Why Choose Visual Society vs. SmugMug? (4 Key Reasons)

Thad Allender

by Thad Allender

Dec 31, 2020 · 4 min read

As a photographer, it’s important to have solid technical and creative skills. However, just as vital is having access to the right tools. This is one reason you’ll want to make careful choices when setting up an online e-commerce store to sell your art.

To make an informed decision, you’ll need to be aware of the pros and cons of the available platforms. This process can be time-consuming, so we’ve put together a list of reasons you might prefer Visual Society over an option like SmugMug. Understanding what photography e-commerce platform is a better fit is key to giving your site the best chance for success. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to choose the right e-commerce platform for your photography store. We’ll also look at why you might want to opt for Visual Society.

Why Your Choice of E-Commerce Platform Is Vital to Your Photography Business

The e-commerce industry is expected to hit 4.48 trillion USD in 2021. This means you have the opportunity to reach a global audience with your work, and earn a living from it at the same time.

One step to get you started off on the right foot is choosing a suitable e-commerce photography platform to set up your store. This can be rewarding in a number of ways. For instance, you can keep costs low while still getting access to all the important features you need.

You also won’t need to concern yourself with too much upfront setup, and can instead focus on cultivating relationships with your audience right from the beginning. Not only does this increase your chances of attracting new customers, it can also encourage repeat purchases.

Finally, your choice of an e-commerce photography platform can determine how much you can scale your business. You’ll want to avoid settling with a solution that will require you to migrate down the line. Instead, your site needs to be able to grow alongside your audience and sales.

Why Choose Visual Society vs. SmugMug? (4 Key Reasons)

Both Visual Society and SmugMug are platforms designed for photographers who want to set up an e-commerce store online. Of course, each has its own set of tools and strengths. In particular, Visual Society has a few features that might persuade you to choose it over SmugMug.

Q: How would you describe Visual Society in one sentence?
A: A beautiful way to share your photographers and find buyers for prints.
~ Brent Olson, Salt Lake City, UT

1. You Can Get Help With Your Content Marketing Strategy

It can be challenging to gain exposure as a new photographer, or even as an experienced artist who wants to take their work online. This is one area where Visual Society shines.

Our Content Marketing Generator is indispensable when creating high-impact headline ideas for your niche. This is the first step to creating quality blog content, which can be very important for increasing the visibility of your store in search engines. SmugMug simply doesn’t come with a similar feature.

Additionally, our SEO tools can help you rank higher for the keywords that are most relevant to you. As you’ll see next, we also have tools for auto-generating some of these keywords.

2. Keywords Are Auto-Applied to Your Images

When you upload images to Visual Society, they are processed by Google Vision, a machine learning technology with image recognition capabilities. Your images are then categorized based on detected objects and keywords.

This feature saves you from the tedium of organizing your media manually. It’s also a more efficient method of optimizing your store and increasing search visibility.

Although SmugMug enables you to incorporate relevant keywords that customers may find you with, Visual Society automates the process. This is a significant difference, as it affords you more time to focus on the most important tasks.

3. Showcase Your Photos on the Marketplace

Another reason Visual Society can be a better choice than SmugMug is that you can aggregate your best photos into a centralized marketplace. This is a great way to increase your chances of finding buyers. We also handle the marketing and sales process, so you can focus on your photography.

We’ll promote your photos on some of the biggest platforms out there, such as the Google Adwords and Facebook networks. Additionally, approved marketplace contributors receive user profiles with backlinks to their websites and social media accounts. In this and many other ways, we make it easier for you and your store to be found online.

4. Participate in Themed Contests

Photo contests can be an excellent way to hone your skills and gain more visibility for your work. For example, themed contests ask you to create or adapt your photos to fit a particular subject. This can help you improve your ability to create outstanding images while working within constraints.

This is why we’ve recently added a Photo Contests feature to our e-commerce platform. You can receive – or ask – for feedback on your work, have some fun, find new photographers to connect with, and generally bring your work more visibility. Some ongoing themed contests you can submit your images to include Surrealism, Aerial/Drone, Urban Architecture, and more.


Although both Visual Society and SmugMug are specialist e-commerce solutions, the former has some features that make it easier to manage and run your photography store effectively. This can bring your work more exposure, as well as save you a lot of time.

In this article, we discussed why you might prefer to set up shop on Visual Society. Four of the top reasons include:

  1. You can get help with your content marketing strategy.
  2. Keywords are auto-applied to your images.
  3. You can showcase your photos on the marketplace.
  4. You’ll be able to participate in themed contests.

Do you have any questions about how to set up your photography store on Visual Society? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pexels.

Category: Business
Thad Allender

Thad Allender

Founder / CEO

Thad Allender is the founder of Visual Society. He leads a team of passionate designers and developers working to revolutionize the way photographers and artists sell online. He lives north of New York City in the Catskills.