I've recently joined SmugMug and have been uploading old photos and videos to share with my family. Along the way I discover a lot of our friends, neighbors and their kids appear in those images. So I would like to be able to share those photos and videos with them as well. The problem is that I really don't want them to have access to my entire SmugMug site. Originally, I didn't password protect my site but had all galleries marked as private. Unfortunately, when I did that, when my family would go to my site, they would see a massive, unorganized list of galleries -- even though I do have them somewhat organized when I view them. So I changed all galleries to public, password protected my site and also did something with Smug Islands to make it harder for others to discover. So now when my family goes to the site, they see the same organization of galleries that I do. So that's great. The problem now is that I can't just give out links to certain galleries to others without also giving them my site-wide password. At one point, I'm pretty sure that someone at SmugMug told me that if I created a Share Group, I could password protect that and those that received that link for the share group would only need that share group specific password to gain access to those and only those share group galleries. Unfortunately that didn't work as those that received the link were also prompted for my site -wide password. So I emailed SmugMug support and was told that I was correct in my thought process but that a bug in the system was preventing things from working as they should. A couple of days later, however, I checked back and was told that no, share group passwords were not intended to bypass site-wide passwords. So now I'm confused. Nonetheless, it really doesn't matter at this point because even if I was right, it isn't working. So I'm looking for another solution to my dilemma which, again, is that I want to maintain a site that really isn't open or discoverable by the public but one where certain individuals who I invite, can view certain galleries without thereby gaining access to all galleries.... Any help will be appreciated. Thanks...
There pretty much isn't a good way to do what you're asking with a single Smugmug site. There are lots of work-arounds and they are all pretty much unpleasant, extra work to maintain and you give up various Smugmug features.
First off, a password protected site protects the entire site. There is no way to allow anything to bypass that site password. It's all or nothing.
Second off, if you try to use any form of non-public galleries (unlisted, password protected, etc...) you start giving up Smugmug features for the viewers you care the most about - your family - and you end up with a site that's a bit crippled (no search, limited navigation, etc...).
The only serious work-around I know of is to NOT have a site password and then give every single family gallery the same gallery password. Your family viewers will only have to enter that password once for the first gallery they view and from then on, it will work in other galleries with the same password (until the cookie expires). Your non-family visitors will see the existence of the galleries, but won't be able to open them. Then, you can make truly public galleries for your non-family friends. For clean organization, you can put all the family galleries in the "Family" category and all the non-family galleries in the "Public" category and split your site that way. And, before you ask, Smugmug does not have password-protected categories. Passwords only work at the site level or the gallery level.
I've come to the conclusion that there are only two practical alternatives without having to spend a lot of energy maintaining a work-around and giving up a bunch of site features. Those two choices are:
I personally use one account for family stuff and one account for community shared photography (soccer, rowing, school, public events, etc...).
The way I do this is to make a new gallery for the grandkids friends like "Senior Ball Party" and then "Collect" the ones I want to share. The gallery setting is UNLISTED so it is not with the main albums. No navigation bread crumb at the top. Also HIDE OWNER so it just says "SmugMug" at the top and not my account name or other galleries. Now I can give out the URL to go just to that one set of photos. This makes a SmugIsland that is completely separate from all my family history photos. Example:
If this came up a lot, two accounts might be good, but would require more uploads.