Some of the most popular posts here have been my SmugMug vs. Zenfolio review I wrote around 11 months ago. While I am very content with my decision to go with SmugMug, I felt it was appropriate to write a bit of a follow up for those curious with my thoughts after this amount of time.
I began my search for an online photo hosting service to market my photography about 11 months ago. During this process, I began documenting my experiences with both Zenfolio and SmugMug as I attempted to make a decision. My criteria had mainly to do with my ability to easily place photos online, allow customers easy access and above all, provide exceptional print service. Furthermore, I wanted to maintain a consistent look and feel to my online presence so I wanted to be able to customize the look and feel of the photo hosting site to match that of my main web page. With those ideas in mind, I wrote the following articles analyzing my experiences.
- Photo Hosting: Zenfolio vs. SmugMug
- Zenfolio vs. SmugMug: Part 2 - Price and Workflow
- Zenfolio vs. SmugMug: Part 3 - Overall Thoughts
As is discussed in the third article, I decided to go with SmugMug and have been very pleased.
My contentment with SmugMug has grown over the last 11 months and for my needs, I’m confident I made the right decision.
To start with, SmugMug has continued to provide user updates. Their pricing interface has improved dramatically since I began using it. It looks very similar, but is simply much more functional as they have performed subtle upgrades that allow me to price photos in a quick and simple manner.
Additionally, it seems to me that there have been some server upgrades going on behind the scenes. While I never found the service to be slow, I have noticed that it seems much snappier as of recent – especially when performing administrative tasks. It is these types of updates that really make me a satisfied user as it appears that the people running SmugMug are attempting to keep things running smoothly without waiting for problems to arise. I can only wish more online services where this proactive in their approach to customer service.
The final, and perhaps the most notable update since I have been using SmugMug is the addition of Bay Photo as a printing service. While their prices are a bit higher than the former EZ Prints, their service is second to none from my experience. This is not to say that I no longer use EZ Prints, but for all my more artistic work, Bay Photo is my first choice.
To be honest, I have done very little printing on my own. However, I printed enough from both EZ Prints and Bay Photo to know that either will print beautiful photos. As mentioned above, I have switched all of my more artistic work over to Bay Photo printing. While I’m not sure all of my customers will be able to appreciate the difference, Bay Photo is known for it’s superb color correction. While I feel that my images do stand on their own with regards to color accuracy, I like knowing that someone will be ensuring that they print as good as they look on my screen. For those curious, this service is an extra charge when using Bay Photo but for me, I feel it’s worth while. It is possible to disable by the site owner (not by the customer).
Metallic prints can be really fun for certain scenes. I have had the above photo printed using the EZ Prints Metallic service and it came out stunning! The golds of the corn really stood out and made the entire photo quite dramatic. I have yet to order a metallic print of the same image from Bay Photo, but I am confident that it would be just as gorgeous! Both EZ Prints and Bay Photo offer metallic printing in most sizes which is a huge asset for me.
Overall, I’m very happy with SmugMug. I feel that the service they provide is excellent and I have no problem recommending them to anyone who is interested in selling their photos, but doesn’t want to go through the hassle and expense of setting up a custom purchasing interface.