PhotoShelter Review – Grow Your Photography Business

Last updated on November 8, 2018
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In this PhotoShelter review, we’ll go over why PhotoShelter is a premium website builder that’s specifically built for photographers like you.

We’ll also discuss how they can help you build an online e-commerce store to market and sell their photographs, and also to manage the entire client interaction and transaction process.

PhotoShelter currently helps more than 80,000 photographers run their business online, so they are definitely not a small business by any means.

They were featured in The New York Times, Digital Photo Pro, Professional Photographer, and a few other popular photography-focused resources.

How did they manage to convince over 80,000 professional photographers like yourself to use them? We’ll get into that in details below.

PhotoShelter Review – Is PhotoShelter for You?

PhotoShelter is not for everyone.  If you are taking pictures as a hobby and just want to post it online to share with your friends and family, there are other great website builders that will get the job done (such as Squarespace, Weebly or Wix).

For other Photography friendly website builders, we recommend you check out:
  • Squarespace – beautiful design themes
  • Wix – professional looking with a lot of tools
  • Weebly – easiest website builder in our opinion

Here is also a collection of professional looking photography themes that you can check out.

PhotoShelter is built specifically for professional photographers who want to grow their client base, sales, and reach more people and paying customers on the internet.

Their backend engine is built specifically to support you, giving you full control to:

  • Sell prints, packages, digital downloads, royalty-free or rights-managed stock photos
  • Get paid – integration with payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Netbilling
  • Upload all your photographs on to their cloud based storage so you can access them anywhere (no upload size limitations)
  • Share your photographs with the public, or privately share them with prospective customers
  • Automated print and product fulfillment process
  • Protect your photographs with watermark

PhotoShelter Review - example website

Moreover, you get access to professionally designed templates that are built specifically to showcase your photographs.  You also get access to the HTML / CSS codes of the templates so if you want to customize the design, you do so (or hire someone to help).

There are so many more functions that PhotoShelter delivers to you, but the idea is that all their features are specifically targeted at professional photographers, and helping them grow their e-commerce business, or just to reach more people.

PhotoShelter Review – Website Examples

Let’s take a look at a few examples to see what other photographers have been able to do with PhotoShelter:

PhotoShelter Review - example website

Gavin Gough

PhotoShelter Review - Hendrickson Photography

Hendrickson Photography

PhotoShelter Review - Inger Klekacz

Inger Klekacz

PhotoShelter Review - example website

Gregory Cannon

The websites above are all built on PhotoShelter using their beautiful templates and website building tools.

Note: Squarespace can also help you build very photography-focused websites.  Their design templates are equally stunning and are fully responsive for all mobile devices.

Even if you don’t need to use their e-commerce tools, just the ability to store and share your photographs in a safe and protected way is worthy to consider trying PhotoShelter to see if they can help you.

PhotoShelter Review – Customer Support

PhotoShelter Review - Phone Email SupportBefore we get into pricing, it’s also important to consider what sort of support you can expect from PhotoShelter.

Let’s face it, technology can be tricky at times and if you experience any issues with the website, you want to get help right away.

With PhotoShelter, they provide phone support (from 9am – 6pm EST), email support, webinars, and a Support Knowledge Base  to walk you through, step-by-step on how to set things up and troubleshoot if you run into issues.

I would consider this a pretty well rounded support system, which is pretty much what I would expect from a premium photography website builder like PhotoShelter.

PhotoShelter Review – Pricing Plans

PhotoShelter is free for you to try.  They have a 14-day risk free trial so you can safely sign up and see if they can really benefit you.

One thing I didn’t quite like about their 14-day trial sign up process, is that they do require you to insert your credit card information so that when the free trial is over, you will start off your monthly subscription right away.

Most website builders nowadays provide free trials without having you provide credit card information.  However, this is just a minor nuisance as if you don’t want to continue using them, you can always just cancel.

The good thing about providing information up front is that your usage of PhotoShelter will be seamless and uninterrupted when the free trial period ends.

PhotoShelter comes with 3 plans:

  • Basic – $9.99/month
  • Standard – $29.99/month
  • Pro – $49.99/month

PhotoShelter Review - pricing plans

If you sign up for their annual plan, you can save 8% which is about 1 month worth of subscription.  So in a way, signing up for a 1 year plan is paying for 11 months, and get the 12th month free.

