Take the first step towards building your own photography website. Read on as we review the best four photography website builders and paint you a picture of how good each one really is.
If you’re serious about photography, then it’s vital you have an online portfolio for your very best work. Having your own website is the best way of showing off your photographs, standing out from the crowd, and getting found by new clients.
Thanks to website builders (drag and drop tools that help you create websites) it’s now easier than ever to build your own site. They’re cheap, simple to use, and you can get something online in an afternoon. No, seriously!
But where do you start? Unless you’re making big bucks, you’ll need a photography website that won’t break the bank but also can grow alongside you.
Choosing the right website builder is essential for maximizing your online visibility, the quality of your photography portfolio, and how much business you can generate.
So how do you pick the best photography website builder for your specific needs? Well, we have the answer.
We conduct our own thorough research and test hundreds of platforms so you don’t have to. To bring you the best photography website builders, we paid special attention to these crucial areas:
- Design – a photography website needs to look good.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization is vital for growing your site’s audience.
- Blogging – blogging tools are important for showcasing your work and engaging with your visitors.
- Ease of use – you shouldn’t have to waste time struggling to use your builder, so we take ease of use very seriously!
Alongside these key research areas, we also analyzed value for money, help and support, features, and customer satisfaction. Off the back of our findings, we’ve shortlisted our top picks:
The best photography website builders are:
- Squarespace – best overall photography website builder.
- Wix – easiest to use photography website builder.
- SmugMug – best for photo security.
- Weebly – cheapest photography website builder.
- Duda – best for template design.
- SITE123 – best for backend support.
- WordPress.com – best for blogging.
- GoDaddy – perfect for time-pressured creatives.
- Strikingly – ideal for small photography portfolios.
- Jimdo – best for user experience.
- SiteBuilder – others do it better.
This piece will run through these 11 builders, exploring their key features and strengths. We will then explain the essential things to consider when picking the best photography website builder for your needs.
For those of you in a hurry, take a look at our top three rated builders in this quick view comparison chart:
Let’s take a quick look at our top 11 photography website builders and learn a little more about them:
|Builder||Best For||Pricing (/month, billed annually)||Free Trial or Free Plan?|
|Squarespace||Best overall photography website builder||$12 - $40||14-day free trial|
|Wix||Easiest to use photography website builder||$13 - $49||Free plan|
|SmugMug||Best for photo security||$4 - $30||14-day free trial|
|Weebly||Cheapest photography website builder||$8 - $38||Free plan|
|Duda||Best for template design||$14 - $74||14-day free trial|
|SITE123||Best for backend support||$12.80 - $34.80||Free plan|
|WordPress.com||Best for blogging||$5 - $45||Free plan|
|GoDaddy||Perfect for time-pressured creatives||$10 - $25||1-month free trial|
|Strikingly||Ideal for small photography portfolios||$8 - $49||Free plan|
|Jimdo||Best for user experience||$10 - $40||Free plan|
|SiteBuilder||Others do it better||$11 - $20||No free plan or free trial|
Best overall photography website builder
Squarespace is a website builder known for creating stunning, mobile responsive websites. It performed consistently well in our research, and comes with truly attractive designs.
Squarespace is the best platform to choose if you want a website that looks professional and has a polished, high-end feel to it.
This builder is a popular choice with photographers because its premium plans are inexpensive and the platform is relatively easy to use. Even on the cheapest monthly plan (the $12 per month ‘Personal plan’), you gain unlimited bandwidth and storage. This immediately removes any concerns you may have about uploading and storing lots of high-resolution photos with large file sizes – not bad for just $12 a month!
|The templates on Squarespace are absolutely gorgeous, and a particularly good fit for creatives. For a stylish photography backdrop no builder is better||Squarespace is a bit pricier than some other website builders, but it gives you loads more features as standard. This makes it better value for money in the long run|
|Squarespace develops all of its features in-house. Whereas third party plugins blow hot and cold, with Squarespace you know everything you’re using is of the highest standard||The learning curve is steeper with Squarespace. It’s a more sophisticated builder than most, but that also makes it harder to get to grips with|
Squarespace’s four price plans range from $12 to $40 per month – three of these plans let you sell through your site, which is perfect if you’re looking to make money selling prints on the side from your photography.
Squarespace does not have a free plan — instead, you get a two-week trial.
Premium plans let you connect your own custom domain (personalized website address), which makes your site more professional and memorable. With extra space, features and personalization options available, opting for Squarespace is a sound way of ensuring your website has room to grow in the future.
Ease of Use
The Squarespace builder is sophisticated, making it slightly more challenging than other builders such as Wix and SmugMug. Because of that, it fell down a little in our ease of use testing, scoring only 3.4 out of 5 stars.
That said, as long as you have a little time and patience, you should get to grips with Squarespace after a brief explore. Approach it with a little confidence and enthusiasm and you’ll be a pro in no time!
One of Squarespace’s best benefits is the choice of themes on offer – they really are some of the most beautiful photography templates around. In our research, Squarespace received its highest scores for design flexibility, scoring 4.8 stars out of 5 for this area.
Why did it score so highly for design? Well, not only are its templates all professionally designed, each and every theme is also mobile-responsive, which ensures that your photos look amazing on any device. Squarespace even makes it easy to switch templates if you want to refresh your site’s design at any point.
Template designs are sharp, professional, and laser-focused on helping your photographs look incredible – whether this is with a gorgeous full-screen background or a collage-style wall of photos, there are dozens of eye-catching design styles to flick through.
Squarespace is a great choice for personal photography portfolios as well as professionals looking to turn their passion into a business. It has the designs to show off your work, as well as the tools to power your site’s growth in the long run.
