As higher resolution photography (and photography in general) has become ubiquitous, photo sharing and storage websites have had to adjust to keep up. From increasing storage capacity and file-size limitations to launching “spectacular” redesigns that offer beautiful browsing experiences, everybody is adjusting in their own way.
The latest player in the photography sharing game to make some big changes is SmugMug, who announced and launched a major overhaul earlier today.
Here’s a quick video intro before we jump in:
This is no small re-design or slight visual improvement, in the website’s own words “we razed the walls, stripped the wiring and built a better, stronger SmugMug from the ground up.” The site is calling this new SmugMug “the biggest launch since 2002.”
As you might expect, the changes are drastic. Here’s a look at what photographer Benjamin Von Wong’s SmugMug looked like before:
And here’s the after:
In addition to this “brand-new look and feel that showcases your photos more beautifully than ever before,” the company is also claiming that the redesign will make using the service that much easier and more intuitive. Additionally, SmugMug is making sure the migration is as quick and painless as possible — you don’t even have to migrate if you
fear change don’t want to.
If you would like to migrate, almost everything will transfer seamlessly. Pretty much everything except advanced customizations made in the old system will automatically move over to the new. And unlike before, you’ll be able to build and customize your new SmugMug site in a special behind-the-scenes preview mode while everyone else continues to see your old site.
Building your new site is also supposedly much easier than it once was. Below, you see a preview of the 24 customizable “Designs” you’ll have to choose from:
Once you’ve migrated your photos to the new system and selected one of these designs, you can customize the layout to your heart’s content — change colors, edit margins, choose textures, insert logos, add a background photo, and more — while using the site’s new drag-and-drop organizer to place content blocks … at least if you have one of the more expensive accounts.
Editing and creating your own designs are features saved for Power, Portfolio or Business users, as are some of the more complex customization and commerce features. Basic users are also limited to customizing the look and layout of their home page and nothing else. But the news isn’t all bad for the $5/month crowd: the new SmugMug now allows you to upload video as well.
It’s not for us to say how the new SmugMug will do against its major competitors (think Flickr and 500px). A SmugMug account of your own starts at $40/year ($5/month) for Basic and moves on up from there, while the other two offer a free option. Still, the ability to truly hand-craft every aspect of your SmugMug site until it’s perfect might attract those pros who were less-than-thrilled with the Flickr redesign.
If you’re already a SmugMug user and you’d like to get the migration process started, you can do so by clicking here. Once you do, you won’t have to activate the new SmugMug until you’re 100 percent satisfied with the look of your preview, but be forewarned, once you unveil your changes, you can’t go back.
For a ton more information on the new SmugMug — including more before and after examples and a bullet-by-bullet list of both improved and brand new features — head over to the official SmugMug announcement or check out the also-redesigned home and info pages.