Our History

Built to last.
Last to

A focused vision. A shared passion. A long view.

Photographers have always found ways to share their passion, work, and inspiration with each other. As photographers, we’ve always come together, and SmugMug was born from a mission to support the community we were already a part of.

By the early 2000s, digital photography was overtaking film, and tens of millions of digital cameras were producing billions of photos that needed a home. Photographers needed a place online that was tailor-made for them—a place where they could stand out, shine, and share.

So we started building. Since day one, our purpose has been building a better world through the power of photography. A world that is ours to build together, so when you’ve told us what you needed, we’ve listened.

You told us you needed somewhere safe for your priceless photos. We built systems to keep billions of them securely in the cloud so they’d be safe forever—safe in every sense of the word: their pixels and bytes, access, controls, and rights.

You told us your photos needed to look amazing. We built a service that any photographer, anywhere in the world, could use to showcase their photos beautifully with ease. Your stories look better here—bigger and sharper with no distractions—exactly the way you, the photographer, intended.

That was just the beginning. We’re still listening. 

Millions of photographers all over the world continue to tell us what they want—what they need. That’s you. You’re the reason SmugMug grew into Awesome. You’re the reason we were able to find better ways to support photographers across the entire creative spectrum. And today, we are home to the creators, the shutter pressers, the doers and makers. We’re home to a community that knows photography has the power to change the world. A community that knows photography is the global language of storytelling.

In 2018, we made the move to acquire Flickr from Yahoo. That decision was bigger than business. We knew we needed to save the billions upon billions of digital photos that were at risk of disappearing forever. We knew we needed to ensure the largest, most important collection of photographic history would live on well past any of us. We knew this community needed a home, the same kind we built for SmugMug, only unique, special, catered to one of the original social-media platforms that ever existed. Since, Flickr has begun to thrive again, growing and changing and evolving. We were even able to start a 501(c)(3) called the Flickr Foundation so that no matter what happens to Awesome, the rich corpus of photographic history would never be lost.

But our work is never done. More recently, in 2022, we added This Week in Photo to Awesome’s family of brands. At once the most important and most popular educational resource in photography, the podcast and website give us the chance to communicate and participate in the ongoing conversation about photography as it changes, day by day. Moment by moment. Shot by shot.

Awesome was born to preserve not just companies, but institutions in the digital-photography space. We’re not just saving photographs. We’re saving ideas, art, moments, movements, memories, growing up, growing old. We endure for the people we serve, for the photos they make, and for the power those photos have to change the world.

We love photography. Show us yours.