In this post you’re going to learn exactly how we ended up crowning our best website builder for photographers in 2020.


This article includes:

  • An overview of each website builder included;
  • An in-depth walkthrough of how easy it is to get started with each;
  • A cost-effective alternative to the big brand names mentioned in this article
  • And lots more.

If you want to make sure you’ve made the right decision when it comes to choosing the perfect website builder for your photography business, read on.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.



Best Website Builders for Photographers – Quick Comparison

Each of the website builders we’ve listed has a feature that makes it stand out among its competitors. This is what we call the USP – unique selling point.

We’ve made it a priority to highlight the features we believe to be unique to each website creator.

Let’s dive in.

Page builder PROS CONS
WixArtificial Design Intelligence (ADI) which automatically creates unique looking layouts by asking you a few questions

✅ You can animate text or other elements
❌ Unable to change the site template once a website goes live

❌ Can’t export or migrate your data to another platform
Weebly✅ Team management – you can assign other editors
to work on your website

✅ Membership areas – open certain parts of your
website for members only
❌ Limited plugins functionality

❌ No revision history for tracking the changes you make
Squarespace✅ Mobile app so you can edit your website on your phone

✅ Blogging feature + podcast hosting functionality
❌ Not a very offering AppStore

❌ No autosave functionality
Smugmug✅ Every image is backed up with Amazon Web Services

✅ Collaborates with print shops, so you can fulfill orders with top labs: Bay Photo, WHCC, EZPrints, and Loxley (UK)
❌ No blog integration

❌ No live or phone support
Format✅ Integrated blog and online-store

✅ No coding skills required
❌ Inability to integrate video content

❌ Limited customizability of templates


Elements of the Best Photography Website Builder
s

Before you choose your preferred photography website builder for your business, we’ve put together a short list of features we believe every modern website builder should offer.

1. Ease of use

Does your preferred website builder make it easy to get started, update, and do maintenance on your website?

Even if you’re a veteran webmaster, you need a website builder that gets out of your way and helps you get the job done ASAP.

Weebly, Squarespace, and Wix have been championing ease of use as one of their unique selling points for years.

2. Storage Capacity

You can never have enough storage capacity. Especially when you’re dealing with HiRes photos that you want to be able to display at or near the resolution they were shot at.

If you shoot lots of high-quality, crisp pictures, you’ll find yourself quickly running out of storage space.

At the time of writing, Weebly Solutions offers the cheapest storage.

3. Right-Click Protection + Watermarking

One great feature that discourages digital thieves from repurposing your work without permission is right-click protection. Unfortunately, it’s not a catch-all solution.

However, when combined with watermarking, it can greatly reduce the risk of having your work re-shared illegally.

If you’re interested, we’ve got a complete guide on how to watermark your photos, with Photoshop, Illustrator, or other popular platforms.

The best options, when it comes to security, are none SmugMug, Wix, and WordPress + Modula.

4. Custom domain name

You’d be surprised to learn that not every website builder we’ve reviewed offers the possibility of linking a custom domain. Or they intentionally make it more difficult and expensive than it should be.

Domain names can be had for as little as $20/month. However, most top website builders add a premium on top of the domain name registrar fee.

In other words, you pay a domain name company each year to keep your website name. Think of it as property taxes on your slice of virtual real estate.

However, if you purchase your domain name through your photography website builder, you’ll pay a marked-up price.

If you haven’t yet registered your first domain name, I suggest having a quick look over these best domain name registrars.

The above article is just a roundup of the best websites where you can buy a domain name. In other words, they’re marketplaces to buy website names.

SmugMug doesn’t offer this on their entry level plan, but the others do. Wix offers this on their second-tier pricing package, starting at $18/mo. The cheapest solution is to self-host with your preferred hosting of choice.

If you’re looking to save a buck, you should check our piece on the cheapest WordPress hosting providers on the market.

5. SEO Friendliness

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing a website’s chances of ranking higher in Google’s search results for particular keywords.

In simpler terms, you want to be the first result on Google when anyone searches for a topic that matches what your business is selling.

You can easily see the appeal for wanting to rank higher on Google. However, not all website builders listed in this article offer the same degree of functionality when it comes to SEO features.

