Are you a photographer looking to create your first website? If you already have a website, are you thinking of a retrofit to better reflect your style? With several website builder services out there, which is the right one for you? What are the factors to consider in making your choice? So many questions!
No need to worry. We will answer all your queries and more. We’ll present the top website builders we have tested and lay out the reasons why they are worth a try. Remember, it’s a key decision and a vital investment that should have satisfying returns. Hence, your choice should be backed by credible information and we will give you that.
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Do You Need a Photography Website?
Yes! No ifs or buts. Whether you’re an established photographer or just starting to carve a name in the industry, you need your own dedicated website. It is to show to everyone – visitors, peers, potential clients – your works, your brand, and that you’re committed to your craft.
No one will take you seriously if you’re just randomly posting your works on social media. That won’t cut it. Your photography will be highly appreciated by your audience if it is well presented, accessible, and organized. These make it convenient for people (especially potential clients) to quickly find what they’re searching for as well as examine the details of your images.
You’re more likely to gain recognition and esteem with a polished and professional-looking website. The great thing is that there are many easy-to-use website builders that are available. You don’t have to start from scratch and you don’t need coding background.
Furthermore, you don’t only get to have a website. If you prefer, you can also have in one package a built-in online store, a portfolio or gallery, a blog, cloud file storage, SEO tools, and many others. Let’s take a look at all the possibilities.
What is a Website Builder?
As the name suggests, it is a service offered by companies to help you build a website according to your specifications. The process is straightforward and the steps involved are mostly drag-and-drop operations that don’t require technical skills.
It’s like building your own online store or e-commerce portal using popular services like Shopify or BigCommerce. But this time it is specifically designed for photographers – to highlight and showcase their works. Aside from being an online studio and gallery, a photography website will also serve as your business center for clients interested in buying prints, hiring you for photography projects, or booking you for shows.
So what features should a website builder for photographers carry? Zenfolio, our top-ranked website builder, sums it up this way – it should have features that allow you to “show, share, and sell your works.”
In other words, a photographer’s website must be multi-functional. It must be able to cater to both your creative endeavors and business undertakings.
Best Website Builders for Photographers
Before we proceed, let’s take a look at the factors we considered for our choices here.
- Features & Functionality – Photographers have different specializations. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer you’d like a website with a prominent contact page or an FAQ section. A builder should have features that address your specialties.
- Ease of Use – uncomplicated operation, preferably with a drag-and-drop editor and other simple-to-use tools. A handy step-by-step guide should be available.
- Customization – Photography is both a personal and professional undertaking. The builder should allow you to customize the site according to your personality and preferences.
- Pricing – If it has a robust, feature-filled free plan, then good! But often that’s the exception than the rule. Moreover, free options can be quite limited in features and capabilities. There should be the availability of different price plans for various budgets.
Note that all prices quoted in this article are current but do check the pricing page of each website builder if they have made adjustments to their rates.
Another thing, we categorized our listing into photography-specific and general website builders. The first five items below are built specifically for photographers while the remaining five are all-purpose website builders that can be configured for use by photographers.
That said, let’s dive right in.
Zenfolio is a highly-regarded website builder and a favorite among professional photographers. It might even be the runaway winner if a survey were held right now in the photography industry. These assertions and assumptions are not without basis.
Zenfolio bills itself as an all-in-one site builder designed to, as mentioned earlier, “show, share, and sell” your photography, without complication. And it promises to give you these and more with capabilities expressly built for photographers.
With the website builder, you get tons of easy-to-use features. These include, among others, classy website templates, custom domain name, full site customization, and designs that are mobile-friendly.
In addition, you can make branded video and photo galleries, add unique watermarks, monitor audience engagements, and tag videos and photos for easy search. Overall, there are more than 100 features to address whatever requirements regardless of your skill level or the size of your photography business.
- Several business tools. You can do promotional campaigns, email outreach, invoices, bookings, collect payments, auto-fulfill orders, and more right within the site.
