Smugmug Blogging

PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup IllustratorNorth Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
edited November 11, 2004 in SmugMug Support
You know what would be nice? If Smugmug supported photo-blogging in some way. There's a couple of sites that do this like www.fotolog.net and http://www.photoblogs.org/ but they're so very primitive.

Smugmug has the potential and existing infrastructure to penetrate this market thoroughly. After all, fotolog.net charges $5 a month just to be able to post 6 pics daily. At $30/yr with Smugmug, who wouldn't jump over?

Here's what I think would be involved.
  • Some kind of plugin that lets you edit text. This shouldn't be too hard to find.
  • Building a gallery option of "blog" in addition to elegant, elegant small, etc that changes the way pics are shown so it's more readable-friendly. (Or maybe just tweak the Journal view so it can be forced by regular members.)
I'm probably missing a bunch of stuff here so please feel free to add...but in all I don't think there wouldn't be any significant changes except in marketing.

Your thoughts?


Ohhh...on the same tangent...it would also be cool to see a "Tutorial/Review" gallery option as well for those of us that wish to write quick reviews or tutorials. That would probably also involve tweaking the journal view in some way.
Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

Comments

  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Atlanta, GARegistered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited July 27, 2004
    I'm kinda clueless about this stuff, PDG. In what way is a blog different than, say, creating a daily gallery in smugmug? Is it that a blog format allows you to add commentary?

    And what is a photo blog? Is it daily, or sorta daily, photos with comments attached? Sort of a stream of consciuousness of photography? Pardon my ignorance, I'm only just understanding political blogs.

    I looked at some of the links from your link, I quite like this one. Seems to me you have to shoot a lot to support a blog. This dude appears to post one aday. Phew! That's a lot. And they're good, too.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Silicon Valley, CAAdministrators Posts: 1,269 Major grins
    edited July 27, 2004
    You know what would be nice? If Smugmug supported photo-blogging in some way. There's a couple of sites that do this like www.fotolog.net and http://www.photoblogs.org/ but they're so very primitive.

    Smugmug has the potential and existing infrastructure to penetrate this market thoroughly. After all, fotolog.net charges $5 a month just to be able to post 6 pics daily. At $30/yr with Smugmug, who wouldn't jump over?

    Here's what I think would be involved.
    • Some kind of plugin that lets you edit text. This shouldn't be too hard to find.
    • Building a gallery option of "blog" in addition to elegant, elegant small, etc that changes the way pics are shown so it's more readable-friendly. (Or maybe just tweak the Journal view so it can be forced by regular members.)
    I'm probably missing a bunch of stuff here so please feel free to add...but in all I don't think there wouldn't be any significant changes except in marketing.

    Your thoughts?


    Ohhh...on the same tangent...it would also be cool to see a "Tutorial/Review" gallery option as well for those of us that wish to write quick reviews or tutorials. That would probably also involve tweaking the journal view in some way.

    photo blogging is something that keeps tickling at the back of my mind. I keep pushing it off for a few reasons:

    - Journal works reasonably well for this already

    - I have enough to worry about trying to stay the best photo sharing site on the net without also trying to be the best photo blogging site too. (and I won't accept 2nd best)

    But that doesn't mean it's not on our minds. If we found some really nice, clever, unique way of doing it and it added real value to our core business (photo sharing), I'm sure we'd do it.

    I don't want to be a 'me too' business when we have a great direction already. Currently, everyone else is 'me too'ing us. That's nice. :)

    Don
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited July 27, 2004
    Very well said onethumb and wxwax. It's nice getting a different perspective.

    I still feel it would be quite nice to have a text editor of some sort (similar to the one here at dgrin) so when you enter photo descriptions you can easily plug in URL's, bold, colors, etc.
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • dkappdkapp Custon Title :) Registered Users Posts: 985 Major grins
    edited November 5, 2004
    I just opened an account w/ my-expressions.com (http://my-expressions.com). They have a 30 day free trial, then $3/month.

