SmugMug vs. Google Photos: Which is Better?

SmugMug vs. Google Photos: Which is Better?

Which platform is better for photographers, SmugMug or Google Photos? This is a question that many people have been asking lately. Both platforms offer a lot of features and benefits, so it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two platforms and help you decide which one is best for your needs.

What is SmugMug?

SmugMug is an online photo sharing, video sharing and digital asset management service.

It allows users to store, share, organize and sell their photos through a secure platform. SmugMug also offers additional features such as customizable and personalized galleries, password protection for private albums, pro-level editing tools, custom domain support and more. With its easy-to-use interface and low prices compared to other online photo services, SmugMug has become one of the most popular options among both professional photographers and amateur enthusiasts alike. Additionally, with its emphasis on security combined with the ability to create high quality images quickly and easily makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to make a lasting impression with their photographs.

What is SmugMug?

Whether you’re a professional photographer looking to showcase your work and gain exposure, or a hobbyist simply wanting to share memories with friends and family, SmugMug is sure to provide you with the tools you need to make the most of your photography. With powerful features such as online print ordering, detailed analytics and full-resolution backups available for download, SmugMug provides an all-in-one solution for anyone who wants to store and manage their photos conveniently and securely. [1], [2], [3]

What is Google Photos?

Google Photos is a photo and video sharing service developed by Google.

It’s designed to offer users an easier way to manage, store, and share their photos and videos across multiple devices. With Google Photos, you can upload your photos and videos from any device (including Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Macs, PCs), make edits to them on the go with powerful editing tools, store unlimited full-resolution pictures for free as long as they are under 16MP or 1080p HD videos (with some exceptions), create albums that you can easily share with friends and family.

Additionally, it offers powerful organizational tools such as facial recognition which makes it easy for you to find all your pictures of a certain person in one place. You can even search for a specific moment in your photos and videos, or group them according to the location where you took them. Photos can also be shared with other users on Google+ circles or directly via email. It also has some features like slideshows, which make it easy to create beautiful photo albums to share with friends and family.

Overall, Google Photos is an excellent tool for managing, organizing, and sharing your photos and videos from multiple devices. With its powerful editing tools, facial recognition technology, slideshows and more, it’s one of the best options available for people who want to keep their memories safe and secure while being able to access them easily whenever they need it. [1], [2], [4]

What is Google Photos?

Comparison of SmugMug and Google Photos

As you can see, both SmugMug and Google Photos are excellent options for storing, managing and sharing your photos. However, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them better suited for different types of users.


Features are the core of any successful photo sharing platform. They determine how users interact with the platform, how they share and access photos, and even influence the overall design of the platform. Features can also affect user engagement levels. High-quality, easy-to-use features allow for a more enjoyable user experience and encourage people to stay on the platform longer.

SmugMug offers a huge variety of features, many of which are designed specifically for professional photographers. These include detailed analytics, online print ordering, and full-resolution backups for download. They also offer a wide variety of customization options so that photographers can make their portfolios look exactly the way they want them to.

Portfolio templates are also available so that photographers can create professional-looking websites quickly and easily. Additionally, SmugMug offers password protection for your photos and galleries, making it easier to share them with only the people you want to.

Ecommerce features are also available, allowing photographers to sell their photos on the platform. Finally, SmugMug’s Pro account includes unlimited storage and uploading capabilities for videos as well as photos.

Google Photos offers some great features as well. It has powerful editing tools that allow you to quickly make changes to your photos on the go. Live Albums is one of the most popular features, allowing you to create albums that update with new photos taken in real-time.

Filters are also something that Google Photos has in abundance, allowing you to quickly adjust the look and feel of your photos with just a few clicks. It also has facial recognition technology that makes it easy to find all your pictures of a certain person in one place. You can even search for a specific moment in your photos and videos.

In addition, Google Photos offers support for many many file types, including RAW files and DNGs. Finally, it also allows for easy sharing of photos via Google+ circles or directly through email.

Comparison of SmugMug and Google Photos


Price is an important factor in the success of any photo sharing platform. The price of a service or product affects the decisions that customers make and how they perceive its value.

When it comes to photo sharing platforms, pricing can influence user adoption, engagement, and loyalty.

Low prices are often attractive for new users who may be looking for a quick way to share their photos with friends and family but also want to save money. Having a low entry-level price point can encourage more people to sign up and explore the features of the platform. Additionally, if prices are kept relatively low, users will be more likely to remain engaged as they have already invested in it financially.

When it comes to pricing, SmugMug and Google Photos have very different offerings. SmugMug offers only paid plans starting at US$13 per month for the Power plan, which includes unlimited storage for photos as well as Lightroom integration. The Pro plan costs US$45 per month and provides additional features such as priority support and multiple price lists.

