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I switched from my own installation of Gallery to the SmugMug photo sharing service for a number of reasons including the following:

  • Due to hosting space limits I was only uploading reduced resolution images to gallery so did not have a full quality online backup. With SmugMug the full resolution images are stored online.
  • Due to hosting space limits I was not storing my older photos online. With SmugMug I can store an unlimited number of full resolution photos online for a fixed yearly fee.
  • I had a number of gallery hacks and customizations which would invariably take time to migrate with each gallery upgrade that I did.
  • I had to keep gallery updated myself which takes time to keep up with.
  • SmugMug has a more user friendly photo display interface in my opinion.
  • Arrow key image navigation is supported in the browser on SmugMug.
  • SmugMug handles video files more smoothly. With gallery I struggled with cross platform display/playback of different formats and had to convert things before uploading in most cases to save space and/or support flash playback. With SmugMug I can upload nearly any video file and they handle the conversion to H.264 .MP4 format server side. Playback using the SmugMug flash player just works.

Customization Tricks

I've found the following tips to be very helpful in getting my galleries to display the way I want on SmugMug.

How to display a list of most recent galleries on your homepage

How to bulk change thumbnails for already uploaded photos

How to manually change gallery modified dates so that the most recent galleries hack works right

I'm still looking for a better solution, but for now I follow these steps:

  1. Upload a new image to each of the most recent X galleries that I want to show up in the most recent list, starting with the oldest gallery.
  2. Delete the newly uploaded image from each of the galleries

This is a total hack but it worked to get things started after doing bulk uploads. In the future most recent dates should work correctly most of the time. I did find this thread asking for a better way to handle this problem but it's pretty old:

Uploading to SmugMug

Initial Bulk Uploading

Since I already had all of my photos stored in folders using album names, I wanted a quick way to upload and create galleries on SmugMug. I tried a couple of methods and ended up using Star*Explorer for my initial uploads. Unfortunately it didn't upload my videos so I had to go back through and add those to the relevant albums using the web based uploader. I also had to resize and then upload manually a number of stitched panoramas to fit within the 12MB upload limit on SmugMug power accounts.

Ongoing Uploads

I'm using a different tool called Send to SmugMug which will add a contextual menu to the Windows Explorer Shell and allow you to quickly create a new Album and upload the photos in the folder. This tool makes uploading quick and easy and includes video upload support. For the initial upload though it would have been tedious to right click every single album (Star*Explorer supports recursive category/album creation based on the folder structure).