I’ve started using them in 2009 and now with 11 years of experience I share every thing I love about Smugmug.
Not too much stuff to be disliked, luckily.
So if I have to summarize it, I LOVE Smugmug: it makes my photography workflow so much easier.
Here’s my list…
Why Smugmug is better than Dropbox or any other cloud storage?
Smugmug is designed for and run by photography loving people: everything is image and gallery centered. While “simple” cloud storage platform like Dropbox or Google Drive are more for everyday general use, Smugmug optimizes everything for the photographers.
For example creating multiple display copy sizes, ability to sell print, protection of photos and gorgeous website design.
So what are those features that set Smugmug above the competition?
After using them for 11 years, here are my favourites.
Though I’m raving about Smugmug in this article, this is not a sponsored post. Although there’s an affiliate link at the end, I wouldn’t recommend it if I hadn’t been happy with it.
Key features of Smugmug I love
Original + resized images automatically
This is the key feature that sets Smugmug apart from the normal cloud based storage services:
I can always download the ORIGINAL files, Smugmug never compresses it.
And they allow HUGE jpg files: maximum 150 megabytes and 210 megapixels per photo are allowed. If it’s bigger, then they’ll try to resample it.
Okay so far, Dropbox also knows this.
But now comes the real deal….
Smugmug even creates 12 smaller and sharpened display copies of the original JPG.
Why is this good for?
Because with this Smugmug always diplays the picture that’s closest to the viewing size. This results in faster loading times, and high-quality viewing experience.
As far as I know, Squarespace also does something similar, but they never ever allow you to actually select between the display copies (and link to them).
There are even keyboard shortcuts for best photo browsing experience:
Left/Right Arrow Keys = Prev/Next Photo
Shift + Left/Right Arrow Keys = Prev/Next Page of Thumbnails
A = Bring up Lightbox view of photos, Autosize photo
S = Lightbox, Small
M = Lightbox, Medium
L = Lightbox, Large
1 = Lightbox, XL
2 = Lightbox, XL2
3 = Lightbox, XL3
O = Lightbox, Original
X = Exit Lightbox
Update for 2019: Smugmug removed the image selector button from the Organize panel mode. This is a serious set-back for many users, and I don’t know why they did this.
Luckily they have left the image selector icon in the “normal” Lightbox mode that the visitor see.
I’ve reached out to them many times telling them that they should not remove this particular feature, I hope they’ll listen