- Fast uploader. This is a desktop app that lets you drag and drop files from several folders on your PC. It will auto-create folders and galleries to speed up workflows, and even resume uploading if disrupted.
- Dashboard widgets. Helps you analyze and simplify important metrics such as website traffic, site performance, sales from digital and physical products, etc.
- 24/7 customer support. No bots but real humans at the other end for live chat and technical advice. There are also free webinars, video tutorials, and knowledge/resource centers.
- No fee plan. There is no freemium or zero-cost basic plan. You can opt for a free trial to test out Zenfolio. However, there are three low-cost plans that offer value for money – among the most affordable pricing sets in the market.
- Portfolio. This plan costs $3/month with tools to “show and share” your photography and 15GB of free online storage.
- Portfolio Plus. Priced at $7.50/month with “show, share, and sell” features as well as 100GB file storage.
- ProSuite. Everything you need to help you “show, share, schedule, and sell” at $15/month with 1TB of online storage.
Format is, first and foremost, a community of some 50,000 photographers from around the globe. They converged on Format to utilize its state-of-the-art website builder and online portfolio platform. It is a widely acclaimed service by photographers and highly regarded by tech reviewers. Why is this so?
The answer lies in its focus on design. Since Format is a haven for creatives, there is no holding back on providing stunningly-designed online portfolios that its members can be proud of. This design-centric approach applies to all online Format portfolios, websites, galleries, and collections.
Template designs range from simple to sophisticated with nearly a dozen categories to choose from. These include fashion, wedding, art, model, marketing, video, etc. You can choose gallery viewing as full screen, slideshow, tiles, vertical, or horizontal scroll. All sites and platforms made with Format are mobile-ready.
- Cutting-edge capabilities. Template editing requires no coding skills. Rendering of hi-res images won’t slow down workflow and operation. There are also robust SEO tools and SSL security.
- Integration. Format offers integration with popular social media networks as well as with apps like Capture One and Lightroom.
- Format expert. A design expert steeped in Format’s tools and capabilities is available to help you come up with the most suitable website or portfolio.
- Free trial. Since there’s no free plan, you can take Format for a spin with its 14-day free trial. But different budget plans are offered.
- Basic plan. At $4/month you get starter themes, 15 website pages, a mobile-optimized site, SEO tools, mobile apps, and copyright protection, to name some.
- Pro plan. All basic features plus access to all themes, a code editor, free custom domain, unlimited website pages, and 100GB of photo storage. All these and more are yours at $8/month.
- Pro Plus. You have at your disposal Format’s full features and capabilities for $13/month. These include 1TB storage, up to 1000 products in your online store, and a full free course on photography business.
SmugMug may sound familiar to you. That’s because for the past four years it has been the owner of Flickr, the granddad of image hosting that photographers of all levels have been using since 2004. Smugmug has carried on some of Flickr’s functions and adopted them as core features such as photo storage and organization, image sharing, and photo print selling.
Among its key offerings is a personalized portfolio or photography website. All are designed to show off and safeguard your works through attractive website templates, full customization, photo management tools, and password-protected collections. Moreover, you can organize RAW files, and get privacy controls.
Selling prints of your photos is a cornerstone business function provided by Smugmug. Using built-in sales tools, you can set up in 15 minutes your online shop for products, prints, and digital downloads as well as your own order fulfillment, billing, and payment portal.
- Unlimited storage. You heard it right. The sky is the limit for securely storing your photo and video files in the cloud. No image compression is done with your photos which can be auto uploaded from any device.
- Get what you need. Smugmug’s four plans is a “pay-as-you-go model” which means you pay only for the feature you need such as photo storage or an online portfolio. You pay for more features added later on.
- Powerful RAW file management. One place to organize, search, access, archive, and view RAW files.
- Basic. No free plan, only a 14-day free trial. For $9/month, you get your own place for your images complete with a website, free mobile and desktop apps, unlimited storage, privacy controls, and 24/7 customer support.
