Product Review: Smugmug

In the past I’ve used Photobucket to host my photos, and I even tried out Flickr very briefly (against my misgivings). I can only hope I’ve found my longtime home with Smugmug. My husband actually pointed me in their direction, and when I did a trial membership it was originally because I wanted to see how easily I could customize the site. What got me to stay was the amazing customer service. Almost every question I had about customization was answered in a matter of minutes, and the ones that weren’t answered in minutes were answered within a day at the most.

They offer three different levels of membership: Standard, Power, and Pro. Each advancement in level comes with certain privileges and abilities. While some people find them a little on the pricey side, I actually consider the fees to be more than fair. The least expensive level (Standard) offers unlimited storage and bandwidth and beautiful themes. It only gets better from there with the Power and Pro accounts. Power accounts offer almost full customization and Pro accounts offer all of the previously mentioned perks plus the ability to right-click protect your photos and use a custom domain name. And like I said, the customer service is unbeatable. They really take care of their people.

Another feature I enjoy is the ability for viewers to choose how they view your photos, from the ‘Smugmug’ view to all thumbnails to a slideshow. Of course, we can choose for them if a certain style fits what we want for our galleries. Users have the ability to allow their fans to purchase prints and other products such as mugs and t-shirts, and Pro users can set their own prices to make a profit. Anyone has the ability to make galleries public, password protected or completely hidden from view. And one of the best perks: NO ADS!!! FOR ANY MEMBERSHIP LEVEL!!!

Now I do have to give this warning on anyone who would perhaps want a customizable Power or Pro account – very basic computer skills are needed. The customization experts are more than willing to help, but many of the people on the Smugmug forum (dgrin.com) volunteer their services, so don’t expect them to build the site from scratch for you. I had no idea how to use HTML or CSS before Smugmug, and I got plenty of help, but I also made the effort to learn some on my own and experiment.

If anyone reading this would like to try this service, click on this Smugmug link. Free trials are available. Enjoy, and have fun!

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