The portfolio website is a valuable asset for any photographer. Whether you specialize in weddings, portraits, travel, landscapes, or any other type of photos, your portfolio site will be the most valuable marketing material to promote your business.
Your website visitors should be able to see examples of your best work, learn more about you, read details of your services, buy prints or digital photos, and get in touch with you.
The best photography websites allow photos to be the center of attention. The site should be simple and easy to use.
Thankfully, creating a high-quality photography portfolio site is easier and cheaper than you might expect. Thanks to the best website builders for photographers, anyone can create a beautiful site without hiring a designer or developer.
This article covers the platforms we’ve found to be the best for creating photography portfolio sites. You’ll find details to help you choose the right one for your situation.
Best Website Builders for Photographers
All of the platforms covered in this article are capable of helping you to build an excellent portfolio site and online home for your photography business. However, they’re all different. Below are details on each platform to help you choose the right one for your needs.
1. Best Overall: Squarespace
Squarespace is my top recommendation for building a high-quality portfolio website without hiring a designer or developer. They offer an excellent selection of beautiful templates that serve as the starting point for your design. Most of Squarespace’s templates feature clean and minimalistic designs.
The Squarespace approach (clean and minimal) is perfect for a portfolio site because it gives your photos all the attention. In my opinion, Squarespace offers the best and most beautiful templates for photography portfolio sites.
You’ll simply upload your photos and replace the filler text in the templates. If you want to make design changes or customizations, you can use the drag-and-drop page editor. It’s relatively easy and intuitive.
Of course, you can create whatever pages, sections, or galleries you want to include on your site. You can use full-screen slideshows, lightboxes, and other types of galleries to present your work.
Squarespace also offers e-commerce functionality. You can sell digital photos or physical products like prints. The platform will also handle shipping charges and taxes so you can run your business efficiently.
If you offer studio sessions, you can use Squarespace’s functionality so visitors can book and pay for appointments.
And if you ever have an issue, Squarespace offers 24/7 customer support by email, chat, or live webinar.
Squarespace offers a free trial to build your website and test the platform without commitment.
Pricing starts at $23 per month or $16 per month if paid annually. The e-commerce plan costs $36 per month or $27 per month if paid annually.
Squarespace is my top recommendation because of the beautiful templates, ease of use, and powerful features. For a very reasonable price, you can get a professional portfolio site that will impress your clients and potential clients.
2. Best for E-Commerce: Shopify
If e-commerce is a major part of your business, you may want to consider Shopify. It’s the world’s most popular e-commerce platform and can be used to create any type of online shop. You can sell prints, calendars, digital photos, Lightroom presets, or any other product with Shopify.
The platform handles all the technical aspects of setting up an online store. That includes payment processing, shipping charges, taxes, etc.
Although Squarespace provides excellent e-commerce functionality, Shopify offers more. It’s 100% dedicated to e-commerce, so it’s no surprise that the platform is more advanced for an online shop.
Shopify includes plenty of powerful features, but you can also extend it with the help of add-ons from the app store. Thousands of third-party apps extend Shopify in just about any way you can imagine. Some apps help with search engine optimization, email marketing, offering an online chat with your visitors, allowing visitors to create wishlists, and much more.
Like Squarespace, Shopify has a collection of templates you can use at no additional cost (included with your monthly or annual subscription). However, the options for a photography site are limited. If you prefer, you can purchase a premium template.
Shopify offers excellent customer support by email or live chat 24 hours a day.
Pricing starts at $39 per month or $29 per month if paid annually. That plan will be sufficient for most photography websites.
While Shopify isn’t the ideal platform for portfolio sites, it offers the best features if you want e-commerce to be a significant part of your business. Other platforms on this list provide limited e-commerce capabilities, but Shopify allows you to do much more.
3. Best for Client Galleries: Pixpa
Pixpa is the first platform on this list created exclusively for portfolio sites. Their target audience includes designers, photographers, artists, and other creative professionals.
Compared to Squarespace and Shopify, Pixpa is more basic. It does offer e-commerce capabilities for selling your photos, but the features are somewhat limited. You also won’t find some of the advanced functionality for things like booking appointments.
However, if you’re looking for a simple and beautiful portfolio site, Pixpa could be the answer. They offer an excellent selection of templates that control the design and layout of your site. And, of course, you can customize the look as needed.
One of Pixpa’s standout features is the ability to create personalized photo galleries for your clients. This is ideal for wedding photographers, portrait photographers, and others who want to present their work from client sessions.
The personalized galleries provide a professional way to present clients with their photos. They can view the images, download digital files, and purchase prints.
Pixpa integrates with WHCC for lab fulfillment of prints. Thanks to this functionality, you can sell prints in a hands-free manner.
Pricing starts at $6 per month, or $4.80 per month if paid yearly. However, the features of this plan are very limited. Most photographers will need the Professional plan ($18 per month, or $14.80 if paid yearly) or the Advanced plan ($25 per month, or $20 per month if paid yearly). If you want to sell prints or digital photos, you’ll probably want to go with the Advanced plan.
Pixpa allows you to create a simple yet beautiful portfolio site. The client galleries are the most significant feature, in my opinion. Pricing looks great initially, but the lower-priced plans aren’t suitable for most professional photographers. Overall, Pixpa is a very solid platform that does many things well.
Format is ideal for photographers who want to showcase their work in an online portfolio. It’s a simple web builder with few bells and whistles. However, Format could be the answer if you’re looking for a solution that will present your well.