    I am hoping smugmug will do something similar in the near future. It would be a perfect fit for most. People visit the photoblog to read what the photo is about, click & buy.

    Just want to add my vote for this feature.

    Dave
  • DesignmcDesignmc Photoblogger Reston, VARegistered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
    edited November 8, 2004
    It's possible to have a photoblog using smugmug, although I'm getting the impression that there aren't many of us doing this, so I figured I'd explain how I'm running mine.

    (see designmc.com/photography/.)

    I was inspired by the photoblogs I saw on photoblogs.org. I liked the minimalist one-photo-at-a-time style blogs. And I wanted a workflow that was as frictionless as possible and smugmug has very helpful in providing that.

    I installed WordPress (a great stand-alone blogging app) at my web host and got it configured. But there wasn't an easy way for me to get my photos online. I didn't have the server space to store originals. Even if I did, I didn't want to go through the hassle of resizing every picture I put up. I knew I would rarely post if that was the case.

    So I signed up with smugmug and wrote a script that automatically generates WordPress posts based on my smugmug gallery. So once my pictures are on smugmug, it's takes just one click to post the photo on my blog. (I'll share the script if anyone is interested.) Even better, I can future-date several posts to dole out a new picture each day.

    I managed to get e-commerce working fairly well too. If you click on 'how to buy this print', you get information about the print. That page has the smugmug 'add to cart' and 'checkout' buttons.

    Anyway, all that to say it's possible but not all that accessible. Given the choice, I would have liked to create the photoblog entirely from within smugmug. I would love to see smugmug offering a couple of photoblog templates with csszengarden style coding.

    For now, though, I think this workflow is hard to beat. Especially since I value the e-commerce capabilities in smugmug. I'm curious if anyone has done anything similar.

    - Matt Constantine
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited November 8, 2004
    dkapp wrote:
    I just opened an account w/ my-expressions.com (http://my-expressions.com). They have a 30 day free trial, then $3/month.

    I am hoping smugmug will do something similar in the near future. It would be a perfect fit for most. People visit the photoblog to read what the photo is about, click & buy.

    Just want to add my vote for this feature.

    Dave
    That is one *very* cool site. Thanks for sharing! I'm weary of spending yet another $3 on yet another site. They're all starting to add up :)
    Designmc wrote:
    It's possible to have a photoblog using smugmug, although I'm getting the impression that there aren't many of us doing this, so I figured I'd explain how I'm running mine.

    (see designmc.com/photography/.)

    I was inspired by the photoblogs I saw on photoblogs.org. I liked the minimalist one-photo-at-a-time style blogs. And I wanted a workflow that was as frictionless as possible and smugmug has very helpful in providing that.

    I installed WordPress (a great stand-alone blogging app) at my web host and got it configured. But there wasn't an easy way for me to get my photos online. I didn't have the server space to store originals. Even if I did, I didn't want to go through the hassle of resizing every picture I put up. I knew I would rarely post if that was the case.

    So I signed up with smugmug and wrote a script that automatically generates WordPress posts based on my smugmug gallery. So once my pictures are on smugmug, it's takes just one click to post the photo on my blog. (I'll share the script if anyone is interested.) Even better, I can future-date several posts to dole out a new picture each day.

    I managed to get e-commerce working fairly well too. If you click on 'how to buy this print', you get information about the print. That page has the smugmug 'add to cart' and 'checkout' buttons.

    - Matt Constantine
    This is juicy. I'm in that exact same stage right now. I wish I could code this but I'm just not that strong of a scripter. I'm curious on how you were able to pull such a clean template from Wordpress. My attempts at doing that were a clear and present failure. I've tried Photoblogger, Wordpress, PixelPost and Birch and all failed in some fashion. Wordpress came the closest to meeting my needs though.

    So if you could share some details that would be great. I think many could benefit from it.

