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The best website builder for photographers in 2022

best website builder for photographers: man working at computer screen with stylus
(Image credit: Wavebreakmedia via Getty)

The best website builder for photographers can help boost the number of clients you attract, and make your service look more professional overall. Having your own website makes it easy for people to peruse your portfolio, and find the kind of images they're interested in. That's something an Instagram account can't come close to providing.

Using the best website builder for photographers means you don't need any coding skills to create your own site. That said, if you do know about web design, some of these builders will let you get hands-on with the code to customise things more precisely. Either way's good: it's whatever works best for you.

Some website builders also offer special features that some photographers will love. For example, you may want to sell prints, photobooks and other items directly via your site, cutting out middlemen. You might also wish to upload password-protected galleries, so that only designated people can view your work.

If you don’t need a website builder specifically for photography, we also have a more general guide to the best website builders overall and a guide to the best website builder for artists. Otherwise, read on to discover the best website builder for photographers in 2022. 

Top 3 website builders for photographers

01. Squarespace

01. Squarespace
It's not the absolute cheapest, but Squarespace has beautiful looking templates, so it's a fantastic choice for photographers. If you take a little time to learn its ways, you'll get a stunning website in return.

02. Wix

02. Wix
Wix's website builder offer the easiest way to get your photography website up and running quickly. There are plenty of templates to choose from, and there's even a free version in return for hosting Wix's own ads.

03. Format

03. Format
Aimed specifically at photographers, Format offers sleek, minimal templates and lots of tools to create a fine-looking portfolio, including client-proofing and import options for Lightroom or Capture One.

The best website builders for photographers in 2022

best website builder for photographers: Squarespace homepage showing a selection of beautiful photos

(Image credit: Squarespace)

01. Squarespace

The best website builder for photographers overall

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Customer support: 24/7 email, live chat Monday-Friday: 4am-8pm EDT
Reasons to buy
+
Beautiful templates
+
Highly customisable
+
Great ecommerce features
Reasons to avoid
-
More expensive than rivals

The best website builder for photographers today is Squarespace. That's despite the fact that it's not aimed exclusively at photographers, and there's no free version. It is, however, targeted at creatives and artists, and consequently has the best selection of elegantly minimal, professional-looking templates out there. And that makes it the best way for photographers to showcase their work online.

Squarespace's exquisite templates really do make your work look good, whether viewed on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Forty-one of them are designed specifically for photography, but others are worth considering too. In general, Squarespace's templates are geared towards displaying large, high-quality images, so they're all worth looking at. After all, a picture does tell a thousand words...

The drag-and-drop interface makes it fairly easy to create your own site. Not quite as easy as some web builders (Wix, number two on our is easier), but easy enough for all but the most tech-challenged to follow. We love that there are pop-ups to help out every time you hover over an area, and you certainly don't need any prior experience of building websites – or any knowledge of coding. 

If you want to add a blog or an online store to sell your prints and photobooks, those features are all easy to use too, and there's 24/7 email support with good response times, plus live chat Monday to Friday (4am-8pm EDT, the equivalent to 9am-1am GMT). 

Squarespace may be more expensive than many of its rivals, but we feel the extra cost is worth it if you want your online portfolio to look truly fabulous. For more details, see our Squarespace review and our Squarespace vs Wix comparison.

best website builder for photographers: Wix

(Image credit: Wix)

02. Wix

The best website builder for photographers on a budget

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: Yes
Customer support: Submit ticket or request callback 24/7
Reasons to buy
+
Easy to use
+
Cheap prices
+
Free version
Reasons to avoid
-
Templates are basic

Like Squarespace, number one on our list, Wix is not specifically aimed at photographers. Instead, it's a mass market platform catering for all kinds of small businesses. So why is it the runner-up on our list of best website builders for photographers? 

Quite simply, because for a very low price it offers a good selection of easy-to-use photography templates, for everyone from wedding photographers to photojournalists. And while they aren't as beautiful as Squarespace’s or Format's, there are more options to customise them using third-party apps. 

And here's another thing. If you really are technically challenged, Wix offers an easy way to create a website without using templates at all, via Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). This asks you questions about what you want your website to do, then uses your social media info to generate a fully working website for you. It's not the most professional or attractive approach, but it is an option.  

The strongest selling points of Wix, however, is the low price. There's even a ‘free forever’ plan. If you opt for a free site, it will be covered with ads and limited in terms of storage, so you won't want to go that route for a full portfolio. But it could be an option for a simple calling card site with your contact details, or simply for trying out the service before you share your site's URL with anyone.

