In this post, I’ll be talking about the best photography website builders out there. Later on, I’ll be looking at what features the best photography websites should have.
For photographers, a good website can be a very important business and career tool.
But most photographers are not website developers, and they’re not planning to spend weeks (or even months!) building their own website.
This is where photography website builders come in – allowing anyone to make a functional, beautiful-looking website in just a few hours.
But which one should you choose? In order to help you answer this question, I tested several of self-proclaimed “photography website builders”.
I wanted to know which website builders offer the stunning galleries, lightboxes, and other design features that photographers of all stripes need. Plus, I wanted to find builders that could handle photography websites with an online store for selling prints and services.
Luckily, I found quite a few great options and I can’t wait to share them.
With the builders on this list, you’ll be able to make some great photography websites. While they are different in their own right – each builder here has its audience, its pros, and its cons.
These are the best website builders for photographers:
If your photography business relies on booking shoots for clients, Wix is one of the best options available.
If you’re looking for a customizable website builder that can help you build a beautiful website – Wix is also one of the best options available.
Want a simple website done in a few minutes? Wix has your back, too.
It’s simple – Wix has pretty much everything in its locker.
This website builder allows you to manage a booking calendar and sell services easily. On top of that, it offers beautiful templates and galleries along with extensive customization features. And a lot more – Wix is a good choice for photographers looking to have a solid online presence.
Wix offers over 500 themes, about 40 of which are specifically designed for photographers. That’s a huge selection, and all of the themes are modern and responsive for smartphones and tablets. There are also themes specific to eCommerce if your business relies heavily on selling prints and services.
What really sets Wix apart, though, is the degree to which you can customize your website. Wix allows you to place content anywhere on your page, which means you’re not restricted to a standard grid layout. Also, you can stack images and text however you like — including on top of one another.
Of course, with great freedom comes great responsibility. The Wix editor entails a steep learning curve, and I found it takes hours at a minimum to design your website. There are also no site-wide settings for things like fonts and site colors, so it’s easy to end up with a website that’s not aesthetically consistent throughout.
If you’re looking for a simple solution, use Wix ADI instead – it’s a smart website building algorithm, that takes the things you need in a website and puts them in a template, best fitting your niche.
Wix ADI is a good option for beginners looking for a simple website, while the Wix Editor is better for those with a clear vision of what their website should be.
In my opinion, Wix offers exceptionally strong image and gallery elements. All images are high resolution, and you have a ton of control over what size to make them. Resizing is continuous, rather than only in discrete intervals. Plus, there’s a simple option to stretch any content element to be full-width – allowing to get just the right kind of visual pop.
In addition, the number and diversity of gallery options are a photographer’s dream. Beyond the standard grid-layout galleries, there are options for honeycomb image patterns and spherical image sliders. You also have total control over image spacing and the number of rows and columns in your galleries.
I also think it’s worth highlighting that Wix offers slideshows as a standard content element. That’s a great feature for the homepages of photography websites as well as portfolio pages.
Wix is all-around one of the strongest website builders for eCommerce. It’s simple to design products, and you can even add SEO details to every individual product to help your images be discovered on search engines. Plus, Wix offers a ton of features like abandoned cart recovery, inventory management, and shipping calculators.
What I like best about using Wix for photography websites, though, is the fact that you can add services separately from products. This means that the options available when designing services for sale are specific to services, not physical products – making it an easier to use, less confusing option for many beginner entrepreneurs.
On top of that, Wix works for your business by giving you and your clients a booking calendar. Clients can use the calendar to see what time slots are available for any given service. Meanwhile, you can use the calendar on your site’s back-end to see everything you have booked in the coming weeks.
Wix has a free plan available, although you’ll be limited to using a ‘.wixsite.com’ domain and your website will have a massive wix.com ribbon on it (not a great look). Premium plans for a photographer portfolio that remove these problems start at $13 per month, but keep in mind that your storage space will still be limited to just 3 GB (so, no storing your entire libraries there!).
And extra space will cost you extra.
Now, moving on to business plans.
Wix eCommerce websites start at $23 per month. For all of the selling features you get, I’d say this is very competitively priced. Sales are commission-free and an integrated visitor analytics app, valued at $4.99 per month, is included for free. However, keep in mind that storage is always limited with Wix, so you’ll likely need to use a cloud storage service to deliver photos to clients.