    Cheers!
    -Jesus
    jperez at perezdesigngroup dot com
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • DesignmcDesignmc Photoblogger Reston, VARegistered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
    edited November 9, 2004
    ...This is juicy. I'm in that exact same stage right now. I wish I could code this but I'm just not that strong of a scripter. I'm curious on how you were able to pull such a clean template from Wordpress. My attempts at doing that were a clear and present failure. I've tried Photoblogger, Wordpress, PixelPost and Birch and all failed in some fashion. Wordpress came the closest to meeting my needs though.

    So if you could share some details that would be great. I think many could benefit from it.

    Cheers!
    -Jesus
    jperez at perezdesigngroup dot com
    My inspiration for the template design came from some of the photoblogs on the top 10 at photoblog.org. Many of those photographers use Moveable Type, but I had gone that route before and I wasn't happy with the limitations imposed by not having a dynamically driven site (in MT every page is pre-generated).

    I started with copy of the default wordpress template. You just have to be ruthless with what you take out of it. That's the case with any of the blogging tools. They usually pack all the features that they have into one template so you can see what the software does. So I pulled out just about everything until I had just the body of the post (where I put the image tag with the smugmug post).

    One tricky part was finding a way to show just one post at a time. The key to that was putting $posts_per_page = 1; and setting the "show most recent" option in the settings to "posts paged". Then you can use the next_posts_link and previous_posts_link to get the navigation links.

    After doing that I've since found out that this breaks the ability to have permanent links to the photos; since the links are relative to today. So a link with a 5 in it means 5 days go, not photo number 5. I'm looking for a solution to that problem.

    There a few complications with running a photoblog and a textblog at the same time. I'm using categories to make the distinction and then coding my templates to respond to each category. I don't recommend going this route. I think I may have to hack the wordpress SQL calls to get this one worked out. Or I may just wait until wordpress supports multiple blogs (or grab one of the extensions that does that, until then).

    Despite a few wrinkles, I'm very happy with the workflow. I can get images up very efficiently. Overall, wordpress is very well made and the community is wonderful.

    If you go this route be sure to look at the wordpress wiki. It's far more complete and up to date than the documentation. And it has a great list of plugins.

    Also, as promised, here's the smugmug to wordpress post tool.

    - Matt Constantine
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! BostonRegistered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    I don't really know what I'm talking about here, but it seems to me that dgrin, not smugmug would be a the best place for blogging. What about just adding a blogging forum and people could start threads, basically a thread per person. Maybe the only thing needed would be some sort of control over the thread you starrted to prevent other from posting there or to show their posts differently somehow...
    If not now, when?
  • rmsrms Big grins Alexandria, VAUsers Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    This would be a really useful feature. I don't think that it would be terribly hard to accomplish a functional photoblog using existing smugmug functionality, except for the fact that you can't force Journal view with a basic account. IMO, this should be a basic feature -- even if I can't choose any of the displays, I should be able to indicate whether a given gallery is a photo gallery or a text/photo gallery.

    The lack of this feature effectively means I *can't* use my smugmug site for photoblogging (unless I upgrade) since really long captions on pictures in any view other than Journal look bad. Likewise, short captions look odd in Journal view.

    I do agree that smugmug has done a really good job of providing core functionality in a package that's easy to use and simple, while also providing a powerful feature set.
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    I don't think my original post summarized blogging effectively so I'll take a moment to explain it.

    When you blog, you're posting either literature or photography to a public arena. Then users can comment on it. Now, if blogging stopped here, Smugmug would be perfect. However, there's another dimension to blogging.

    This concept is the one regarding 'trackbacks' and 'pinging'. In a blog, when a visitor quotes or references your content in a separate article it will appear listed in *your blog* as a 'trackback'. It offers a bit more info about how and where your content is being used.

    Then there's the wonderful 'ping'. When you post new content, the blog sends a wonderful hello or 'ping' to popular blogging directories (think Yahoo! for blogs) like the new Photoblogs.org or Pingomatic.com. When these directories receive a 'ping', they list your blog on their front page as having new, fresh content to check out. The more often you post, the more often you appear on the front page. So you're actually marketing yourself and your content to untapped markets.

