My Smugmug Website: Set It and Forget It

After I finish editing 364 photos from a wedding shoot, I’m usually pretty exhausted.  But I’m also pretty excited to get the photos in front of the eyes of my client.

So I’m thankful that the next phase in my work-flow is so painless.

By using a premium photo hosting site like smugmug, I am able to utilize their back-end features to optimize my workflow.  I can use preset gallery settings, preset print pricing settings, and I know that it will only take me a few clicks to get my photos from my hard drive, onto my site, and ready to share with my clients.

I actually made a video tutorial showing exactly how I get my photos onto my smugmug website, but unfortunately I had technical issues with youtube.  Good thing the steps are so simple I can just type them out in this post.

Publishing a Photo Gallery the Easy Way

  1. Export JPEG files to hard drive
  2. Login to smugmug account
  3. Hit Upload and select “Create New Gallery”
  4. Choose your gallery settings and pricing settings of choice (that’s the “Set It” part of this post)
  5. Drag and Drop files into the browser
  6. Grab a beverage and/or play with kids (364 full rez photos can take a little while to upload)
  7. Make some small changes to the gallery settings (like add a password if necessary)
  8. Share the link with the client (usually via email or facebook)
  9. Wait for the message back from your client which will read something like this —

“WOW!  These shots are AMAZING! THANK YOU THANK YOU THAN YOU!”  (Yes, happy clients love to use ALL-CAPS)

OK, now I know this is probably not the most exciting post I could have writen about smugmug, but I'm just getting started with this blog and I promise more spectacular tutorials will follow.

You'll hear me talk about smugmug quite a bit on this blog for a few reasons.

  1. A great portfolio website is critical for a professional wedding photographer.   This is true whether or not you use smugmug.  But in my future posts, I'll be using examples of how smugmug accomplishes this.
  2. A great photo hosting service is critical for a professional wedding photographers sanity and bottom line.  Another truth.
  3. I've been a smugmug customer since 2005, and I'm as loyal as they come.

Ok, ok….no need to get all mushy and sentimental, but if you want to check smugmug out, click on the link below to start your free 14 day trial.  Please note that the link below is an affiliate link, and if you choose to click on it and sign up you'd be putting food on my table.

Oh, and you’ll get 20% off your first year as well.  :)

Sign up with smugmug



  1. Chuck Miller says:

    Ryan, our use here in Lincoln is pretty far removed from wedding photography, but we signed up for SmugMug anyway. We are in the process of moving out of our Town Hall for a major renovation that will take 18-24 months. We are building a website dedicated to documenting and archiving the process.

    That will include a blog, photo galleries and video. It should be fun and SmugMug seems to be an excellent choice for our photographic component of the project.


    • Hey – that’s awesome Chuck. For sure smugmug is not just for us wedding photographers. It’s a great platform for anyone that just wants to show off their photos to the world.

  2. Thanks Ryan!!
    Yep, I went to the elephant nature park too – incredible place. I will add shots to my photo site once I switch it all over to smugnug – sigh… oh well, lessons learned and now it can only be better the second time around right?
    While, I would enjoy reading a post on embedding a smugmug site into another website, I think ultimately it will be easier to have everything in one place (even though I do like the templates at wix). Uploading at any resolution, the shopping cart page and printing service through smugmug, and great customer service is DEFINITELY worth the switch!! I will join through you and many thanks.
    Your wedding checklist is great and I can see myself using in other situations as well. One addition that I would like to see (as a separate, wallet-size cheat sheet for purchase or in () after each shot’s line item) is an ideal aperture/shutter speed combination for the shot (given typical light, action, etc). I’m still learning all the buttons on my new Canon and I’m also a little dyslexic so I sometimes find myself fidgeting with the settings and losing the shot. Then I revert back to automatic mode out of… fear of missing a shot.
    I happen to be more interested in how you are using the checklist as an e-marketing tool. So… I hope it’s ok to ‘borrow’ your strategy for my landscape design business – (yes, another triple-career lifer). Thanks again and I’ll definitely be following your page. Angela

    • You know…I still use “P (auto) mode” most of the time during a shoot. My main reason is that it’s not worth missing a shot, trying to fiddle with A and S prioirty. However, there are some shots (especially during the formal shoot) where I will get creative with my settings.
      Have a great time with smugmug. And be sure to get onto their forum to engage in the smugmug community at Ask your questions there and someone (either from smugmug or one of their loyal customers) will answer.
      Thanks again for using my link. :)

  3. Thank you for this post and congrats on your e-business/blogging journey. I know you will be hearing about me off-line from Chuck and I just signed up for your mailing list, but I am curious to hear if you’ve had any experience with and how it compares to smugmug. I’m having a heck of a time setting up shop with their e-commerce tools(which I just paid for :(. Do you know if I can link smugmug galleries and e-commerce tools to my existing website –
    Many thanks, Angela

    • Also, what resolution do you save your images for best website display. Can you print at this same resolution or do you edit two copies – one low-res for your website and one high-res for printing? Also, also, where did you take the elephant shots? (I may have been to the same place…) Cheers, Angela

      • Another smugmug selling feature — you can upload at full resolution. Then smugmug resizes automatically based on screen size. This allows people to print BIG – and saves you time from having to upload various sizes of photos.
        I took the elephant shots in Thailand. At this magical place, to be exact —

    • Hi Angela — Checked out your site. I love your portraits. You’ve got a great eye.
      I had not heard of but just checked them out. Seems to me that they create flash websites for anyone and anything. For a photographer, I would recommend finding a company that has a sole mission to creating websites for photographers.
      That’s a big reason why I choose smugmug — the whole company is built on creating great photography websites. And they have a tonne of staff and resources directed to helping business photographers too.
      And I get a lot of people asking me “How does smugmug compare to xyz?” and I usually don’t know. Because I’ve been with smugmug since 2005 and have never needed to know what else is out there. Smugmug has always been a perfect solution to my growing business needs.
      For instance, with e-commerce, all I have to do is tell smugmug how much I want to sell my prints (and mugs and greet cards, and canvas) for and they take care of everything from the shopping cart to the fulfillment and shipment of the orders. Even if a customer has issues with the print, it’s THEIR customer support that takes the ticket and resolves the problem for my customers (and me). That in and of itself is worth the annual fee.
      So yeah — I can’t say enough about smugmug. Would love for you to try them out and tell me what you think. They have a 14 day free trial. If you’d like to use my affiliate link in this post you’ll save 20% if/when you do sign up. And I’d must appreciate it. (c:
      If you wanted to create a smugmug site so you could sell photos, that is entirely possible. I’ve seen other pros do that. You would simply create the smugmug account, and then create a link into your smugmug site from somewhere in your wix website.
      Good idea for me to teach in a tutorial. So thanks for the idea!

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