SmugMug revamps photo site, service

smugmug new

 

smugmug new

Online imaging service SmugMug says its upgrade is their biggest launch since 2002 — and is actually not just an upgrade, but a completely new version of the site, “with a fresh, modern look and feel.”

The primary change is to the underlying architecture, with a “responsive design” that ensures customers’ sites and photos look good on mobile devices as well as PC screens. Also, a new Organizer tool makes for easy, intuitive drag and drop to organize all of your photos, the company says.

Current customers can use the migration feature to copy website contents.
SmugMug reports it is “the largest independent photo-sharing site in the world.”
Membership starts at $5/month.

 

MailPix partners with Circle Graphics to expand Canvas selection

Circle Graphics bridex600

 

Circle Graphics bridex600

To expand its photo canvas and wall decor offerings, online print service MailPix partnered with Circle Graphics of Longmont, Colo.

The premium gallery wraps on canvas feature eight-color inkjet printing protected by a clear acrylic coating, the company says, “and a staple-free finished back for a perfectly clean look.” The frame is built with a solid face to support the canvas and keep it from deforming and loosening, “so every canvas will look as tight and as flat as the day it was made.”

Pricing starts at $25, and ranges up to $280 for a 32×48 canvas.

 

KoolrPix personalizes pictures

koolrpix

 

koolrpix

The last thing the world needs is another pseudo-artsy photo app that simply applies cheesy filters to photos to achieve a vintage or antique look.

Sounds like something I would say, but no, that’s not me talking; that’s the opening from iKoolr’s launch of its KoolrPix browser-based image editor with which users can enhance photos with text, overlays and frames before sharing. Mobile app versions are also available.

iKoolr has basics tools as well as stamp overlays, frames, text, shadows, and patterns. “Recognizing that complex photo editing programs such as Photoshop are well beyond the budget and means of most people to learn and master, KoolrPix was created as an affordable alternative that anyone can master to create simply amazing results,” the company says.

Adding that “Great images should also be easy to print on a wide range of premium merchandise,” iKoolr partnered with Zazzle to offer custom products. The basic service is free, with a $7 annual upgrade for more useable content from iKoolr’s art production studio.

More information is here.

 

Photobucket raising $9.6M

photobucket

 

photobucket
 Reported by Hans Hartman

Techcrunch reports today that online service Photobucket is looking to raise another round of $9.6 million, of which $5.6M is supposedly already committed.

Photobucket offered long-term photo storage in the cloud lone before it became fashionable — but it’s had a bumpy ride, including a $250M acquisition by MySpace in 2007 and a sell-off for merely $60M two years later.

In terms of partnerships, expectations were high in June 2011 when Photobucket announced they’d become Twitter’s exclusive photo storage partner — but it lost this partnership 1.5 years later when Twitter decided to create their own cloud photo storage infrastructure.

Now Photobucket is readjusting, focusing both on offering multi-device photo syncing and backup services, as well as offering a “photo story telling” solution, which includes creative filters provided by Aviary.

At Suite 48 Analytics, Hartman will cover Photobucket in an upcoming report,  “Solving the Dispersed Photo Problem”, which will entail both the results of a survey among end users about the increased challenge to find photos on multiple devices and online services, as well as an in-depth look at 15-20 vendors that are trying to solve this problem. 

Shutterfly iPhone app create photo gifts

iPhone_Case_Creation

 

iPhone_Case_Creation

You can “create perfect personalized gifts in minutes” from your iPhone, Shutterfly says — and see an instant preview of your chosen print product on the screen.

The online photo service says its new iPhone app combines photo storage, viewing and photo gift creation, “safely and securely. Shutterfly’s new iPhone app will allow customers to take photos from their iPhones and easily share them with loved ones and create prints, photo gifts and lasting memories.”

The free app works with photos on the iPhone, as well on Facebook, Instagram and Shutterfly.

