In this guide to the best website builders for photographers, we'll help you narrow down exactly what you should be looking for. Whether you simply want a place to show off your portfolio, or you need a professional-looking site where you can sell your prints and services, there's a website builder to suit your needs.
The idea of building a website from scratch can feel incredibly daunting - especially if you're not, particularly computer savvy. But fear not, website building sites make it incredibly easy and often operate a drag-and-drop system so you can start adding content blocks to your site. If you've ever eyed up another photographer's site and thought how beautiful it is, chances are they've started off with a simple template and expanded on it to make it their own.
You no longer have to worry about knowing how to code as these website builders do that all behind the scenes for you. If you do want to create it all from scratch, you might be better off looking at the best web hosting sites for photographers so you can have complete control.
Lots of these website-building platforms offer a free trial so you can have a play on different sites before deciding which one is best. Creating a website gives your images a more permanent home and is a great way of coming across as a professional. Using social media is a great tool for sharing imagery when you're starting out but building a website will allow you to have more control over your brand.
• Read more: Best cloud storage for photos
In this guide, we've rounded up the best website builders for photographers to help you get the most out of your images. But first, let's look at some of the criteria for choosing your website builder.
Top website builder for creatives | Currently 50% off
Format is a website builder that we love and that keeps adding new features to its armory. Digital Camera World has an exclusive code to help you save 50% off any annual plan using the code 50FORMAT.
Budget website builder for just $3.54 / £3 per month
Wix makes it quick and easy to get your site up and running. Choose from 500+ templates, add your own content, and you'll have your own site online, at a bargain monthly price.
Top website builder for pro photographers
Zenfolio is one of the favorite solutions for pro photographers around the globe - and its appeal is it supreme ease of use. Pricing from $5/month.
Best website builders for photographers
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You get a lot for your money when you sign up to Format, especially when you opt for the annual plan and use the code DCW15 to save 15%. It's a little more pricey than other platforms starting at $12 a month for an annual plan but it does include a wide range of useful services. However, it is currently 50% off with the code SUMMER50 for a short period only.
I found the website builder really to use, there is an option to build each page entirely from scratch or you can choose from one of the templates provided. You'll be recommended certain themes that are more geared towards photography portfolios but even these can be customized. Format offers a 14-day free trial so you'll have plenty of opportunities to test it out and decide if you like it or not.
There is also an option to include a shop on your website should you want to sell prints. Format isn't the cheapest but it has a lot of features that are worth paying for and is especially good for anyone who wants a lot of control over how the site looks.
Since 2021, Format is also able to host videos but you'll need to pay a higher monthly fee starting at $18.
The Zenfolio site states its the number one website builder, as voted by professional photographers. And the deeper we delve into its offerings, we can understand why. One of the biggest pulls for Zenfolio is its clearly well-considered toolset, which looks to really help photography businesses grow. Its features focus not only on the user but their clients too – something other website builders on the market might not.
Zenfolio offers a variety of templates that can be easily customized to suit your brand and make you stand out. It's quick and easy to upload photo galleries and there is an option to password protect them - which is great if you're a wedding photographer. There's a built-in payment system that makes selling your prints a breeze, and unlimited storage, image protection and image security are guaranteed.
In addition to all that, Zenfolio automatically adjusts image sizes to suit a device and features auto-dim effects and image optimization to make browsing photo collections the best experience they can be. Price plans start at as little as just $5 a month, making this quality website builder an absolute steal.
Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders around - but it's especially good for image-driven photography websites (which is why I chose it to build my own photography website). You can select a desired template and drag and drop content or you can build it from scratch if you want it to be more unique. It's easy to add text, image galleries, quotes or even import your Instagram grid so you have content that constantly updates itself. I put my site together relatively quickly by using a. mix of templates and my own design.
There is no free tier with Squarespace so if you're just looking to make a website for fun there are better options out there. However, if you are looking to create a website to take your business to the next level, Squarespace offers a user-friendly design interface, competitive pricing and the ability to add an e-commerce section to your site. Squarespace also offers students 50% off their first full year when they sign up with an educational email address.
Squarespace's strength is also perhaps its weakness in that sites can start to look quite similar if you're not careful. You can sign up for a two-week free trial so if you start building a website and decide it's not the platform for you, you can change your mind without spending a penny.
Editor X is the new website builder from Wix that promises advanced web design layouts without having to know CSS. The drag and drop builder allows you to control the position, size and design elements when it comes to text, photos, graphics and headers. Choose the font, font color and font size, add containers, galleries, grid layouts and embed your social media news feed.
It offers a wide range of integrated business solutions including eCommerce should you want to sell prints and professional marketing and SEO tools. Price plans start at £15 a month for the most basic package which includes 10GB storage, a free domain for a year and 24/7 help. The Ultra package is for those after the "VIP" experience and it includes 35GB of storage space, visitor analytics for one year and up to 10 hours of video content. With Editor X you can create complex, unique websites with ease and without having to know any coding at all.
While not aimed specifically at photographers, we couldn't not Wix in a list of the best website builders. One of the most popular website creators around, Wix offers photographers an easy way in to creating an online home.
Wix's services have been built with the novice in mind, providing everything you need to get started in a simple and accessible way. There's library of over 500 templates to choose from, 30 of which have been designed for photographers. A simple-to-use drag-and-drop editor enables easy placement of text and images on a page, and in just two clicks, you can access the image upload manager to upload, review, edit and manage photos as you see fit.
Wix offers all the functions a photographer might want, but if you want your website to operate more than just a bog standard online portfolio, with ecommerce functionality and unlimited storage for example, you'll have to pay more. And if that's the case, one of the other more dedicated photography services on this list might be better suited. Wix's design options are also slightly limited, for example, there's no option to change templates at a later date (unless you want to start from scratch).
