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Some of you have come here from my “How to Make an Online Photo Album” article, where I recommend SmugMug as a great place to host your photo portfolio. Rather than choose the basic themes from SmugMug (which are quite good and flexible), I wanted something extra special and really customize my SmugMug page.
Reasons to further customize your SmugMug site:
- You have a unique logo or brand and you want it presented in an unexpected way.
- You want your portfolio and website to look totally unique and stand out.
- You have an idea for something, and the default themes just are not cutting it.
- Or, when it comes to your online business, you are simply willing to invest in something that keeps your brand and web presence wonderfully unique.
Here is a screenshot of my portfolio on SmugMug. Pretty sweet, eh?
How to customize SmugMug
I recorded a video below that shows more about customization in general and my specific customization.
The beautiful templates that are available (even at launch!) are super impressive. The idea that you can just click and pick a theme is very powerful. And then, once you realize you can easily swap between themes, it all gets a little bit too intoxicating!
They even named a theme after my friend Thomas Hawk, who is also an avid user of the site. That theme plays well to photographers like Thomas who take a ton of photos and want to be able to share them easily and beautifully. Other themes will work better for portrait or wedding photographers. And landscape photographers, like me, have a whole host of themes to choose from.
If you are generally afraid of getting into the details and changing your customization, then this one-click scenario is the way to go. Oh, and once you choose a theme, you’ll probably want to pay attention to #3 below!
The previous SmugMug was very very very very very difficult to tweak out designs. Now, there are smart drag-and-drop controls with individual menus that let you make adjustments.
I was able to go into a complete customization of the default SmugMug template and make my site look exactly like I wanted. Awesome! I never had to look at any code or php or script or any of that nonsense. In fact, I found the whole process to be very fun and interesting. It actually made me think very hard about EXACTLY HOW I wanted people to experience my work on the internet. This is very philosophical in a way, you see. I enjoyed the process, and I loved using the tools to realize that philosophy.
Now, you can take a default template (like in #1 above) and simply add a few new controls or navigation items. So you don’t have to start from scratch. Say you don’t like the way the menus are laid out in one of the basic templates — well that is easy enough to change. And then if you want to change the way the photos are displayed, then you are in luck there too. The controls are very simple and powerful.