We interviewed Alex Greene, a senior video editor – here’s what he had to say about Squarespace:
“Before joining my current job I was a freelancer, and because of this I had a website as a way to best advertise myself to any future clients. I used Squarespace, which was pretty good. When I was at university, they were very good at highlighting how good it would be to have a form of online presence via a website, as a means to showcase our work and portfolio. My peers and university lecturers recommended Squarespace because of how good it is at displaying galleries and videos and stuff. And they couldn’t have been more right!”
Squarespace provides helpful guides to hold your hand through optimizing your site for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as well as making it easy to add descriptions and alt tags to your images once you’ve uploaded them.
You can also include extra elements on your site, such as creating a blog to engage visitors and promote your work, or adding contact forms to accept enquiries.
- Squarespace Review – for more on Squarespace’s overall offerings, see our detailed main review.
- Squarespace Pricing Review – for an in-depth breakdown of Squarespace’s pricing plans
- Squarespace Offer Code – claim 10% off your first purchase with our exclusive discount code
- Wix vs Squarespace – find out who won the battle when these two website builders locked horns.
Easiest to use photography website builder
Wix is a user-friendly and versatile website builder. It’s easy to pick up, provides you with a huge array of templates to choose from and is surprisingly good at uploading and storing high-quality photos.
Wix is another strong all-arounder, but it stood out in our research for its popularity with our users. It received the highest customer score out of all the builders – our users gave it no less than 5 out of 5 stars after testing it out for themselves!
Wix’s other strong point is that it’s the easiest photography website builder to use, while still packing a powerful punch in terms of its design and features. This makes it a great choice for beginners – unlike other platforms (like SiteBuilder), Wix doesn’t make novices sacrifice quality for ease of use.
Instead, Wix uses drag-and-drop editing tools to make building a professional website easy for anyone and everyone. That’s why it scored an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars for ease of use in our research!
|Wix offers an awful lot of creative control. The drag and drop site builder means if you can imagine it, you can do it. For a highly customizable photography platform Wix is superb||You can’t change your template once a site goes live. This can be a headache if you want to change your photography portfolio design further down the line|
|Sites built on Wix are automatically optimized to work on a variety of platforms. Your photographs will look just as slick on mobile screens as they do on desktop||Although the amount of creative control is a plus for many, for others it can be overwhelming. If personalization isn’t a priority Wix may not be the best fit for you|
Wix comes with a pretty generous free plan, meaning you can build your site – and your confidence if you’re a beginner – before investing your hard earned cash. The free plan doesn’t look super professional, though, so we don’t recommend staying on it for too long – as well as still displaying Wix advertising, and you may find you run out of storage quite quickly.
All in all, it’s definitely worth considering one of Wix’s premium plans for a small monthly investment. For $13 a month (billed annually), you can add your own custom domain and URL (e.g. www.lucysphotos.com), remove all of Wix’s advertising and access a wider pool of templates and tools.
You’ll also benefit from increased storage, allowing you to upload a greater number of high quality photographs and helping your site to grow.
For anyone hoping to sell their photography through their website, Wix has something for you as well – its ecommerce plans start at $23 per month (billed annually), and give you a full range of selling tools.
Opting for a premium plan is the best decision to make your website stand out and ensure a great first impression.
Building Your Wix Site
Wix’s drag-and-drop editor makes it super easy to build your site, as well as giving you tons of creative freedom. It works by selecting elements like text and images, and dropping them anywhere you want on the page. This way, you know exactly how your site will look once its live, and you can design your site to show off your work in the most effective way.
Wix also has another editor, called Wix ADI. This stands for Artificial Design Intelligence, which actually creates a website for you. Simply answer some simple questions, such as what your site is about, and you’ll have an automatically generated website in a matter of minutes.
You can make changes and edit your site to your heart’s content, but with Wix ADI most of the heavy lifting has been done for you – leaving you to add the fun stuff!
Uploading, editing, and managing your photographs is incredibly easy – uploading only takes a few clicks, and you can carry out basic edits in Wix’s photo editor.
Photo upload speeds are impressive, which saves a lot of time when bulk-uploading snaps, and you can continue editing while uploads occur in the background.
Once photographs are uploaded, you can add ‘alt tags’ for each image, helping Google to ‘read’ them, and improving your on-site SEO. Wix even helps you optimize on a site-wide level – ideal for pushing your way up the rankings.
But as we’ve discussed previously – getting found is only half the battle. You need to grab your readers’ attention and keep them on the page!
Wix’s Photography Templates
So the fact that Wix provides more than 500 professionally designed templates for you to use as a jumping off point is a massive plus point for any budding photographer in need of a website. This also includes more than 30 templates specifically designed for photographers!
This is an ideal time-saver as you can simply change the text and update the images in the pre-existing galleries before calling it a day and publishing to the web.
Alternatively, you can decide to totally change your template’s design. It won’t be as quick or easy, but Wix gives you the creative freedom to make as many changes as you like.
There are numerous gallery options to showcase collections, from tight clustered thumbnails of ‘Urban Photography’ to the minimalist framing of ‘Art Portfolio’. There’s even different styles of gallery to explore; from interactive slideshows to lightboxes to make images pop. It’s definitely worth digging around to find the features that can best represent your work.
As well as various ways to make your photography stand out and catch the eye of visitors, Wix also makes it super simple to add contact forms and social media connections to your pages.
Best for photo security
SmugMug is a photography website builder that provides an easy way to showcase and sell your photographs. As a specialized builder, SmugMug is superb at what it does but can feel limited in comparison to more versatile builders like Wix or Squarespace.