Squarespace built its reputation on immaculately designed templates and stunning image galleries. It’s not a photography-centered website builder – but it’s the next closest thing to that.
It’s a great website builder to showcase your work – and also, there are plenty of features for selling digital and print images. Looking for something that looks good and has a few good business features in its locker? Squarespace is the one for you. After all, it’s a builder that offers just about enough for all kinds of photographers.
Simple analysis time – Squarespace themes look really good.
If all you did to your Squarespace website was to replace the stock images with your own photography, you’d have a great looking website that stands out from the crowd (as long as the rest of the crowd isn’t using Squarespace!).
In all, Squarespace has around 70 themes, 10 of which are recommended specifically for photographers. Many of the photography templates feature galleries on the homepage, but there are also options for full-screen images and dedicated landing pages. One thing to note about Squarespace is that if your theme doesn’t support a homepage slideshow, it can be hard or impossible to add later.
So, choose wisely.
Now, if you’re not entirely happy with the stock Squarespace look, you may want to do some creative editing.
Well, good news. The degree to which you can customize your website in Squarespace is another really nice aspect of this platform. A site-wide settings panel allows you to change basic theme features like fonts, background colors, and content element styles across all your pages at once.
That’s a big difference from website builders like Wix, and it ensures that you keep a consistent aesthetic across your site. However, each site getting slapped on the same look becomes a bit of a problem when trying to adapt different pages of your site for different purposes. And more serious customization can only be done by coding, which isn’t very ‘easy to use website builder’ of Squarespace.
Squarespace’s imagery is a big draw to this website builder. In addition to standard image elements and galleries, you can create a number of combinations of images and text. This includes posters, with header text on top of images, and side-by-side image and text content blocks.
These text and image combination elements are really unique, and they can go a long way towards personalizing your website and its browsing experience. It’s a solid option for drawing attention to new services, galleries, or other content you want to highlight.
Options for customizing your galleries are fairly strong, although I did wish for more flexibility from Squarespace on this front. You’re limited to a standard grid layout for every image gallery. Plus, since galleries are controlled by site-wide settings, things like gutter width are automatically the same for every gallery on your website.
Squarespace has good eCommerce features in general – sadly, not many of them are specific to photographers. The biggest issue I have with using Squarespace for photography websites is that there aren’t any dedicated features for selling services as opposed to products. It’s not impossible to book services, but you will have to be a little creative with the product designer.
In addition, Squarespace doesn’t provide any storage for large images. Storage is unlimited on with every plan, but the platform will automatically shrink images to 2-3 MB. So, you’ll need a dedicated cloud storage provider for delivering full-quality digital images to customers.
That being said, Squarespace is a good option if you want to sell prints or digital downloads of your images. The platform offers shipping and inventory tools, plus allows you to add SEO details for every product you sell. On top of that, you can password protect any gallery so that only clients can see their photos.
One of the things I liked best about Squarespace for a photography business was the platform’s built-in analytics dashboard. You can easily see who is visiting your website, how they’re finding it, and which images or galleries are most popular. That type of information can be especially valuable if you rely on print sales for your business.
Squarespace isn’t particularly cheap – especially if you need all of the available eCommerce features. Plans start at $12 per month for a portfolio website. The ‘Business’ plan is surprisingly inexpensive at just $18 per month, but beware that it comes with 3% commissions on everything you sell through your website.
Commissions are eliminated if you upgrade to a ‘Basic Commerce’ plan for $26 per month. But Squarespace reserves some important selling features – most notably, abandoned cart recovery – for the $40 per month ‘Advanced Commerce’ plan.
So yeah – Squarespace isn’t all that cheap. But if you love the style that it provides, it’s absolutely a great option. Luckily, you can try it out with the free trial – no credit card required.
GoDaddy Website Builder is tailored for small businesses looking to get online. Doesn’t sound like a photography builder? Well – I’ll stop you right there. GoDaddy’s simple website builder makes it very simple to launch your online portfolio or store. And while it doesn’t have a massive library of photography-specific features, it’s a very solid middle-ground option for those looking for a simple website solution.
