What's the Best Portfolio Website Builder for Photographers?

What's the Best Portfolio Website Builder for Photographers?

If you want to showcase your work on more than just social media and perhaps even start selling your images, you need to have a portfolio website. So what's the best option to get something professional, cost effective and functional up quickly?

Until December last year, I was using SmugMug. There were some things I liked, such as the ability to monetize your site immediately without any extra plugins, as well as its focus on helping you easily create visually appealing websites with a few button clicks. However, SmugMug's recent price hike and some other limitations have led me to the conclusion that I must look elsewhere. However, with two young daughters and a full-time job, I want something that's user-friendly, intuitive, customizable, and won't cost a pretty penny. A lot of my friends and fellow photographers have suggested Squarespace and Format, but I did a little more digging and found a great comparison site for artists looking to create a portfolio website that caters to all their needs.

Over on Website Builder Expert, they've put together a comprehensive list of the nine best portfolio website builders. I must admit I was quite shocked at the results but the great thing is the page goes into real depth in its explanations of each site and the criteria it used to compile its list. So what came out on top? Surprisingly, they rate Wix at number 1, saying it's "best for… those in need of an easy-to-use builder with bundles of creative control."

Head on over and take a look at the top nine and let me know your thoughts. I still haven't decided on a site yet so if you have any experience with any of the nine on the list and you can recommend them (or not), please do let me know. As always, real world experience from Fstoppers readers is incredibly helpful to the community so please speak up.

Lead Image by CyberRabbit via Pixabay

Log in or register to post comments

76 Comments

Previous comments
Dana Goldstein's picture

Sorry Iain, just saw this. I really don't know what they meant. I find when you get under the hood, which is really easy (I'm not the web design type), you can fully customize the look of a template, from the fonts to the colors to the space in between images on the page. You can have an integrated blog with your theme, as many gallery headings as you need, and a solid app. I've never had clients have issues with accessing their images either. My current design was done with the input of my consultant, who wanted a certain look that was actually easier to play around with in Zenfolio than the "cool kids" that most commercial photographers recommend. We were online and I made the changes in real time so she could refresh and see how it was going. If someone is willing to spend a little while getting to know it, it's very powerful.

Several years ago, I too struggled with this same question but after a lot of research I chose Photofolio -www.photofolio.io - and couldn't be happier. It took an investment of time to get the site to look the way I wanted it, but that's more because I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Nothing to do with Photofolio itself. Photofolio offers modern, sleek, and beautiful sites that allow for multimedia integration. And the customer service/tech support is fantastic! Highly recommended!

Wix and Weebly are great platforms, but they're too generalized and aren't really great options for photographers. There's no option for proofing, neither do they have the option of connecting to print labs. Once you set up an image e-commerce with them, everything related to fulfilling will have to be done by yourself.
I've recently shifted to Pixpa, and it has been much more intuitive and offers way more functionalities at the same price. If you ever plan to make sales with your photos and wish to get into online proofing, Pixpa would be the best choice. I've heard good things about Smugmug too, but the themes look clunky and the absence of blogging feature wouldn't make it the best option.

Iain Stanley's picture

Yes the lack of any kind of robust blogging/writing option with Smugmug has put me off. I’ve found writing and interacting with clients/people is a great way to broaden sales and reputation. Thus my reason for moving away from Smugmug

Eugene Bogorad's picture

I've been looking for a simple solution for when one is shooting events. Suppose you're asked to shoot a VIP clients get-together for a bank. You shoot, display your work on the wall during the event, and give away business cards or flyers with a PIN to this event's gallery. When people get home, they can check the gallery, post low-res pics to Instagram/whatever, but the main point - they can mark pics they really like and order prints. Couldn't find anything like it.

Iain Stanley's picture

You can share private galleries/catalogs with clients directly from Lightroom if you have it.

Eugene Bogorad's picture

I don't want to actually do anything except shooting. I'd like clients to choose and order prints with no interaction with me.

I believe Pixpa (https://www.pixpa.com) does offer a solution like that. You can create a private client galleries album for an event and share it with your clients. They can then mark their favorite images, download or buy them as prints or downloads. Works like a beauty.

Eugene Bogorad's picture

Thanks, I'll take a look.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Photographers shouldn't have anything to do with SquareSpace.

Iain Stanley's picture

Can you elaborate a little more on why you think so?

Jeff McCollough's picture

Fstoppers reported on their new partner a few weeks ago.

I was using Squarespace earlier for my portfolio website, but decided to shift as I think SS is way too expensive and I wanted to have integrated client galleries (was using Pixieset separately). I found Pixpa.com (https://www.pixpa.com) to be a perfect fit for my requirements. IMO, my new website (https://rguite.pixpa.com) is visually at par with SS and the control panel is easy to use and has all the features I need. Special marks for the fantastic customer support team of Pixpa that was far more responsive than anything I got with SS. And the price is less than half of Squarespace. Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. Highly recommended.

Iain Stanley's picture

Thanks Rika. It seems Pixpa is getting some serious love in this discussion.....I will definitely be paying them a visit thanks to these comments. Cheers

I was using Squarespace earlier for my portfolio website, but decided to shift as I think SS is way too expensive and I wanted to have integrated client galleries (was using Pixieset separately). I found Pixpa.com (https://www.pixpa.com) to be a perfect fit for my requirements. IMO, my new website (https://rguite.pixpa.com) is visually at par with SS and the control panel is easy to use and has all the features I need. Special marks for the fantastic customer support team of Pixpa that was far more responsive than anything I got with SS. And the price is less than half of Squarespace. Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. Highly recommended.

Ross Johnston's picture

Been with Photoshelter for around 12 years, best decision ever. Have close to 800,000 images stored with them. Not for everyone, but if they convinced Joe McNally that's good enough for me. They also publish handy guides for photographer too. And a nice little blog about Squarespace.
https://blog.photoshelter.com/2018/11/squarespace-is-officially-screwing...