7 Best Photography Website Builders

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best photography website builders

Website builders have made it easier – and cheaper – than ever to get online. 

To bring you the best photography website builders, we conducted our own thorough research, paying special attention to these crucial photography areas: design, SEO, blogging functionality, and ease of use.

We got in touch with photographers when researching and writing this article. You’ll find some of their testimonials scattered throughout, alongside a few inspirational photography sites.

Here are the seven platforms that came out on top:

The 7 Best Photography Website Builders Are:

  1. Squarespace – Best overall photography website builder
  2. Wix Easiest to use
  3. SmugMug Best for event photographers
  4. Weebly  Cheapest photography website builder
  5. Duda – Best for agencies
  6. SITE123 – Best for agencies
  7. WordPress – Best for photography blogs

Squarespace takes the number one spot because of its stunning, image-focused templates that strike the balance between artsy and professional. Wix’s user-friendly interface makes it a strong second, and SmugMug’s status as a specialized photography builder makes it especially adept at safeguarding your pictures.

We’re pretty proud of our research process, because not many sites can say they’ve carried out such in-depth testing before making recommendations. Here’s how our in-house research team go about finding the best website builders on the market.

Every single builder goes through our thorough research process. We investigate important areas such as:

  • Ease of use
  • Design flexibility
  • Value for money
  • Feature quality
  • Help and support
  • Customer satisfaction

This helps us rate and compare the builders fairly, focusing on important factors that users have told us matter most.

We even get groups of everyday people to test the builders out and give us feedback, which we then analyze. This helps us:

  • understand exactly how easy (or difficult) beginners find the builder
  • uncover any issues within the builder
  • judge customer satisfaction

We’ve applied this process to over 50 website builders so far – all so we can bring you the most accurate results and recommendations!

Still got questions? Read our report on How We Conduct Our Website Builder Research for a more detailed explanation.

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 Best for finding new clients $13 - $49 Free plan
SmugMug Great for event photographers $8 - $50 14-day free trial
Weebly Cheapest photography website builder $8 - $38 Free plan
Duda Best for agencies $14 - $74 14-day free trial
SITE123 Great support $12.80 - $34.80 Free plan
WordPress.com Best for photography blogs $5 - $45 Free plan

Now you know what the best photography builders are, let’s take a closer look at each one, so you can find the perfect photography website builder for your needs.

#1. Squarespace

Best overall photography website builder

Best overall photography website builder

4.6out of 5

Top Choice
Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

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!

Pros Cons
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 important 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

“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. 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!” – Alex Greene, Senior Video Editor

Design

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, but 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.

Squarespace portfolio example
Street photographer Amy Touchette's Squarespace website puts all the focus on her hero image

“I used Format originally, but it became rather annoying when updating my portfolio, it decided to wipe everything or change the layout. So now I use Squarespace, which is easy and works well with no hiccups”–  Adam Hoskins, Photographer 

Features

Squarespace has a suite of quality in-house features to choose from. It has all the essentials to support a photography site – great social integration, and strong SEO and blog features (see below). The range is quite small, though – anything more niche or adventurous may require the use of a third party plugin.

Creating a customer login, for example, is not a simple ‘plug and go’ solution, but there’s a fairly simple workaround you can use instead.

SEO

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.

Blogging

Squarespace is a great platform for a blog, offering:

  • Unlimited pages, even on the cheapest plan
  • Ability to create blog categories
  • Optional comments
  • Ability to add an RSS Feed

It’s actually our top-rated blogging platform, so you know you’ll be in good hands here.

squarespace best photography builder templates
Squarespace’s templates are crisp, clean and minimalist. They make your photography website ooze professionalism

Pricing

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.

Are you a student? Squarespace is offering students 50% off any plan with a valid academic email address (Terms and Conditions apply).

Squarespace does not have a free plan – instead, you get a two-week trial.

Most photographers will find the Personal plan ($12/month) a good fit, but take our short quiz to check which plan best matches up with your needs:

Squarespace Offer Code

Get 10% Off Any Squarespace Plan

Ready to give Squarespace a go? We have an exclusive offer code for our readers that will save you 10% on the cost of any Squarespace plan! To redeem this discount, simply enter the offer code ‘WBE‘ at checkout.

