7 Best Website Builders for Photography : Top Site Makers for Digital Portfolios
If you’re not online these days, you’re almost non-existent. It’s safe to say that almost every company, business, and professional has some online presence. It’s one of the best ways for people to know who you are, what services you offer, and how they can get in touch with you.
The same goes for photographers. Whether you’re looking to build a portfolio, sell your work, or promote your photography services, building a website for yourself is critical to your overall success.
You want people to have a reliable way to contact you, but you also should be showing off your work. After all, no one hires a photographer based on promises alone.
Since photography is strictly visual, building a website around the premise requires the right kind of website builder.
So what is the best website builder for photography? Luckily for you, we have come up with a list of our top seven choices, all laid out and reviewed for an in-depth look at each one.
What is the Best Website Builder for Photography?
We understand that you might be short on time, so if you can’t stick around for the full review, we’ve listed all of our top choices right here for you to check out:
- Pixpa – Best Overall
- Wix – Best for Templates
- Squarespace – Best Visual Design
- WordPress – Best for Budget
- Format – Best for Portfolios
- SmugMug – Best Photography-Only Site
- Weebly – Best for Beginners
While Pixpa excels in every category, some website builders like SmugMug are specifically designed for photographers and portfolios. Others like Weebly are so easy that even complete beginners can get the hang of it.
Photography Website Builder Comparison Table
Let’s take a quick look into how the top seven choices compare with one another. This comparison table was designed to make your decision easier without getting into the nitty-gritty.
|Ease of Use||Free Options?||Basic Plans||Apps?||# of Templates||# of Image Uploads|
|Pixpa||4.6/5||15-day free trial||$6/month||Yes||38||200 to Unlimited|
|Squarespace||4/5||14-day free trial||$12/month||Yes||100+||Unlimited|
|SmugMug||4.5/5||14-day free trial||$6.99/month||No||26||Unlimited|
|Weebly||5/5||Free Plan||$6/month||Yes||40+||500MB to Unlimited|
After you check out this table, scroll down to read more about your favorite choices. The following will give you a more in-depth look at each of these websites and what makes them excellent choices for photography.
Pixpa is a website builder specifically designed for creators of all types – but appeals explicitly to photography professionals. This comprehensive platform allows photographers to combine all the essential elements of a photography business: portfolio, client gallery, blog, and e-commerce.
Ease of Use: 4.6/5
Using Pixpa, users can create by implementing the site’s easy drag-and-drop tools. You don’t need to know anything about coding or technology, so anyone can use it to design a captivating online presence with an intensive focus on photography.
Pixpa is also an excellent option for anyone who’s still shopping around. Their 15-day trial allows you to hop on and try things out without touching your credit card. Beyond this trial period, you’re looking at an affordable subscription plan of $6/month.
Design Flexibility: 4.0/5
The platform itself is highly organized in terms of editing your content, adding pages, and deleting information. You can quickly add, remove, and move things around with the simple navigation menu. In fact, you can even add folders and create dropdown menus for even more coordination.
Demonstrating its attention to photographer needs, Pixpa features galleries, which allow you to showcase photos in an organized fashion. The only downside is you won’t have an “all photos” library, so you have to upload shots multiple times if you want them in more than one gallery.
|Pixpa Pros||Pixpa Cons|
|Extremely easy to use
Combines several aspects of website building in one place
Build galleries to showcase photos
|Cannot select photos from existing galleries; you have to upload them separately for every location
Price packages make you choose between physical sales and digital
If you’re looking to build a custom website for photography with little to no prior knowledge of design, website development, or coding, then Wix is an excellent place to start. One of the best features about this website builder is that it’s so easy to use.
Ease of Use: 4.9/5
When we say easy, we certainly don’t mean dull. Wix allows you to create a beautiful, eye-catching online portfolio, choosing from a wide variety of display options for a customizable look. Easy steps add up to a professional-looking platform.
Design Flexibility: 4.8/5
Unlike some of the other photography website builders on this list, Wix has an extensive array of website templates that let you choose a unique style with the click of a mouse. Each and every one of their 500+ templates are entirely customizable, and they even have a category of templates specialized for photography.
Pricing & Plans
Similar to many other website builders, Wix does have a free version. However, it’s a lot less limited than some of the free versions or trials you’ll find on the market. With a free plan, you gain access to free hosting, nine different languages, several widgets, ad integration, e-commerce, SEO, and more.
Of course, you can always upgrade to the premium plan for domain connection, over 500 MB of storage, Google Analytics, and premium-level support.
|Wix Pros||Wix Cons|
|Photography-specific customizable templates
Lots of features for free
Incredibly easy to use
Smart Assistant available for some templates
|Higher price for the premium plan than other sites
Cannot choose a different template after committing to one
Squarespace is immediately pleasing to anyone who logs onto the homepage. The vibrant, captivating, and stylish design says that the site creators know how to draw a crowd. The quality of their features certainly lives up to their presentation.
Two of the best tools you will find on Squarespace are their blogging features and their support services. Of course, these things are essential, but we’re looking at how it measures up for photography.
