If you aren’t familiar with SmugMug, it’s the online web design solution that allows photographers to showcase their work and sell both prints and digital downloads to customers across the globe. So we decided to do a Smugmug review and see just what it has to offer.
If you have work that needs a storefront, or even want a fast and easy way for existing clients to get their hands on your photos, then Smugmug may be the perfect option.
The SmugMug Tiered Membership
Smugmug offer four different membership tiers that are custom built to fit what you need from your design service. The “basic” tier is a simple gallery that you can use to highlight your best work and show it off to your friends and family.
You can enjoy unlimited upload space, but you may find yourself extremely limited when you try to sell your work. This tier offers no download sales and you have to order all prints yourself before you ship them out to your paying customers.
If you go one tier up, then you get access to some of Smugmug’s great web site designs, plus you can protect your images from the dreaded copy/paste function that sees so many photographers lose money that they so rightly deserve.
Although the added safety is a big plus, a lot of the features offered in these lower tiers can be founds for free on many platforms out there. If you really just want a place to showcase your work, there just isn’t much call for you to spend money to do it.
However once you get to the upper tiers, however, things really start to change for the better. On the highest two membership options available, you can use your own domain name, which is unspeakably important when branding yourself and your work. You also get access to high quality print shops around the world that can fulfill your customers’ orders and send out your work to them, no matter where they are on the globe.
On top of print, you can also sell digital downloads for both your photos and your video content. These kinds of functionalities are key when turning your photography into a real business and simply can’t be overlooked.
SmugMug Review – Commission Structures
When you sell your work to your new, excited clients, Smugmug, like all hosts, charges a commission from your sale. With any piece sold, you will be paying a 15% fee from your profit. Although that number may seem higher than other places, Smugmug is very clear that they are taking that form money from your profit, not your gross sale.
For instance, if you sell a print that costs money to make and ship out, Smugmug isn’t taking their cut from the overall charge to the customer.
They are taking their 15% from the net profit, after you pay the printing expenses. You may need an accounting degree to truly figure out if this formula is right for you, but it is closer to what other comparable sites charge, even though it looks like a bigger expense. Our Smugmug review finds this is actually pretty acceptable.
Design Your Own Site With Smugmug
Aside from the money, Smugmug also lets you completely design your own site with no coding skills required. If you’re not the kind of person who likes using templates, but you didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars and four extra years to spare for a web design degree, then what these guys offer can be a life saver.
With drag and drop elements for you to choose, you can create something that is truly unique and a good representation of you and your work. In fact, even when it comes time to upload your work, the same, simple to use drag and drop feature is right there for you at your fingertips to streamline your workflow and save you hours and hundreds of individual clicks.
Smugmug may be a great fit for you, but it might take some time to figure out which of their packages will really work best for your needs. They offer a 14 day free trial that is bound to save you some headaches later on. Give the trial and see how the site feels. If it seems like overkill for your needs, then there are plenty of free options.
If it fits perfectly and the price is right, then they’re a great company with outstanding customer service. Hopefully our Smugmug review will help you to decide.