Choosing the best website builder for photographers might not be the easiest task when your skills lie firmly behind the camera. But every photographer wants a website to show off his or her work – and the good news is creating one is easier than ever before.
So where do you start? How do you take those first steps from showcasing your work on Instagram or Flickr to having your own fully-fledged online home? The answer lies with a dedicated website builder that's easy to use and removes the need for complex coding.
In this guide you'll find a comprehensive list of the best website builders for photographers, all of which lend themselves perfectly to helping you showcase your images in all their glory. They each include detailed instructions on how to get started, create and maintain a professional-looking website with ease.
How to choose the best website builder for photographers
When it comes to choosing a website builder that caters specifically to a photographers needs, there's a number of key considerations. For example, what is the main purpose of the site? Is it simply to showcase your work, or do you need functionality to sell your images too? If the answer is yes, you need to make sure the website builder you choose has integrated ecommerce options, or support to do so.
There's also the question of how many images you want to upload, and whether the website builder you're using offers enough storage to cope with your demand. If you're using a powerful camera to create hundreds of high resolution images, you need a website builder that has unlimited storage, otherwise things are going to get very costly very quickly. If you do decide to store your images online, check the service you're looking at includes options to safeguard your work with watermarks, custom right-click messages, and password protection – the last thing you want is someone stealing your work.
Finally, how important is having a custom domain name? Having your own personal URL demonstrates professionalism and confidence in your brand, so we'd recommend it if budget allows and the website builder you choose supports it.
Whatever your photography website needs to be, here you'll find everything you need to make an informed decision on which is the best website builder for you.
A website builder dedicated to photography
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 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.
A simple to use, powerful website builder that's perfect for novices
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).
Voted the #1 website builder by pro photographers
The Zenfolio site states its the number one website builder, as voted by professional photographers. And the deeper we delve into its offerings, we're struggling to find evidence to the contrary. 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.
In a sea of professional online photography portfolios, Zenfolio offers a variety of templates, which can be easily modified to suit your brand and help you stand out. Photo galleries are quick and easy to upload, with password protection available depending on how and who you want to share them with. There's an in-built payment system to make selling your prints a cinch, unlimited storage for all those RAW files, image protection and image security guaranteed.
In addition to all that, Zenfolio automatically adjusts image sizes to suit a device, features auto-dim effects and image optimisation to make browsing photo collections the best experience it can be. Price plans start at as little as just $5 a month, making this quality website builder an absolute steal.
A powerful editor with unlimited storage and a shedload of apps
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.
Where photographers get work done, at a price
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 website builder that's simple but professional
Aimed at creatives specialising in all manner of disciplines, including the art of image taking and editing, Pixpa is another great website builder for photographers. Like many of others on this list, it offers integrated e-commerce, blogging and client proofing tools, with not a line of code in sight.
A simple to use, drag and drop website builder, Pixpa offers a competitive combination of features and affordability, which should appeal to both newcomers and professional photographers alike. Pixpa's 'Start' plan offers an impressive number of features in return for just $6 a month, however storage is limited to 200 images. For an extra $3 a month, it's 'Grow' package gives you access to everything, including connection to a domain name and the ability to sell up to 10 products, so it seems like a bit of a no-brainer to go with the latter.
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.
A no-fuss website builder, perfect for beginners
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.
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