SmugMug Totally Rocks!

smugmug_logoOkay, I just spent a few minutes dissing Google for their lame implementation of a Calendar App. Now to something that doesn’t suck: SmugMug‘s incredible photo sharing site. For years, I’ve been trying to find a way to take my pro and not-so-pro images from my own archive to a more publicly accessible format. Mostly, I’ve cranked out slideshows or galleries with tools like Slideshow Pro for Joomla or from within Lightroom with various 3rd party widgets. And while it worked, it didn’t work well at all. it was cumbersome and gave very mixed results, particularly when it came time to disseminate images widely.

So I finally decided that the way to go might be one of the online outfits. Yes, I’ve known about Picassa and Flikr and all the others for years, but the one that leapt out at me early on was SmugMug. It seemed really friendly, somehow, professional yet unpretentious, efficient yet fun. After a recent trip to Europe, I opened up an account and starting playing around. I was blown away by the whole thing — it’s by far the best application I’ve seen in a long, long time. Add to that Jeffrey Friedl’s totally amazing Adobe Lightroom plugin that makes it ridiculously easy to move images from your archive to the web with granular control, and you’ve got a winning package. No, SmugMug is not free. Nor is Jeff’s widget. But, really. They are *so* worth the price of admission if you do anything even remotely serious with images. If you’ve just got a couple of snaps to drop on friends now and then? Don’t bother, obviously. Go with Facebook or one of the big freebie sites. But for the real deal, SmugMug is the best deal. Thanks, guys.