Another popular name in the website building world, Weebly is a powerful editor that offers a wide range of features. Weebly's free version is adequate if you are simply looking to quickly get your images online, but it limits space to 500MB and imposes (usually unwanted) ads on your site. If you need and want more from your website, its premium plans offer unlimited storage, custom domain connections and access to many other hugely useful tools to help fully customise your web design
One of Weebly's biggest draws for photographers, in particular, is the above mentioned unlimited storage. There's also its impressive Weebly App Center, which offers incredible scope to drive your site's functionality. However this is only available to premium access subscribers, which doesn't come cheap.
Like Wix, Weebly operates as a simple drag & drop builder and takes just two clicks to add a gallery and start uploading images, so it's a good option those new to creating their very own corner of the internet. However it's worth noting Weebly's auto-optimise function when uploading, which can result in a slight loss in image quality.
Labelled as the 'home for photographers', website builder SmugMug has been developed from the ground up to specifically accommodate the needs of photographers.
At a very base level, SmugMug provides a quick and easy way to showcase and sell your images online. But what sets the platform apart from other website builders is its photography-focussed features. This includes unlimited photo uploads, backed up by cloud storage, ecommerce optimisation, the ability to sync a photo library with Lightroom, add custom watermarks to fully protect your work and an in-built printing service so visitors can order images directly from the website. SmugMug also supports connection with users own domain names.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, there's no free version of SmugMug available, however there is the option to trial the software for 14 days to see if it suits. If you decide in that time that SmugMug is the website builder for you, there's four different price plans, which meet a range of skill level and needs, to choose from.
The clue is in the name: Photoshelter is a dedicated website builder for photographers. It doesn't have the scope of many of the other website builders on this list when it comes to templates, offering just nine in total, but each of those offer the functionality a photographer might want. Highly customisable, you can add your logo, fonts and colour palette, and you can access everything on the go with a dedicated mobile app too.
Photoshelter offers an integrated shopping cart, with transaction fees of 8-10 percent. It also boasts over 100 features developed specifically for professional photographers, including sophisticated image protection and file back ups. However you'll have to pay for the privilege. There are three different pricing plans to choose from, with only the pro version (which will cost you at least $45 a month) offering unlimited storage. Cheaper pricing options also limits the monthly bandwidth allotment for client downloads too, with the basic subscription offering just 5GB.
There's no doubt about it, Photoshelter has a lot to offer, you just need to be prepared slightly more for it than some of the other dedicated photography website builders on the market.
The GoDaddy website builder homepage likens using the platform to being as 'simple as updating your Facebook page'. Best known for its web hosting services, GoDaddy's beginner-friendly website builder incorporates Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) to help make the process of creating your own website easier than ever before.
The technology takes information provided by the user to create a customised site quickly, making it perfect for beginners. This and the option to integrate ecommerce functionality makes GoDaddy a great choice for anyone who wants an online presence immediately.
In terms of templates, there's thousands to choose from, many of which would be well suited to a photography portfolio. However, GoDaddy is somewhat lacking in specific photography features, which means limited storage for your photos and nothing in the way of image protection. GoDaddy is also quite rigid in its design options, which makes having any kind of creative freedom quite limiting. Plus, if you decide at any point you want to switch templates, like Wix, it means starting from scratch.
But GoDaddy's lack of certain features and functionality is reflected in the price. There are four cost options to choose from, all of which are significantly cheaper than many other website builders on this list. GoDaddy is a good website builder for photographers who are on a bit of a budget but want to get online quickly and without any fuss.
Pixpa is not only a great website builder for photographers but for creatives in general. It offers integrated eCommerce, blogging, client proofing tools and best of all, without having to understand coding. Like many of the other services on the list, it uses a drag and drop website builder so that the whole website creation process is very visual. For the price, it still has lots of features and useful tools that you can use to create a unique-looking website. Price plans start at just $6 a month though it's worth bearing in mind with the cheapest plan you can only upload 200 images. Upgrade to the 'Grow' package for an extra $3 a month and you will get a free domain name, the ability to sell up to 10 products plus extra images.
If you're looking for a highly affordable option to set up a simple but professional-looking site, you'd be hard pushed to find a better website builder than Pixpa.
If you already have a Creative Cloud subscription Adobe Portfolio will do the job but I wouldn't pay for it as a website builder. While it is easy to use you are limited by how much you can customize it. There's no way of making a Home page for example and you can't change the layouts of the templates. You can't be particularly creative with the design either so if you want to build a website with a bit of oomph, definitely look elsewhere.
That being said, if you are simply looking for a website that you can use as a portfolio it is very easy to use and you can quickly upload a lot of content. You can also import images directly from Lightroom and add photos into grids. There is no option to add a store on the website so if you have any plans to sell prints or services, a different web-building site would be better.
If you take out the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (for around £10 / $10) or the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan (for around £50 / $50), then you'll get free access to Adobe Portfolio.
Do I need to buy my own domain separately?
You will look a lot more professional if you have a unique domain rather than yourname.wix.com but luckily most plans include a free domain. If it doesn't you can buy a domain separately from one of the best web hosting sites for photographers and import it. Some sites will offers a free domain for the first year but after that will charge so it's best to make sure it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
How much storage will I need?
If you have lots of images you want to upload and you want to update it regularly, you'll need a website builder that offers unlimited storage or at least the option to upgrade your storage at a later date. Many of the cheaper plans will give you a set amount of storage which is fine if you just have a few choice images to upload. If you're worried about your images being downloaded and used without your permission, some sites will give you the option to add a watermark or even password protect certain galleries.