What would happen if Sugmug closed!

guyguy Major grinsPosts: 189Registered Users Major grins

I've been with Smugmug since shortly after they began business I believe back in 2002 or 2003. I'm very happy with the Service and have no plans or desire to change. After so many years though I have a boat load of photos uploaded. North of 60K actually, it made me wonder what would I do if Smugmug decided to close down. Yes I have most if not all of the photos on a hardrive or 2 as well but not as well organized as they are on Smugmug. Anyone have any thoughts on this?



  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,706Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Everyone should have multiple copies of everything they value on separate media, preferably in separate locations as well. I would think that with 60k pics, you're using some catalog management software, like Lightroom, to keep track of things. If not, you really ought to consider using one. The SmugMug plugin in LR will let you synchronize your LR catalog and your SM organization, which could be helpful

  • BenBen SmugMug VP of Operations Posts: 513Vanilla Admin SmugMug Employee

    Hey Guy,

    I also have my entire photographic history/life on SmugMug at this point, starting in 2002. I have my vacations, my first date with my wife, the birth of my daughters, etc. Theoretically I might have those photos elsewhere, but not organized and easily findable and searchable.

    For most of our history, we've had a lot of different download and archive options. These days there aren't as many, as we tend to focus it on a robust API and community engagement. The good news is that because of that API, any company and service can pretty easily write a full blown archiving tool to grab all your content (with your permission) and move it to their service.

    In the tragic event we had to shut down someday, which hopefully never happens, our top priority would be to make sure there are great paths for you to recover your photos. Our top priority has always been to take care of the photos we are entrusted with, and that would be our final priority as well.

    The good news is that we are healthy, and the future looks bright. We've manage to do this for 16 years, and I hope we have a few more decades left in us. But if that ever changed, our first concern would be taking care of your priceless memories.


    Smug since 2003
  • ShinryaShinrya Peter Stewart Hong KongPosts: 131Registered Users Major grins

    Just to echo what Richard said, having multiple backups is definitely worth it in the long term. I've lost stuff in the past due to poor management of backups, and as a full time traveler I'm more at risk of losing everything.

    All of my main 'portfolio' work is stored on SM, whether it's displayed on my site or not. The great thing is if I need to quickly access a high res file, it can be quicker to just download it rather than search through a drive.

    I carry 2x portable hard drives which store all of my RAW+Processed TIFF/JPGS for the past 5 years. Both drives are identical for redundancy. One drive stays in my backpack, the other in my suitcase.
    Laptop contains all of my RAW+Processed work for the past year, so in addition to the hard drives, I now have 3 copies of everything just in-case. The problem is that these 3 copies are all physically on my person, and always moving. So potential for damage/theft etc.

    My final backup solution happens roughly once a year, when I get the opportunity to offload my previous years work onto a RAID hard drive I keep in storage, off-site. This drive holds everything I've ever done, and again is a RAID 1 configuration for redundancy.

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,236Registered Users Major grins

    I come from the IT world but have been doing photographer here for a long time, some opinions:

    Smugmug should be a display for you, NOT a storage location.

    Smugmug should NEVER be a point of coding or organization; metadata such as captions, titles, keywords; organization such as files and folders should be done on your own computer (or cloud or where-ever you control), and not Smugmug. Smugmug should just parrot what you do elsewhere. The key here is "one version of the truth" or think of it as "one master copy" -- and it isn't Smugmug.

    I say all this not because I think Smugmug is untrustworthy or going away, but good data practices is never cede control of your data to someone else. By using Smugmug as a repository -- not just a display mirroring your own data -- you are giving over not just control, but in a real sense ownership. I am not suggesting Smugmug is making a rights grab, but you may be simply unable to retrieve ALL the data you store there if you decide to move (much less if they shut down, or had an accident, or were hacked). Metadata in particular on Smugmug is very difficult to retrieve and re-associate with a local copy of your images.

    It's one reason I like Lightroom and Smugmug's plugin together -- everything except order of galleries in folders is preserved on my desktop (which I keep backed up). If Smugmug disappeared, I could quickly push the same structure to some competitive service, or even my own web site, with all the data intact.

    It's worth noting I know Smugmug was working on two way sync -- to use that plugin to pull data from smugmug to lightroom. I do not know where that stands (I personally had no interest, even negative interest for reasons above). If you have stored lots of data on Smugmug, it may be work looking into.

    Smugmug is a display -- a temporary gallery if you will. Not an attic.

    Opinions only, I know a LOT of people think of Smugmug as a backup or even a primary store, and no offense intended to you. Lots of people have lots of ideas I disagree with. :)

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