Setting up a SmugMug gallery

I am happy to announce that I have created a SmugMug gallery! I did a lot of research and a SmugMug gallery together with this blog seemed like the best solution for me. In this entry I am sharing what I did to help others who might be considering starting one.

I intend to use my SmugMug gallery to:

  • Showcase my photos to friends and photo editors that I might contact in the future so they can see samples.
  • Make event photos available for download for groups. These will mostly be photos of events that I am making available for free to the event organizers.
  • Maybe even sell a photo or two…

Selecting a Format

I looked for a “clean” format, chose one named Dina, and adapted it just a bit to have a “White Duotone” background to have a slightly different color in the menu portion on the left. It was very easy to add sections to the menu:

Uploading photos

Uploading photos was very easy, and I could place them in “galleries” that can be organized into “folders:”

I just uploaded them from my laptop, but you also have the option to upload from other sources, e.g. Lightroom. Arranging folders and galleries was very intuitive. I have reorganized the galleries and folders easily, e.g. I had a “photojournalism” folder for “events,” then decided to move “events” to the top layer, nothing to it, just scoot galleries around like you would folders on your computer.

Displaying the photos within a gallery

There are many ways to display the photos. I went with Collage Landscape, but there are many other ways, and it would be trivial to change that if I were to change my mind, either for individual galleries or globally. You can also determine whether to include a slideshow, and many other features:

Help features very useful

SmugMug has a very helpful support center that walks you through the whole process, a search for help lands you on very relevant and useful articles:

Photo security options

SmugMug gives you many options to secure your photos. After much research I decided to take three steps:

  • Set a small image size for the displayed image, so if someone downloads an image it’s not of great quality, not suitable for framing, etc. I might decide to go even smaller in the future, we’ll see
  • Add a “right-click message,” also in the “Photo Protection” section when you create the gallery. The idea is when someone right-clicks to download your photo they instead get a message that you can personalize. Mine reads: “All photos are © Susan Montgomery. Look for the buy button to buy a print for yourself. Thanks!”
  • Add a watermark to the photos – SmugMug makes this trivially easy, you can save a watermark image, or create on within SmugMug, which I did, then when you create a gallery you can tell it to add a watermark to all photos in the “Photo Protection” section. So the watermark shows up on the screen and downloaded photos, but not in ordered ones.

I realize none of these are totally foolproof, they can take a screenshot, etc. but I’ve done what I can, I’ll leave it at that.

Selecting a subscription

I also had to decide which subscription to get. The current options are:

As a professional photographer the plan is to have some sales, so I went with the Portfolio option. I originally selected the Pro option, then I realized that was overdoing it for my purposes so I changed it to Portfolio and they updated it right away and gave me a credit, didn’t have to wait until renewal time, which I very much appreciated.

As for prices for sales, I decided to just go with the SmugMug presets, we’ll see how it goes.

Next steps

If you have any other questions about setting up a SmugMug website let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. In the meantime, if you decide to proceed yourself, you can get 20% off your first year subscription if you use this link , or the one at the top of the page, to get started. Full disclosure, I also get 20% off your subscription price toward my next update, thanks!

Best wishes on YOUR photography (and SmugMug!) adventures!

Susan

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Shooting stock photos – Roller Derby again!

(A special note for the folks I know through the University of Michigan: I’m a photographer in my other life and realized a few months ago that LinkedIn rules state you can only have one LinkedIn page, so I had to merge my UM and photography pages, so expect some photo related entries when I update my photography blog…)

I got my camera fixed in time to attend another Ann Arbor Derby Dimes bout last Friday, those wonderfully supportive women who give me free passes to their bouts and a nifty Media Pass…  I got to try my new lens, a Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 that I’m proud to say I bought with my photography earnings. I got it at Camera Mall, a very nice relatively new camera shop in Ann Arbor. The folks there are super helpful and supportive. I also took along my “nifty fifty,” a Nikon 50 m f/1.8G that I got a few years ago then didn’t ever use as I got shy about street photography, sigh… But I’m learning to say “oh, well,” figure out the lesson to be learned and move on rather than linger on past mistakes, so, oh, well, at least I had it to use now.

The new lenses made such a difference!  At a larger aperture more light came in, so I could have a faster shutter speed, thus able to capture the action in much better focus, yey! Remember, the aperture is the fraction of the lens that is open, e.g. f/8 on a 50 mm lens means a 6.25 mm diameter opening, so the smaller the f-stop the larger the lens opening when you click the shutter, thus “larger aperture” means “smaller f-stop.”

I also brought my monopod, made me look a bit dorky but at my age I don’t really care much what people think of me anymore, and it added another level of steadiness so the photos came out sharper.

