In today’s digital world, having an online portfolio as an amateur or professional photographer is vital. With an increasing reliance on online platforms for photo sharing and establishing an online presence, photographers need a platform to showcase their talent and capture the attention of potential clients and other photography enthusiasts.
While SmugMug has long been a popular choice, several noteworthy alternatives offer a wide range of features and functionalities to help photographers create stunning photography websites. In this article, we’ll explore the best alternatives, highlighting their benefits and empowering photographers to make an informed decision about their online presence.
Why Consider SmugMug Alternatives?
SmugMug is widely known for its unlimited storage space, digital asset management platform, and for being an overall comprehensive platform for creating stunning photography portfolios. However, its templates can feel outdated and limited in customization options. As a photographer, having an online presence that showcases your amazing photos and reflects your individuality and professionalism is crucial for success.
Thankfully, there are some great SmugMug alternatives available that can help you differentiate yourself and impress potential clients and employers. These platforms offer a range of unique features and advantages, catering to professional photographers’ diverse needs and goals. From automated tools to customizable designs, finding the perfect platform to fit your needs is possible!
Best Alternatives to SmugMug
Here are the details of some leading platforms. We’ll review each in detail below.
Squarespace is a great all-in-one platform for photographers that offers an attractive and modern alternative, with beautiful, customizable templates that result in stunning websites. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface and diverse range of templates designed for portfolios make it easy to create a unique online presence.
I love Squarespace for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. Even beginners can design a custom website representing their personality and photography skills. They also provide helpful SEO tools to help you enhance your online visibility and track your website views, along with in-depth analytics giving you insights into your website views, top-performing pages, and more.
You can use a free trial to build your website without commitment until you’re happy with it and ready to launch. After the trial, Squarespace offers four different pricing plans: Personal, Business, Commerce Basic, and Commerce Plus. Each plan includes different additional features to fit any needs of its users. The plans are affordable, with annual and monthly payment options starting at just $16 a month.
Squarespace is a customizable feature-packed alternative to SmugMug, empowering photographers to create visually pleasing websites. Squarespace also offers e-commerce, so you can sell digital photos, prints, or other products.
For more details, read our SmugMug vs. Squarespace comparison.
Pixpa is another all-in-one website alternative to SmugMug, providing photographers complete creative control over their online portfolios. With over 150 customizable templates, Pixpa lets you design a visually captivating website reflecting your unique style.
One of my favorite features of this platform is the ability to sell images and create custom galleries with password-protected access, perfect for event and wedding photographers. With over 100 app integrations, including Shopify and Facebook Messenger, Pixpa offers easy flexibility and scalability for amateur photographers and photography business owners alike. Its drag-and-drop design style ensures a user-friendly experience for everyone, even those with no coding skills.
Pixpa takes pride in deeply understanding the importance of having a well-designed photography website as a storytelling platform. Their website provides access to thousands of current photography websites to serve as inspiration, showcasing the possibilities of Pixpa’s customizable platform.
When starting with Pixpa, you’re gifted a 15-day free trial to perfect your site before committing to a plan. After the trial, they offer four plan options starting at an affordable $6 a month, including a free domain and SSL.
Zenfolio is a customizable platform dedicated to building photography websites. They offer templates and a unique range of advanced features to make a personalized experience for each user. With a website builder and gallery layouts, Zenfolio offers a seamless website-building experience.
A notable feature of Zenfolio is its inclusion of video hosting capabilities, allowing photographers to store and showcase their video files alongside their photo galleries.
Photographers can benefit from Zenfolio’s photo proofing feature, which enables them to organize items into client-accessible groups for reviewing and commenting. This gives them the opportunity to receive immediate feedback and effortless collaboration, helping you create an overall positive customer experience for your clients.
Along with these features, they also provide password-protected galleries, a cloud storage service, and the ability to set custom watermarks, ensuring your work’s protection and complete control.
Zenfolio offers three different plan options – ProSuite, PortfolioPlus, and Portfolio – with flexible pricing options. Monthly and annual subscription choices start at just $5.25 a month, catering to the varying needs of photographers.
Format is dedicated to creating professional portfolio websites for diverse creatives, including photographers, illustrators, and models. They offer a wide selection of templates tailored to different services, from photography to architecture. Providing various gallery styles, including horizontal scroll, tiled, and more, allows the ability to showcase your amazing photos and other works uniquely.
With the “Format Prints Marketplace,” creators can sell print-on-demand prints and products like photo books directly from the platform, expanding their business opportunities. They also provide albums with password protection, client galleries, and branded file transfers for secure and convenient options for sharing important digital files.
Format offers three plans – Basic, Pro, and Pro Plus – with affordable monthly or annual payments starting at just $4 a month. Each plan above Basic includes additional features, including an online store option with a built-in shopping cart, lower marketplace commissions, and more.
Wix offers a versatile platform for creatives, providing easy-to-use drag-and-drop website design tools that keep you in complete control of your online presence. Whether you’re a photographer, artist, or designer, Wix lets you easily showcase your work and share images and video files.
With Wix, you have access to a useful list of features to enhance your online presence. You’ll benefit from helpful analytics, allowing you to track your website performance and gain valuable insights. They also offer SEO tools, boost marketing tools, and social network management, enabling you to effectively promote your work and engage with your audience all from a single platform.