There are over 100 themes available on GoDaddy Website Builder. They’re not going to win any design awards – but they’re simple, solid, and suited for most of anyone’s photography website needs.
I particularly liked the fact that many of GoDaddy’s themes start you out with a full-screen image or slideshow on the homepage. I think this is a great layout for capturing visitors’ attention right from the get-go. But, if you prefer a homepage gallery or another design, GoCentral has plenty of options to choose from.
Best of all, you’re not forced into committing to a single template forever with GoDaddy Website Builder. You can easily switch between themes after you start designing your website, and you’ll retain all of your content. That makes it fast and simple to get the look you’re aiming for as you build your site.
Unfortunately, customization isn’t nearly as strong in GoCentral as in other website builders. You can change the color palette and fonts of your theme, but not important details like the layout or the styles of the content elements.
The lack of editing possibilities doesn’t end there.
Despite the fact you can drag and drop content elements onto the page, they can’t go just anywhere. The layout of your pages is severely restricted by your themes. This is where I found it extremely helpful that I could change themes anytime I needed. Every time I realized my theme doesn’t do something I want, I just packed up my bags and hit the road.
Finally, a big issue to watch out for with GoDaddy Website Builder is that you can’t create secondary pages. That is, all of the pages of your site appear in the top-level navigation. So, if you have a lot of portfolios and want to organize them into sub-menus, GoDaddy will not be the right choice for you.
GoDaddy’s images and galleries are good, although limited in flexibility. The only galleries available are standard grid-layout galleries, although some themes allow you to create slideshows in the header section as well.
I was disappointed to find that you don’t have much control over the galleries or their contents. For example, you can’t have text appear when hovering over gallery images, which is a feature that many of the best websites for photographers share. You also don’t have any control over image padding, and there aren’t options for combining text and images.
Still, I really liked the way the builder handles lightboxes. When you click on an image to open it in a lightbox, visitors can then scroll through all of the images in your gallery within the same lightbox.
GoCentral’s business features are simple – and that’s going to be good for a lot of the people. The platform makes it easy to set up a basic online store, just note that there aren’t options for selling digital downloads or booking services. However, the builder will do just fine if you only need to sell prints of your images.
GoDaddy for business includes Google analytics, which is nice given the relative inexpensiveness of this service. On top of that, the platform will automatically suggest keywords for you when you’re working on your site’s SEO. That’s a big help, especially if you’re new to the world of SEO and marketing.
One additional feature worth noting is that GoDaddy Website Builder allows customers to add reviews to your products. This might not be a huge help for photographers, but it’s a neat feature that many other website builders lack.
GoDaddy Website Builder is relatively inexpensive, starting at $10 per month for a portfolio website. However, note that you don’t get access to SEO tools unless you upgrade to a ‘Business’ plan for $15 per month.
You will be able to take payments for services with the $20 Premium plan – but if you’re looking to sell physical wares online, you’ll need to invest into the Ecommerce plan, which will set you back $25 a month.
Simple to use, and relatively inexpensive, SITE123 is a good option for users that have no prior website making experience and just to go online – quickly.
And if you’re a photographer with no intention of spending days perfecting your website, this builder is definitely the way to go.
SITE123 has around 200 themes, many of which are suitable for photography. In fact, when you go to set up a new website with this platform, photography is one of the website options presented to you.
All of the themes are modern enough, but they didn’t stand out or wow me quite as much as options from other website builders. Many of the templates offer wide-screen homepage images, but not the stunning full-screen images or galleries that photographers might need.
You have some ability to alter the layout of your theme in the site editor, but not much. For example, when you want to add a new page to your site, you’re given a series of stock pages with preset layouts to choose from. There’s a lot of them – over 130 options, so you can create your website just the way you want it to be, function-wise. But design-wise, you’re stuck with what SITE123 offers you straight out of the box.
However, I did appreciate the simplicity of the SITE123 editor. It made immediate sense to me, and I was able to get a basic portfolio site up and running in under an hour.
Images and galleries in SITE123 are a bit of a mixed bag. The images are high-resolution, but you just don’t have the control you need to arrange images in the most visually appealing way.
One example of a SITE123 portfolio website I found used a carousel display. It was a bit clunky to me compared to what other photography websites use to display images. But to some – this might be just about enough.