Like Squarespace, SmugMug does not offer a free plan. You get a 14-day free trial and then have to subscribe to one of SmugMug’s four premium plans, which range from $4 per month for the Basic plan to $30 per month for the Pro plan. Plans are billed annually, so the cheapest plan costs $48 per year.
|Provides excellent photography-specific features, including extensive security options for any images you publish on your site||Its portfolio specialization can make it feel a bit limited compared to all-purpose website builders. For non-portfolio functionality SmugMug doesn’t quite hold up|
|SmugMug is great for monetizing your photos from the get go. It’s ready to help you sell products and prints as soon as you sign up||The full Portfolio plan costs $15 per month (billed annually). This is fine if you’re in a position to monetize your work, but is a bit steep for those just starting out|
Because SmugMug is a specialized photography builder, it comes with certain perks and features that the other builders on our list don’t. In fact, it scored 5 stars for its features, outperforming all other builders!
One of our favorites is the ability to protect your photos from third-party downloads.
The more you pay for your plan, the more options you get over the security of your photos:
- Enable right-click protect, which displays a personalized copyright notice when visitors right-click on your site
- Add custom watermarks to your images
- Password protect pages, folders, galleries, or even your whole site
You can see why we’ve labelled SmugMug as the best for photo security!
What other features does SmugMug offer to set it apart from more all-around platforms? Here’s a quick look at just a few of our favorites:
- Unlimited photo and video uploads
- Syncing your photo library with Lightroom
- Partnerships with professional printers so visitors can order prints/products directly from your site with no need for additional integrations
- Extensive social media integration so you can stay connected with you audience
- Snap on the go and upload your image straight from your phone to your website whilst on the move
- Upload image albums from multiple locations, from Dropbox to Apple
This just scratches the surface, so it’s worth comparing plans closely to see what you get for your monthly fee.
The main drawback of SmugMug’s features is that there’s no built-in blogging option – just something to be aware of when putting your photography site together.
You also can’t use your own domain on the cheapest plan – you need to step up to the second tier ‘Power’ plan for this option. This is a little frustrating as paid plans usually offer this as a standard selling point. On the other hand, there’s no on-page advertising, which is a big plus and keeps your website clutter-free. Especially important on a photography site.
Selling with SmugMug
The real advantage SmugMug has over competitors is it is ready to help you sell straight out of the box! You can charge per photo download, create custom price lists for clients, and sell prints and gifts directly with no need for extra integrations.
This presents a fantastic opportunity to build your brand and visibility among visitors, which can be further improved by adding custom watermarks to your shots too. Add to this the fact you get to keep 85% of the profits and SmugMug is a very attractive platform to monetize your photography skills on.
While SmugMug shone in its photography-specific features, it received much more average scores for its designs. Its offerings are pretty limited, especially if you’re on a cheap plan – and even on more expensive plans you only get to choose from a maximum of 21 templates.
It’s not just the quantity that’s limited, either. SmugMug’s designs focus totally on your images, which is great – however, it means you lose out on extra features such as contact forms and maps. These aren’t essential, but they do add an extra dollop of professionalism to your website.
You’ll find customization is fairly basic and even rigid at times – for example, when adjusting the height and width of image boxes. This isn’t the builder to choose if you want tons of creative control – instead, it’s best for letting your photos speak for themselves.
Business growth is supported by SEO features that let you tag your images with descriptions and keywords, amend meta data for individual pages (a description of a webpage similar to a blurb on the back of a book), and create sitemaps to submit to Google that act as a directory for your site.
Cheapest photography website builder
Weebly is the cheapest website builder you can choose to build a professional photography site with.
There are four paid plans ranging from just $5 to $38 per month (billed annually). There’s also a free plan, although as always we don’t recommend this if you want a professional site.
Here’s a quick look at each plan before exploring Weebly’s features and designs:
- Free plan: $0 – 500MB storage, displays Weebly ads
- Connect plan: $5/month – 500MB storage, connect a custom domain, displays Weebly ads
- Pro plan: $12/month – unlimited storage, 1 year free domain, no Weebly ads, basic ecommerce
- Business plan: $25/month – unlimited storage, 1 year free domain, no Weebly ads, full ecommerce, marketing tools
- Business Plus plan: $38/month – unlimited storage, 1 year free domain, no Weebly ads, advanced ecommerce, advanced marketing tools
Out of all these plans, we recommend the Pro plan for starting out as it offers better value for money than the Connect plan. Unlimited storage and no adverts are a must for any professional photography site!
|Weebly’s app store is unparalleled. The sheer variety of apps mean the only limit on scaling your site functionality is your imagination||Square recently bought Weebly. This is marvellous news for ecommerce, but may mean a pivot away from more creative websites — like photography portfolios|
|The building interface hits a good balance between customizability and structure. If you want to showcase your photography out of the box, you can. If you want to add features and play around with the templates, you can do that too||No personal restore option – if your site goes down, you have to wait for Weebly support to restore your site for you|
Weebly’s templates are attractive, but simple – you won’t find any groundbreaking or jaw-dropping designs, but you will find a modest selection of around 50 clean, stylish layouts. They have definitely improved in recent years, but their templates still don’t match the eye-catching quality of Wix or Squarespace. Designs are simpler and more basic – ideal if you struggle technically – but if you’re looking for something a bit more standout then you’ll need to look further afield.
We recommend looking under the ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Personal’ categories for the more creative and visual designs.
Weebly isn’t the easiest builder on the market – it scored a fairly average 3.5 out of 5 stars in our testing – but the ease with which you can upload and add photographs to your website helps put your images front and center.
It takes just two clicks to add a gallery and start uploading images, which keeps things simple and saves you a lot of time. You can also carry on editing your site while uploads continue in the background, which can save even more time if uploading lots of shots at once.
Weebly also doesn’t impose dimension limitations on uploaded photos, so there’s no need to worry about your 4,000px-wide image being resized. Weebly does recommend best-practice and optimal sizes in the on-site guides, but does not enforce these recommendations, leaving the choice up to you.