Photography website builder SEO tools often relate to meta description, title, and alt tags. However, these aspects are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to optimization. If you really want to rank highly, you’re going to need more powerful tools.

For that reason, we don’t believe you should put too much emphasis on SEO features. Even so, we’re crowning Wix as the most complete solution, followed closely by Squarespace with Weebly coming in last.

6. eCommerce integration

We all know that any successful freelance photographer will, at some point in time, decide to start selling their photos online. According to this study, selling your work online can easily turn into a steady income stream.

That’s why it’s important to choose a website builder that offers integration with an eCommerce platform from the get-go.

Picking the wrong one might leave you without the possibility of exporting and migrating all of your work into another platform.

Right now, as it stands, the most complete solution is Wix, while Squarespace and Weebly aren’t lagging too far behind.


Pricing comparison

Wix vs Weebly vs SquareSpace vs Format vs SmugMug
Website builderPricingYearlyPlansDomain price
Wix$14/mo$168incl. free planFirst year free, then $14.95/yr
Weebly$6/mo (billed annually)$72incl. free plan$19.95/year
SquareSpace$12/mo (billed annually)$14414-day trialFree (one year)
SmugMug$7/mo$49incl. free planDomain registrar price, no extra fees
Format$12/mo (if billed annually)$14414-day trialFree (one year)

* You don’t need to pay the website builder domain price if you pay for your website name through a domain name registrar – we have a review of the best domain name registrars that might help you. We recommend this because it’s usually significantly cheaper. For more information, review the Custom Domain Price section above.


Best Website Builders to Sell Photography (eCommerce)

Some photographers are simply interested in the best website builders for displaying their portfolio. Others, like pro photographers, want to know the top website builders for selling their work.

Typically that means selling digital prints, but it’s also possible to sell physical prints with many of these options. However, the pricing and plans change for eCommerce photography sites.

In other words, you’ll need to upgrade to premium or business plans.

Here’s a comparison table for the best options:

Wix vs Weebly vs SquareSpace vs SmugMug vs Format
Website builderPricing (Billed Annually)Unique AdvantagesDisadvantages
Wix$23/mo– Pro eCommerce features
– Visitor analytics
– Logo Maker
– Cannot migrate site to another platform
– Limited Storage (35GB or ~12K photos)
Weebly$12/mo– Unlimited Storage– No integration for sharing to Facebook
or Instagram, unlike Wix or Squarespace
SquareSpace$26/mo– Advanced eCommerce stats
– Advanced site analytics
– A $17/mo plan with 3% commissions
– No product search
SmugMug$27/mo– Excellent customer support
– Unlimited storage
– Relatively expensive
Format$25/mo– Unlimited Storage
– Format can build the site for you
– Commission-free only for first 1000
sales per month

If you’re interested in making money as a photographer, check out these helpful guides:


Best Photography Website Builders

1. Wix

Wix - create your website page
Create your website

Wix is a state-of-the-art website builder that also has an AI component (called ADI – short for Artificial Design Intelligence) which can help users build unique looking websites.

The system merges pre-defined site sections and intuitively adds extra pages that almost all business need. That includes pages like:

  • Contact Us;
  • About Us;
  • Location;
  • FAQs;
  • Testimonials.

If you’re looking for the quickest way to get started, Wix’s Artificial Design Intelligence feature (a.k.a. ADI) allows you to get a head start on your website building.

By asking you a series of questions through a wizard, Wix’s ADI then automatically generates your site’s design. The resulting website is, almost always, a surprisingly unique looking layout.

Format website preview
Create a website with Wix ADI

Wix also makes it easy to choose from a selection of pre-built templates. The photography website builder has over 500 professionally designed, pixel-perfect, and mobile-friendly templates.

Wix templates
Wix templates


If you’re not satisfied with the end result or just want additional customization, it’s a quick & easy process with their visual drag-and-drop editor.

In just a few minutes, either through ADI or pre-existing templates, you can have a site up and running with Wix.

The only thing that’s left is adding images, videos, and text. Basically, all the stuff that users don’t usually want to bother with is out of the way, leaving you with only the creative work of making everything fit together nicely.

Pricing

If you’re just getting started or want to test the waters before pulling out your credit card, you can take advantage of Wix’s free plan.