Overall, SITE123 offers 8 galleries options for you to choose from. Here they are:
If between these options you see the one you love – great news! If not, well – you’re out of luck.
SITE123 offers pretty basic business features. Meaning that if you want something a bit more fancy, like abandoned cart recovery, or password-protecting your galleries for full-size digital downloads, you’re not going to find it here.
But there’s still enough for selling prints, creating coupons, and connecting to some of the most popular payment gateways.
Another thing worth noting, though, is that SITE123 supports multilingual websites. If you want to sell to a global audience or if you’re a photojournalist working across language barriers, this can be a very useful feature.
Apart from that, SITE123 is mostly all about simple features. If that’s enough for you, go for it.
The main attraction to SITE123 is its inexpensive pricing structure.
The platform offers a free forever plan, which gives you 500 MB of storage and 1 GB of bandwidth. However, the subdomain you’re given is essentially a mix of random letters and numbers, so it’s better to skip it and go straight to the premium plan.
And good news here – it costs $10.80 a month and includes several times the resources and eCommerce capabilities!
SITE123 offers one of the cheapest eCommerce plans for photographers and is also very easy to use. However, low prices and extreme simplicity both come with a few drawbacks. If you’re okay with fewer features and design options for a lower price, SITE123 can absolutely do a job as a solid photography website builder.
Weebly is a versatile drag-and-drop website builder with a major focus on eCommerce. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this platform is ideal if your photography business centers around selling prints and digital downloads.
But it’s not all it has going on for it – it’s still a full-fledged website builder with a lot of themes and gallery options. Talk about the best of both worlds.
Weebly offers around 70 themes, any of which can serve as a good starting point for your photography website. The themes are modern and responsive – however, there are not many photography-specific themes, so you may have to improvise.
But there won’t be that much wiggle room for you, because Weebly isn’t the most customizable website builder out there.
My options for making changes to the theme’s settings were extremely limited – yours will be as well. Essentially, you can alter the font styles and toggle between two color palettes, but that’s about it. To me, this made it extremely challenging to design a multi-faceted site that was more than just a basic portfolio or print shop.
There are several content elements available for you to add to your website, and they’re the usual suspects – buttons, text, all that jazz. You’re limited to laying them down on your website in a grid pattern. That’s good for not messing up – but if you have a very specific vision of what has to go where on your website, you may be a little let down.
One thing I will say in Weebly’s defense is that you can change your theme at any point. So, if you find that your chosen theme is preventing you from creating the aesthetic you want, it’s simple enough to apply a different template – and see how they suite you.
The images and galleries are actually quite nice. You don’t have fine-tuned control over image padding and other details, but the standard galleries are well-designed. Plus, you can create dynamic page sections that move as visitors scroll down the page.
I also liked that Weebly adds slideshows as a standard content element. As a result, you can create basic image sliders anywhere on your website.
However, there aren’t many options when it comes to pairing images and text. It can be done by creating page sections with background images or by placing images and text next to each other. But, if you want partial overlaps or something really unique, you’re out of luck with Weebly. It’s all about the basics here.
Weebly made my list as one of the best website builders for photographers primarily because of its business features. If your aim is to sell prints and digital downloads, this is the website builder for you.
Weebly is neck-and-neck with other advanced website builders like Wix and Squarespace when it comes to selling features like coupons, abandoned cart recovery, shipping calculators, and inventory management. On top of that, you can easily set up digital downloads and store images directly on your website using the free ‘Digital Downloads’ app.
What really sets Weebly apart, though, is its features for email marketing. Weebly automatically collects information from all of your customers and then allows you to segment them into various mailing lists later. The email designer is highly intuitive and makes it easy to send a newsletter or product announcements to your clients.
Weebly is relatively inexpensive for portfolio websites, with a free plan available if you don’t mind using a ‘.weebly.com’ domain address. The plan that includes connecting your own domain costs just $5 per month.
Basic eCommerce websites are also cheaply available, for just $12 per month with the ‘Pro’ plan. There are no commissions with this plan.
However, the jump up to the ‘Business’ plan at $25 per month is significant, and this is where you’ll get most of the tools needed for selling online.