One thing to bear in mind though is that Weebly auto-optimizes images for the web when uploading. This can wash out your colour palette a little bit, so it’s important that after editing in Lightroom, you export images in sRGB and potentially embed a color profile to the image to prevent the vibrancy of images diminishing.
Weebly scored pretty strongly for its features in our research, coming in behind SmugMug with 4.4 stars out of 5. Part of this is the quality of Weebly’s blogging tools, which are built-in to sit neatly alongside your work.
In terms of SEO, there are lots of helpful apps available in the Weebly App Store. These are mostly only available to premium plan subscribers, which may make upgrading to a paid plan even more of a logical step depending on your ambitions. It’s also simple to add alt text to uploaded photos and and tweak your site settings to further optimize your site and help it rank higher in search engines.
Weebly is a solid choice with some great benefits – it may not have the most exciting designs on the market, but for photographers on a budget it’s a smart choice.
Best for template design
Duda is a website builder that was created to make web designers’ lives easier. With this in mind, it’s no surprise it comes with the most stylish designs on the market.
In our research, Duda was the highest scoring builder for design flexibility, beating its competitors with an impressive 4.8 stars out of 5 – that’s a score matched only by Squarespace!
|Best designs on the market make it a stylish choice to showcase your work||Expensive price plans meant Duda received the lowest value for money score in our research|
|Provides a ton of features and widgets for customizing your portfolio||Less creative freedom than other photography builders, meaning you need to rely on your template’s design|
You get over 90 templates to choose from in Duda’s library – and every single one is both professionally designed and mobile responsive.
Unlike Wix, you can’t totally overhaul your template’s design. Instead, your design is largely dependent on the template you choose, so it’s worth picking one you love.
You can customize your design, but you don’t get total creative freedom. This reliance on your template can save you time and effort – simply upload your own images, add text, make a few tweaks here and there, and Duda’s designs do the rest of the work for you. Simple!
If you choose a template and then change your mind later on, Duda lets you switch your design without losing all your content – meaning you can easily redesign your portfolio anytime.
One of the best ways Duda lets you customize your portfolio is by using widgets. These are like apps that add extra functions to you site – for example, pop-ups, contact forms, and downloadable files are all available for you to install.
Other features include:
- A free image library
- A photo editor
- A mobile editor (so you can manage your portfolio on the go)
So, how easy is Duda to use? The answer is: pretty simple. It’s not the easiest, but it shouldn’t cause you any headaches either – it sits somewhere between Squarespace and Wix in terms of how beginner friendly it is.
Where Duda fell down in our research was in value for money. In fact, it came bottom of the pile for this area, scoring only 1.2 stars out of 5. Duda is one of the most expensive builders on our list, with prices starting at $14 per month (billed annually).
You get a 14-day free trial on the $22 per month Team plan, after which you’ll need to choose from Duda’s three price plans to continue building. If you’re managing clients or collaborating with a team on your portfolio site, you’ll need either the $22 per month Team plan, or the $74 per month Agency plan.
There’s no doubting that Duda’s strengths lie in its designs. If you want a stylish photography portfolio that’s simple to put together – and you don’t mind paying extra for it – then Duda is a good choice. It gives you a good balance between looks and power, but isn’t suitable for photographers on a budget!
Best for backend support
SITE123 is a fairly simple builder that excels in its customer support. If you feel like you need some guidance as you build, SITE123 is the perfect choice.
|Incredibly helpful backend support to help you set up your photography website||Creative freedom is pretty limited, and you can’t switch templates once your site is live|
|Received a high customer score in our research, showing it’s enjoyable as well as easy to use||Features are fairly simple, meaning it’s not a very scalable choice – especially with storage capped at 270GB|
To get started, all you need to do is select what your site is about – we chose ‘Photography’ – then enter your site name, along with an email and password.
SITE123 creates a site for you to edit, and straight away gives you access to 24/7 live chat support. It also brings up a helpful tour so you can easily get to grips with the editor.
With question mark buttons everywhere – which you can hover over to find out more about different elements – and helpful prompts to guide you, SITE123’s builder is like having a friendly mentor hold your hand while willing you to succeed.
This backend support is one of the reasons our users rated SITE123 so well, giving it a mean 4.6 stars out of 5. This builder is also very easy to use, and comes with a full range of help and support options – we already mentioned its 24/7 live chat, but it also comes with a help center and email support.
SITE123’s designs are nice enough, and super easy to set up. SITE123 actually uses ADI to create a site for you, based on the category you select. After that, you can change your theme, but it’s not so easy to radically redesign your site.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t switch templates once your site has been published.
What is great is that SITE123 automatically gave us all the basic essentials for a photography site. We were given large image sections, a built-in portfolio and gallery, social media integration, and a contact form, all without us having to lift a finger.
These features are good to have, but in testing, we found they weren’t mega powerful – they do lack some depth, so if you need a complex photography portfolio or are building a business, SITE123 isn’t a great long-term solution.
At first glance, it appears that SITE123 only has two price plans – its free plan, and its $12.80 per month Premium plan. However, when you sign up to the free plan, you actually gain access to four paid plans, ranging from $12.80 to $34.80 per month (billed annually).
While SmugMug and Squarespace give you unlimited storage from the get-go, with SITE123, you only get up to 270GB storage on its most expensive plan. You can see why SITE123 only scored 2.7 out of 5 stars for value for money in our research!
Overall, SITE123 is a simple and friendly builder that gives you the tools to easily create a basic, successful photography site. It’s just not the most scalable option on the market.
- SITE123 offers great backend support – find out what else it offers in our expert SITE123 Review
Best for blogging
Not to be confused with the giant WordPress.org, WordPress.com is an easier-to-use version of the famous blogging CMS. It combines the power and blogging prowess of WordPress.org with the more streamlined and user-friendly editor of a website builder.