You can see the photos I submitted to them at the Derby Dimes facebook page.  Some of my favorites are:

DSC_9572

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/2.0

DSC_9597

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f/2.2

DSC_9745

50 mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8

DSC_9892

24-70 mm lens at 42 mm, ISO 1600, 1/500 sec, f/2.8

What I’m pleased about:

  • With the new lenses I had much more light coming in, could go with faster (shorter) shutter speeds, so captured the action better.
  • Taking the time to learn about the sport so I better understand what is going on. Still have much to learn, but I’m getting there, and it helps me anticipate and frame the shots better.
  • How wonderfully supportive the team is of everyone, of each other and of the other teams, and making me feel very welcome.
  • The opportunity to show strong women in action, and never sharing any photos that might embarrass anyone.
  • Including the refs in the photos, for a full shot of the action and to show appreciation for their work.
  • As for backgrounds I like the first photo because the back wall makes for a much nicer background compared to the trees.
  • I notice that 3 of my 4 favorite photos are with the “nifty fifty”, the 50 mm lens, which let much more light in than the 24-70 mm (f/1.8 vs f/2.8). Notice that the aperture it selected for the shutter speed I set is larger than I could have gotten with the 24-70 mm lens.
  • Having the 24-70 mm lens, however, allowed me to also get wider shots than I couldn’t have gotten with the 50 mm, sometimes the 50 mm was too constraining. Notice the last photo is at 42 mm, which allows me to include the refs.

Altogether a very fun evening of roller derby and photography, learning every day.

It really is about getting out there and trying things, messing up, learning from your mistakes, trying again. I got my first “real” DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera in 2004, shot mostly my kids activities and family trips for a short time, took an online photography class at the local community college in 2010, have taken Lynda.com photography and photoshop courses most summers, took two Great Courses video courses by Joel Sartore of National Geographic in 2014, started this blog in 2014…

Just keep chugging away, keep learning and trying, and next thing you know you’ll feel comfortable with aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures!

Susan

Milestone – My first press pass – Thanks AA Derby Dimes!

I got my first press pass!

The ladies at Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, the local roller derby team, which I took photos off a few summers ago, were nice enough to contact me about photographing their bouts this summer. When I showed up last week they had actual media passes for us, cool! I’ll write separately about why I didn’t end up having photos I was happy with, but that’s another story, the big thing here is that someone liked my photos enough to consider me worthy of a media pass… I so appreciate their support!

Derby Dimes Media Pass 2018

Common Cup exhibit in February, 2018

Not many updates since the summer, the day job taking lots of time this year, but I did want to share some exciting recent news:  I’m thrilled that I was selected for a solo show through February at the Common Cup Coffeehouse, a student-centered non-profit coffeehouse affiliated with the University Lutheran chapel, at 1511 Washtenaw, between South University and Hill Street. The 23 photographs exhibited include  car detail photos and travel photos. Really feeling like a real photographer now!
UPDATE: Uros Watchers, one of the photos on this exhibit, shown at the bottom below, SOLD!  I was so excited to learn that someone liked my photo so much they wanted to buy it…
IMG_1228 copyIMG_1241 copyIMG_1234 copyIMG_1233 copy
Montgomery - Uros Watchers.jpg

Milestone – Paris Locks accepted to AAWA Summer 2017 Juried show

I was thrilled that “Paris Locks” was recently accepted to the Ann Arbor Women Artists‘ Summer 2017 juried show:

Paris locks 18x12

… and for the first time part of my photo was even included in the advertising postcard:

riverside_2017_summer (1)

 

We were told that they received 120 entries, of which 64 were accepted.The AAWA selections are particularly meaningful to me because the judge is a working artist, so to have one of my photographs recognized by a working artist sure helps with the Impostor Syndrome concerns.

… and with that I think I’m all caught up on what has been happening with my photography, whew, nice to not have that backlog!

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

Milestone – Photos accepted by Blueprint 2017

This is another update, for the record… I had three photographs accepted by Blueprint, the College’s literary magazine for their print edition and for their show, in February 2017:

Overlooking Paris 18x12Paris locks 18x12Higgins Lake in Winter

The view from Notre Dame was a fun recreation of other similar ones I have seen over the years. Paris Love took me a bunch of shots and attempts to find just the right composition.  The lakeshore is in Higgins Lake, “up north” as we say here in Michigan, the beauty of a lake in the winter.

It’s always inspiring to see the work of my colleagues and students, and I appreciate the time that the organizers take to put together each year’s edition and art show. I like to be a part of these college events to show students that it’s important to have a balanced life, with interests outside of your career – I’m still working on it as you can see from some past posts, but during the summer the balance is much better…

Best wishes to you on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

 

 

Shooting stock photos – Tall Ship Celebration, Bay City, MI

This is one from last summer, catching up.  Went with a friend to the Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI last summer, had a great time touring some of the masted ships:

Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI 2016Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI 2016

Since the point was to spend a lot of time looking at the ships I had plenty of time to take photos without my friend having to wait for me.

What I did right:

  • Took both long shots and close-ups
  • Framed the shot as I wanted it, then waited for people to walk into my shot to give it more interest.
  • Was mindful of the crowd, waiting until I got just the right look for those where you could see the people, and everybody looks good – I make a point of not uploading any photos where anybody doesn’t look reasonable, wouldn’t want someone to do that to me…
  • Took photos of the names of the ships as I took them, for future reference
  • Checked camera settings every so often to make sure I had ISO set properly, etc.
  • Took a boat ride that was available, so I could get some shots from the river, allowing for very good looks at some of the ships.
  • Took some photos from the bridge between the two sides of the river, so I could get some overall shots.
  • Took a range of photos, I had over 50 photos, submitted 9 of them – and they all got in :)

What I would change? Really not much, it was a great day, I got some good photos without making my friend have to wait, my settings were pretty good for the most part, I’m happy about this day. You can see the photos in Shutterstock here.