Of course, there are some major drawbacks. Here’s a comparison table of the free and premium versions.

The biggest limitation, in our eyes, is the lack of storage space, which is limited to 500MB (or roughly 200 High-Res photos) on the free plan. This limitation is likely designed to nudge you to a paid plan.

A nice perk that Wix offers is a voucher for Bing and Google ads. Once you have accumulated charges over $25, your Google account is credited with a $75 voucher.

And speaking of paid plans, we’ve listed them below:

WEBSITE PLANS
PlanComboUnlimitedProVIP
Pricing$14/month$18
/month
$23
/month
$39
/month
What you get– 3GB storage space
– 2 GB bandwidth
– 24/7 customer care
– 10 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 customer care
– 20 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 customer care
– 35 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– priority customer care
BUSINESS & E-COMMERCE PLANS
PlanBusiness Basic
Business Unlimited
Business VIP Enterprise
Pricing$23
/month
$27
/month
$49
/month
custom pricing
What you get– 20 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 customer care
– 35 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 customer care
– 50 GB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– priority customer care
– custom storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– VIP support

* You can choose a one-year plan, as well as 2 or 3 years plans. If you choose a yearly subscription you must pay in full upon check out. The same applies to 2 or 3-year subscriptions.

As you can see, Wix offers multiple premium plans, depending on what you wish to use your website for. We’ve only listed a couple of features that people, especially those who want to get their business online, might be interested in.

There’s also a ”Connect domain” plan as well, but it is no longer available in the US. There’s no certainty that it isn’t going to disappear as an option for the rest of the world as well.

On their website, in the pricing plans section, you can find a detailed listing of all the features you get with each pricing package.


Features

Wix is one of the leading website builders, at the time of writing this, as such, it boats an impressive range of features.

And we’re going to be taking a look at them, below:

  • Free hosting, to make sure your website is safe and secure;
  • SSL certificates included at no extra cost;
  • Custom domain name (free for the first year);
  • SEO-friendly so can have some form of control over the way Google sees your site;
  • 500+ pre-designed templates to choose from;
  • Total design freedom, through their drag-and-drop editor;
  • Mobile-optimized, so your site looks great on every device;
  • An app market that gives you the opportunity to add any functionality you’d like. This app market is entirely made up of apps designed by Wix, as well as other third-party apps.

* Their documentation offers app recommendations depending on the kind of business you own.

Mind you, most of the features presented above are not unique to Wix. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what makes Wix better than their competition:

  • Artificial Intelligence Design (ADI) that automatically creates your website based on your wants and desires
  • Animated sections and video backgrounds, to make your website look more lively
  • Professional mailbox, so you can have an email address along with your own domain name
  • Live chat, if you wish to talk to your visitors in real-time
  • Members-only pages, so only members can access certain pages on your website

Example Wix Photography Sites

Additionally, check out the best templates for the Wix photography website builder.


The Site Building Process

Wix sign-up page
Create an account

Even though it may seem like a daunting task, building a photography website is actually pretty easy with Wix. They make this process straightforward and provide a ton of templates to help you customize your site.

Let’s explore this process with a set of step-by-step screenshots.

First of all, you need to create an account with your email address and your password of choice.

After that, you’ll be taken to a wizard where you’ll be asked a few questions. The whole purpose of this is so that they can better understand your needs.

Wix - Information about your website
Website details


After that’s out of the way, you’ll be redirected to a page like the one shown below.

Wix - choose your template
Template selection

You will then be able to choose a template and start designing your website.

Wix - customization options
Customize your website

Once you’re selected a template, you can start customizing your website, if you wish to do so. You can see how this looks, in the screenshot above.

You can get a free domain, or you can register your own domain and pay for it. If you don’t know where to find a reputable domain registrar, we’ve covered the best of them.

Wix - select your domain name
Choose a domain name

And that’s it – you’ve now created a website through Wix’s website builder.


Wix for Photographers Review

Best For Easiest Site Building Process

👍 Wix Advantages

  • A lot of creative control is available in Wix, so you can implement any particular design idea or layout arrangement with their drag-and-drop editor.
  • Sites built on Wix are automatically mobile and responsive optimized.

