Smugmug photo hosting


Years ago in Internet time I started a search for a photo hosting site because I exhausted the two sets I could have on Flickr and was contemplating the paid version. In the process, I looked at several such as Picasaweb, PBase, Adobe Photoshop Express, etc. The tedium got to me and I stopped before writing about Smugmug and Zenfolio. Well, I’ve looked at both and I have no plans of writing the same review for Smugmug and Zenfolio — the thought just puts to me sleep.

However, here’s a short general write up.


It’s really cool looking. The dark backgrounds and fancy flash will pull you to the dark side (sorry, corny joke). But honestly, it has most of the features Flickr has — it’s photographer-centric, it has excellent organizational settings, better than Flickr, it does schmancy slideshows that autosizes, etc. I can set up my site just-so if I go for the Power user account (see pricing), and I can sell my photos if I choose to pay even more and go Pro. It can display geotagged photos, although not individually like Flickr, and it has comment fields and rating systems for some level of interactivity with viewers.

So what’s not to like?

It’s falls short of Flickr’s social aspects. Flickr allows users to tag them and create groups to collectively share images. It has easier subscription to other photographer’s images through their photostream. It has it’s own blogging system, which I don’t use.

Basically, the question for me was: should I pick superficial over substance?

How do you like my new site?

Actually, I’d like to get my own domain name as well, but only after I populate and learn how to use the site a little more.

Smugmug has other slight drawbacks, such as not using the tags in the photos automatically as keywords. It keeps it around, but I needed to confirm them. Even worse, it extracts words from the image title as keywords. I didn’t want that. I’ll need to go figure out how to get around this.

Did I mention Zenfolio?

If Smugmug lacks in the social aspect, Zenfolio has none. The latter seems to be strictly about displaying your portfolio nicely, and I don’t think it does a better job than Smugmug, apart from it being snappier. Oh, for those wishing to sell the photos, the pricing is much better.

What next?

Well, there’s adding more photos to Smugmug. As mentioned, I’d like to anchor down a domain name just to have a consistent site in the event I do move in the future. Also, there’s the integration of the photo site with this blog — it’s quite different looking. What I’d like is a uniform look-and-feel like this Smugmug site. Notice how the blog looks like a part of a site? Apparently, the owner, Andy Williams (he’s one of the Smugmug folks) finally chose Blogger over WordPress because it allowed for easier (and freer) creation of the blog site to look like the photo site. So am I moving? I’m considering…

“The end is nigh”

Much has happened since I started looking around four months ago and here’s where I ended up. Smugmug wasn’t what I thought I’d choose — I couldn’t get over the name, and I still can’t — but it has most of what I need, so the best candidate for me won, which is the whole point after all.



5 Responses to “Smugmug photo hosting”

  1. Hi Top…

    If you haven’t already, check out Exposure Manager,

    R(etc… )

  2. 2 TopL

    Ah man! Another option?! Thanks Ron, I’ll check it out. 🙂

  3. When I used Smugmug (about eight months ago) the slideshow didn’t work fine in Firefox. It somehow skipped some images. I then have chosen zenfolio and I like it because it shows bigger photos on the photopage so there’s less clicking around. They now have comments too, so the socialising gets better. Only thing I miss is the geotagging feature like flickr has. But smugmug don’t use it in a pretty way as well. See an example of my gallery here:
    On the photo-page, you only have to click the image to see larger version, but they are large allready… and the slideshow comes with many background-colors as you hover over the color blocks on the right.
    Greetings from Belgium

    • 4 TopL

      Interesting Caroline. I’ve not had any problems with the slideshow. And I do see that Zenfolio allows for comments. That’s a step in the right direction. But I still think Zenfolio has some way to go to be a full fledged website meant for general consumers. So far, it’s done a good job courting people who are more interested in selling their photos. This shows in their better pricing for selling images. I’ll keep an eye out for them.


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