Break free from your SmugMug Template

Recently, I’ve been looking at how to apply a fresh new design to SmugMug‘s online portfolio for photographers, that breaks away from the limited default template choices.

SmugMug is a great tool that connects photographers to their customer’s and allows them to view their photos instantly online as soon as they become available via any device. They can review and share photos and order albums directly from SmugMug, whilst the photographer can sit back and relax.

However, there isn’t much choice when it comes to customising the SmugMug templates or themes, so we need to move away from the inflexible “builder tool” and the pre-set theme choices.

Let’s fancy things up a bit without breaking the bank

There is a SmugMug API, which is perfect if we want to do a deep integration, but a build of this level is not exactly cheap! Instead, let’s look at a WordPress option that utilitises the Photonic plugin and embed some of the SmugMug features directly into our site.

Photographers always have a great range of images to work with, so we’ll want to use a flashy design with big imagery to show off their great work. To make the most of SmugMug’s features, we’re going to directly feed in photos using the Photonic plugin.

This is a great plugin, freely avaiable, that gives us the power to create carousels and galleries loaded with our photos directly from SmugMug – no time wasted uploading the same photos twice, then!

Next, we’re going into our SmugMug account and using the builder tool to strip back the existing template to only show our album list – and nothing else! Also we’ll use the builder to match up colours to our new design. We can now embed our SmugMug page into the new “client area” section.

This gives the impression that the list of private galleries is loaded from our new website, but actually it’s coming from the new cut down version of our SmugMug portfolio.

The beauty of this approach is that customer’s will benefit from all of SmugMug’s features when browsing their photos in our new site and by embedding in this way we save on development time.

Let’s get back to taking photos then!

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