Zenfolio is a website builder designed specifically for photographers, so it comes with a truckload of features, that people working in this field will absolutely love. For example, there’s integrated print labs, which allow you to automate the process of creating and shipping prints to clients. In addition, Zenfolio offers private galleries for clients, making it an all-in-one platform for working with all things photography – it’s more than just a website builder with some gallery elements.
Zenfolio is pretty weak on themes and customization compared to more generic website builders. However, the customization options might be just about enough for a lot of photographers. Check this out:
The platform offers 13 themes, which isn’t many. However, they’re all focusing entirely on photographers (understandable), look attractive, and put a lot of emphasis on giving you a homepage that will draw visitors into your site.
The main difference between themes to consider for the rest of your site design is how you want the menus laid out.
You can’t drag and drop content in Zenfolio like you can in most other photography website builders. Instead, you are forced to choose from seven different preset layouts. This inflexibility is somewhat annoying, and one of the main things that turned me off from Zenfolio.
To be fair with you, I see the point of Zenfolio doing this. This process ensures that you end up with a beautiful site. All of Zenfolio’s options are perfect for displaying images and galleries, and they’re very inviting for clients.
At the end of the day, professional photographer websites made using Zenfolio look pretty clean and have all the right features in all the right places:
Not surprisingly, Zenfolio offers extremely high-resolution images and stunning galleries. You don’t have as much control over galleries as you do with some other platforms, but it’s hard to argue with Zenfolio’s defaults. They’re modern, stylish, and work well for displaying photographs.
On top of that, Zenfolio offers options for securing your image. You can choose to disable visitors from using the ‘Save As’ feature built into most website browsers.
While you can’t stop them from snipping your images manually, you can add a watermark to every image you upload to Zenfolio. The platform also allows you to set maximum image display sizes to cut down on theft.
Zenfolio does a really good job offering integration with a handful of major print labs. You can set up your website so that when a client orders a print, that order is routed directly to a lab of your choice and drop-shipped to them. That takes away all the work of selling prints, so you can focus on creating new images.
The lab options available are noteworthy, too. In the US, you can use MPix Pro, which is highly regarded among photographers, due to its next day shipping and easy to use software.
There are also labs available for Canadian and European customers, so you can expand your reach internationally.
Another neat thing about these lab integrations is that you can sell more than just prints. MPix, for example, allows you to sell decorative phone cases, laptop covers, and photobooks.
That said, Zenfolio doesn’t have any built-in options for booking photography services. For a photographer-centric website builder, that’s a surprisingly large omission.
Zenfolio makes it pretty inexpensive to launch a portfolio website, especially when you consider all of the tools you get. For just $5, you can create your website, add your own domain name, and get access to 24/7 support.
If you want to sell prints, the $20 per month ‘Pro’ plan is a great option. You get access to Zenfolio’s eCommerce features, visitor analytics, and basic marketing tools. The $30 per month ‘Advanced’ plan offers slightly more marketing features and portfolio management tools – good if you’re looking to build a proper business.
Jimdo is a relatively simple website builder, perfect if you’re happy to trade away customization for ease of use. The platform doesn’t offer a ton of themes, but the options for editing your site are very intuitive. Jimdo is also light on advanced options for selling photography prints and services.
Jimdo only offers about 20 themes, which is far too few in my opinion. To me, this is one of the biggest drawbacks to the platform.
The themes are okay, but none are particularly suitable for photography websites – meaning you’ll have to make do and customize the website yourself.
Oh yeah, about that…
To make matters worse, Jimdo throws away a lot of customization features. You can change your theme’s fonts and color scheme, but not much more than that. In addition, the diversity of creative content elements is quite limited for an otherwise modern website builder.
But not everything is bad. After all, it made the best photography website builder list, so there’s got to be something, right?
A great thing about Jimdo is that editing your website is extraordinarily simple. If you’re more interested in getting a website up and running than spending hours or days designing the cursed thing, Jimdo will do great.
You can drag and drop content easily, and editing your site’s text and images is pretty basic.
It’s also worth noting that Jimdo offers an artificial intelligence-based creator, known as Jimdo Dolphin. This creator automatically develops a website for you based on a few questions about what you’re trying to achieve, which can make launching your website even easier and faster.