- Power. At $13/month, you get everything from the Basic plan plus design templates and tools, full site customization, advanced security controls, and personal a domain name.
- Portfolio. For $28/month, you have all the power plan features. You can now also monetize your work with integrated fulfillment and sales tools.
- Pro. At $42/month, your plan is on steroids! Do everything you want to store, share, and sell your works using all of Smugmug’s resources and capabilities.
Pixpa is targeted at creative professionals such as designers, artists, and photographers. It offers one place for you to build your own online portfolio website complete with client galleries, a blog, and in-built e-commerce. You have a wide choice of professionally-made templates to build the aforementioned components of your site.
With Pixpa, it takes four simple steps to set up your site – pick a relevant template, add your content with a drag-and-drop editor, include needed features (blog, store, galleries, etc.), and promote the site (using social, marketing, and SEO tools). There are over 450 design templates that you can use for different niches like wedding, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, real estate, travel, and more.
A very helpful feature is the presence of several example websites by photographers, agencies, and studios built with Pixpa. These serve as inspiration if you’re starting out and as valuable resources that you can examine and emulate when building your own website.
- Photographer themes. You can choose from more than two dozen themes that are expressly made for photographers. These vary in appearance, layout, and photo grid (i.e bannered photo, whole page image, tiled layout, etc.)
- Easy client proofing. Create dedicated client galleries that are mobile-friendly. You can opt to have them as public or private and set client access rights to each collection.
- Personalized blog. Tell your story through the blog platform that you can customize as to layout, theme, style, and many other visual elements.
- Basic. There’s a 15-day free trial instead of a free plan. The Basic plan goes for $5/month (if you pay monthly and much less if paid yearly or 2 years straight, a pricing rule applied in other plans). You get essential features for your personal website.
- Creator. At $10/month, you have tools and features for a portfolio website and online store.
- Professional. For $15/month, you get upgraded features to sell, share, and showcase your works.
- Advanced. Paying $25/month sets you up on a business trajectory using powerful e-commerce and marketing tools.
PhotoShelter is a visual media company that provides website building and digital asset management solutions. It is directed particularly to photographers and brands that need to show their works, sell and deliver their products as well as organize digital media properties.
Some 80,000 photographers rely on PhotoShelter to have their websites up and running and to have their digital photos organized and secured in cloud storage. There’s the option to create a website with pre-made design templates or go nitty-gritty with HTML and CSS. Whatever you choose, there are many tools to tweak your site such as adding brand elements, putting up an online store, and having your own SEO and analytics center.
A powerful function offered by PhotoShelter is DAM or digital asset management. This is ideal for professional photographers, ad agencies, studios, brands, and companies that have large collections of digital media (image and video files). It makes it easy to have an efficient workflow when you are able to quickly search and retrieve the file you need from thousands of digital items in your library.
- Massive toolbox. There are 100+ features specifically developed for photographers to help them in their careers.
- Anytime access to archive. Your images stored in the cloud are within reach anywhere, anytime with any connected device.
- Robust security. Add password protection and multi-permissions to your galleries and set watermarks to images. You can also limit downloads of low-res files, and opt-out from search engines.
- Basic. A free trial is offered. The Basic plan goes for $10/month which gives you 4GB of cloud storage, mobile apps, social sharing, and SEO tools.
- Standard. At $25/month, you get 100GB storage, all other features plus client proofing tools.
- Pro. For $45/month, you have unlimited storage and more than a hundred features.
Wix is an all-around website builder that is well known for its easy-to-use features and drag-and-drop interface. It is massively popular with a worldwide count of 200 million registered users. So what draws people to it? Well for one, you can build a complete working website at absolutely no cost with Wix’s free plan, a rarity among website builders today.
For photographers, you can choose from dozens of specialized website designs. They are niche-specific such as for wedding, family, portraiture, landscape, drone photography, and more. After choosing a site template, you can use Wix’s powerful editing tools to build the components of your website.