Further Information

#2. Wix

Easiest photography website builder to use

Easiest to use photography website builder

4.5out of 5

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

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-rounder, 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!

With strong SEO tools, Wix is also a great platform for photographers looking to find new clients via search results. This is especially useful for shoot and event photographers.

Pros Cons
Wix offers an awful lot of creative control. The drag and drop editor 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

Design

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!

Vikram Kushwah's Wix photography site
Vikram Kushwah is a UK-based fashion and art photographer. We love his Wix-built photography website, complete with a slowly rotating image gallery.

There are numerous gallery options to showcase collections, from the tight clustered thumbnails of ‘Urban Photography’ to the minimalist framing of ‘Art Photography’. There’s even different styles of gallery to explore, from interactive slideshows to lightboxes for making images pop. It’s definitely worth digging around to find the features that can best represent your work.

best website builder for photographers
Take your time choosing a Wix template - you can't change once you’ve chosen one, so find one that reflects your style, like ‘Urban Photography’ above!

Wix offers total creative control. For any creatives who find Squarespace’s designs too rigid, or have a clear idea of what they want to build, Wix is a natural fit. The drag-and-drop editor means there’s really no limit on how you design your site.

Wix’s 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.

‘Wix does not take too much time, and it’s mainly drag and drop. Good Gallery quality, and can be free.’ – Angel Howard, Event Producer

best photography website builders
Wix offers super simple image uploading and management. This makes it easy for you to manage collections and can save you a lot of time.

Features

As well as offering 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. Wix has an impressive app store, with the option to add pretty much any feature (some paid, many free) without having to hunt around outside of the platform.

SEO

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 SEO on a site-wide level – ideal for pushing your way up the rankings.

In general, Wix has a more hands-on approach to supporting your SEO strategy. The Wix SEO Wizard gives you advice tailored to your site and your content, which is a pretty unique and helpful feature.

Blogging

You can add a blog to your site using Wix’s blogging tool. This is fine for a ‘blog on the side’ kind of feel, but you’ll hit some roadblocks if you wanted your blog to be the backbone of your site:

  • You can’t create an archive, so posts will quickly pile up
  • You can’t add an RSS feed, making it more difficult to update content

Pricing

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. You can’t build a truly professional website on the free plan, though, so we don’t recommend staying on it for too long – as well as still displaying Wix advertising, 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.

logo-wix-100x100

Are You a Beginner?

Wix is the easiest photography builder to use – create your ideal site in no time!

Further Information

  • Wix Review – interested in knowing more about Wix? Check out our full expert and detailed review here.
  • Wix Editor vs Wix ADI – click here for a breakdown of the difference between Wix’s two website building options
  • How to Use Wix – not sure where to get started using Wix? We walk you through using Wix step-by-step.
  • Wix vs Squarespace – find out who won the battle when these two website builders locked horns.

#3. SmugMug

Best for event photographers

Best for photo security

4.3out of 5

Website Features

5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

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.

The real advantage SmugMug has over competitors is that it’s 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.

Pros Cons
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

Design

While SmugMug shone with 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.

smugmug photography template
SmugMug gives you a modest collection of simple designs, all designed to show off your photography, but limited in features.

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.

Features

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 a full 5 stars for its features, outperforming all other builders!

One of our favorite features 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

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

SEO

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. You have SmugMug’s own SEO guide to help you here, packed with lots of practical advice. Ranking with a SmugMug site shouldn’t be a problem.

Blogging

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.

Pricing

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 just $8 per month for the Basic plan to $50 per month for the Pro plan. Plans are billed annually, so the cheapest plan costs $96 per year.

smugmug logo

Could SmugMug Be Your Perfect Builder?

SmugMug looks after your photos, from security to storage. Give it a try today!

Further Information

  • SmugMug Review – looking to find out more about SmugMug? read our full review and see what you think.
  • Website Builder Comparison Chart – alternatively, head to our comparison chart and look at the other platforms on the market.