The key differences between the Basic and the Standard plan, is that you get a lot more design templates, 50GB more storage space, your own custom domain name and also partner perks (getting discounts with other photography related partners) with the Standard plan.

So using the Standard plan (which is also the most popular amongst 80,000 users) is important in creating your own brand and if you have a large database of images.

The key difference between Standard plan and Pro plan, is that you get 1,000GB worth of storage space with the Pro plan.  So the Pro plan is for serious, hardcore photographers who have a massive database of images.

On the surface, we’ve heard feedback that the Standard plan (which is the most popular) is a bit pricey.  But you should consider all the tools you will be receiving from PhotoShelter.  Normally, if you do all those tasks by hand, or try to manage everything using different programs and widgets, it can be very time consuming.

With PhotoShelter, everything you need to manage your business is hosted under one single roof.  Everything is integrated in a seamless manner.

This will end up saving you a lot of time so you can focus on other parts of your business (like taking more pictures!!)  The key here is to let technology free up your time by having it manage the administrative side of your business, so you can focus on other things that you want.

Besides, there is a 14-day trial period so it doesn’t hurt to give them a shot.

PhotoShelter Review – Conclusion & Recommendation

If you are a professional photographer who want to grow your online presence, have a beautiful photography-focused website design, and the ability to sell your photographs and manage clients, PhotoShelter is definitely a platform you should consider.

Their tools and features are focused on helping you grow your business, while freeing up more of your time from mundane administrative business operation tasks so you can focus on other important aspects of your business (or life).

They also integrate with a large (180+) global print vendor network, so you can automatically have them receive you photograph files and fulfill them (have them printed and sent from locations closest to your customers around the world).

PhotoShelter’s templates are gorgeous and very highend photography oriented.  Their tools allow you to protect your photographs, share them privately and even store them safely online.

They are really a one-stop shop for you to grow your photography business and increase your global reach.

If you’re looking for some other website builders that can also help you build great looking photography websites, also check out:

Try PhotoShelter Risk-Free for 14 Days

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Jeremy

About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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Jeremy

About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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19 Responses to PhotoShelter Review – Grow Your Photography Business

  1. #

    do we get paid for the first 14 days do they have free apps to make your photos professional like other websites

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hi Ronald,

      Yes you get 14-day free trial with Photoshelter.

      However, from my experience, they don’t have free apps to improve your photos.

      Why not check out our guide to the best photography website builders, it might prove handy.

      – Tom

  2. #

    Photoshelter doesn’t have anyone working for them that knows about web building. They all pretend they know but they dont know anything. Im constintly asking for help and dont get anywhere with them. Very unsatisfied.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hey Tanya,

      Sounds like you’ve had a frustrating time, so thanks for sharing that with our readers.

      Have you tried any other website builders besides PhotoShelter?

      If you’re concerned about the back-end support, then there a number of builders who offer excellent support for their users. We run over them in this comparison chart, take a look as it may solve your problems.

      Keep us posted on what you think,
      Tom

    • #

      I agree.

    • #

      Are you still with Photoshelter? Their themes are beautiful!

  3. #

    Been with Photoshelter a couple years. Manage my site via their Lightroom Plugin which is very helpful except that it’s been super buggy and Photoshelter doesn’t seem to be in any rush to fix it. It’s a big enough problem that I’ll be shopping around for alternatives to Photoshelter soon.

    BTW, I sell a fair bit of stock online but Photoshelter only one image sold through Photoshelter. That’s ok for me, as I wasn’t counting on sales through PS, but it would have been nice. So if anyone thinking that people will find your images through PS be aware that my experience is that they won’t. On the other hand, PS has been pretty handy for delivering images to my existing clients.

  4. #

    As a long term PhotoShelter member I can tell you that their back-end photo management and delivery software remains competitive, but their attitude to the development of new front-end website templates has been appallingly unprofessional. It took them the best part of 2 years to develop a completely unstable platform which they now like to call “Lattice”. It was in “Beta” for the best part of a year but they still had the audacity to charge people to use it. The opinions of paying customers are routinely dismissed by staff and management in arrogant fashion. Since late 2014 customers are no longer permitted to use the website forums to discuss the PhotoShelter service – it’s that bad.