 

Nikon makes Space

nikon image space

 

nikon image space

Hmmm… Since Kodak folded its EasyShare Gallery service, I’m not aware of any camera maker continuing to push its own online service too strongly — though many remain on the Internet from the days where every company thought they had to have one…

But now Nikon has updated its 5+year-old PictureTown online imaging service. The “complete overhaul” warrants a new name, the company says, for the free image sharing that’s open to users of all makes of cameras: “Nikon Image Space.”

Nikon says its service now “makes it easy for camera enthusiasts to upload, view, organize, and share their photos and movies of once-in-a-lifetime moments with greater convenience through sequential operation, which is achieved by high speed operation of the system, an intuitive user interface (UI), a clear window layout, and a simple operation flow.” (I hope the new service is more clear and simple to operate than that paragraph.)

While anyone can have a free account with 2 gigabytes storage, only Nikon camera owners can upgrade to a 20GB “special” account, Nikon adds. Those accounts also provide password protection and image download restrictions.

The site opens on January 28.

 

Art.com acquires photographer service Zenfolio

zenfolio

 

Online consumer retail site Art.com acquired Zenfolio, a platform for photographers seeking to sell their shots.

“Bringing Zenfolio into the Art.com family was very natural because of the synergy between the two companies in the wall décor space,” the company says. “Zenfolio provides a solution for photographers looking to sell their work online, and will allow us to capture an even larger portion of our customers’ ‘wall share.’”

Founded in 2006, Zenfolio’s subscription-based service provides “online photography presentation and sales solutions for professional photographers and enthusiasts.”

Zenfolio’s founder adds, “We are passionate about photography and believe that beautiful photographs should have an equally impressive viewing experience.”

Art.com says it has more than 12 million customers in 120 countries worldwide, and is the world’s largest online specialty retailer of high-quality wall art. The company was founded in 1998, and is headquartered in Emeryville, CA.

Art.com and Zenfolio will continue to operate as stand-alone sites.

 

Building a new online print business at MailPix

MailPix-200x

 

Who says you can’t launch a new web photo service? Not MailPix, which reports its sales doubled almost every month in its first 90 days of operation, as well as its 50,000th site visitor, and more than 2,000 Facebook fans and 1,000 Twitter followers.

MailPix notes it is competing against established players like Shutterfly and Snapfish as well as “hundreds of other startups in a fast-growing $2 billion-plus photo/social expressions industry.”

The company says it is building its social media presence through online photo contests and promotions, “which draws traffic and customers to try our site.” It was founded this year by former Ritz Interactive CEO Fred Lerner.

 

Fujifilm closing SeeHere photo site; Shutterfly “consolidates”

seehere logo

Fujifilm North America will close its SeeHere.com photo creating and sharing website on November 8, 2012.

Since October 2008, the company says, SeeHere.com has “put users in control of the creative process with free-form product composer tools, customized share pages, shared projects, and unlimited free storage of images.”

Customers can transfer images to Shutterfly. In its own announcement, Shutterfly says it “continues to consolidate the industry and today welcomed SeeHere.com customers. We are thrilled to be able to provide SeeHere members with a new home for their treasured memories.”

 

SmugMug doubles pro pricing

smugmug

 

Online photo service SmugMug doubled the price it will charge for unlimited uploads for photographers who sell prints and downloads from the site, from $150 to $300 for new customers; existing accounts will rise to $250.

“For the first time in 7 years, we’re raising the price of some SmugMug Pro subscriptions,” the company says, “something we tried hard not to do.”

SmugMug says storage rages have increased rapidly.

Smugmug says its Pro customers who sell at a markup use far more storage and features than pros who don’t, “so we split our pro account into two types: Portfolio is $150/year or ($20/mo) and provides access to labs for both you and your visitors, plus pro features like watermarking; Business lets you set prices and earn profit.  It will be $300/year (or $35/mo) for new customers, but existing subscribers who set prices will be asked to renew at $250/year (or $30/month) beginning October 15, 2012.

The price change is of course unpopular, with several hundred complaints and threats to change service providers posted on the company’s blog in just a few days. “We resisted this for years,” co-founder Chris MacAskill responds, “thinking surely storage costs will drop faster than uploads will increase, but alas…”