Instructions to view slideshows or fotos in SmugMug

By Akos Szoboszlay, 10/26/2017, updated 11/28/18 and 09/27/19.

=== The captions feature on slideshows was deleted by SmugMug ===

*****          I no longer recommend using SmugMug         *****

Prior to summer 2019, you can export your photos from Apple Photos to a folder, and import that into SmugMug, and the captions from Apple Photos would all be shown intact when watching a slideshow on SmugMug, using a browser (e.g., Safari or Chrome) on a computer.  Distant friends & family could see my travels and family events, and read what they are seeing. Now, that feature is gone from browsers, and captions were never implemented on AppleTV (on the SmugMug app). The caption information is there, as can be seen by looking at thumbprints on AppleTV (but with truncated captions), or moving the mouse on a Browser which momentarily displays the caption. Neither is useful. I will be moving from SmugMug to another “image hosting” or “photo sharing” app unless they solve this problems soon. 


My foto albums using 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 you are using. Bigger is better for viewing the fotos. 

Unfortunately, SmugMug made a software change for the worse: Before, the captions were displayed continuously. Now, they are only shown when:

• using an iPad or iFon, which are too small for serious slideshows, and not as enjoyable because you can’t see as much detail as for larger displays.

• using a browser when running a slideshow, advancing automatically. The slideshow automatically uses the full screen. But if the slideshow is paused, the captions disappear for the remainder of the slideshow. 

• using a browser when viewing a slideshow, advancing manually. Move the cursor to make the caption appear momentarily. This is nutty since you have to keep moving the mouse for the entire slideshow. 

Instructions if viewing on a TV

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

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

Alternatively, you can use the browser feature inside your smart-TV, or use another method. 

Note: never use the SmugMug app on AppleTV (TV OS) because this version of the SmugMug app never displays captions [as of 09/28/2019]. 

Instructions for viewing on a browser.

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): 

Start the slide as above, then pause the slideshow by first moving the cursor to make the 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 are supposed to appear at the bottom-left of fotos, but are now hidden. To make them appear, move the cursor. You have to keep moving the cursor to see captions for all the fotos. Bad feature.

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). Or, a small map be already shown and you can probably click that to enlarge. 

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:  

Viewing SmugMug is free. It does cost to store photos (which are unlimited).

SmugMug deleted displaying photo captions except in a very cumbersome, impractical way.

I tested Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Apple slideshow and Flickr but none kept captions that I entered into my Apple Photos app on my Mac computer. 

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, SmugMug downloads in the original resolution (but the photographer has to enable that in the settings for each album/gallery). If you want smaller picture sizes, SmugMug can also 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 (metadata):

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

Each foto has a URL for the foto that can be displayed (or 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. 

=== Problem of lack of captions using the SmugMug app on Apple TV ===

If you have a UHD TV (also called “4K” TV by Apple), this method (SmugMug app on TV OS) has the best display resolution, but the captions are not displayed, so it’s useless for me. 

Why does the SmugMug app on AppleTV (using TV OS) not show captions? There are plenty of complaints about that, online. I am guessing it is a fad and they want to be like others — including Apple Photo streaming — not displaying captions. It’s ok for art photos, but not for travel or family events.  If I don’t want a caption on an art foto, I don’t put one on, and no caption is displayed.  It’s that simple.  I submitted a request to display captions on 09/27/2019 and if SmugMug won’t do that, I’m changing to another “image hosting” or “photo sharing” service. 

=== If you need technical help: contact Ákos at:     akos-fotos <put the at symbol here>   ===