👎 Wix Disadvantages

  • Once a site goes live, you can not change your template, leading to limited customizability in the long run.
  • You cannot migrate your website to another platform.
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners
  • Entry-level plan doesn’t allow you to remove Wix branding
  • Limited custom-domain name availability when registering your domain through them

Don’t feel like reading everything? Jump to the Verdict for our final conclusions.


2. Weebly

Weebly - create your website page
Create your website

Another great choice in the world of photography website builders is Weebly. It’s a powerful editor that offers a wide range of features.

Weebly’s free version is adequate if you’re just looking to get a portfolio online quickly, but it’s limited to 500 MB of space and places (unwanted) ads on your site.

However, Weebly is a good solution if you’re on a tight budget. Out of the bunch, it’s the cheapest website builder for photographers that provides powerful features.

It has all the basic tools to start a small business or even an online store.

Features

Weebly makes it easy for its users to create a website with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from such a tool, so let’s skip the talk and get straight to it!

A breakdown of Weebly’s features:

  • Included SSL certificate for your website;
  • Simple domain registration;
  • Over 50 beautiful, high-quality templates ;
  • Drag-and-drop functionality for easy layout customization;
  • Excellent design freedom;
  • Generous AppStore that gives you the opportunity to add a lot of new functionalities to your website. Just like Wix, it mostly consists of Weebly apps alongside third-party apps;
  • Seo-friendly;
  • Mobile responsive.

The functionalities that make Weebly stand out from the crowd:

  • Blogging component that allows you to build a blog and write your story in a compelling manner
  • Weebly Promote – a service that besides the basic functionalities, also promises webinars where you can learn everything about e-mail marketing
  • Community forum as an extra for the phone and e-mail support
  • A mobile app, so you can make changes to your website from your phone
  • DDoS mitigation service to protect your website from any cyber-attacks.

Example Weebly Photography Sites

For more inspiration, check out the best themes for the Weebly photography website builder.

The Site Building Process

The process is similar to that of Wix. First, you’ll need to create an account and add your full name, email address, password, and country.

Weebly - sign-up page
Create an account

Then, you have to select if you want a basic website or an online store.

Weebly - choose the purpose of your website
Give your website a purpose

After you select the kind of website you want, a page with predesigned themes provided by Weebly will pop up.

Weebly templates
Select a template

Now you will see the customization options on the left of your page and you can easily design your photography site.

Weebly - customization options
Customize your website

Once you’re done styling your page, click on Publish and choose your domain name. Of course, you will have to pay for it unless you already have one. Then you just connect your custom domain name.

Weebly - select a domain
Choose a domain name

As you can see, Wix and Weebly are pretty similar. However, Wix allows you to use a free domain while Weebly asks you to create a domain and pay for it.

Weebly Pricing

Just as Wix, Weebly offers different pricing plans for websites and online stores. This is a really good strategy, because you can can start small and grow your business on the same platform by upgrading your plan.

. WEBSITE PLANS
PlanConnectProBusiness
Pricing$5/mo$12/mo$25/mo
What you get– 500MB storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
chat & e-mail support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
phone, chat & e-mail support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
phone, chat & e-mail support
BUSINESS & E-COMMERCE PLANS
PlanPro
Business
Business Plus
Pricing$12/mo$25/mo$38/mo
What you get– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
phone, chat & e-mail support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
phone, chat & e-mail support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– community forum,
phone, chat & e-mail support

Almost every premium plan offers unlimited bandwidth, storage, and what seems to be great customer care, thanks to the many channels they’re using.

But we should consider a lot of aspects before making a choice. Each builder has its advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s check out Weebly’s pros and cons and bring a bit of light to your decision-making process.

Weebly for Photographers Review

Best for Photographers on a Tight Budget

👍 Weebly Advantages

  • Unlimited possibilities to add extra features, making Weebly more than a portfolio website.
  • This platform is SEO-friendly and will help your website rank on Google.
  • The website builder interface achieves a good balance between customizability and structure, allowing additional features if you are a more advanced user or simplicity if you wish.

👎 Weebly Disadvantages

  • No manual restore option – if your website goes down, you’ll have to wait for Weebly support to restore your site for you.
  • Unlike Wix, it doesn’t provide an AI feature to help you get a unique looking website tailored to your needs and tastes.
  • Limited drag and drop feature.