    • #

      I agree, and I’ve been a subscriber since 2009. Good back-end, horrible attitude toward subscribers (paying customers). The new Lattice is the final straw. Absolutely no watermarking is provided on very large images (that are not downloadable), meaning they are encouraging screen captures of non-watermarked images, thereby creating “orphans” with zero metadata and zero photographer identification or contact info. Seriously, I’m paying for this, and was opted in without knowing it? I opted out ASAP. Photoshelter Support responded to my complaint by saying that unobtrusive watermarking was “in the works” for large images, perhaps to be released in “a few months.” This statement was made 4 months after the service was rolled out!!! I’m looking to drop Photoshelter. They take a significant “piece of the pie” for every online sale (in addition to merchant fees or Stripe fees) and they are becoming photographer hostile. The cost of using online print services or merchandise printing (e.g., EZPrint or CafePress) is more expensive through Photoshelter than if you go directly to those services. (So much for a “discount” for directing all of your business there. I guess Photoshelter must get a good cut of that as well.) Most of my sales are not via photoshelter. I create a custom rights package for customers, invoice them, and receive a check. No Photoshelter cut. And I don’t need a Photoshelter website to do that. I also started with the highly touted “customize your own” website, then discovered that it was nearly impossible to upgrade, and changes are a major PITA now. I’ll move on. I’ve had it. Oh, and I had to set up my own blog, on my own server. WordPress. I linked it to the non-Photoshelter part of my website, on my own server.

      • Jeremy
        #

        Hey Rich (and Dom),

        Thanks for sharing your views and experiences with our readers.

        Curious – aside from using PhotoShelter, have you considered other services that better meets your needs?

        I know there are a few other website builders (such as Squarespace) that allow you to deliver digital products, but admittedly they don’t have tools geared towards more advanced photographer merchants.

        Would love to hear your thoughts!

        Jeremy

        • #

          Jeremy – if you want a photographic portfolio site then there are many options. If that is what I wanted I would simply customise a premium WordPress theme at low cost. But to license images online requires a more specialised solution and there is not much choice. Whether the income justifies the additional expense is debatable.

      • #

        Yes – the lack of watermarking is a deal-breaker for anyone selling stock photography online. Photoshelter wanted a glossy marketing front-end to sell their service, and image security was simply incompatible with that shallow vision, so they never bothered to address the problem. PS seem to have abandoned their previous core customers, presumably because they see that professional photography is a shrinking, increasingly unprofitable business. Their own actions have not helped.

  5. #

    Great review! Very helpful! I have one question about PhotoShelter. I’m very new to photography but would like to expand my client base, etc. I’m looking to find an easy photography website builder and also include a blog tab. Does PhotoShelter include an option to have a blog tab on the website I build? Thanks!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Meghan,

      Yes I think the templates include a blogging function. If you checkout some of their templates, you’ll see that their examples also have blogs built in!

      – Jeremy

  6. #

    Thank you so much for all the info and research, what a wonderful help!

    ~ mel

  7. #

    Very impressed with your Website Builder information. I just have a couple of questions regarding Photoshelter. After you have signed up for say the Standard package can you upgrade or downgrade to another package?

    Also if you are not happy with Photoshelter can you simply leave immediately without any penalty fees? Or is there a fixed term you must abide to? For example 6 or 12 months?

    Many thanks.

    Gerry Murray.

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Gerry,

      I’m not 100% sure but I”m sure you can up/downgrade packages. That’s a pretty standard practice across all website builders anyway. What you may want to clarify with their support / sales team is whether you can get some of your money back if you do decide to downgrade, or at least apply the extra amounts you paid to fund additional months of the lower plan.

      You are not tied down to any contracts, so you can go month to month, or pay on an annual basis. But based on their pricing page, once you have been billed for a payment, they don’t offer refunds. So paying on a month to month basis to start, is safer if you are still unsure if you want to use them over the long term. They also offer 14 day trial periods.

      – Jeremy

  8. #

    love your site it is so helpful

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Thanks Chelsea! Glad you are finding our information helpful!

      – Jeremy