#4. Weebly

Cheapest photography website builder

Cheapest photography website builder

4.3out of 5

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Weebly offers a very affordable way to build a photography website, but at the cost of those sleek, flexible designs – if you’re not that fussed about designing your own site, the restrictiveness might not bother you.

Weebly has a good set of features to be added in via the app centre, so there’s loads of scope to add whichever cool features you have on your radar.

Pros Cons
Weebly’s App Center 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

Design

Weebly’s themes 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 themes 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 photography templates
Weebly’s templates are simpler but easier to work with - a great time-saver if you need a photography website fast
weebly best photography website builder
Weebly carries on uploading photographs in the background, so you can carry on working without having to wait around for uploads to complete

Features

Weebly scored pretty strongly for its features in our research, coming in behind SmugMug with 4.4 stars out of 5. It does particularly well for selling your images, with these two apps coming in handy:

  • Digital downloads – Ability to sell digital downloads
  • Printful – Custom printing/fulfillment service

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.

It also isn’t possible to create a dedicated client login area.

Blogging

Weebly’s blogging tools are a strong point. Expect:

  • Detailed analytics on how your blog’s performing
  • An easy-access archive
  • Comments
  • Social bookmarking to help your blog go viral

SEO

In terms of SEO, there are lots of helpful apps available in the Weebly App Center. 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 tweak your site settings to further optimize your site’s SEO, helping it rank higher in search engines.

Pricing

Weebly is the cheapest website builder you can choose to build a professional photography site with.

There are three paid plans, ranging from just $6 to $26 per month (billed annually). There’s also a free plan, although as always, we don’t recommend this if you want a professional site.

  • Free plan: $0 – 500MB storage, displays Weebly ads
  • Personal plan: $6/month – 500MB storage, connect a custom domain, displays Weebly ads, basic ecommerce
  • Professional plan: $12/month – unlimited storage, 1 year free domain, no Weebly ads, advanced ecommerce
  • Business plan: $26/month – unlimited storage, 1 year free domain, no Weebly ads, full ecommerce, advanced marketing tools

Out of all these plans, we recommend the Professional plan for starting out, as it offers much better value for money than the Personal plan. It also lets you create a much more professional site – most importantly, it’s the cheapest plan to remove adverts from your pages.

weebly_logotype

On a Budget?

Weebly is the cheapest photography builder, and comes with great features too.

Further Information

  • Weebly Review – if you own a photography business, you’ll want to read up on Weebly in more detail.
  • Weebly Ecommerce Review – if you’re looking for a place to sell your images, see our review of Weebly as an online store.
  • Weebly Pricing Review – learn more about how much Weebly costs in our pricing breakdown.
  • Weebly vs Wix – torn between Wix and Weebly? Find out which is best for you in our helpful comparison.

#5. Duda

Best for agencies

Best for template design

4.2out of 5

Website Features

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

1.5 out of 5 stars

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 some pretty cool templates with handy features pre-installed.

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!

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!

Pros Cons
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

Design

While there are over 90 templates to choose from in Duda’s library (and every single one is both professionally designed and mobile responsive), there are only three that we identified as a really natural fit for photographers – you can find those in the portfolio section.

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.

duda photography builder templates
Duda comes with over 90 professionally designed templates to help you build your photography website.

Features

Duda lets you customize your photography site with 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)

Blogging

Duda makes blogging an option, but not a priority – it lacks the powerful features that a blog-centred website needs, but it’s fine for the occasional post.

SEO

Again, Duda nails the SEO basics, but doesn’t go much beyond them. It won’t hold you back from ranking well, but it’s not going to hold your hand to make it a reality, either.

Pricing

Duda fell down in our research for value for money. In fact, it came bottom of the pile in this department, 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).

  • Basic – $14/month (billed annually)
  • Team – $22/month (billed annually)
  • Agency – $44/month (billed annually)
  • Enterprise – custom price

The Basic plan will be fine for a simple photography portfolio, but you unlock extra help and support/marketing features with the more expensive plans.

duda logo

Do You Want a Stunning Photography Site?