You do lose some customization options with Dolphin compared to the standard version of Jimdo. But, considering Jimdo is ideal for simple sites, Dolphin may be a good option for many photographers.
Jimdo’s images and galleries are good if, again, you don’t mind limited flexibility. You can’t easily resize images since the content layout is largely controlled by your site’s template. There is a bit more control over how galleries are displayed, which I appreciated.
In addition, Jimdo offers a text+photo combination element. It’s nothing special, but having this as an option gives you a lot more freedom within the otherwise limited site editor.
However, some of the things I think photographers need most are missing from Jimdo. It’s hard to create full-width, let alone full-screen, images unless they come as part of your theme. In addition, there is no way to create a slideshow or carousel of images at all within Jimdo.
I found Jimdo’s product design tools to be just as easy as the editing tools, but also just as limited. If you’re selling prints and only have a few standard sizes and options, this can be a good thing. But, if you have complicated order flows and need the ability to get feedback from customers on what they want, Jimdo isn’t going to be the best tool for you.
On top of that, Jimdo’s SEO tools are limited in scope. Essentially, you can only add SEO descriptions for your entire site, and not for individual pages or products. This is okay if you don’t want to spend time on SEO, but you do lose out on some discoverability.
Where Jimdo outperforms other builders is if your photography website needs a blog. Every Jimdo website comes with a blog, and blog posts use the same editor as the rest of your website. So, you can make some really intricate blog posts that are filled with images to help attract new clients.
Jimdo pricing varies depending on whether you are using the standard Jimdo creator or Jimdo Dolphin. Either way, there are free plans available if you’re okay with a ‘.jimdosite.com’ domain.
If not, then choose one of the premium plans. Premium Jimdo plans start at $10 per month to connect your own domain, but getting access to SEO tools requires a ‘Business’ plan for $20 per month. This plan also comes with unlimited storage and the ability to add eCommerce.
IM Creator offers a free plan for artists. Photography is an art form. So if you’re feeling artistic, you may as well just hop on and enjoy the benefits!
The platform’s website builder is significantly more complex than its competitors. But, the templates look good and the editor is highly flexible.
IM Creator only offers a handful of themes, but from ther first sight, they all look very impressive. The color palettes are well designed, and the templates use negative space to great effect.
There are templates specifically for photographers, which give you a good starting point for your website. Every theme is responsive for smartphones and tablets.
The problem with IM Creator is that customizing your website is an ordeal. Nothing about the website editor is simple or intuitive. Unlike all of the other website builders I reviewed, IM Creator doesn’t offer drag-and-drop functionality. It took me several hours to feel like I had gotten a handle on the editing functions and understood where to find content elements.
However, after several hours of pain, I overcame the learning curve and got pretty excited about the potential of this website builder. The number of content elements available and the level of customization available for each of them is very solid.
That flexibility comes in extremely handy for photographers creating images and galleries. You can create your own galleries with custom layouts by stacking image blocks together — something you can’t accomplish with most other website builders. In addition, there are a huge number of different styles of galleries and image blocks to choose from in the first place.
While this can lead to some decision paralysis, it’s hard to go wrong in the end. All of the gallery designs look good. Again, the IM Creator’s designs offer a unique aesthetic to this website builder, and I think it works well for showcasing photographic work.
IM Creator is pretty weak on business features, which is one of the things that prevents me from recommending it for other types of photographers other than artists. You can create an online store, but the platform lacks advanced features like inventory management, shipping calculators, and abandoned cart recovery. In addition, the product design tools are too simple to reflect the complexity of most business’ offerings.
IM Creator also doesn’t place much emphasis on SEO, which can prevent your site from being easily discovered. You can set a few keywords for your entire site, but that’s about it.
Although I haven’t put much emphasis on blogs in this guide, blogging is important to many photographers’ businesses. IM Creator doesn’t support blogs at all. You can create your own manually using the site editor tools, but that’s a massive amount of work.
The number one draw to IM Creator is that it’s free forever for artists and students. That includes all eCommerce features. For other photographers, the platform costs just $8 per month with eCommerce.
However, while you may be interested in getting the free plan, I have to stop you – it’s not that simple. You’ll still need to apply for the plan, so there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get it.
