Going all in on giving back.

This year, SmugMug wanted to do something a little different for the holidays. We’ve partnered with 12 incredible photographers to bring together a breathtaking collection of photographs that make perfect gifts. Plus, for every print, SmugMug will be donating a portion of your purchase directly to Shelter-Me Photography, an organization that uses photography to give shelter pets a better chance of adoption. Shelter-Me founder, Nanette Martin, shared the origins of this literal pet project.

mas_5553-1Adoptable Animals at St. Bernard Parish Shelter as of 8.18.10

Imagine being on the edge of massive professional success in photography. Imagine having been published in LIFE, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest and many, many more. Imagine your photos in coffee table books and your work in film. Imagine being behind the lens covering national tragedies like 9/11, the Columbine massacre, and Katrina. Then imagine dropping all of that and devoting your life’s work to making compelling pictures of ownerless pets.

That’s exactly what Nanette Martin did. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an influx of families who had been displaced  found themselves homeless in Hammond, Louisiana. Many families chose to surrender their pets during that trying time, unable to care for them, but the shelter in Hammond couldn’t keep up with the sheer number of new arrivals.

In March 2006, Nanette volunteered to drive one of three vans filled with around 60 dogs who were scheduled for euthanasia from the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control Shelter in Hammond to Atlanta. As Nanette says, “That was a turning point in my life and career as a professional photography.” She tells it best.

The day before we left, someone asked me to photograph the dogs so they could post them online to give folks in Atlanta a chance to see who was coming to town. After nine hours on the road with my head stuck out the window (I had the pleasure of chauffeuring a van load of vomiting, crying puppies with diarrhea), we arrived at our destination where a crowd of people and several news crews were anxious to meet our precious cargo. To this day, I will never forget where I was standing, the angle of the sun, the direction of the wind and the look on the transport coordinator’s face when she pulled me aside to let me know nearly every one of the dogs was spoken for because of my pictures. Then she added, “Your images are making the difference between life and death for these animals.”

My career was literally in launch mode when everything came to a screeching halt that day, standing in a parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia, listening to a rescuer paint my new horizon.

I never saw it coming and I never looked back. From that day on, I focused all my efforts and resources towards photographing homeless pets. I ran out of money on a regular basis but it didn’t seem to matter. People magically showed up with resources to keep me going. I co-founded Shelter-me Photography in 2009 when it became clear that to keep this effort going we would need far more than luck and fairy dust.

SmugMug is thrilled to be partnering with such an amazing organization devoted to giving shelter pets a better chance at being adopted. For our part, we’re donating a portion of every purchase during our holiday print sale this year to Shelter-Me Photography. Whether you’re buying a brand new piece of wall art, a paper print for a friend, or a slick new custom phone case, your dollars will be going to a great cause, and that’s something to feel good about this season. Happy #GivingTuesday!

Check out the print sale here before it ends.blog-sbs-sale

Our very scary Halloween contest results.

You fantastic photographers responded enthusiastically when we announced our Halloween photo contest this October. With big-time cash prizes on the line, the submissions were varied and quite simply–awesome. We had over 5000 photos submitted ranging from epically spooky scenes that may fuel more than a few nightmares to the unbearably adorable unbounded excitement of first trick-or-treating trips.

Our fearless judging panel, which included Dracorubio whose jaw-dropping work always leaves us inspired, sifted through all the submissions and chose four distinct photographs that really captured the essence of our favorite holiday.

Grand Prize — Sarah Cruzdsc_4780-x2

2nd Prize – Julie Peveto
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3rd Prize – Richard Terborg
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4th Prize – Thomas Lieser
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To see more of the great images from our Halloween contest, you can browse some of the top submissions here. A special thanks to all who participated! You helped make our Halloween truly memorable.

Editing on the road with Astro Photographer, Jack Fusco.

Hey everyone! My name is Jack Fusco, I’m a time-lapse / landscape-astrophotographer currently based out of San Diego, California. I first found my way into photography simply as a means to document my travels while playing guitar in a touring band. After moving on from the touring life, photography became my main form of creative expression. Over the last few years, my work has been featured by National Geographic, NASA APOD, LA Times, and many other outlets. During this time, I knew I needed a reliable and professional looking platform for showing off my work and offering prints online. Having the worry taken away from how my work is represented online, and how my print orders are handled, makes me proud to be part of the SmugMug family for so long.

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Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park, Photo by Jack Fusco

Throughout my career, I’ve constantly looked for different tools that I can use to take my work to the next level. That can range from new gear to a new planning tool or something new in the digital darkroom. There’s often as much error as trial in these situations, but I truly believe that to continue evolving as an artist and stand out in a very crowded field, this needs to be an ongoing process.