Duda has the best template designs on the market, and is sure to make your images shine.

Further Information

  • Duda Review – learn more about Duda’s pros, cons, features, and pricing to find out if it’s the right photography builder for you.

#6. SITE123

Best for backend support

Best for backend support

4out of 5

Website Features

0 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

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.

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.

The 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.

Pros Cons
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

Design

SITE123’s designs aren’t the flashiest, but they’re 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.

site123 photography builder support
SITE123 provides you with live chat support, an onboarding tour, help videos, and pop-up prompts to guide you through the building process.
site123 photography buidler setup
SITE123 uses ADI to make building your site as easy as possible – just select the right category, and SITE123 puts together the basics for you!

SITE123 automatically gave us all the essentials for a photography site:

  • Large image sections
  • A built-in portfolio and gallery
  • Social media integration
  • Contact form

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. There also isn’t the option to create a dedicated client login area.

Blogging

Site123 does well when it comes to blogging.

  • Add a blog in just two clicks
  • Add an RSS feed
  • Accept comments
  • Get analytics insights

There are a couple of ‘wish list’ criteria it doesn’t hit (e.g. posts are automatically displayed by date, and this can’t be changed) – but overall, it’s pretty faultless.

SEO

Site123 is pretty vocal about it’s SEO capabilities, but take a look under the hood and everything’s pretty basic. Having a Site123 website won’t stop you from ranking well, but it’s not going above and beyond to help you, either.

Pricing

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!

Further Information

  • SITE123 offers great backend support – find out what else it offers in our expert SITE123 Review

#7. WordPress.com

Best for photography blogs

Best for blogging

3.8out of 5

Website Features

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

WordPress.com is an easier-to-use version of the famous blogging CMS called WordPress.org. WordPress.com combines the power and blogging prowess of WordPress.org with the more streamlined and user-friendly editor of a website builder.

To learn more about the difference between the two platforms and what each one can offer you, check out our WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison guide.

WordPress.com is a powerful but fairly challenging builder that can’t be beaten for its blogging tools, and offers great value for money too. It’s down in seventh place because it isn’t ideal for photography portfolios – but if you want your site to read more like a photography blog, and want to keep costs down, it will be a good fit.

Pros Cons
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

Design

WordPress.com has hundreds of themes to choose from, with 91 tagged as suitable for photography sites. These range from free to around $90 – this is a one-off payment, but you need to be on the Premium plan ($8/month) or above to use them.

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 a 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.

wordpress.com photography templates
WordPress.com has hundreds of themes – here you can see a selection of its Portfolio designs.

Features

WordPress.com excels in its area (blogging), but can’t compete with the photography-specific features of platforms like SmugMug, Weebly, and Squarespace.

Blogging

WordPress.com gives you the full range of blogging tools, from social bookmarking to user comments.

SEO

This is an area both types of WordPress consistently do well in.

Pricing

Where WordPress.com really stood out was its value for money. While Weebly is still 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 logo

Starting a Photography Blog?

WordPress.com can’t be beaten for its blogging tools – see for yourself!

Further Information

What Are Photographers Recommending?

Producing these rankings isn’t a quick process. Here’s how it works:

  1. We consult with those in the industry to determine what factors are most important to them when building a website
  2. We give these factors extra ‘weight’ in the scores we’ve created for website builders which have gone through the full research process (including user testing).

By the time we have our final list, we can be confident that each of these platforms will help you develop a website you’re proud of, while each bringing their own strengths to the table.

But we don’t just stop there. As well as continually reviewing the builders we’ve included (looking for shifts in pricing, new features etc.), we want to keep in touch with you, your industry, and what’s working well within it right now.

So before updating this article, I wanted to go back to basics and check in on which platforms photographers like you are using in 2020, and see whether they’re happy with them.