Overall, IM Creator has some good templates and solid gallery options. But it comes with a lot of caveats and problems in addition to that. If you cant take advantage of the free plan – give it a shot. If not – scroll up and consider something else.
The best photography websites need to accomplish a lot of different things. They need to not only show off your images to potential clients but also serve as a centralized location for your entire business – whatever it may be.
Depending on your needs, you may have to consider features like bookings, eCommerce, full-size image storage, password-protected galleries for your clients, and so on.
But let’s talk about everything from the start:
To start off, the single most important thing to look for in a photography website are beautiful image elements and galleries. If your images don’t stand out and pop off the screen, potential clients will quickly move on to the next photographer’s website.
So, what does it take to have your images pop?
There are a thousand different answers to this question, but I’ll highlight some of the features that I think are really essential for photography websites.
First and foremost, you need high-resolution images.
If your website automatically downsizes and pixelates your images after upload, you’ll have a hard time convincing clients that you’re the best photographer around. Importantly, your website builder should also be able to keep the resolution high as images are scaled, like in this example from Wix.
In the same vein, full-screen images are essential for photography websites. One of the best ways to capture a visitor’s attention immediately is to have them land on an enormous image or slideshow when they arrive at your homepage. Most photography-centric website builders allow this, but I think this example from Weebly does a great job of showing the power of full-screen images.
Next, you need great gallery options. That means clean-looking galleries that allow you to control details like gutter space and image padding. Having multiple layouts so that you can arrange portrait and landscape images in a single gallery — like in this example from Squarespace — is also a huge plus in my book.
Finally, think about elements like lightboxes. These allow you to spotlight individual images, or for visitors to see an image that they really love on its own without distraction. It’s important to have clean lightboxes that allow visitors to quickly and easily scroll through your images. Check out this example from the GoDaddy website builder to see what I mean.
The vast majority of professional websites for photographers are more than just portfolios. They’re fully-fledged business centers where clients can book your services or order prints.
So, it’s important that your website is capable of offering eCommerce features that can scale with your business.
For many, the first thing to look for here is the ability to offer prints. This is a feature that many photographers, from artists to wedding shooters to photojournalists, need to run their businesses. While any website builder with eCommerce built-in will typically allow you to sell prints, some website builders for photographers go far beyond that.
Take Zenfolio, for example. With this platform, you can take a hands-off approach to selling prints by using Zenfolio’s integrated print labs. When a client places a print order, it will automatically be fulfilled and shipped. So, you can focus on photography rather than logistics.
Another important eCommerce feature is the ability to sell and book services. Many of the best photographer websites have listings of services that you can purchase online, with selectable options like dates and times. Wix excels in this category, allowing clients to book your photography services using a calendar tool directly embedded in your site.
Although less glamorous than galleries and sales, features for image storage and security on your website are extremely important. This makes a big difference in how images are delivered to clients, which is one of the most essential parts of the entire photography process (obviously).
Ideally, photography websites should come with built-in image storage so that you can use your website to deliver photos. This is particularly important if you work as a wedding or commercial photographer, when you routinely need to host hundreds or thousands of photos online. Look for additional features like gallery IDs, which can make it much easier for your clients to find their images.
On top of that, some website builders like Zenfolio actually allow you to store original, RAW image files. Every photographer knows that it’s impossible to have too many backups of your photos, so being able to double your website as a massive cloud storage service is a big plus.
In addition, it’s important to be able to protect your images. This means being able to lock your galleries with passwords so that only the clients who paid for photography services are able to see their photos. Also look for features like automatic watermarking and the ability to disable ‘Save As’ right-clicking to prevent unintended downloads of your photographs.
If your images will look good, and you’ll find a way to swell them and make everything easy to access to your clients – you’re onto a winner!
If you’re a photographer looking to move your portfolio or business online, there are a huge number of options for creating your website. Ultimately, choosing the right website builder for your needs comes down to personal preference and what type of photography website you want to create.
But, there are a number of features that every photographer should look out for when choosing the best builder for a photography website. These include high-resolution images, advanced selling features for prints and services, plenty of tools for customizing your website, and more.
Once you know what you’re looking for, your choices for the photographer website builder should get just a little bit clearer.
To recap, here are my picks for the 8 best website builders for photographers: