Why I love SmugMug but it’s just not keeping up.

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Although this post might come across as a “product moan” it’s more an observation that running an internet company in 2015 requires you to keep ahead of your competition – not just keep up.

I have been a user of Smugmug  on and off for 5 years. I do really want to love it as a service and for the past couple of years it has been my main online photo storage service.

When my photography centred around my SLR it was fantastic for me. I used Aperture and so could transfer from my camera to Aperture, make edits and then upload them to SmugMug from within Aperture.

But, my photography evolved (especially my casual photography). I took my SLR out with me less and less, my smartphones were getting better and better cameras, had direct access to the internet and were with me all of the time. Now, of course they aren’t as good as SLR’s but they are pretty good at taking high quality pictures, quickly and efficiently.

I soon realised that my mobile photography was increasing and I needed a way to manage that. Fortunately SmugMug realeased a fantastic app called “Camera Awesome“. Launched in 2013 it was a leading camera app and became my main camera app on my device.

Unfortunately the app just hasn’t kept up with the pace of change (or competition). It’s still only optimized for iPhone 5 and is struggling to keep pace with bug appearances as the iOS & Android  operating systems evolve. (Reviews and ratings for both apps tell the historical story).

The other problem for SmugMug is that the competition is hotting up. About 6 months ago I came across Picturelife  – it’s approach to photo collation is it’s real strength. It focusses on making sure you photos and videos are backed-up, stored and accessible from whichever device you used to capture them. Smugmug feels “old skool” in comparison – mostly requiring manual intervention to upload.

The strength of Picturelife is it’s “shoot & forget” backup system. On my iPhone I can take a picture using the default camera app & once set up Picturelife automatically uploads it to my account  – easy. I take a picture on my SLR, copy it to my computer & it gets backed up automatically – easy.

SmugMug just doesn’t do this for me – it still requires much more of a manual intervention  which is fine when I am working on high quality  photo projects, but I also want a shoot & forget approach to my casual photography on all of my devices (without having to use an inadequate app), and SmugMug is missing the mark here.

My SmugMug account is up for renewal this month and I have already backed up the data from it as I don’t intend on continuing my subscription but I feel like I’m letting down an old friend.

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