1. Portrait Photographers – Taylor Wessing Finalists 2020

The Taylor Wessing exhibition is an annual portrait competition open to anyone. Every year, there’s an exhibition for the finalists in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

I’ve attended this exhibition for the last three years, and always find it such a great source of inspiration. So much so that I had made a list of my favorite finalists to track them down later and follow them on social media.

This felt like a good place to start. I dug out my iPhone note, and ran each photographer’s website through Built With, which tells you how a site is built (sometimes it’s unclear – hence the ‘?’).

list of photographers

I wasn’t surprised to see Squarespace and Wix crop up here, but it’s clear there wasn’t going to be a ‘landslide’ victory for one platform.

2. Freelance Photographers – The Dots

The Dots is a ‘professional network for people who don’t wear suits to work’. It’s a great place for creatives to look for job opportunities, bounce ideas around, and generally exchange notes.

I threw this open question out to the photographers, photography assistants and photo editors:

I then got some super helpful responses (some of which you might recognise from the reviews above!). Again, unsurprisingly, it seems a lot comes down to personal experience and preference:

There was some Squarespace love… 

‘I used Format originally, but became rather annoying when updating my portfolio, it decided to wipe everything or change the layout. So now I use Squarespace, which is easy and works well with no hiccups’ –  Adam Hoskins

Some honourable mentions for Wix… 

‘Wix does not take too much time, and it’s mainly drag and drop. Good Gallery quality, and can be free.’ – Angel Howard, Event Producer

And (generally) strong praise for Format… 

‘What I like about Format is that they’re v committed to photographers and their community of photographers. When I started out with them, they went out of their way to share my work on their channels, as well as doing a feature of a project of mine on their online journal. It always feels personal with them.’ – Ameena Rojee, Freelance Photographer

‘Format have client galleries, right click copyright notice, and I feel like they are slightly more invested into creatives/artists more likely to be featured etc. Great resources on their behalf to learn/grow too.’Bater & Street Photography

Thank you so much to all the photographers who shared their thoughts! I loved seeing your beautiful websites and hearing about your processes.

Other Photography Website Builder Options

While we don’t believe you have to choose a website builder specific to your industry (and in fact, that you may lose out on a high standard of other features when you do!), it’s clear there are some photography-specific platforms worth keeping on our radar. These platforms haven’t been through our full research process yet – many platforms, not so many people! – but it’s on the cards. Watch this space.

1. Format

Format is definitely built with photography portfolios in mind. With plans starting at just $9/month, it’s an affordable option, and the focus on copyrighting and privacy makes it a popular one. It’s clear that photographers feel the small size of this platform makes for a more supportive experience, and we’re very impressed by the template selection. It’s still a little buggy for our liking, but it’s certainly one to watch!

2. Adobe Portfolio

Shout out to Bater & Street for putting this platform firmly on our radar! Free with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe Portfolio‘s designs can be a bit limiting, but it hooks up seamlessly with your Behance account.

3. Cargo

A small platform with a fresh look, Cargo is best suited to designers, but also comes with some fun photography templates. At $13/month, however, it’s a little pricey.

4. Pixpa

Pixpa is designed exclusively for photographers, comes with slick templates, and starts at just $8/month. We think it still has a way to go before it challenges the likes of Squarespace, Wix, and SmugMug, but it has generally positive reviews.

5. Zenfolio

Zenfolio is best-suited to event photographers as it has the option for client logins, and a vast amount of storage. If you’re trying to get new traffic, however, Zenfolio isn’t up to scratch – the SEO functionality is poor, and users complain that the design is unintuitive, too.

How to Pick the Best Photography Website Builder for You

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

Use Square Online Checkout Links to make money through your photography website

Do you want to sell pieces of your work through your photography website? If so, Square Online Checkout Links are a cost-effective way of selling a small number of items, rather than setting up a whole online store.

All you do is set up a free Square Online account, which lets you create, then copy and paste checkout buttons onto your photography website. These buttons allow you to take direct payment from visitors, with no costs involved other than a 2.5% transaction fee.

Free, easy, and with minimal hassle, these checkout buttons are the perfect way to monetize your photography website!