The result is a powerful but fairly challenging builder that can’t be beaten for its blogging tools, and offers great value for money too.
|Best builder for blogging, providing a full range of built-in tools||Very difficult to use, making it a less than ideal choice for beginners|
|Offers great value for money due to the number of features you get on its plans||Primarily built for blogging, meaning its photo-specific features and designs aren’t as good as competitors like Squarespace or SmugMug|
While WordPress.com is certainly easier to use than WordPress.org, it’s still much harder than most other builders – in fact, it scored the lowest for both ease of use and customer score in our research.
That said, if you’re keen to run a blog alongside your photography site, you won’t find a better builder for blogging features.
WordPress.com gives you the full range of blogging tools, from social bookmarking to user comments. However, it doesn’t ace its photo-specific features – compared to SmugMug, for example, it’s pretty standard. If you’re not going to combine your portfolio with a blog, this isn’t your best bet.
However, where WordPress.com really stood out was its value for money. While Weebly is the cheapest photography website builder, WordPress.com wowed us with its value, scoring 4.5 out of 5 stars.
It has a free plan and four paid plans, ranging from $5 to $45 per month (billed annually). To remove WordPress.com branding, unlock the maximum 200GB storage, and access SEO tools, you’ll need the $25 per month Business plan.
If you don’t need these features, the $8 Premium plan is just fine for small photography sites, with 13GB storage and the option to monetize your site.
WordPress.com has 339 themes to choose from, covering a range of styles and industries. You can search for the type of site you’re creating, or simply filter by industry, including portfolio, magazine, blog, and business.
Not all themes are free – there are also premium themes available, which you pay to install. If you’re on the $5 per month Personal plan, you only get access to free themes. If you want to use a premium theme, you need at least the $8 per month Premium plan. There are 109 free themes, and 183 premium ones.
In our research, WordPress.com scored pretty poorly for design flexibility – 2.8 stars out of 5 puts it towards the bottom of the pack. The main reason for this is WordPress.com’s limited customizability, due to the lack of drag-and-drop tools.
You edit your content and your design separately, which can feel clunky and creatively restrictive if you’re trying to carry out major redesigns on your chosen template.
The upside is you can switch themes any time you like, and all your content and media will be automatically switched to the new design.
On the whole, WordPress.com is ideal if you’re running a blog to promote your photography, and aren’t put off by a challenge. It’s the most difficult builder to use on our list, so we don’t recommend it for total beginners.
- If you have questions about WordPress.com, read our full breakdown of this powerful platform in our WordPress.com Review
Perfect for time-pressured creatives
You may know GoDaddy for being the world’s largest domain registrar, but it’s no one trick pony. It also has a popular website builder that’s been continually improving over the years.
|Super fast and simple to use, saving you time – you can get a website live in minutes if you want to!||Designs aren’t as stunning as top photography builders, and a lack of creative control could become frustrating|
|Beginner-friendly with 24/7 support, GoDaddy shouldn’t leave you with any headaches||Despite there being a wide range of features, on the whole they lack real depth and power|
GoDaddy’s website builder is simple, but effective. The best thing about it is its use of ADI – you answer a few easy questions, such as the name and purpose of your site, and GoDaddy builds you a personalized site based on your answers.
You can pick the design you like the best and edit it until you’re happy, but the way GoDaddy automatically does most of the leg work for you saves you a heap of time and effort. It’s the fastest way to build a photography site, making it the perfect choice if you just want something online ASAP.
It’s not the flashiest, most beautiful, or most powerful website builder around, but if you have a need for speed, GoDaddy won’t let you down.
It’s no surprise GoDaddy scored a solid 3.8 stars out of 5 for ease of use – there’s hardly any learning curve, and most of the work is done for you. Because it’s a fairly basic builder, you might start to struggle when it comes to advanced customization – GoDaddy is easiest to use when you’re happy sticking close to its designs.
GoDaddy doesn’t have the same level of stunning designs as some of its competitors, but it still provides a great choice of modern, visual templates that are perfect for showcasing your photography.
Because GoDaddy creates your site based on your answers, you get industry related features automatically built in. For example, the site GoDaddy created below included a gallery, a contact page, a booking form, and a subscription newsletter sign-up. All without us having to lift a finger!
These features are a great inclusion, but they only go so far. You don’t get the same level of photography-specific tools that come with SmugMug, nor the power and quality that come with Squarespace. GoDaddy does the job, but it doesn’t go above and beyond with its features.
That said, it’s worth mentioning GoDaddy’s SEO tool, which does a great job of making optimization much easier for beginners. Its SEO wizard asks you simple questions in order to give you helpful advice on how to improve your site’s SEO.
So, how much does GoDaddy cost? It doesn’t have a free plan – instead, it gives you a generous one-month free trial for you to play around on. After that, it has four price plans, ranging from $10 to $25 per month (billed annually).
The cheapest Basic plan gives you on-the-go editing, a PayPal button, five social posts and responses every month, and 100 email marketing sends per month. You won’t get any SEO tools, however, so for this reason, we recommend the $15 per month Standard plan instead.
GoDaddy didn’t blow us away when it came to value for money – it scored 2.9 stars out of 5. Still, its free trial is the longest one available on our list, so we recommend making the most of it to see if GoDaddy could be right for you!
- Are you keen to dive into GoDaddy’s details? Look no further than our GoDaddy Website Builder Review
Ideal for small photography portfolios
If you want to keep things small and simple while staying stylish, then Strikingly could be the photography builder for you. Strikingly is primarily designed for building one-page websites, which is why we only really recommend it for small collections of work.
Strikingly is a builder that aims to provide anyone and everyone with a chance to build their online presence, no matter their technical experience. It does this by giving you basic tools and well-designed templates, so even beginners can create a well-rounded website.