Ease of Use: 4.0/5
Once you get used to the platform, Squarespace is generally mostly easy to use. It’s not quite as straightforward as some other platforms, so if you’re not looking to take a lot of time to learn, it may not be the best choice for you.
Design Flexibility: 4.8/5
Squarespace doesn’t have much depth in terms of navigation. Depending on what you’re looking for, this could be a pro or a con. If you want a simple website that’s not confusing for clients to navigate, then it could be perfect for you.
It does include over 100 beautiful, modern template designs that can really make your site pop. In fact, these options make people love the platform as an online portfolio, which is incredible for photographers.
Pricing & Plans
Unfortunately, you only gain access to the e-commerce side of the website builder if you purchase the business plan. If you’re willing to pay for the plan, then it’s no big deal, because doing so will let you quickly integrate a shopping cart with customer logins and digital download sales.
Again, with the business plan or higher, you can also access photo galleries, social media, and appointment scheduling. These features are must-haves for photographers selling their work or services.
|Squarespace Pros||Squarespace Cons|
|Wide range of beautiful, sophisticated templates optimized for desktop and mobile
Excellent support services
Access to mobile apps with editing capabilities
|Many features only available with upgrades
Not created specifically for photography
The website editor is a little complex
Slower page speeds
Let’s just start by saying that WordPress is a beautiful site for bloggers. Blogging is definitely its main strength; it has tons of features that help bloggers make the most of their website. That being said, that doesn’t mean that photographers should bypass this possibility altogether.
Ease of Use: 3.5/5
However, learning to use WordPress can be a bit of a learning curve, so it can be tricky for anyone who’s not already familiar with the platform. But, with a little bit of time, you should be able to get the hang of it.
Design Flexibility: 4.6/5
Another significant feature from WordPress is the vast number of templates and themes to choose from. With over 339 options, you can even weed out styles, or filter based on your chosen industry, including photography and portfolios.
As impressive as their wide range of themes is, there isn’t much design flexibility beyond that. You’re basically stuck with what you get, and while the template might be beautiful, most website owners prefer to add, remove, and design at their whim.
Though the photography-centered tools are not as high-tech or easy to use as other sites, it is possible to create a functioning and beautiful website to promote your skills and services using WordPress. And if you’re on a budget, it’s twice as useful.
Pricing & Plans
One of the things you can’t beat about WordPress is its prices. The site does have a 100% free version with lots of features, while the cheapest plan starts at just $5/month. Even the premium plan is only $8/month, which is probably where a photographer should start.
With the premium plan, photographers gain access to 13GB of storage along with the ability to monetize their site.
|WordPress Pros||WordPress Cons|
|Excellent value considering plans costs vs. included features
Numerous template options that you can change at any time
|Photography tools are lacking compared to other sites
Very limited options in terms of design
Not ideal for beginners
Format is often hailed as a website best used by artists, designers, models, and – you guessed it – photographers. The website builder issues users templates, page layouts, and design options for a customizable look that suits your style and grabs attention.
Ease of Use: 4.8/5
Format is also incredibly user-friendly. It’s very simple in that anyone can feel like a web development professional without knowing a thing about technology. Likewise, you can even use the integrated online store to sell both physical and digital photos.
Photographers will also be happy to hear that Format emphasizes the importance of personal property by implementing privacy features and gallery copyright protection.
Design Flexibility: 4.8/5
Considering photography is all about the visual presentation, we have to recognize Format for its numerous design options that deliver photo-optimizing layouts. It’s an excellent platform for creating a unique and innovative online portfolio for photographers to show off their work.
Pricing & Plans
With a free trial, users can toy around and get a feel for the tools, layout, and features before they commit. The basic plan starts at $6 per month, and we love that price.
That being said, the cheapest plan doesn’t really include much – you get a limited number of pages, images, and products with this package. The numbers don’t really bode well for a booming business. The pro plan does deliver good value for the costs, which is $12 per month.
|Format Pros||Format Cons|
|Easy to use for anyone
Several design options to customize templates
Integrated online store
Excellent privacy and copyright features
|A limited number of templates available
Basic plan offers very limited options
Does not feature online booking/scheduling
No mobile editing access
SmugMug is a highly-used, trendy site builder for photographers because, unlike other website building services, this one was specifically designed to store, share, and sell photos. SmugMug emphasizes unlimited storage, intensive organization, high security, and intuitive sharing tools.
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
The site not only makes it easy to design your platform and upload your photos, but it also offers 24/7 support to help out anyone who’s experiencing difficulties.
Since SmugMug is focused on one industry, its processes tend to be a little more efficient for its users. For example, instead of hosting hundreds of generic templates, their templates are limited to portfolio styles and are optimized for photos.
Design Flexibility: 4.0/5
Setup, design, and use is super quick and easy with SmugMug, which is excellent for anyone who’s eager to get started. You can jump right into getting your site up and running, and then you can go back and fine-tune any details you chose to skip.
When it comes to publishing photos, SmugMug is just as fast in this area too. It uses a default template that does all the work for you. While this is awesome and convenient, it can also be a little frustrating because you can’t reposition photos within their designated boxes.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, this specialized website builder offers a limited number of templates – 26, to be exact. In some ways, this seems extremely low and more like a con than anything else, but it’s worth it to mention that SmugMug is so focused on quality that each and every one of these templates is beautiful, excellent, and easy to fall in love with.