The platform offers an extensive selection of templates designed specifically for creative professionals. They all use large image sizes, minimalistic layouts, and plenty of white space to ensure visitors can view your work without distractions.
Like Pixpa, Format also has client galleries to share images from specific sessions with clients. Clients can log in to their personalized gallery to download digital files or purchase prints.
Also like Pixpa, Format does offer the ability to create an online shop, but the e-commerce features are pretty limited.
One of the noteworthy features of Format is the ability to create and manage contracts through the platform. This can be a very convenient feature for any photographer who offers client sessions or other services that require a contract.
Prices start at $10 per month or $8 per month if paid annually. However, the features of this plan are limited. Most photographers will probably want the Pro plan, which is $22 per month or $16 per month if paid annually.
Like Pixpa, Format does a lot of things well. It doesn’t offer the advanced features you’d get with Squarespace or Shopify, but it can be an excellent option if you want a simple portfolio site. The e-commerce functionality is limited, but Format stands out regarding workflow, like the ability to manage secure contracts.
Zenfolio is a photography-specific website builder that has been around since 2004. It’s evolved and improved a lot over the years. Zenfolio is relatively easy to use and offers plenty of features for displaying your work, managing clients, and selling prints.
The pre-designed templates make it easy to customize the look and feel of your site without coding skills. You can also set up personalized galleries for your clients, and you have control over details like downloads and sales.
You’ll get e-commerce functionality with Zenfolio to set up an online store and start selling digital downloads or physical products like prints and albums. Lab integration is offered with Miller’s, Mpix, Bay Photo, and others.
Zenfolio also offers marketing features like customizable email templates, coupon codes, personalized promotions, and more.
Prices start at just $9 per month or $7 per month if billed annually. However, the features of this plan are minimal. Most photographers will need at least the Portfolio Plus plan, which costs $23 per month or $19 per month if billed annually.
Zenfolio is one of the most feature-rich platforms on this list. It has a lot to offer in terms of e-commerce and business workflow. However, I believe the platforms ranked higher make it easier to create a better-looking website.
SmugMug is another website builder that’s specifically designed for photographers. While it has a lot to offer, it also trails the competition in a few key areas, in my opinion.
Like the other platforms, SmugMug allows you to use a pre-designed template to create your site. However, in my opinion, the templates are dated and not as attractive or modern as what you’ll find from the other platforms ranked higher on this list.
I’ve also found the customization options to be less user-friendly than most other platforms. As a result, setting up your website can take longer than it should.
Despite its flaws, SmugMug also has a lot to offer. It provides e-commerce capabilities, including integration with several labs (WHCC, Bay Photo, and others) for automatic order fulfillment. In addition to photo prints, you can sell other products featuring your photos, like mugs, magnets, mousepads, and more.
SmugMug also offers several features related to photo storage. It integrates with Lightroom, and you can easily and automatically upload your pictures to SmugMug.
Pricing starts at $13 per month or $9.17 per month if paid yearly. However, this plan is limited and does not include the functionality to sell photos or products. The Business plan provides e-commerce capabilities for $28 per month or $18.75 per month if paid yearly.
SmugMug offers some enticing features like automated lab fulfillment and photo storage. However, it’s not as user-friendly as some of the platforms I’ve ranked higher. The design of the templates is also not as good as what you’ll find from competitors.
If you’re looking for a more advanced website builder with plenty of features and flexibility, Wix is worth considering. It’s one of the most popular web builders, offering a vast selection of templates and features to explore.
Wix also has drag-and-drop capabilities that make it easy to create a portfolio website without coding skills. You can customize the design any way you like, with virtually no limitations.
However, this comes with some drawbacks. Because Wix is more advanced, it also requires a longer learning curve. You’ll have more freedom to create the site you envision, but it may also take more time. Platforms like Squarespace, Pixpa, and Format can be used with a shorter learning curve.
The e-commerce options are pretty comprehensive, allowing you to set up an online store. Regarding e-commerce, Wix would probably be ranked #2 among the options on this list, behind only Shopify.
Like Squarespace, Wix also provides functionality for managing appointments and bookings. The scheduling tools are quite handy for you and your clients.
Pricing starts at $16 per month. However, this is a personal plan that includes limited functionality. Most photographers will need at least the Business Basic plan, which is $27 monthly.
Wix is a powerful website builder but probably not the best choice for most photographers. The learning curve is steeper due to the advanced functionality. It doesn’t offer the same features you’d get with other platforms like Pixpa and Format that are specifically for portfolio sites.
Bonus: Adobe Portfolio
I wanted to also mention Adobe Portfolio. While it doesn’t offer features that compare to the other platforms on this list, it comes with one significant advantage: it’s included in the price of Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
If you have an active Creative Cloud subscription, you can create a site at no extra cost using Adobe Portfolio.
The design and layout of the templates are very simple, and the customization options are limited. It doesn’t include any advanced functionality like e-commerce or the ability to create client galleries. However, you can build a basic portfolio site quickly and cheaply, if you already have a Creative Cloud subscription.
Final Thoughts on Website Builders for Photographers
Squarespace and Shopify are the two best website builders for photographers. They offer beautiful designs, drag-and-drop builders, and features like e-commerce, appointment scheduling, and more.
Pixpa is also a great choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution specifically tailored to photographers. It includes automated lab fulfilments and other functionality you’d expect from a portfolio platform.
To decide which platform is right for you, you must consider the features and functionality you want from your website.