Delivering high-quality content, be it on your own personal platforms or to one of your clients, has always and will always be important. What has been changing is the need to deliver that content in an almost immediate timeframe. Editing while on the road has never been something I would consider convenient or desirable. Not only does it cut into your valuable travel time, but the quality of work also tends to suffer. In the past, I’ve often opted for waiting until returning from my trip to share a photo and potentially missed out on a wave of excitement surrounding something like a meteor shower or an unexpected show of the Northern lights. Simply adding a disclaimer that something is a “quick edit from the road” always felt like it takes away from the impact that the final image would otherwise have had. So, I’m excited to share a way that I feel like helps bridge that gap between a subpar edit and something you’re ready to upload to both social media and your SmugMug portfolio.

Recently, I had been beta testing Luminar from Macphun, which is a brand new all-in-one photo editor from the award-winning developers of Aurora HDR, Tonality, etc., and a feature called Workspaces really caught my attention. What this feature does is allow you save any of the filters that you may use for your edits in a unique group or workspace. The idea is that not only do you save valuable time with quick access to only the tools you need, but the quality of your edit doesn’t suffer as a result.

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Editing on the road doesn’t have to be painful

I was able to put this feature to the test during a recent trip to the Annual Dark Sky Festival in Jasper National Park.

Before leaving for my trip, I spent a bit of time setting up my custom workspace in Luminar so it would be ready on the road. I knew I would be shooting some nights with a bit of moonlight that lit up the landscape and others with no moonlight at all. So, I went through all of the filters I would normally use to edit my night sky images and created two different workspaces. I took filters like advanced contrast, color balance, and curves, and saved it as “Starry Skies” and then went through and added a few others, like Top & Bottom lighting, to save in my “Moonlit” workspace.

Once you have an image loaded into Luminar and your custom workspace selected, you’re not just limited to those tools.  Advanced editing is easily done through luminosity masks and brushes to very selectively adjust fine details in your shot. Again, it’s having all of these options quickly available that makes editing from the road less of a daunting task.

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Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park, Photo by Jack Fusco

While in Jasper, having both of these workspaces ended up helping in more ways than I initially thought. Not only was I sharing new, finished images during the dark sky festival on my Instagram and Facebook, I was also uploading them right to SmugMug. This allowed me to let people I was meeting know that the photos I took last night were already available as prints on my site. This was huge! I didn’t have to hope that when I handed someone my card and said “I should have all these photos up next week!” that they would remember and return to check it out. They could pull up my site on their phone and purchase a print of a photo that I took just a few hours earlier. It felt great to have the confidence of knowing my edit was solid and wasn’t something I posted to cater to the sense of urgency while sacrificing quality.

Macphun is running a special pre-order campaign to celebrate the “go-live” launch of the software on November 17, 2016. From November 2-16, you can pre-order the software at a discount and receive some great bonuses.

I’ve really enjoyed using Luminar on my Mac and am pretty sure you’ll like it too. Check out Macphun’s pre-order page to learn more.

You asked. We listened. The SmugMug Apple TV app is here.

SmugMug knows that your memories and milestones are bigger than life to you. So instead of looking at photos on small screens, why not view your captures on a large screen to give them all the life and love they deserve? Recognizing this desire to experience your photos in a really big way, we’re happy to announce our new SmugMug Apple TV app.

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With the new SmugMug Apple TV app you can:

Display your photos. Our app beautifully displays your photos in high definition, showcasing them in all their glory.

Play a slideshow of a gallery. Share your vacation photos or your child’s birthday pics in the comfort of your own home without ever having to leave the couch or click “next” on a remote.

Follow friends, family or photographers you admire. Never miss another graduation, milestone or celebration. Just follow your loved ones through the Apple TV app and get notified when they upload new photos and galleries. And, with the holidays approaching, now is a great time to help your loved ones always have your photos available on their TV by gifting them a new Apple TV.

Discover new inspiration through our Featured Photographers. Check out some of the best photographers in the world, whose work will leave you breathless. And yes, one day there will be the possibility of you being a Featured Photographer on the SmugMug Apple TV app!

Watch a SmugMug Film. 
At SmugMug, photography is our passion. SmugMug Films is a celebration of the photographers who inspire and amaze us. From surfing in the arctic to climbing glaciers, to walking the neon-lit streets of Tokyo, our films showcase incredible photographers and adventures. See every single one of our award winning films the way they were meant to be seen and never miss a new release!