It’s perfect for hobby photographers who want an easy to manage website that shows all their work in one place. It won’t support a large or complex portfolio, but it will show off a small collection of photos nicely.
|Very manageable, especially for beginners and those wanting to show off a small collection of work||One-page website design and basic features mean this isn’t a good option for large, complex, or super professional portfolios|
|Basic blogging and sales tools let you create a small, well-rounded portfolio for your photography||Limited tools and design options can be easily outgrown, and become frustrating if you want to stretch your skills|
Strikingly has a modest selection of templates, which you can browse once you’ve created your free account. There are seven templates under the ‘Creative’ category, and 17 under the ‘Personal’ category.
You can preview every template before selecting it, and even once you’ve published your photography site, you can change templates at any time.
There’s a nice combination of large header images as well as smaller gallery sections, so you can choose the best ways to show off your work. The ‘Sparks’ template below is a perfect example.
Strikingly’s designs aren’t groundbreaking, but they’re certainly good enough to show off your work to friends, family, and other photographers!
Where Strikingly really fell down in our research was its features.
If you’re totally new to website building, then you’ll find Strikingly’s features manageable and fun to use – but once you’ve gained some confidence or started dreaming a bit bigger for your site, you’ll quickly find them limiting.
It has fairly good blogging tools (although it can’t compete with WordPress.com), and you can even sell one product on the free plan – perfect if you have that favorite print you think people will love!
However, after that, Strikingly’s features struggle to match up to its bigger competitors. For example, SEO is nothing to shout about – you get an SEO checklist, but not many advanced options to get your site pushed to the top of the search results.
Because of its non-scalable features and lack of photo-specific tools, Strikingly came bottom of the pack in our research for features, scoring only 2.2 out of 5 stars.
Strikingly has a free plan, and three paid plans ranging from $8 to $49 per month (billed annually).
The free plan is restrictive, so we recommend at least the $8 per month Limited plan, which lets you sell up to five products and gives you more room for visitors with 50GB monthly bandwidth. However, it’s worth knowing you can only remove Strikingly ads once you upgrade to the $16 per month Pro plan.
Overall, Strikingly is best for small or hobby photography websites. If you’re planning on growing your portfolio in the future, or turning your passion into a business, this isn’t the most scalable choice – but it is ideal for those looking to keep life simple.
- Find out if this builder is right for you in our Strikingly Website Builder Review
Best for user experience
Jimdo is a builder that comes with two editors: Jimdo Creator and Jimdo Dolphin. Jimdo Creator is the main platform, and is similar to Wix, Weebly, and other such builders. Meanwhile, Jimdo Dolphin uses ADI, just like GoDaddy, SITE123, and Wix ADI.
When it comes to building your photography website, Jimdo Creator gives you more control over your site, so we recommend using this to showcase your work. Jimdo Dolphin is quick and easy, but is more limited when it comes to editing.
One of the key benefits of Jimdo is that its templates are designed with UX (user experience) in mind.
Having strong UX is important, because it makes people more likely to enjoy using your site. Think about websites you’ve visited that have been clunky, awkward, or difficult to find your way around – you probably didn’t stick on that site for very long!
|Great user experience built into Jimdo’s designs||Jimdo received the worst design flexibility score out of all the photography builders we tested|
|You can choose whether to use Jimdo Creator or Jimdo Dolphin, based on your own technical ability||Can feel clunky and limiting to build with|
We’ll be honest – Jimdo’s templates probably won’t blow you away. They certainly didn’t knock our socks off – in fact, Jimdo received the lowest score for design out of all the photography builders we tested.
Still, despite its 2.5 out of 5 star rating, we have to give kudos to Jimdo for its great UX. As we already mentioned, if you want your site visitors to have a great time browsing your photography site, Jimdo’s templates are a great option.
The main reason Jimdo scored poorly for design flexibility was because it’s very restrictive when you try to edit your template. You can add and edit elements like text boxes and images, but if you want to drastically switch sections around and really make it your own, you’ll start to struggle.
Another drawback was the fact that even in the category ‘Photography and Portfolio’, there was a serious lack of photography specific features. Furthermore, the designs lacked the sleek edge you would expect from a professional portfolio site.
Across other areas we tested, such as features and ease and use, Jimdo didn’t stand out much for either good or bad reasons. Usually somewhere in the middle of the pack, you’ll struggle to find many standout features for this uncomplicated builder.
Jimdo is easy to use, and even easier if you decide to go with the Jimdo Dolphin ADI option. Jimdo was a fairly popular hit with our users, whose ratings helped Jimdo earn 4 stars out of 5 for its customer score.
But this simplicity is also Jimdo’s downfall – while some users loved how easy it was, others found it clunky and limiting to use. We recommend trying Jimdo before committing to make sure it suits your own preferences.
Both Jimdo Creator and Jimdo Dolphin come with a free plan. If you choose Jimdo Creator, paid plans range from $10 to $40 per month (billed annually). If you opt for Jimdo Dolphin, you’re looking at $9 to $39 per month (billed annually) – so there’s not much in it really!
Jimdo is one the cheapest builders for removing adverts from your site – however, for SEO functions and unlimited storage, you’ll need the $20 per month Business plan. Considering you can get both these things for $12 per month with Squarespace, this seems pretty steep.
Overall, Jimdo is one to go for if you want to leave your site’s design and UX to the template you choose, and don’t mind losing out on creative control in return.
- Do you want to learn more about Jimdo? Read our in-depth Jimdo Review for more details
Others do it better for a photography specific site
SiteBuilder is the last photography website builder on our list. It’s extremely easy to use – on the same level as Wix for beginner-friendliness – so it’s a good choice for newbies who don’t see the appeal of Wix.
