Instructions to view slideshows or fotos in SmugMug

By Akos Szoboszlay, 10/26/2017, updated 12/7/18.

My foto albums in SmugMug

Trips albums:

The below link is to my SmugMug home page, so you can view any or all of our trip albums. I plan to upload all our digital foto albums, and later, scan&upload my slides:

Family albums folder:

While my trip albums are publicly viewable, I set up a password for family albums. Family/relatives should ask Ákos for the password, or see emailed instructions. 

Instructions to view slideshows or fotos in SmugMug

All fotos are downloaded in the resolution that matches the display window of the browser. So, when ready to start the slideshow, always click the “full screen” icon to see fotos in higher resolution. 

Larger displays (such as HD TV or UHD TV) can be seen by an audience of several people. If you see the fotos by yourself, check to see if your TV has better or worse resolution than your computer (laptop or desktop display) for the best pictures. Compare horizontal pixels and vertical pixels, more is better. 

Example of pixel comparing using Mac computers: From the Apple Menu, select “About this Mac”, then click the Display tab. Compare the specified pixels with HD TVs, which is 1920 x 1080. 

A UHD TV (also called “4K TV”) is 3840 x 2160 and always has better resolution than a computer display (as of writing).

Use the display with the highest resolution — the one with the most pixels. However, the resolution displayed on the TV cannot be better than the computer display resolution when the computer display is copied (or “mirrored”) to the TV, which is the method I use in order to display the captions. However, because the TV is larger, it would give a better picture because larger size allows the eyes to observe more details. For common viewing distances, you cannot observe all the pixels in either a UHD TV or a high resolution computer display, such as Apple’s Retina display.  (For UHD TVs, see more info at bottom.) 

Instructions if viewing on a TV

If using AppleTV:  Use the AirPlay feature on your computer to copy (“mirror”) the computer’s display to the TV. 

If using equivalents by Google or Amazon, and a Windows laptop: I can’t help with this — but welcome info from those who know how. 

After the TV displays what’s on the computer, continue with instructions for viewing on the computer, next. 

Instructions if viewing on your computer

Using a browser on you computer, enter the above link, then click the album you want to view. 

Click Play — the solid right arrow icon — which is somewhere in the upper-right of the window. This should start the slideshow in full screen mode — using the entire display.

To advance slides manually (my preferred method of viewing): 

First, pause the slideshow by first moving the mouse/cursor to make icons appear, then click || , the Pause icon. 

To go to the next slide, press the right arrow on the keyboard or click it on the screen. 

To go back, use left arrow.

My captions appear at the bottom-left of many fotos. 

To go to the list of albums, click the Home icon (of a house) near upper left. 

If you prefer the auto-slideshow, I set that for no transitions (such as fade), and 3-second viewing.  If you prefer other settings for these two parameters, let me know, and I can make that an option. 

Maps: To see a map of where a foto was taken:

First, get out of full screen view by pressing the ESC key.

Then, click the “Info” icon, the letter “i”, just below-right of the foto.

Then, click the word “MAP” (slightly faded). 

Then, you can zoom, scroll/drag, enlarge the map window, etc. 

Afterwards, you can click Play (the right arrow icon) to continue the slideshow where you left off.

To download or print fotos:

Click the icon to download in original resolution — can save and print yourself — or can buy a print from SmugMug. (Consumer Reports said buying photos is cheaper, and higher quality, than printing them yourself.) 



Below are technical details for those interested.

About SmugMug:

Website for Smug Mug:  

SmugMug is the only foto website that both retains your captions and uses highest (original) resolution.  It costs about $48 per year for unlimited fotos but I use the Pro version for added features. I tested many others, including these:

The new Google Photos throws out all your captions when you upload. 

The Apple iCloud Photo-stream is not usable for what I do because I don’t want my fotos uploaded until after deleting duplicates and sometimes editing fotos. Captions and titles are ignored. 

Pixels and resolution: 

For viewing, fotos are downloaded in the size that matches your display.  I uploaded in full resolution, usually 4000 x 3000 pixels, or 12 megapixels, if not cropped. For downloading fotos for keeps, SmugMug downloads in the original resolution. If you want smaller file sizes / picture sizes, SmugMug can download in lower resolutions. File sizes are typically 6 to 7 MB for original resolution, in JPEG format, using high quality. For HD format, size is 2 to 3 MB. 

Foto info:

Each foto in SmugMug contains camera set-up information. View that by clicking the Info icon. 

Each foto has a URL for the foto that can be displayed (and shared or copied) by first clicking the Share icon. 


I now use my iPhone camera (4000 pixels x 3000 pixels) for most fotos, which has two lenses which are equivalent to 28 and 56 mm lenses (of a 35 mm film camera). For using a telefoto lens, I use my Nikon camera, model COOLPIX S9900 (4608 pixels x 3456 pixels) which is top-rated by Consumers Reports. It has a zoom lens, equivalent to 25 mm thru 750 mm. 

Camera foto aspect ratio: 

The native aspect ratio for most cameras is 4/3 (such as 4000 pixels / 3000 pixels). If you set the camera for a different aspect ratio, then unused pixels are blacked out by black strips (in the camera display). For the HD aspect ratio, pixels along a top and bottom strip are blacked out. For a square foto, left and right pixels are blacked out. Such reductions decrease the total pixels and the file size. However, the resolution stays the same as the native resolution. Usually, it is best to keep the native aspect ratio on the camera. You may want to have an HD or other aspect ratio — say a large family group foto where you don’t want the large amount of sky or ground in the foto. That is best achieved by keeping the native ratio on the camera, then on the computer using the Photos app, crop the foto on the computer. It is easier to crop the foto there. First select the aspect ratio (such as HD) before you start cropping. 

Regarding family (secure) albums: 

SmugMug also has unlisted-links feature, but it is more secure to use a password than to have an unlisted link, because someone — especially kids — can inadvertently use the link in social media, which would make the album publicly viewable. 

If you have a UHD TV (also called “4K” TV), this method (SmugMug app) has the best display resolution, but the captions are not displayed.

Note that at normal TV viewing distance, people won’t see the difference between the two methods, but I did see that this method is better, up close.

This method bypasses the computer and uses the SmugMug app (free) for the Apple TV (or equivalent). Here is how:

Download the SmugMug app to Apple TV (or equivalent). 

Start SmugMug

Search “Akos-fotos” to get to my fotos home page. 

Select the album and start the slideshow.

Note that the forward/backward movements, pause/continue buttons, are different than using a browser, but should be the same as for other videos used by your Apple TV (or equivalent). 

To read captions using this method (SmugMug app), you can view them either in the album’s main page (but some may be cut off), or use the “mirror” method (above).  

Why does the SmugMug app not show captions on an Apple TV, iPhone or Mac? (SmugMug only displays captions when using a browser.) There are plenty of complaints about that, online. I am guessing it is a fad and they want to be like all others — including Apple Photo streaming — who do not display captions. 

If you need technical help: contact Ákos at:     akos-fotos “at symbol”