    So there you have it. Blogging 101. If Smugmug was to implement this, I would foresee the following...

    1. Extra visitors to your gallery and Smugmug.
    2. Extra sales for Smugmug and users.
    3. Extra subscriptions from bloggers that are looking for a photo blogging solution. After all, my-expressions is limited to 100mb's of space.
    4. More marketing. Imagine the reach all these trackbacks and comments will provide! Everytime Photoblogs.org gets pinged, smugmug is being inadvertently advertised.
    5. New cheese. (Please read "Who Moved My Cheese" to understand).

    Implementing it would probably require creating a "blog" checkbox and layout for basic users along with a WYSIWYG editor for comments. I don't believe it's all that difficult considering the wonders that have already been accomplished here.

    Hey, people love to share photos and Smugmug is all about sharing. Blogging is the act of sharing, no? And then there's all these new digital cameras being released. It seems like cameras are being put on everything from pda's, pens to 2-way pagers now (hiptop's). Possibilities are endless.
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    Designmc wrote:
    If you go this route be sure to look at the wordpress wiki. It's far more complete and up to date than the documentation. And it has a great list of plugins.

    Also, as promised, here's the smugmug to wordpress post tool.

    - Matt Constantine
    Amazing work and amazing insight, Matt. Thank you very much. thumb.gif I must speak frankly, however. My cat has been severely harmed do to your script. Know any good vets? :D
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • yvonneyvonne Snap Happy in London LondonRegistered Users Posts: 193 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    Blogging 101.

    You know, I think that I should be able to understand what is written above, but I still don't really get it (and I'm not ordinarily dense).

    I don't really understand the point of blogging. In idiots terms, please.

    If complete strangers look at your photos and have something to say about them, then the picture turns up somewhere else too. Is that it? I don't understand.
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    yvonne wrote:
    Blogging 101.
    I don't understand.
    More people see your photos and can comment.

    If they quote you (in their *own* blogs) you see exactly where and how. thumb.gif (by using 'trackback').

    I'm starting to notice, though, that trackbacking isn't popular in photo blogs.

    To clarify, here is a link to one entry in a popular blog. First you will see trackbacks. These are people that quoted or referenced Laporte's article in their own blogs. Then after that, you'll see the comments people have made regarding the entry.
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • yvonneyvonne Snap Happy in London LondonRegistered Users Posts: 193 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    Oh, ok, thank you.

    All a bit techie for me. I don't think I do the kind of photography where blogging becomes useful, in that case. I don't think my clients are that web-savvy!
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator North Miami Beach, FLRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    yvonne wrote:
    Oh, ok, thank you.

    All a bit techie for me. I don't think I do the kind of photography where blogging becomes useful, in that case. I don't think my clients are that web-savvy!
    Very techie indeed. I'll be the 1st to admit it. But it is exciting to get one's work and thoughts out to the general public and get noticed a tad.

    I tried to re-word my original statement to make it easier to read. I hope this helps a bit.
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • rmsrms Big grins Alexandria, VAUsers Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    This modified explanation makes sense -- I think these would be useful features, and would let smugmug interoperate somewhat with the larger Internet community.

    I still think, though, that for entry-level users who don't need the trackback/ping functionality, some basic formatting control to force a blog-style display would be really useful. But this is a great suggestion...
  • danmandanman Big grins Oxford, UKRegistered Users Posts: 41 Big grins
    edited November 10, 2004
    Excellent idea
    I'm spending money at my-expressions.com and this is money that smugmug could be having. And I'm talking about it too - to a lot of people. This is a market they should be in.

    Danny.

    You know what would be nice? If Smugmug supported photo-blogging in some way. There's a couple of sites that do this like www.fotolog.net and http://www.photoblogs.org/ but they're so very primitive.