Don’t feel like reading everything? Jump to the Verdict for our final conclusions.


3. Squarespace

Squarespace homepage
Create your website

Squarespace is an ideal photography website builder that uses ready-to-use layouts. Naturally, all of Squarespace’s designs are mobile-friendly and responsive.

Features

Squarespace provides over 60 wonderful templates that can be edited even on your mobile phone, through the mobile app. Squarespace is an easy-to-use website builder with a modern interface, which makes working with it a total breeze.

Their platform has gained a lot of attention lately, so it’s slowly becoming one of the best website builders out there.

Do you know what’s even cooler? You don’t need any coding skills. With Squarespace, you can quickly publish blog posts, do maintenance updates on your website, and so on. It’s user-friendly but not as simple as Wix or Weebly, in our experience.

Let’s see what Squarespace offers in terms of typical features:

  • Hosting is included in all Squarespace plans (worth about $5-8/mo) – and if you already own a domain, you can transfer it
  • Domains are automatically protected with SSL certificates, so you don’t have to worry about security
  • If you don’t own a domain already, Squarespace offers you the possibility to register one
  • Over 60 beautiful templates to chose from
  • a very easy to use drag-and-drop builder, so you can arrange everything as you please
  • Design customizability
  • Many useful extensions (which are the equivalent of plugins/apps) that can enhance the performance and looks of your website
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • Mobile-optimized, so anyone who visits your site has a pleasant experience regardless of their preferred device

Let’s see what makes Squarespace stand out:

  • Free Typekit fonts – They partnered with Typekit from Adobe so every user can benefit from free, high-quality fonts.
  • Podcast support, so if you think of spicing things up a little, you have the option of integrating audio content into your website
  • Built-in image editor, which allows you to edit your pictures directly within your browser.

Squarespace Example Websites

As you can see, many professional website designers use Squarespace to build their client’s websites.

Here are the top templates for the Squarespace website builder.

The Site Building Process

Let’s explore how easy it is to get started with Squarespace.

Squarespace  sign-up page
Create an account

The next step is to give your website a name .

Squarespace - give your website a name
Name your website

Clicking on “next”, brings us to the image seen below. In the first section, you’ll need to answer a few questions. Checking the “Photography” box will help Squarespace better offer you suggestions, going forward.

Squarespace  - choose the purpose of your website
Give your website a purpose

Then, choose what you’d like to achieve with your website. You can choose as many options from this list as you want even if they are not a priority right now.

Squarespace - choose a goal for your website
Select your website goal

Next, you’ll have to tick the box that best describes your intentions:

Squarespace - choose a reason for which you're creating a website
Reasons for creating your website

Press Finish and you’ll be presented with a selection of over 60 professionally designed templates, as seen in the screenshot below.

After you’ve chosen your favorite template, you can start customizing your site with Squarespace.

Squarespace - template selection
Template selection

In the second section, you’ll have to create your account. Add your name, email address, and a password of your choice.

You will go then through a small tutorial that will explain some features and how you can get creative with them.

Squarespace - customization options
Customize your website

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace offers four pricing plans with a wide range of features and tailored to different needs.

If you’re just looking to build a website and showcase your work, you should go for either the Personal plan or Business plan.

However, if you’re interested in selling your work online, you’re going to be better off with either the Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce plans.

Squarespace – pricing plans
PlanPersonalBusinessCommerce (basic)Commerce (advanced)
Pricing$12/mo$18/mo$26/mo$40/mo
Storageunlimited unlimitedunlimitedunlimited
Bandwidthunlimitedunlimitedunlimitedunlimited

With Squarespace, you can choose to be billed annually or monthly. As with most other subscription-based tools out there, paying yearly gives you a discount.

In this case, it’s a hefty 30% off if you decide to pay yearly. Keep in mind that unlike Wix or Weebly, Squarespace offers one-year plans only.

A nice perk you get with Squarespace is a voucher of $100 in Google Ads Credits. You need the Business plan (or higher) and it is only available in select countries.

Squarespace for Photographers Review

Best for Selling Photos Online

Best for Photographers with a Podcast

👍 Squarespace Advantages

  • Squarespace’s templates are absolutely gorgeous and cater to creatives.
  • Restore deleted pages or posts for up to 30 days.