The drawback with this free plan is that you can only choose and use one template design. You also can’t set up e-commerce functionalities as well as custom domains. Furthermore, you’ll have ads on your site. If these are okay with you then a live website awaits you with just a few clicks. Although you may ask – is this really what you want?
- Editor X. It’s a website-building feature (distinct from the basic editor) that offers a more Photoshop-like operation. It gives you the means to layer the elements you put on your site and visualize what it looks like.
- Artificial Design Intelligence. ADI simplifies the process of site-building. You just click a “Create My Site” button after putting inputs and info about the website you envision and the AI will do all the rest.
- Tons of options. Since it’s a website builder for the masses with commercial applications, you get loads of features to run a business – photography included. It will give you a store, a showroom, an analytics page, a fulfillment and payment center, and a dashboard from where you run everything.
- Seven price tiers. Four are for showcasing a professional website while three are for business sites with capabilities for online payment. All plans get 24/7 customer care.
- Connect Domain & Combo plans. These go for $4.50 and $8.50/month, respectively. They give you basic features for personal use sites with custom domains, a free SSL certificate, and no ads.
- Unlimited. It’s best for freelancers and entrepreneurs at $12.50/month. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and 10GB of storage space.
- VIP. Paying $24.50/month should make you feel very important with unlimited bandwidth, 35GB storage, and priority customer care.
Weebly is a well-known, user-friendly website builder that makes it easy to create your own online store or professional site. It’s one of the most widely used platforms for the codeless creation of websites. In fact, over 30 million websites have already been built using Weebly. What makes it such a popular site builder?
Weebly websites have been found to be reliable and responsive. Its designs are polished and modern, and it carries a full complement of e-commerce tools. With an infrastructure designed to sustain heavy operations, Weebly is suitable for online businesses and shops that need to be always on and running.
While there are no photographer-focused designs, there are however themes and tools that can showcase your photography. With a drag-and-drop builder, you can create galleries and collections of photos. You can even do image editing right in the app to ensure that photos are always showroom-ready.
- A site for selling. If you’re a photographer with an entrepreneurial streak, then Weebly could be for you. It has all the important marketing, sales, order, and payment tools to operate an online business.
- 300+ widgets. These are like WordPress plug-ins that expand the capabilities and functionalities of your site.
- Mobile site editing. Weebly offers a nifty feature where you can edit your site template and make it more responsive on mobile.
- Free plan. Similar to Wix, Weebly provides a free tier that requires just a signup and email address. Serving just as a starter, you get 500MB storage, SEO tools, and free SSL security. You’ll have to contend with ads and Weebly domain branding.
- Connect & Pro. They go for $5 and $12/month, respectively, with 500GB and unlimited storage. With Pro, ads are removed and you can have a payment system in place.
- Business. For $25/month, you get a full-blown site for your store or small business complete with all the tools you need.
Squarespace is a website builder brimming with useful features for creating your own business or personal online site. Like most general website builders, these are geared to help you grow your business. Hence, they have integrated e-commerce tools like payment systems, order fulfillment, marketing features, etc.
Squarespace excels in these areas and over three million subscribers attest to the dependability of its app and service.
Starting off with Squarespace is a simple step-by-step process. You’ll be asked the type and topic. Check the boxes for Portfolio and Photography. Choose the appropriate template, open an account, then continue what you started by putting in the elements and tweaking your website design. You can do everything for free in two weeks but your website won’t be able to go live. You need to pay for an account. There are no free plans here.
There’s an array of standout designs to choose from if you’re setting up a website portfolio. You have choices for layout and presentation (grid, lightbox, slideshow, etc.). Squarespace will auto crop your site to the ideal size for mobile devices. Social integration allows for seamless connection and sharing of your site to popular social media networks so you can grow your followers and client base.
