SmugMug announces new online RAW storage and organization solution, SmugMug Source

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by
Jeremy Gray

posted Monday, July 12, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT

Updated July 13 at 11:30 a.m. EDT: Added a quote from SmugMug’s website listing supported RAW and sidecar files. Thanks to Jaron Schneider of PetaPixel for the heads up. 

SmugMug has announced a new RAW storage solution, SmugMug Source. The platform allows you to manage uploaded RAW photo assets with the help of AI-driven search tools while continuing to offer access to the same platform many photographers use to showcase and sell photos.

Experienced photographers are likely familiar with RAW files, but for those who aren’t, a RAW file contains minimally processed data from your camera’s image sensor. RAW files must be processed by a RAW converter to be viewed and edited, and exported in a different format, like JPEG or TIFF, to be printed and shared. RAW files have benefits compared to JPEG files, including additional shades of colors, higher image quality, improved control over image parameters, an unlocked color space, the ability to use different demosaicing algorithms than your camera’s, and more.

Credit: SmugMug

There are drawbacks to RAW files, not the least of which is file size. RAW files are often at least twice as big as JPEG files, sometimes much more. RAW files also generally lack industry standardization, but SmugMug Source primarily addresses storage and organizational concerns.

SmugMug Source promises to let you access your RAW photos from anywhere, guaranteeing ‘end-to-end management for your RAW files.’ Organizational tools include AI-powered features, including search tools. You can see, manage and search for your RAW files on the web, or through different apps, including Lightroom.

Credit: SmugMug

SmugMug states that cloud storage is ‘endless.’ However, it’s certainly not free. You pay for the data you use. For up to 512GB, it’s $3 per month. For users with 512GB to 1TB of RAW files they wish to store, it’s $5 per month. Each additional terabyte of data is $5 per month. SmugMug Source supports RAW files from every major camera manufacturer. SmugMug writes, ‘We currently support the following RAW formats: ARW, BMP, CR2, CR3, CRW, DCR, DNG, IIQ, MRW, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, RAF, RAW, RW2, RWL, SRF, SRW, TIFF, TIF, X3F. You can also upload sidecar files from Adobe, Capture One, DxO.’

For example, if you have 3TB of RAW files, which is around 25,000 RAW files from a Sony A7R IV, you’d pay $15 per month to use SmugMug Source, which is $180 a year. That’s not cheap. For reference, a popular backup service, Backblaze, can be purchased for $60 per year with unlimited data. SmugMug Source hopes to separate itself through ease of use, organizational tools, and integration into an existing photographer-oriented platform.

If you’d like to learn more about SmugMug Source and try it for yourself, visit SmugMug.