👎 Squarespace Disadvantages

  • A slightly higher price tag compared to other website builders, requiring greater initial investment.
  • We’ve found their editor to be lacking, compared to Wix’s.
  • There’s no autosave feature, so make sure you hit that save button repeatedly.
  • Steeper learning curve compared to its competitors.

Don’t feel like reading everything? Jump to the Verdict for our final conclusions.


4. SmugMug

Smugmug homepage
Create your website

SmugMug is a website builder that offers a simple way to publish and sell your images. In contrast to more flexible builders like Wix or Squarespace, SmugMug has a more advanced integration regarding the security of your photos.

This offering gives you the ability to prevent third-party downloads of your valuable pictures. Moreover, this platform provides a straightforward way to display and sell your photographs online.

SmugMug Features

SmugMug is not as popular as other website builders, but it’s definitely in for the ride because of the complete set of features it offers. We noticed a couple of things to be different for SmugMug than from other website builders.

First, they do not register domains, but they have a partner that can help you. Second, they don’t provide SSL certificates, which are like a padlock for your website. If you want to integrate one, you’ll have some problems.

Let’s have a quick rundown of some of the ”must-have” features that SmugMug includes:

  • Hosting for all plans;
  • Over 21 pre-made templates to choose from;
  • A drag-and-drop interface, so you have an easy time arranging everything on your website;
  • Full site customization, so you can incorporate your vision into the way you’re displaying your work;
  • Many third-party integrations, so you can make the most out of your website;
  • SEO tools;
  • Mobile-responsive for the best experience on any device;
  • Many unique gallery layouts that will astonish your visitors.

Since SmugMug is missing a couple of ”basic” features that all the other website builders are offering, let’s see what features make it shine:

  • A mobile app, so you can upload photos and take care of your website on the go;
  • Online training events that help you understand how your SmugMug website works ;
  • Discounts for non-profit organizations;
  • Many partners can help your business grow.

Example SmugMug Websites

For more inspiration, here are the best SmugMug site design templates.

The Site Building Process

Like Squarespace, SmugMug comes with a 14-day free trial. Regarding the process of building your website, enter your personal data – name, email address, and password. Also, you will have to select if you expect to sell your photos online or not.

Smugmug sign-up page
Create an accout

As you might expect, a page with predesigned templates will pop up and you’ll have to choose one from there.

Smugmug templates
Template selection

After clicking on a template, you’ll see some sample folders that will display the design of your website’s interface. Click on Use this template and start uploading images to your site. You can also add a logo and social media links.

Smugmug - create your first gallery
Create a gallery

Now you can start customizing and organizing your photography website.

Smugmug customization options
Customize your website

Once you’re done, click Publish now and your website will be available to your visitors. When the free trial is over, go to Subscribe and select a proper plan to keep your website running.

Smugmug - make your website secure
Secure your website

As we said before, SmugMug protects your photos better than any other website builder. You can safeguard your work with watermarks, custom right-click messages, and password protection. Also, it’s up to you to decide who can see your site, pages, galleries, or photos.

SmugMug Pricing

Unlike other website builders that offer a free plan, SmugMug doesn’t provide a free version. However, it comes with a 14-day free trial to see if it suits your needs.

If you are happy with its services, you will have to choose between four pricing plans.

WEBSITE PLANS
PlanBasicPowerPortfolioPro
Pricing$8.33 month$13.09
/month
$32.13
/month
$49.97
/month
What you get– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 Customer Support, live chat,
access to tutorials and trainings
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 Customer Support, live chat,
access to tutorials and trainings
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 Customer Support, live chat,
access to tutorials and trainings
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 Customer Support, live chat,
access to tutorials and trainings

SmugMug’s plans include a lot of benefits, even though they are a little bit more expensive than what website builders offer. But they really are impressive, so you might as well take a look.

SmugMug for Photographers Review

Best for Non-Profits (Discounted Prices)

Best for Photo Security

Best for Photography-Specific Features*

*If you plan to spend lots of time building out and using your website, then SmugMug is probably your best option. It was built by and for photographers, so the platform demonstrates a deep understanding of what photographers want and need from a website creator.