Google Photos on the other hand offers both free and paid plans. The free plan includes unlimited storage for photos up to 16MP or 1080p HD videos as well as access to basic editing tools. For additional features such as higher resolution file sizes of 4K video, advanced search, and advanced sharing options; users may choose to upgrade to the Google One subscription which starts at US$1.99 per month for 100GB and up to US$9.99 2TB of storage. You can also use the service for free but then you will be limited to only 15GB of storage.

Cross-platform support

Cross-platform support is essential for any photo sharing platform and can be a huge factor in the user experience. A platform that is accessible from multiple devices and operating systems allows users to capture and share their moments wherever they are, whenever they want. Cross-platform support also expands the reach of a platform, as users are able to invite their friends or family who may have different devices to join them on the platform.

Cross-platform support also adds convenience to a platform as it allows users to use all features of an app across devices without having to download additional apps or switch accounts. This prevents frustration when transitioning between devices, as well as promotes consistency throughout the user experience on different platforms.

Luckily, both SmugMug and Google Photos provide excellent cross-platform support. They are also available on mobile devices, making it easy to capture and share moments on the go. Both support multiple operating systems such as macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android while Google Photos works with all of the above plus iCloud.

Comparison of SmugMug and Google Photos

Customer support

Customer support helps businesses build positive relationships with their customers, which is essential for any photo sharing platform. When customers have an issue with the site or a specific feature, they rely on customer support to help them quickly and effectively. Good customer service can help keep users loyal and provide valuable insights into what customers are looking for from the site.

Now, both SmugMug and Google Photos offer basic customer support with email options available. However they don’t offer phone support, which can be extremely helpful in solving issues quickly. In addition, SmugMug’s customer support offers a more personalized approach than Google Photos’, and their response time is much faster. Google Photos on other hand are always ready to help you in live chats.

Neither offer a chat option which is becoming very popular in customer support, but SmugMug provides FAQs and tutorials to help customers understand the platform better. [1], [2], [3], [4]

SmugMug Pros & Cons

Now that you know the main features of SmugMug, you can decide if it is the right platform for you. Before making a decision, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons associated with using SmugMug!

Powerful customization options

SmugMug excels in providing powerful customization options for your website. With SmugMug, you can customize the look and feel of your portfolio or e-commerce site with easy to use drag & drop tools. You have full control over everything from font size and color scheme to social media sharing buttons and more. Plus, they also offer a wide range of ready-made templates that make it even easier to customize your site.

Plus, it also allows you to build custom galleries with advanced features such as password protection, video slideshows, watermarks and more! You can also create custom themes using HTML/CSS code if needed. This level of customization means that you can create a unique experience tailored to your target audience.

Good SEO

SmugMug is one of the best photo sharing platforms when it comes to SEO. It allows you to customize your website and add metadata such as titles, descriptions, keywords and more. This ensures that your photos are properly indexed by search engines for higher visibility.

In addition, SmugMug also offers a variety of plugins and third-party services that help boost your website’s performance in search engine rankings.

Password protection on folders and pictures

If you’re looking for a photo sharing platform that allows you to protect your photos and albums with passwords, then SmugMug is the right choice. You can easily set up password protection on specific folders or individual pictures. This added layer of security will ensure that only authorized people can access your private content.

Reasonable commerce options

For those looking to monetize their photography, SmugMug offers reasonable commerce options. It allows you to sell prints, digital downloads and products like mugs or t-shirts with your photos. They also offer a wide range of payment processing options such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Stripe. Plus, you can customize the look and feel of your store so that it matches the rest of your website.

The sales commission is also pretty reasonable, being 15% for digital products and 10% on printed products, making it ideal for those who want to earn money from their work.

Custom domain support

Lastly, SmugMug also supports custom domain names. This means that you can use your own domain name for your website or store instead of the default SmugMug address. This is a great way to give your website a professional look and feel, as well as helping with search engine optimization. You will need to sign for the PRO plan for that however.

Despite all the benefits of using SmugMug, there are a few cons that you should consider before signing up. Here are the main drawbacks associated with using SmugMug.

SmugMug Pros & Cons

Lacks an integrated blog system

One of the biggest drawbacks of using SmugMug is that it does not have an integrated blog system. This means that if you want to write blog posts, you will need to set up a separate website or platform for this purpose. This can be a bit inconvenient and time consuming, especially when compared with other photo-sharing platforms that offer blog integration. [1], [2], [3]

Google Photos Pros & Cons

Let’s move on to the pros and cons of Google Photos. There are plenty of benefits for photographers using Google Photos Backing up your photos again. All of your images will be automatically backed up from all!