However, SiteBuilder struggles to stand up next to the other builders we tested, scoring especially poorly for its features and value for money.
The first thing you should know is that SiteBuilder doesn’t come with a free plan or a free trial, so we recommend doing as much research as you can before committing to a paid plan!
- Learn more about this builder in our detailed SiteBuilder Review
|The only builder to match Wix for its beginner-friendly editor||No free trial or free plan for you to try the builder out before signing up|
|Pretty good customer support to help you if you get stuck||Very basic features and limited customizations can make it frustrating to use long-term|
We tested out SiteBuilder’s live chat, and received a reply within two minutes – the support agent answered all our questions quickly and concisely. There wasn’t tons of detail, but they were prompt with their replies despite multiple questions from our end!
SiteBuilder may be easy to use, scoring 4.4 out of 5 stars for ease of use, but it failed to impress our users. It went on to receive a mere 3.6 out of 5 stars for its customer score, which is a considerable fall from grace!
Why wasn’t it more of a hit with users considering how beginner-friendly it is?
Well, SiteBuilder couldn’t deliver enough creative freedom or scalable features to really impress. With limited creative control, you’re heavily reliant on the template you choose – which, considering you can’t preview any designs before signing up, is pretty dicey.
Another big drawback is that its SEO tools are second-rate compared to builders like Weebly and Squarespace – you won’t find it so easy to rank well with SiteBuilder’s tools.
There’s a large range of templates to choose from, but it does seem to be a matter of quantity over quality. They’re far from ugly – just a little outdated – and come with dummy content already in place. This should save you time when adding your own text and images.
Pick wisely, however – you can’t change your template once you’ve published your site, and you can’t totally re-design your template because of SiteBuilder’s limited editing tools. So make sure you choose a design you’re happy to stick with!
When it came to features, SiteBuilder provides the basics – you can add a blog to your site, as well as contact forms, mailing lists buttons, social feeds, media players, and more.
If you want to go beyond the basics, though, again you’ll start to struggle.
SiteBuilder has three price plans, ranging from $11 to $20 per month, billed yearly. SiteBuilder often runs a 50% sale on its price plans, meaning you can save money when you sign up.
You might see different prices on SiteBuilder’s website because it displays prices for its two year plans, rather than annual subscriptions.
The cheapest ‘Pro’ plan includes a free domain for one year, doesn’t display any adverts, and gives you unlimited storage.
SiteBuilder’s plans are cheap, but you get what you pay for – it only scored 1.5 stars out of 5 for value for money in our research!
Overall, SiteBuilder has some attractive perks. Super easy to use, with cheap pricing and a large choice of templates, it should be a photographer’s dream – but when you dig deeper, it becomes clear SiteBuilder has a few flaws to iron out before it can climb up the ranks of our list.
Finding the right website builder for your photography website can be a real challenge – with so many options to choose from, how do you even start?!
To take a bit of pressure off, we’ve identified the key things to keep an eye out for when shopping around.
So remember, the very best photography builders will:
- Help you showcase your photography
- Provide you with an affordable and scalable professional website
- Be easy to pick up and use
- Be able to store and display hi-resolution photography
- Help you gain more clients and make more money
Ensure the builder brings out the best in your photography
Website builders make it easy to show off your work and promote your website, so that others can find it to browse and enjoy.
Anyone with a camera and a Flickr account can call themselves a photographer, so it’s really important that your work stands out in a very crowded market.
Our recommended builders provide time-saving templates designed specifically for photographers, which come pre-loaded with great features you can use straight away, such as display galleries or contact pages, or edit as you see fit!
Think of templates as like a recipe. You can use the ingredients exactly as it recommends, or you can make it your own by adding your own creative additions to the mix.
You can also integrate apps that add extra features to your website – just like on your smartphone! These can include additional gallery styles for HD photos, or even social feed integrations for promoting your images across different platforms.
As you know, exposure breeds success (excuse the pun!), which makes building your own website a great way promoting your work. However, if people cannot find you online then you will struggle to generate as much traffic or attention as you might like.
The best photography website builders can also help you improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your website. This can be super handy for adding ‘meta data’ to your webpages as well as ‘tags’ and ‘alt text’ to images – both of which are important for ranking on Google and improving your visibility in search engine results.
Using an eye-catching template is an excellent way of creating a professional-looking website in no time at all – combine this with powerful SEO boosting features and you’ll have a website that is more likely to be found by users and ensures that your work grabs attention!
Tags – On-site labels added to photographs that help to sort your images and are useful for visitors who are interested in a certain type of photograph (e.g. mountains, cars, or lightning strikes).
Alt Text – Labels that describe an image to search engines and are handy for SEO indexing of a website (also useful for visually impaired users who are using a screen reader to hear a website aloud).
Meta Data – Descriptive information about your website that helps Search Engines sort, categorize and index it for the relevant search terms.
Balance affordability with scalability and professionalism
Using a website builder for your photography website is superb way of giving yourself a low cost professional website that can grow with your business.
Unless you’re making big bucks as a professional photographer like Ai Weiwei, you probably don’t want to – or simply can’t afford to – invest significant amounts of cash into getting a website built for you.
And why would you, when for the price of a pack of film each month you can build your own professional-looking website and have it hosted?
Monthly plans tend to be relatively cheap, unless you are looking to sell products or prints, and you’ll even receive a discount if you pay the annual cost up-front. So, even with an ongoing monthly cost and additional apps and plugins, building your own photography website is a more affordable solution than hiring a professional website designer for you.
It also means you don’t need to stump up extra cash to get issues fixed if things go wrong, or to improve the site if your site traffic grows rapidly, because website builders offer a wide range of customer support and additional plans that scale as your website develops.
The website builders we consider best for photographers are not only affordable, but provide a cost-effective way of getting your photographs online.