    Smugmug has the potential and existing infrastructure to penetrate this market thoroughly. After all, fotolog.net charges $5 a month just to be able to post 6 pics daily. At $30/yr with Smugmug, who wouldn't jump over?

    Here's what I think would be involved.
    • Some kind of plugin that lets you edit text. This shouldn't be too hard to find.
    • Building a gallery option of "blog" in addition to elegant, elegant small, etc that changes the way pics are shown so it's more readable-friendly. (Or maybe just tweak the Journal view so it can be forced by regular members.)
    I'm probably missing a bunch of stuff here so please feel free to add...but in all I don't think there wouldn't be any significant changes except in marketing.

    Your thoughts?


    Ohhh...on the same tangent...it would also be cool to see a "Tutorial/Review" gallery option as well for those of us that wish to write quick reviews or tutorials. That would probably also involve tweaking the journal view in some way.
  • DesignmcDesignmc Photoblogger Reston, VARegistered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
    edited November 11, 2004
    Amazing work and amazing insight, Matt. Thank you very much. thumb.gif I must speak frankly, however. My cat has been severely harmed do to your script. Know any good vets? :D
    ROTFL! I don't know of any vets that can undo the type of damage my scripts do to pets. :)

    I like the discussion going on in this thread. As is usually the case there's a wide vareity of opinions as to what blogs are. To some people they're communities, to others they're personal exploration. To some it's about techonology, to some it's about simplification.

    I'd like to see a couple of highly customizable templates that represent the major styles of photoblogs. One for the one photo at a time crowd and another that is more like a traditional text blog with pictures.

    As for technology, trackbacks and pings are a wonderful way for people to build their communities. And the community building is a great thing for smugmug.

    RSS would be very welcome. RSS is a rapidly growing techonology that makes it easy for people to track a large number of blogs and news sources. Right now my bloglines.com account tracks dozens of my favorite blogs and photoblogs, all from one interface, all because of rss.

    Bottom line, anything that smugmug does that promotes communities is a good thing. Any way that you can help build my own community and connect into larger communities, is a great thing.
  • rmsrms Big grins Alexandria, VAUsers Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 22 Big grins
    edited November 11, 2004
    Communities
    I think Designmc has hit the nail on the head -- smugmug is, or should be, about community. If Don, JT, et al are thinking about future vision of smugmug, I think this is it. The reason I subscribed to smugmug in the first place was because it does everything I need to manage and share my photos, in a clean and easy-to-use fashion, without crowding my display with a million ads or little features that I don't want. What makes smugmug particularly valuable in the long run, however, is how it creates communities.

    I think smugmug has already done some very great things to create a "smugmug community" -- the friends and family flags, and dgrin. Now I can show visitors to my site who is in my "smugmug community," and I can talk with them and share photos here.

    With that in mind, I'm offering my wish list for community-building features for smugmug. Obviously, these are aspirational, and some of them may never happen. But my goal here is to create some discussion about what features will, as Don says, help smugmug stay #1 in its market.

    - Make the friends and family flags more rich. I'd like to be able to have a "friends and family page" which showcases the newest photos or galleries from members of my circle. This would have the side-effect of making it easier for me to quickly see what's going on with other smugmug users.

    - It would be great to also have an option to include a thumbnail from members of my circle to know what others are up to. There should be a simple URL for a new picture from my site -- for example, http://rms.smugmug.com/photo?type=random&gallery=newest or http://rms.smugmug.com/photo?type=newest&gallery=any.

    - Implement some basic templates (suggested by Designmc) to let me do more blogging-type presentations with my smugmug site. Even if not a full-fledged blogging software, maybe smugmug could let me create a "blog gallery" which would display using one of these templates (either photo-a-day or text-with-photo), rather than the standard photo templates.

    - Implement RSS feeds and pings and trackbacks so that smugmug users can be a part of the larger blogging community, not just smugmug -- and this will also make it easier for us as users to do smugmug's advertising for it.

    Just a few ideas -- hopefully other ppl will come up with better ones...
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