Just one more thing…

To celebrate our new Apple TV app, we’re partnering with SLR Lounge to give away 3 Apple TVs! Each winner also receives a SmugMug business account and a SmugMug prize pack. Entering is fast and easy, so head over to their website now. Good luck to all!

Our new SmugMug Apple TV app, available only for 4th generation Apple TVs, is in the App Store this very second. The wait is finally over. Got questions? Check out our shiny, new Help Page to get you up and running with our new app in no time. Also for our customers using these, check out SmugMug on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

The future of photography is here. And it’s smiling  ;D

 

We like to move it, move it. Transfer your photos directly to SmugMug with ease.

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Unless you started taking photos yesterday, chances are you have photos stored all over the place, online and off. The way photography has changed over the last decade even made that chance almost a foregone conclusion. For many, their first digital photo was probably no bigger than a megabyte. Now, for many DSLR or mirrorless photographers each photo’s size has ballooned up to 30 or even 40 MB apiece. You can now get an SD card that will hold a terabyte. Heck, your phone probably shoots jpegs that easily clock in at 6-10 MB or more! So where do you put them all?

For most, it’s on your computer or an external hard drive. For others, it’s a combination of photo sites or cloud storage like DropBox or Flickr. Some even opt to dump them all on Facebook despite the risk of losing them or being down-rez’d so much they lose most of their luster. For even more, it’s some combination of these making it a ridiculous project to track down specific images for certain occasions. Looking for that childhood Christmas photo for your daughter’s upcoming rehearsal dinner slideshow? Good luck! Want that epic sunset from your first camping trip? Not here, try again!

Point is, finding and storing your photos shouldn’t be a difficult thing, and the number of places your photos can live is enough to make your head spin. But we have a better way. Besides giving you a beautiful home for your photos where you can organize, print, share, and even sell them, we know that your photo home needs an easy door to walk through.

We’re introducing an exciting new set of integrations for our SmugMug subscribers that will help take all that guess work out of making sure your photos are organized, protected, and easy to find when you need them. We’ve added a quick, simple way to directly transfer your photos from Google Photos and Flickr straight to your SmugMug site. Since we launched these integrations with DropBox last year, we have helped our customers move millions of photos to SmugMug. Now, instead of downloading all your images to your computer or a hard drive, then uploading them to SmugMug, you can transfer them directly from these services right to SmugMug. That means all your photos will not only be safe, but also be displayed brilliantly in a single, awesome home.

Now what was I looking for? Ah yes, that perfect photo of my dog taking a nap.

Learn more here!

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How to make Halloween photography a treat.

Our friends at The Photographer Academy have released this great video tutorial to ensure you’re taking the scariest, spookiest, and eeriest photos possible this Halloween. Here are Mark Cleghorn’s four favorite tips to create fun, bone-chilling photos.

Keep it creepy by:

1. Use two back lights, lighting your subjects from both sides (right and left) with different colored gels to give a haunting feeling.

2. Use black seamless paper as a background to let light graduate and be absorbed

3. Set up a front light with a simple strip box to give your subjects the illumination and good transition across all subjects’ faces. This lets the light wrap around the subjects, if even moving, and gives a natural look.

4. Smear vaseline on an acrylic sheet and shoot through it for a foggy appearance.

Do you have any go-to tricks that make shooting Halloween photography a treat? Share them in the comments!

What’s better than a sack full of candy? A sack full of money!

Halloween is our favorite holiday. Really! We get dressed up. We go trick-or-treating. (Or at least take the kiddos out.) We decorate and eat candy without regard for teeth or waistline—Carpe Halloweenem! So we’re all dying to know…are you on this level too? Do you dress up? Spread fake cobwebs all over your house? Create elaborate yard displays designed for the sole purpose of terrifying the neighborhood kids? Whatever you do, we want to see it. Just snap a picture, send it to us, and you could win some seriously awesome prizes.

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Since we can’t imagine celebrating Halloween only halfway, we’re putting our money where our candy bowl is. Right now through the 31st, you can enter to win up to $3,000 cash plus tons of other great prizes including SmugMug swag bags with our coveted hoodie, a free year of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography, $50 Mixbook credit for any of their print materials, or one of two large Xposer wall prints from Bay Photo.

To enter, all you have to do is upload your favorite Halloween images to a public gallery on your SmugMug account. Tag each photo with the keyword “Smugoween,” and our panel of experts will judge the entries and choose four winners for our awesome prize packages. You can enter as many photos as you want! We’ll be adding all entries here throughout the contest, but don’t worry if you don’t see yours immediately—they can take a while to add to the keyword page.

For official rules or more information on how to enter your photos, visit our contest page. We can’t wait to see how you make Halloween a total scream!