Test to make sure you find a builder easy to use
Website builders make it incredibly quick and easy for you to build a stunning website without needing to know how to code.
You don’t want to waste time sat at your desk building a website – you’ve got better things to do like touching up a shoot in Lightroom, writing invoices or sending client emails.
So in an ideal world, your website building process would be as smooth and painless as possible, right?
Fortunately, most website builders use a ‘drag and drop’ editor that lets you select elements like text, images, or even galleries and contact boxes, then drag them to wherever you want to place them on the page. It’s a very user-friendly way of working and requires no knowledge of coding.
You could start building your website just after breakfast and have it published before lunch!
The best website builders will provide a user-friendly interface, fast upload speeds and intuitive galleries for you to manage and review photographs before you publish them.
Test the builders by uploading hi-resolution photography
Some website builders automatically resize and ‘optimize’ images for the web, which can result in photos that are squashed, pixelated, and washed out – which won’t do your talent justice at all.
It is very important that the website builder you choose places minimal restrictions on the type of file size or dimensions of the photographs you can upload. It would be a terrible shame to upload a high resolution photo only for it to be auto-resized to something smaller and less impactful.
It’s also worth bearing in mind how much storage space you get with your website builder as this directly impacts how many photos you can upload and host online – you don’t want to be caught short for space when uploading a client shoot for approval!
Free plans provide limited storage space, which gets eaten up fast by large, hi-res photographs. Premium plans tend to offer unlimited storage, which can lift a weight from your shoulders if you intend to upload lots of images.
The best photography builders will enable you to upload hi-resolution images with a full colour palette, no restriction on file size or dimension, and provide enough storage for you to upload hundreds – if not thousands – of images to your website.
Don’t lose sight of monetization
Your website isn’t just a showcase of images – it’s a great opportunity to build interest in your work and potentially gain new business contacts.
Many website builders make it easy to add contact forms to your webpages with just a few clicks. You might even consider adding a booking calendar to your website, where clients could directly book slots in your diary at a set rate. This could streamline your booking process, help you to manage your workload and let clients know when you are and aren’t busy.
Wouldn’t it be much more convenient for you and any interested parties if enquiries could be sent directly to you from your website?
Aside from winning new clients, building your own website is also a great way to become a photography entrepreneur.
You can use apps to integrate selling platforms like Etsy, or subscribe to an ecommerce plan and start selling prints and products directly – it’s easy to set up and could be a great way to earn some extra cash alongside your regular bookings.
The best photography website builders make it easy to add contact forms to your website at the click of a button, which can help generate business enquiries. You can also monetize your photography by integrating external sales platforms, or by subscribing to ecommerce plans and selling directly.
There you have it folks. To recap: we took the most important areas for a photography builder and put each one through our rigorous research process. The areas we paid special attention to were design, SEO, blogging, and ease of use.
Alongside other important areas, such as help and support, value for money, and customer scores, we tested every builder and ranked them. Our picks for the 11 Best Photography Website Builder options are:
- Squarespace – best overall photography website builder.
- Wix – easiest to use photography website builder.
- SmugMug – best for photo security.
- Weebly – cheapest photography website builder.
- Duda – best for template design.
- SITE123 – best for backend support.
- WordPress.com – best for blogging.
- GoDaddy– perfect for time-pressured creatives.
- Strikingly – ideal for small photography portfolios.
- Jimdo – best for user experience.
- SiteBuilder – others do it better.
Your photography website should put your images front and centre, showing them off so that you stand out online and can attract visitors and even potential clients to view your work.
Squarespace is our number one photography website builder because it combines stunning designs with powerful features, from SEO to blogging and beyond. It’s not the easiest to use builder, but it’s pretty quick to get to grips with.
This builder gives you a huge amount of creative freedom to showcase your photographs but to create a truly stunning website.
You get unlimited space and bandwidth (which allows more people to visit your site!) on all premium plans, while photograph upload speeds are among the quickest we’ve seen, which maintains quality and doesn’t diminish your work.
If you choose to start working on one the many professionally-designed photography templates, then you’ll save a huge amount of time and still end up with a very impressive looking website.
Wix and SmugMug lend themselves to more eye-catching gallery and template styles. Wix is super easy to use, while still offering tons of creative freedom, and SmugMug has all the photography specific features you could need.
To round things off, Weebly is the cheapest photography website builder to use – so if you don’t need all the mod-cons offered by more powerful builders, then Weebly is a solid choice to show off and promote your snaps on.
At the end of the day, to find the best photography platform for your needs, it’s always worth testing out the free trials. Familiarize yourself with what you can and can’t do, the available tools and templates, and just how easy it is to potentially scale your website – before committing to a platform and investing in it.
If you find you love Squarespace’s free trial, we’ve got a treat especially for our readers. Instead of paying full price when you sign up, enter the code WBE at the checkout and enjoy an exclusive 10% off your plan!
Are dedicated photography website builders better than all-round website builders?
It depends. If you want full creative control over how the site looks, an all-round builder like Wix or Squarespace offers that. If you want a hands-off, my-photography-speaks-for itself kind of vibe, dedicated platforms like SmugMug are likely a better fit. It’s why using free trials is so important. Only you can really know what fits your needs.
Can’t I just use Instagram?
You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. A website is the only platform you can really trust not to pull the rug out from other your feet. Everywhere else you are a guest on someone else’s platform. Certainly use Instagram — it’s a superb outlet for artists of all stripes — but don’t only use Instagram.
Can I make a photography website for free?
Unless you like messy domain names and ads plastered all over your site, you’re going to have to spend a few dollars to get your photography website off the ground. Slick photography websites don’t come free — but they do come cheap. If you’re serious about your craft a few dollars a month is well worth it.