Switched my Portfolio to Smugmug!

Ive always been a big fan of tweaking and twiddling my blog.  Adding sections here.. moving stuff over there.  As a ex-web guy, I kinda see it like my own little fixer upper. That said, every home has that -one- thing that you should totally get replaced (like the windows in my own home). For me web wise – its the picture gallery.   I’ve never really been a big fan of what my portfolio gallery looked like.  Sure, I spent tons of time telling people on tour that Smugmug was the way they should go to manage pictures..  but was I taking my own advice?  No.  I was the cobbler – fixing everyone elses shoes, but my kids shoes were a mess.  It was time for me to get that fixed!

(In case you dont want to read to the end of this story….  Black Friday Alert:  If you go sign up for a Smugmug account – go here:  – Use the code KELBYTHANKS and you’ll get 40% off!)


After messing around with a picture that I did with Michael Bonocore the last time I was at the Smugmug offices, I texted him on Facebook and said “Ok man.. i’m making the switch…  ”  Michael was like “Look.. I’ll help in every way that I can .. just let me know” (now to be fair… their Heroes (the support/advocates) that they have are always more than helpful to get you up and running.  I told him “Hey.. I got this.. lets see how fast I can get this up and running.. ”

About 70 minutes later, I had made the portfolio on the site, made the navigation on the top to mirror the one on my wordpress host and linked the two together.  Now, all of the heavy lifting for the pictures is being done by Smugmug.. and i’m pretty happy about that.  Big thanks to Bonocore though for the inspiration!

Things That Made Me Switch to Smugmug

Color Changes and Random loss of Info

I started to really dislike what WordPress was doing to the pictures.  When making smaller versions themes would run it through some compressions, and the quality of them really left something to be desired.  For things that I talk about on the blog, I’m totally cool with having some form of loss of color or some shifting – the content that i’m writing should take a little more precedent.  The portfolio however, should not.



Hustling with the Camera

I’ve started to do a lot more field shooting for clients recently.  In the past year I’ve done several weddings, portrait commissions, birthday parties for my daughters friends, headshots, baby shots, and random event coverage.  In all of these situations I find myself coming back to my house and working edits in Lightroom and finishing the package.  I’ve had this need to get these jobs up to a place where all of the order fulfillment can be done.  From letting them download them to letting them print it – I’d like that process to be handled without me being involved for individual prints to small merch.

Another nice thing with the update.  When you look at the interface people see on the Smugmug site – it looks processional.  I wasnt a real fan of what the old interface looked like in the past – but the changes that they’ve made the experience just look clean.  That goes a long way.

That said, there are a few instances where I want complete control over the process and its output.  In that, its priced very differently, and I have more of a hand in it:

  • Its my own original work that I am selling as a Limited Edition – Then I print at home and oversee the whole process.
  • When I print on Canvas: I am very specific about who I print.  Lew at Artistic Photo Canvas is crazy about perfection.. so he’s the only guy I trust.
  • When I print on Metal: Same thing here.  Roger at Imagewizards pretty much mastered the process – there is no one better than him on it.
  • When I print on Acrylic : Acrylic is a medium thats like fine wine.  Prints look gorgeous on it.. but they require great printers for this.  For -that- I tend to go to my buddy Stephen Hart at Jasper Imaging.


Lightroom and Smugmug

As i’ve started to work these jobs and add/remove things to the portfolio with more frequency, I’ve been getting more lazy with how I do it.  I really have wanted more of a one stop shop for working.  Since i’m working in Lightroom – the Publish Services module really helps with this.  No FTP setup, so making export folders.  Just put it there.  Done. that will knock out a lot of these jobs.  Not to mention, I can also now include Jenn in the process.  I shoot.. she can edit/tweak/upload and manage that side of this.  She and I have dreamed of setting up something like this the last several years… and it FINALLY feels like this may happen.


Go Mobile

I feel like no matter what I was choosing on the WordPress end, I could never really decide on how I wanted it to look on the mobile side of that.  With everyone checking out sites on mobile.. this was important.  I like how Smugmug is handling this stuff now.  And this is all tied to this blog.


Camera Awesome

Jenn and I are big fans of Camera Awesome.  This app is the start of all of our pictures (If there was just a way to have it be the default app and get rid of the reg one).  I like that the app has a tie in that will take the images and sync them to Smugmug or on an ad hoc basis.  Again.. automation and great creative tools.. together in one spot.  Every time I used Camera Awesome, It was a constant reminder that I needed to do the Smugmug switch.  Brilliant on their part – I say…


Want to Try It?

Want to see what this looks like?  Hover over the Portfolio menu and two sections will appear. You can click on either of those three links and it will take you to the Smugmug Portfolio.

(Black Friday Alert:  If you go sign up for a Smugmug account – go here:  – Use the code KELBYTHANKS and you’ll get 40% off!)


So…  i’m armed and ready photographically.  And I didnt have to wait till the new year to make it a resolution.  Thanks to Smugmug!


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, RC!

  2. Hello, this article took my doubts out about to sign with smugmug! So thank you for being clear and give a nice opinion about it. Just one question the code for the discount is just for today???
    And sorry about my English!!! Thank you again

  3. I like your new portfolio. Welcome back to the SmugMug world.

  4. Wow, good review, but probably a little too good. Looks like you got paid by Smugmug to promote their service. Your link with the discount is an affiliate link (which by the way is illegal in the US without a disclaimer telling the reader this). Then you promote their camera app too.

    So how much commission are you getting for each signup? Looks like you’ve turned into another sellout photographer on the web.

  5. Smugmug seems to be a very good choice for a single individual’s portfolio but what would you recommend for a group of 50 who want one site with individual galleries for each person? One administrator but each person able to maintain their own gallery by secure log in.



  6. 0 commission.

    Their affiliate link is a black friday deal that they were offering to our members..

    Try not to read too much into the conspiracy of things.


  7. I had signed up for a trail with SmugMug ahead of the expected Black Friday offerings. I saw your post and saved it for today. When I visited the SmugMug website the first thing I saw was sign up now to save 40%. Same deal, or so I thought. When it was time to apply the discount I was informed that the 40% discount was for “new” members only. No problem, because I remembered give KELBYTHANKS a try. It worked! Thanks RC!

  8. Pingback: Moving to smugmug | Wrenbjor

  9. This why l admire RC. Straight forward honesty and advice. Nice article. Makes me think of jumping to SmugMug

  10. Hi, I send many greetings to SmugMug and working on it, and also tell them to spend a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014

  11. RC – I am in the process of moving over as well. Their service is absolutely fantastic and I am so impressed with what I am able to do this. I’m planning to do a similar write up when I launch mine and it will be a gushing review.

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