👍 SmugMug Advantages

  • Excellent photography-specific features, including robust protection options for photos uploaded to your site.
  • Unlimited storage.
  • Great for monetizing your photos, helping you to sell both digital and print-based products, as soon as you sign up.

👎 SmugMug Disadvantages

  • The full portfolio plan can be a bit pricey at $31.13 per month (billed annually).
  • Shortlist of third-party integrations.

Don’t feel like reading everything? Jump to the Verdict for our final conclusions.


5. Format

Format homepage
Create your account

Another website builder designed with photography portfolios in mind is Format. The pricing plans are definitely an affordable option and popular with photographers because of its focus on copyright and privacy.

By all means, the Format Design Center, like many of its counterparts, is very simple and comprises a choice of 23 topics from which four are considered prime for an extra couple of dollars a month.

You are able to select and customize the theme you like. You can keep the exact topic word for word and substitute each particular component with your own images or start a page from scratch to fit your aesthetic.

Format Features

Portfolios launched by the Format website builder can include blogs, webshops, powerful gallery design configurations, themes, and other kinds of web pages.

You can publish and update your portfolio directly from Adobe Lightroom and Capture One. You don’t need any coding expertise to create websites with Format.

The focus on users’ intuition eliminates the need to master basic programming or to have a background in web design. Let’s see what are some of the features of this website builder:

  • Free hosting, no matter the pricing plan you choose;
  • SSL certificate included in your plan;
  • as you’ve already gotten used by now, free domain for one year;
  • An impressive templates collection;
  • Highly customizable, so you can really stand out from the crowd;
  • Powerful SEO tools;
  • Mobile-optimized;
  • Premium layouts so your galleries look amazing.

The features that distinguish Format from the rest:

  • Lightroom and CaptureOne integrations – isn’t that just cool?
  • Photography Bussiness Masterclass – included with their Pro Plus and Unlimited plans, $18/mo respectively, $25/mo (it’s value is around $100).
  • Site Building Service. Format Experts can build a photography website for you (it’s value is $200).

Example Format Websites

The Site Building Process

Similarly to Wix and Squarespace, Format comes with some questions to identify the purpose of your website in order to help you with some pre-designed themes.

Format - choose the purpose of your website
Give your website a purpose

To start building your website with them, you’re first going to have to register an account.

Format sign up page
Create an account

Now that you have created your account, start browsing through their features and customize your website by adding a theme, logo, title, typography, colors and so on.

Format customization options
Customize your website

Format has a step-by-step guide to get your site ready to launch.

Format - step by step website launching guide
Step-by-step launching guide

After following all these steps, on the left of your page, you will see an option to view your site with your changes.

Format website preview
Preview your website

And there you go! If you find Format as the best option for your photography website, go for the PRO plan.

This is a great choice for a photography portfolio, but it takes the back seat when it comes to their UI and template customization.

Format Pricing

This website builderalso comes with a 14-day free trial, so you can test it out.

All plans include image protection, professionally-designed templates, a free domain name for one year, unlimited bandwidth, SSL bult-in security, SEO tools, and social integration.

WEBSITE PLANS
PlanProPro plusUnlimited
Pricing$12/mo$18/mo$25/mo
What you get– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– 24/7 Customer Support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– priority support
– unlimited storage space
– unlimited bandwidth
– priority support

What’s the difference between them? Well, the Pro plan allows you to upload only 1500 images while the other two have no limit.

If you decide to go for the Pro Plus or Unlimited plan, customer support will be a priority. With the Unlimited plan, you will be able to sell 1000 products.

Pro Plus allows you to sell only 60 products without paying any extra commissions to Format. With Pro, you can only sell 3 products.

Format for Photographers Review

Best For Site-Building Services

If you’re willing to pay $18/month but don’t want the hassle of designing your site (despite the relative ease of the process), then Format is probably best for you.

👍 Format Advantages

  • The availability of an integrated blog and online store, with a strong focus on copyright and image gallery protection.
  • The opportunity to edit the HTML code of the web page should have advanced web development knowledge.

👎 Format Disadvantages

  • The dashboard interface design lacks esthetics.
  • Limited customizability of the predefined templates.

Verdict

All in all, building a website for your photography business is not that difficult. However, it can be tricky to choose the best website builder for your photography portfolio.

