How to Create a Gorgeous Photography Website with SmugMug in 90 Minutes – A Complete Step-By-Step Tutorial

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2016-02-25 3-45-05 PM

20% Off SmugMug Coupon*

If you are interested in getting started today with SmugMug use the link below to save 20% off ANY of their packages. That will save you money on an already affordable product. You’ll love it!

SmugMug – 20% Off <<– Use this special link to get 20% off your new SmugMug account!

*Already in the 14 day free trial? Shucks, the 20% discount link above only works for brand new signups. Maybe if you haven't started working on your new SmguMug site you could delete it and start a new site using the link above so you can save some money.

Which package should you get?  I suggest either of the SmugMug Pro packages (Portfolio or Business) because I've found it relatively easy to sell enough prints through my SmugMug site to cover the cost of my SmugMug subscription. That's a win-win. :)

Creating my photography website has been one of the best decisions I have made for my business. Ever. Since creating in 2005:

  • I have had a “home” for my images (backed-up, secure, and on display to the world)
  • I am able to direct friends, family (and eventually clients) to my photography website for them to experience my photos the way I want them to be experienced (ad free and without facebook clutter!)
  • I was able to sell my first prints – which led to my second sale, and my third and the eventual launch of my part-time photography business.
  • I have a website to make client images available for viewing, sharing, and purchasing prints and other products – for profit.
  • I have become more confident in my photography. It has been the perfect stepping stone to conquering my fears about what I can product and how I can offer my services to clients.

As a part-time business owner, my website is my storefront. It's where people find out that I exist, and that I offer a valuable service. It's also where they decide if they want to hire me — or not.

It's incredible, and I get a lot of emails from people that either love my photos, love my website, or both. And that is so cool.

Do you really need me to convince you any further? Now is the time to build your website and this post is here to help you make it happen.

Now about this tutorial…

Course Objectives: Mission Possible: Build your very own custom photography website in as short amount of time as possible.

Course Requirements: Nadda, Zip, Zilch — You don't need know ANYTHING about web design or website creation to complete this course. Yippee!

OK, I'm Ready to Take the Course. Let's Do This!

Certainly, just follow me…

Wait, Can I See What My Final Website Will Look Like?

Sure! Check out the demo site – (it's a fake site, clearly) :)

All right. Let's get started!

SmugMug Tutorial Testimonial

Step 1: Sign Up With SmugMug and Upload Our First Gallery

In this video, we'll create our SmugMug account (if you haven't done so already), and create our first gallery – filling it with beautiful images.

Step 2: Upload a few more galleries and create our Portfolio gallery

In this video, we'll fill out our site by creating a few more galleries and uploading more photos. I'll show you how to use the “Quick Settings” feature in SmugMug. Then we'll use the best photos from each gallery to create our very important (and impressive) Portfolio gallery. And we'll be using a secret SmugMug ninja trick to create our Portfolio. That's right – Secret. Ninja. Trick. :)

Step 3: Setup Our Site Settings, Create the Menu Bar and Social Media Profile

Step 3 is about creating our profile and site settings so things just “work” in the later steps.

Step 4: Customizing Our SmugMug Website

In Step 4 we get to have some fun while we customize the look and feel of our website using SmugMug's New “Drag and Drop” customization tools. It's what you've been waiting for I know! No coding, no special skills required. Just follow along and have fun.

Using SmugMug’s new “drag and drop” customization tools we'll make the following changes to your website:

  • Adjust the color of our default “Ludwig” theme
  • Create the homepage slideshow
  • Add a text block (customer quote) under the homepage slideshow
  • Design the Header section – stacked and centered
  • Customize the other page types by removing unwanted content blocks and adjusting the margins

Step 5: Create Our “Work With Me” Page and Contact Form

In this step, we'll create a special page on our website which will provide information about you, the photographer, your services, and client testimonials.

This is where you sell yourself – to hopefully get people to contact you (through our fancy contact form) and attract more business!

  • Get your own custom domain name ( instead of at (yes, they sell .com’s as well as .ca’s and .net’s, etc.).

Bonus Step: The Zen of Pricing Our Photos in SmugMug

In this bonus video, I show you how to simplify the pricing options for both you and your clients to maximize sanity and profits.

So there you have it

I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I spent over 30 hours putting this tutorial together for you and I know it’ll help you fast-track your way to a successful website.

If it has helped you in any way, please do me a favor and let me know in the comments section below and also share this tutorial using the social media buttons at the side of this post. Thank you!!

Cheers, and I’ll see you and your website on the world wide web very soon!

P.S. For those of you who just “scanned” to the bottom of this page (yeah, you!), let me lay it out plain for ya:

  • If you doubt SmugMug – just remember that there is a 14 day free trial. It takes seconds to sign up – and if it's not for you, you'll know it in 14 days and you can just let it go. No strings attached. And if it's good enough for these photographers, it might be good enough for you too!
  • If you doubt my tutorial – just have a browse through the comments below. The videos work, they help, and they don't cost a thing but a little bit of your time. But trust me – it can save you WEEKS of work to get you to a site you love.
  • If you doubt the end result of the SmugMug site I help you create – No worries! We all have our preferences. But if you're still looking at using SmugMug, make sure you use my SmugMug link to save 20%.
  • If you doubt SmugMug and the tutorial – I still love ya. No hard feelings. :)

Please share your thoughts or questions on the tutorial in the comments below. As you can see, I reply to every comment – sometimes faster than you can believe!

I'd love to hear from you.

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Create a Gorgeous Photography Website with SmugMug
Create a Gorgeous Photography Website with SmugMug

Easy to follow screencasts with step-by-step instructions for creating your own custom photography website.