SmugMug (opens in new tab) is a website builder designed specifically for photographers. With this platform, you can create a custom website to display your images, sell prints, and distribute photos to clients. A top pick website builder, SmugMug is also one of the best cloud storage platforms for photographers, as it enables you to store an unlimited number of full-resolution images.
So, is this the right solution for building your photography presence online? In our SmugMug review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this photography platform.
SmugMug review: Plans and pricing
SmugMug offers several plans to suit both photographers moving online for the first time and those who want to scale an existing online business.
One of the best cloud storage options around, the Basic plan costs $55 per year and offers unlimited cloud storage for your high-resolution images and everything you need to create a portfolio website. However, it doesn’t include customizable templates, privately shared galleries, or e-commerce features.
The Power plan costs $85 per year and adds all SmugMug templates, theme customization, and shared galleries.
The Portfolio plan costs $200 per year and offers e-commerce functionality. With this plan, you can automatically fulfill print orders through SmugMug’s partner labs and sell digital downloads. However, SmugMug takes a 15% cut of the profit on your print sales, and you cannot offer discounts.
The Pro plan costs $360 per year and enables you to create coupons, user accounts for your assistants, and multi-image packages.
Compared to other photography website builders, this pricing is extremely competitive. Squarespace e-commerce plans, for example, start at $312 and don’t include unlimited cloud storage.
SmugMug review: Features
SmugMug’s website builder is custom-made for photographers. The platform focuses on helping you showcase and sell your images, and offers unlimited cloud storage for your full-resolution photos.
SmugMug gives you access to a drag-and-drop website builder and 21 modern templates. All of the templates are mobile-responsive and Power, Portfolio, and Pro users can fully customize them with HTML and CSS.
On top of that, SmugMug gives you broad latitude to add and rearrange content blocks. The selection of content blocks isn’t enormous, but photographers will appreciate the six different image layouts. You can create multi-image arrangements like slideshows and carousels as well as embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo.
SmugMug is built to help photographers sell their images, and with a Portfolio or Pro plan, you get a complete e-commerce storefront for your website. That includes the ability to sell prints and digital downloads. For print sales, you can fulfill orders yourself or use one of SmugMug’s four lab partners. If you do use a lab partner, though, SmugMug charges a 15% fee on your markup.
SmugMug also enables event and commercial photographers to distribute images to clients. You can create an unlimited number of galleries and password-protect them to limit access. Clients can mark their favorite photos inside your gallery, letting you know which images to retouch before final delivery. With a Pro plan, you can also create custom price lists for each gallery and client.
One of the best things about SmugMug is that every website comes with unlimited cloud storage for your images. You can upload photos up to 200 MB each and 1080p videos up to 20 min in length.
However, SmugMug doesn’t enable you to upload RAW image files. For many photographers, this is a huge drawback. RAW files are often the largest files in your workflow as well as the most important. Since SmugMug won’t store them, you might need to find another cloud storage platform specifically for your RAW image files.
SmugMug Review: Interface
The back-end of SmugMug’s platform is fairly straightforward. You can easily organize your images into folders and galleries, and set up automated rules to categorize new images into existing galleries. SmugMug also enables you to search your photo library by title, caption, or EXIF metadata.
The website builder inside SmugMug is relatively accessible, even if you’ve never designed a website before. You can drag and drop content elements around your site, and every content block has its own settings button for customization.
SmugMug also has a mobile app for iOS and Android. Unfortunately, this doesn’t offer any features for managing your business on the go or adding images to your website. The app can be useful, though, for uploading images from your mobile devices to your cloud storage and downloading images for editing or sharing.
SmugMug review: Security
SmugMug has a handful of features to protect your images. To start, all images are backed up on multiple servers. That ensures that your images are safe even if one server fails. You can download your images from the cloud at full resolution at any time, with no waiting time or limits.
You can also limit visitors’ access to the images on your websites, and SmugMug enables you to set a custom right-click message for your images to prevent unwanted downloads. In addition, you can limit the display size of your images to reduce the risk of theft. Finally, you have the option to make any gallery completely private or share it only with specific clients.
SmugMug review: Support
SmugMug offers 24/7 support by email only for Basic and Power users. Portfolio and Pro users can also get in touch by live chat. However, you’ll find answers to most questions in SmugMug’s online documentation center, which is fully searchable and contains hundreds of articles.
A website builder for photographers
SmugMug is a high-quality website builder designed to meet the needs of growing photography businesses. The platform makes it easy to create a custom website and offers excellent e-commerce features, such as the ability to fulfill prints through partner labs and create custom price lists for every gallery. However, the 15% fee that SmugMug charges can be problematic for photographers who sell a lot of prints.
Overall, SmugMug is a great choice for photographers who want to build an online business selling prints and digital downloads.