can see on the Client Gallery you have made for them – it’s time for you to ‘deliver’ the images. If your business is like mine, I am not charging per image downloaded or sold but – I am invoicing for dayrate and usage agreements. If your workflow is like mine SmugMug gives you 2 options:
- Digital Download
- Physical Prints
SmugMug lets you download High Res images as a whole or as a zip-file if you wish to download a whole gallery.
To do this – log in to SmugMug and find the gallery you wish to download. Click on the organize button like the image below.
If you click on an image you can download that image direct to your hard-drive. If you leave all images unselected you can download a whole gallery.
Once you click the link another pop-up box will appear. You will see notice saying they are working on making your zip file. This could take some time, but once it is done you are ready to either share the link to your client.
However, it is worthing remembering that at the moment – ALL IMAGES ON SMUGMUG are JPEG. Thus when you share your images this way they will be in the same format. If you need to provide your clients with TIFF’s or something different you would just export from Lightroom and use something like WeTransfer. Normally – if images are intended for Web use – JPEG is fine
If you need to add or alter any images – it is super easy to do this then – click the regenerate to get a new zipped file for download
At the moment – I am going to skip this part in major detail about setting up settings for prints – but there are a ton of options including selling digital downloads.
This is the screen that does all this:
ACCOUNT SETTINGS > BUISNESS > SELLING > PRICE LIST > MANAGE
If anyone has any questions – please get in touch.
A the moment , SmugMug is offering a 15% subscription discount Click the link for more info & as always – get in touch if there are any questions about this blog or other blogs.
My Top 5 Smugmug Sites:
- Ben Von Wong – http://www.vonwong.com/
- Bella Kotak – http://www.bellakotak.com/
- Renee Robyn – http://prints.reneerobynphotography.com/
- Elia Locardi – http://www.elialocardi.com/
- Sarah Lee – http://www.prints.sarahlee.photo/
Check out my SmugMug site: www.davekaipiper.com