Pricing & Plans
Although the $6.99/month plan is a little on the high end in comparison to some of these other sites, you do get an unlimited number of image uploads every month.
|SmugMug Pros||SmugMug Cons|
|Easy to use and hyper-focused on the photography industry
Specialized templates designed to make photos look great
Fast setup and publishing
Ability to sell, share, and print photos
|Limited number of templates and design options
Inability to manipulate photos in default gallery templates
Many website builders have claimed that they have the most user-friendly processes and are the easiest to operate, but in this case, that claim might actually be valid.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Weebly is incredibly simple to use. In fact, most users would say that there’s virtually zero learning curve. All you have to do is log on, drag, and drop. It’s really that simple when it comes to this website.
Design Flexibility: 4.6/5
Using Weebly, you can add tons of fun and interactive features to your website. A few favorites include videos, music, image galleries, social media, calendars, and more. And of course, they offer a simple yet effective shopping cart to add in the e-commerce side of things. You can also use HTML code to add external widgets and apps.
The comprehensive support center is there to offer help 24/7. The user interface is highly efficient and allows you to create an in-depth site with unlimited layers and navigation.
Pricing & Plans
All of their plans except for the free version offers unlimited storage, which is critical for photography sites. Even their free plan has a limit of 500MB, but that’s relatively generous considering the free plan also gives you access to e-commerce and SEO.
|Weebly Pros||Weebly Cons|
|Extremely easy-to-use interface
Options to add several widgets, apps, and additional features
Free version includes SEO and e-commerce
Responsive themes adapt well to mobile
|Few options in terms of design
Limited language options
Limited templates options
What to Look for in a Good Photography Website Builder
As a blossoming photographer who takes their work seriously, it can be a little challenging to know what to look for in a good website builder. Some website builders are good all around, while some are only practical for individual businesses.
Below are some common considerations you should take when choosing the best website builder for photography.
Ease of Use
If photography is your primary income, your passion, and your ideal way to spend time, then chances are you’re not also an expert web developer. For that reason, you need a website builder that’s going to be easy to use with a minimal learning curve.
When you’re passionate about your art, you want to get it out there as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Website builders that are easy to use and have a reputation for simplicity are perfect for photographers who want to showcase their talents.
Contact & Scheduling
If you’re creating a photography website, you’re likely using it as a portfolio, an e-commerce site, or a gallery for potential clients. Any one of these options requires a clear line of communication between you and your customers.
Great website builders will allow you to do things like integrate all of your social media and include contact forms that deliver directly to your email. You can also keep an eye out for live chat apps and the ability to schedule appointments right on your site.
Additionally, look for password-protected client access. This option lets you upload private galleries for client access and proofing.
As we mentioned, many photographers creating their own websites are not professional developers. That being said, it’s critical to choose a website builder that provides excellent customer support.
Some site builders proudly advertise their 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support to their users, while others conveniently don’t mention these things at all. If you can’t get fast technical support for issues on your website, it may not be a super reliable option.
The depth of your website is really up to you. If you want to keep it simple, it doesn’t really matter how deep your pages can go. By depth, we mean a page within a page, and so on. For example, your main menu might include your galleries, and that may be enough for your business.
However, if you want to be able to include a contact page under a gallery page or a client information page within that page, you have to make sure the website you’ve chosen supports in-depth navigation.
Along the same lines, some websites make uploading photos and moving them around your site super simply, while others make it a little more complicated. For example, some sites require you to re-upload a picture every time you want to use it, rather than pulling it from a log of all your uploads.
Additionally, you want to have the ability to move, resize, and manipulate your images to fit your template, so default gallery templates can be a bit of a red flag.
Check out some commonly asked questions below before choosing the website builder you want to use for your photography.
Which website is the easiest to use?
Usually, everyone has different definitions of what “easy” looks like. However, if we’re talking about ease of use for beginners, we would recommend Weebly as one of the most straightforward sites to use. It features drag and drop editing, meaning you can literally drag and place elements wherever you want and manipulate them quickly.
Which website is the cheapest?
In reference to our list of options above, there are three sites that offer free plan options: WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. The trouble with free plans is that they don’t include all of the features that you might need.
The cheapest of the paid-for plans is WordPress at $4 per month. However, most of the website builders we talked about today have fairly reasonable upgrades and premium prices.
Do I need unlimited pages, storage, and photo uploads?
Unlimited certainly sounds like a lot when you’re just trying to display your artwork to potential clients and customers. In some cases, it may not be necessary to pay extra for full unlimited access to everything.
For example, you probably don’t need unlimited pages for a personal photography business. You certainly shouldn’t pay to get stuck with a meager limit, but try to imagine how many pages you’ll be creating.
On the flip side, it is vital to minimize limits as much as possible in terms of storage and uploads. Rather than deleting to add and moving things around constantly to work within a restriction, it’s much more efficient to have unlimited uploads. After all, the images are the most critical part of your website.