- For creative professionals. With several excellent designs coupled with ease of use plus the commercial focus, the service is perfect for photographers, designers, and artists looking to grow their businesses and careers.
- Market and sell. Run email campaigns or use social tools to market your business. Sell items or services with your own online store or booking service.
- Website templates for any purpose. There are numerous templates for practically every endeavor whether restaurant, services, local business, blog, portfolio, online shop, and many others.
- Common features. All plans come with unlimited bandwidth, free custom domain, SSL security, SEO, site metrics, pre-designed templates, and 24/7 customer support.
- Personal & Business. Goes for $14 and $23/month, respectively. Marketing and commerce tools are added to the Business plan.
- Basic Commerce & Advance Commerce. Pegged at $27 and $49/month, respectively. Extra commerce tools are provided in Basic while Advance gets the complete business tools and features.
GoDaddy is a recognized name in web hosting and as a domain registrar. Branching out into website building is an expected and natural course for the company. Creating your website follows a typical path like those of other builders. Simply pick the template that fits your purpose, fill in the content, use marketing tools, and manage your site from a central dashboard.
Extra attention has been placed on making its tools intuitive and easy to use. Thus, no matter if you’re making a simple photography portfolio or an advanced photography studio and store, these can be accomplished with little effort. Helping you come up with an exact fit website begins by selecting any of the 100+ mobile-friendly templates.
The overall value you get from GoDaddy is reliability and uptime, an offshoot of its being a web hosting provider. Likewise, its ease of use is also well received making it suitable even for beginners.
- GoDaddy Insight. These are Scores, Metrics, and Action Plans that give you an assessment and analysis of site performance, marketing, and social media activities. You’re also presented with AI-powered recommendations and the next best steps.
- Website + marketing. GoDaddy encourages the pairing of your website with its potent marketing, social media, and SEO tools in order for you to engage clients and grow your business.
- One month free. You’re allowed to tinker with your website design and use various tools for 30 days. If you’re ready to go live, be ready to pay. All premium plans offer 24/7 support, analytics, a custom domain, and an SSL certificate.
- Basic & Standard. At $6.99/month and $10.49/month, respectively, you get email and social media marketing features.
- Premium & E-Commerce. Cost $13.99 and $17.49/month, respectively. You get unlimited social media integration and postings as well as complete SEO and commerce tools.
Web.com is the simplest and most straightforward website builder that is worth considering. It will not dazzle you with fancy offerings but instead provide you with enough capabilities and versatility so you can whip up a working website in a snap. While it is a multi-niche website creator, it is positioned to address the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
For photographers wanting to showcase and sell, Web.com could be a quick and viable alternative. They can choose professionally-designed and responsive templates, use a drag-and-drop design editor, and format the website with pre-made content blocks. You can have your custom gallery or portfolio in minutes ready to show the world what you’ve got.
- Plentiful templates. With almost 200 website templates covering nine categories, you have lots of designs to choose from. Some niches though have more templates available than others. All of these templates are free.
- Sell online. It’s easy to sell and manage your photography products with features like an online shop, stock and inventory controls, a shipping app, and an appointment scheduler.
- Budget plans. No free plans are offered. However, their four paid plans are among the lowest-priced offerings, ideal for those on a shoestring budget.
- Four price tiers. These range from $4.95/month to $19.95/month. Packages differ in the number of tools, from basic to the most comprehensive.
Invest In Yourself
If you found yourself in a quandary by the end of this article, it’s understandable. We didn’t say that finding the most suitable website builder for you is a walk in the park. It will take some key decision-making on your part as you consider your budget and preferences.
But we do hope that you’ll be able to make a shortlist from the above line-up and eventually pick what’s right for you. Remember that having your own photography website is an investment in you. Getting the best website that brings out your skills as a photographer paves the way for more opportunities in the future.
The chances of potential returns become greater when this early you capitalize on the finest website builder you can afford. So don’t shortchange yourself. Go ahead and bankroll your career now.