One feature I love about Wix is their Wix Owner App, which allows users to manage, view reports, and capture leads on the go using an app on their mobile devices. This makes it easy to stay connected and make updates anytime, anywhere, which is often necessary for a busy photographer.
Wix offers a range of plan options tailored to different needs, from custom websites for personal use to enterprise plans for large-scale businesses. Their personal use plan starts at $16 a month and includes all the features to keep your website effective and running smoothly.
PhotoShelter stands as a single platform solution, providing photographers with a wide range of tools to enhance their online presence, deliver their work to clients, and monetize their photos with image licensing and a smooth shopping experience.
Specifically tailored to the needs of photographers, PhotoShelter offers features such as cloud storage, allowing you to store and manage your image files. The platform also offers e-commerce options, enabling you to sell acrylic prints, products, and stock photography directly from your website. This provides a user-friendly buying experience for both you and your customers.
PhotoShelter is a great platform, as they understand the importance of effective marketing in the photography industry. They provide helpful integrated marketing tools that allow you to post your work on social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. They also offer valuable SEO help to improve the visibility of your website and reach a wider audience. These features are crucial for a smooth-running website, and a significant feature to have all in one place.
They offer three plan options: Basic, Standard, and Pro. With flexible annual and monthly payments starting at just $10 a month, photographers of all levels can find a plan that fits their needs. To help you make an informed decision, they offer a free 14-day trial, allowing you to explore the platform and build your website before committing to any payments.
22Slides is a dedicated image-sharing service and proofing platform designed specifically to fit photographers’ needs. With a focus on delivering beautiful photos and a personalized experience, they offer a wide range of features to enhance your online portfolio.
22Slides commits to preserving the integrity of your photography across all devices. The platform uses an impressive AI tool to ensure that your images are never cropped improperly or compromised, regardless of the device used to view them. This attention to detail is crucial for photographers, allowing them to show off their work without losing quality.
The platform offers a user-friendly interface, making it easy to create a customized website. While you can mix and match templates and elements, 22Slides provides a predefined set of elements and layouts. The simplicity and limited but effective customization options make it ideal for photographers who prefer a minimalistic and streamlined portfolio setup.
With 22Slides, you can enjoy a 14-day free trial with no upfront payment, providing a risk-free opportunity to explore the platform’s capabilities. The pricing is straightforward, with a single plan option available for both annual and monthly payment options, starting at just $5 a month. This affordability makes it an attractive choice for photographers seeking a cost-effective solution.
WordPress is a versatile platform that grants users the freedom to create any website they can imagine, whether starting with a blank palette or using one of their beautiful templates. WordPress offers limitless possibilities for photographers and creative professionals seeking a fully customizable platform.
A theme we recommend specifically designed for photographers on WordPress is Imagely. Imagely caters to photographers’ needs and provides a range of helpful features, including WordPress gallery plugin integration. With the WordPress gallery plugin, users can customize galleries and offer photo sales to clients, increasing their online presence and business opportunities.
While WordPress can be overwhelming for those seeking a simple portfolio website, it’s a good choice for individuals and creative teams who desire complete creative control over their website design and functionality. Its scalability also makes it suitable for larger businesses with diverse needs.
WordPress is free to download and use, but you’ll need a separate web hosting account (we use and recommend Rocket.net).
Adobe Portfolio is a simple, user-friendly option for creating your own portfolio website. While customization options and layouts are limited, you can still personalize your website with provided templates, color choices, and Adobe fonts.
Ideal for budget-conscious individuals, Adobe Portfolio is included with the Creative Cloud subscription, making it an attractive choice for existing Adobe users. It provides the opportunity to create a clean showcase of your work with a functional portfolio website, or a captivating one-page website, perfect for use as a digital business card or beautiful cover page.
With Adobe Portfolio, you have the flexibility to use your own domain name or opt for a customizable domain provided by Adobe Portfolio. For those who already use Adobe services like Behance or Lightroom, Adobe Portfolio integrates with them. Uploading your projects to your Behance profile allows for automatic synchronization with your portfolio website.
Adobe Portfolio also includes enhanced privacy and client collaboration features for advanced protection options and visibility controls. You can password-protect specific pages or your entire website, allowing for the seamless sharing of exclusive galleries and creative files with clients through a simple share link.
Overall, Adobe Portfolio is ideal for very basic websites, but it lacks functionality like e-commerce.
Final Thoughts on SmugMug Alternatives
When building a professional portfolio, photographers have a plethora of options to choose from. The platforms in this article offer a wide range of features and cater to the unique needs of photographers. They serve as great alternatives to SmugMug.
From customizable templates and advanced protection for your favorite images and digital files to seamless integration of your favorite apps, these alternatives empower photographers to showcase their work with confidence and peace of mind.
Whether you prefer Squarespace‘s customizable and modern designs or the specialized tools for image licensing and file sharing offered by platforms like Zenfolio and PhotoShelter, there’s a perfect platform for you. Experiment with different options and find what works for you as a photographer. I can’t wait to see your amazing portfolio visions brought to life!