Automatic photo backup

Google Photos offers automatic photo backup, and it’s really easy to use. With the free plan, you get unlimited storage of high-quality photos. You can also access your photos on any device. The Google Photos app is available for both iOS and Android, so you’ll never be without your photos.

Free storage

At the base level, you get unlimited storage of high-quality photos and videos with Google Photos. The free 15GB of storage is available to all users, regardless of their plan. If you’re a heavy user, you can even purchase additional storage.

Smart shared libraries

Google Photos also offers a unique feature called “Smart Shared Libraries.” This allows you to automatically share your photos and videos with the people you choose. You can group photos into different libraries, such as family members, friends, and special occasions. This is especially useful for photographers who need to quickly send out images from shoots or events.

While Google Photos is a pretty solid platform for photographers, there are a couple of drawbacks.

Wait time when accessing backups

One of the common issues people have with Google Photos is that it can take some time to access a backup if you don’t have an active internet connection. This can be annoying if you’re trying to quickly access photos while on the go. The wait times vary depending on your connection speed and other factors.

Google Photos Pros & Cons

Requires payment for getting access to more storage

Another downside of Google Photos is that you have to pay for additional storage if you need more than 15GB. This can be a deal breaker for some photographers who need more room to store their photos and videos. The cost of additional storage varies depending on the plan you choose. [1], [2], [4]


Is there anything better than Google Photos?

Yes, there are many photo storage and sharing services out there that offer a better experience for photographers. SmugMug is one such service that has been around since 2002 and is specifically designed for professionals and hobbyists alike.

SmugMug offers more features than Google Photos, including unlimited uploads, customizations for portfolios, galleries, prints, and merchant accounts. Their plans also come with additional features such as password protection on albums, discount codes for customers to purchase prints, digital downloads of your photos and much more. Additionally, SmugMug provides greater control over the look-and-feel of the website by allowing you to customize the site’s background image or color scheme; whereas Google Photos does not offer customization options.

SmugMug is a great option for those looking to store and share their photos in a professional manner, as it provides more features than Google Photos. Additionally, SmugMug also has several plans starting at $5/month that are designed specifically for photographers who want to showcase and monetize their work with clients.

Is SmugMug a good place to store photos?

The answer to this question depends on the individual’s needs. SmugMug is a good place to store photos for those who require more control and flexibility over their photo storage, as it offers unlimited photo storage with no file size restrictions. It also allows photographers to easily organize, manage, and share their work with other users through private galleries or public websites. Additionally, SmugMug provides advanced privacy options that allow photographers to limit access to certain content based on download requests, watermarking images, and setting passwords for albums.

SmugMug also enables photographers to define pricing structures if they wish to sell prints of their photos. This can be done through print labs (such as Shutterfly) or directly from a SmugMug website. Furthermore, it offers a wide range of customization options that allow photographers to choose between different layouts and design templates, adding an extra layer of creativity to their work.

Is SmugMug worth the money?

The answer to this question ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences. SmugMug offers a range of plans, but the Pro plan costs $12.99/month or $150/year – which is more expensive than Google Photos’ free unlimited storage.

For photographers who want access to advanced features such as customizing galleries, building online stores and using eCommerce tools, SmugMug’s higher-priced plans might be worth the cost. The company also provides powerful privacy settings, making it great for those who need to keep their images secure. Additionally, SmugMug has industry-leading customer service with 24/7 chat support available for all paid plans.

On the other hand, Google Photos might be a better choice for those looking for basic photo storage without needing the additional features offered on SmugMug. With Google Photos free unlimited storage and automatic backups, it might be a more cost-effective solution for users who don’t need the extra bells and whistles that come with SmugMug.

Is Google Photos good for photographers?

Google Photos is a great platform for photographers to store, store and share their photos. The service offers unlimited storage for high-resolution images, making it a great option for those who need to store large amounts of data. Additionally, Google Photos also has powerful image editing tools that allow users to make quick edits before sharing or printing photos. With its wide range of features and options, Google Photos can be an excellent choice for photographers looking for an easy way to manage their portfolio.

However, when compared with SmugMug, Google Photos does have certain limitations in terms of customization and organizational features. While the service does offer some basic photo management tools such as albums, tags and labels; SmugMug allows users to customize their portfolio with a wide range of features such as private galleries, password protection and custom themes. Additionally, SmugMug also offers powerful analytics tools that allow photographers to gain insights into usage metrics and website traffic.

Therefore, for those looking for more advanced features, SmugMug is likely the better choice.

Useful Video: How to Use Google Photos – Beginner’s Guide