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.

wix photography website template
Like the wall-wall photo gallery from Wix’s ‘Family Photographer’ template (above), but not sure of the colors and fonts? Well, just choose the template and then change the font and colors in the editor - it really is that simple!

Add Apps

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.

Improve Your SEO

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.

Use an Eye-Catching Template

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!

Key Terms

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.

Best Photography Website Builders: The Verdict

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 10 best photography website builder options are:

  1. Squarespace – Best overall photography website builder
  2. Wix Easiest to use
  3. SmugMug Best for event photographers
  4. Weebly  Cheapest photography website builder
  5. Duda – Best for agencies
  6. SITE123 – Best for agencies
  7. WordPress – Best for photography blogs

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.

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 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!

squarespace logo

Are You ready to Try Squarespace?

Squarespace is the best overall photography builder that we tested – see why we rated it so highly for yourself risk-free.

Best Photography Website Builders: the FAQs

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.

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.

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.

It’s pretty easy! Choose the right website builder for you, and jump on either a free plan or free trial to get started.

Pick your perfect design template and start uploading your own photos, as well as writing your own text and adding any features you need. For example, you could include a contact form and social media feeds to engage with your visitors!

You’ll then need to sign up to a paid plan for a truly professional photography website, and you’ll be good to click Publish! For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on How to Create a Photography Website!

In our research, WordPress.com scored an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars for its value for money. You get a ton of features for super affordable prices, meaning you get real bang for your buck.

However, WordPress is better for running a photography blog, so if you want a photography portfolio then it’s worth checking out Weebly.

Weebly is another great value option — it has a free plan which comes with stylish templates, strong SEO, and the ability to sell through your website. When it comes to upgrading, Weebly has a cheap starting price of $6 per month. This won’t remove adverts, but it does let you connect a custom domain to your site.

Yes! As long as your website builder supports ecommerce, and you’re on an appropriate plan, you’ll be able to sell your photos through your website.

Squarespace lets you sell online from $18 per month, while Wix lets you sell from $23 per month. Weebly actually lets you sell on its free plan, which is pretty rare!

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.

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About Lucy Carney

Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

12 comments

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  • Sanjay Mishra
    Thanks for this valuable blog post...
  • lisa
    This is a great post! I have recently been trying to up my photography game and it is pretty tough to get into. There is a lot of information out there that, to be honest, I don’t quite understand yet! 🙂 I will definitely be bookmarking this page 🙂Lisa
  • Josh
    Was this article in any way sponsored by any of the companies listed? I'm having a real hard time wrapping my head around how Wix is even a top 3 or 4 web builder for photography?
    1 reply
    • Hannah Whitfield
      Hi Josh, thanks for joining the conversation. This article wasn't sponsored (you can read our Disclosure page for info on how we do make money). It would be great to hear a bit more about your experiences and what you've found works for you. Thanks, Hannah
  • Hannah Whitfield
    Hi Paul, Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for sharing your suggestion. We'll take a look! Hannah
  • John Garrity
    Why would you add Wix and Weebly to the list of photography website builders when they do not even offer basic proofing or image based e-commerce? Where are SmugMug, Zenfolio, Pixpa and Format?
    2 replies
    • Josef Montane
      I can agree with that opinion. Wix and Weebly are way better for various business purposes than portfolio needs. I've discovered Format recently and their photography portfolio themes look good.
    • Natasha Willett
      Hi John, Cheers for the comment and for your incredibly valid point. Rest assured Website Builder Experts are on the case and are currently viewing our BEST photography website builders - watch this space. Natasha.
  • Emily Joseph
    How is Wix best for photographers? It doesn't even have a proofing feature!
  • Jyotsana Suri
    I'd recommend Pixpa, it has better features for photographers than any other competitor.
  • Brian A
    Surprised you didn't look at jAlbum ?
    1 reply
    • Tom Watts
      Hi Brian, We had to make some tough calls when narrowing our list down, so we decided to opt for the most versatile photography builders we could find. It's by no means conclusive, so thanks for your tip - I'll check JAlbum out! Thanks for reading - Tom