As we’ve mentioned, the best option for you depends on what kind of photographer you are. Are you on a budget? Do you love products and services designed by photographers for photographers? Are you a complete tech-novice?

Check out this comparison table to find the right option for you.

Wix vs Weebly vs Squarespace vs SmugMug vs Format vs WordPress

Website BuilderBest For
WixOverall Best Website Builder
Easiest Building Process
WeeblyCheapest Website Creator
SquareSpaceSelling Photos Online
Photographers With a Podcast
SmugMugNon-Profit Organizations (Significant Discount)
Photo Security Tools
FormatIncluded Site Building Services
WordPress + ModulaWebsites with Blogs
Websites with Content Marketing & SEO
Photo Security Tools (For Lower Costs Than SmugMug)
Photographers Who Know WordPress
Photographers with an Existing WP Site

A Smart Alternative: WordPress + Modula

Modula plugin

For many photographers who want to display their work online, the best option is using one of the 5 best photography website builders mentioned in this article.

However, there are some cases where using WordPress and the Modula plugin, which is a downloadable tool for displaying photo galleries.

Blogs, Content Marketing & SEO

If your photography website needs to include a blog, then WordPress + Modula is the way to go. To create a great blog, you need many more features than to create a great photo gallery. WordPress offers those features for very similar prices as the website builders in this article.

If you want to do content marketing and SEO, then you need an even greater suite of features only available through WordPress.

In other words, if you want to drive clients to your wedding photography site by writing an article on 10 Best Wedding Photo Shoot Locations in Austin, then you’ll need the powerful tools of WordPress to succeed.

To display your photography, simply install the Modula plugin for beautiful galleries.

Photo Security Tools

Another group that should consider using WordPress are photographers who greatly value photo security tools, but don’t want to pay SmugMug’s higher prices.

The Modula plugin provides Right-Click Protection, Watermarks, and Password-Protection for a one-time price of $78 for the Business version.

SmugMug charges $32 each month (one of the most expensive options) for those same tools.

eCommerce

A great thing about this combination is the fact that you can integrate an eCommerce solution with this plugin, so you won’t miss any of the features other website builders offer.

It’s true that the process it’s a bit more complicated, but it’s definitely worth it when you think of the benefits this combination brings to the table. There is a dedicated documentation section that explains how to make Modula and WooCommerce work together, so make sure to check it out.

Existing WordPress Users

If you already have a WordPress website or you’re familiar with building one, you know the process doesn’t have to be difficult.

But there’s no reason to build a whole new site when you can simply add a photo gallery to your existing site. We recommend the Modula plugin for an easy-to-use and beautifully designed option.

Conclusion

If you’d like a straightforward guide to building a WordPress photography website using the Modula plugin, check out the “Self-Hosted” section of this ultimate guide to selling photos online.


FAQs

📷 Which website builder is best for photographers?

It depends on what you need. Each of the top website creation platforms has its unique strengths. Here are our top picks for different kinds of photographers.

Easiest Building Process – Wix
Best for Tight Budgets – Weebly
Best for Selling Photos – Squarespace
Best Photo Security – SmugMug
Best for Site-Building Services – Format
Best for Sites with Blogs – WordPress + Modula

Read our super-comprehensive comparison guide for the best photography website builders

🎞️ What is the best website for photography?

Integrating the Modula plugin with WordPress gives you the most powerful photography features. You can create blog pages, enjoy high-quality image protection, rank your website on Google, upload unlimited photos, create endless galleries, sell your pictures, and easily design your website thanks to its user-friendly interface. 

However, WP + Modula is just one of the top photography website builders in 2020.

🤔 Is Wix a good site for photographers?

Yes, Wix is a great option for photographers who want the simplest possible design process for their website. You can easily create your photography website and take advantage of its powerful features. The Artificial Design Intelligence feature automatically designs a stunning website for your needs.

💻 What do professional website builders use?

WordPress is one of the most widely used Content Management Systems. Everything is highly customizable, and it has a user-friendly interface. Importantly, it provides a bunch of plugins that will make your website reach its highest peaks. One of the most incredible things about WordPress is that there are a large number of free tutorials on how to build your website and how to manage it.