For only a little more money, you can build a more fully featured photography site. Wix also offers phone assistance (via callback) and other support methods. For more details, see our full Wix review.

best website builder for photographers: Format

(Image credit: Format)

03. Format

The best website builder made especially for photographers

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Customer support: Via email
Reasons to buy
+
Focused on photography
+
Pro shooter features
+
Low prices
Reasons to avoid
-
Interface can be tricky

Format is the first website builder on our list that's purely focused on photographers. As such, it has a lot of specific features that more general website builders lack. 

One is the client-proofing system. This allows you to put together private, password-protected albums for clients – with watermarked images if you choose. If you often share dozens, or even hundreds, of images from your shoot, this is a great time saver that beats messing around with email, Dropbox or WeTransfer. It's more user-friendly for clients too.

Another is being able to upload images to your website directly from Lightroom or Capture One. Plus, if you’re worried about copyright theft, you can disable right-click on the images in your portfolio to stop visitors downloading them without permission. You can also manage your portfolio on the go using the iOS app, and you can generate extra income from photobooks, prints, Lightroom presets and such by adding an online store.

Format’s sleek, modern templates are beautifully minimal and show your work off to great effect, but we put it at number 3 on our list because we feel that Squarespace still has the edge, both in the design quality of its templates and its business and ecommerce features. 

That said, it’s a close-run thing. And if specific features like client proofing and disabling right-click get you excited, Format is probably the better choice.

best website builder for photographers: SmugMug

(Image credit: SmugMug)

04. SmugMug

A great website builder for photographers who use Android

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Customer support: Via email, 24/7, 364 days a year
Reasons to buy
+
Focused on photography
+
Pro shooter features
+
Android app
Reasons to avoid
-
Fewer templates on cheap plans

SmugMug is the second platform on our list specifically aimed at photographers. And like Format, it offers password-protected galleries, watermarking, the ability to disable right-click on images, and a Lightroom plugin. Its fully responsive templates look smart and professional, and there are good ecommerce options too.

On the whole, though, we’ve found SmugMug’s interface to be a little trickier to use than Format's. It's also a shame you can only access the full range of templates on the expensive plans. 

On the upside, though, unlike Format, SmugMug offers an app for Android as well as iOS. And so if you're an Android user, the ability to manage your site and upload new images while out on a shoot will make this a top choice.

best website builder for photographers: Pixpa

(Image credit: Pixpa)

05. Pixpa

Generate photo gallery apps for your clients

Specifications
Free trial: 15 days (plus 30-day money-back guarantee)
Free version: No
Customer support: Via email or live chat
Reasons to buy
+
Build mobile gallery apps
+
Money-back guarantee
+
Half-price for students
Reasons to avoid
-
Interface not the easiest

Pixpa is aimed primarily at photographers, but also at other creatives, such as designers, artists and architects. Its interface can be a little clunky to use in practice, but it's still fairly straightforward once you get used to it. What really makes it stand out, though, is that it lets you create personalised gallery apps for clients to access on their mobile phone. 

In a world in which many people are spending more time on their phones and less on desktop computers, this cool feature could help you win a lot more work. You might even consider charging for it as an extra, in the case of wedding customers, for example (you can see an example gallery here).

Pixpa also offers good integrations with other apps, including Google Analytics, MailChimp and Spotify, and some nice ecommerce features, including the ability to generate discount codes. You pay zero payment processing fees for your online store (compared with, say, 3 per cent to Squarespace). 

Pixpa doesn’t just offer a 15-day free trial, with no credit card required, but a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re a student, you can get 50 per cent off too.

Best website builders for photographers: Shopify

(Image credit: Shopify)

06. Shopify

The best website builder for photographers wanting to sell stuff

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Customer support: Via email, phone and live chat
Reasons to buy
+
Lots of handy shop tools
+
Plenty of apps and extensions
Reasons to avoid
-
Only worth it for sellers
-
Transaction fees

If you aim to make money directly through your photography site, by selling prints, photobooks, workshops or anything else, Shopify may be your best bet. While it’s not the most visually attractive option, and it's not specifically aimed at photographers, it does make it quick and easy to set up an online store.

With a vast range of third-party integrations, you can integrate your Shopify site with Instagram, Facebook and other social media. This means that if one of your followers sees something they like, it's quick and easy for them to buy it. And that means they're ultimately more likely to buy.

Shopify offers a variety of payment options, and some good marketing tools to help promote yourself. It does costs more than other website builders, though, so if you don't need ecommerce, it's not the best option. For more details, see our comparison article, Wix vs Shopify: what's the best ecommerce option?

Best website builders for photographers: Zenfolio

(Image credit: Zenfolio)

07. Zenfolio

A good choice for school and events photographers

Specifications
Free trial: 14 days
Free version: No
Customer support: Via email
Reasons to buy
+
Handles large file volumes
+
Very easy to get started
Reasons to avoid
-
Fairly simplistic designs
-
Minimal customer support

If you work with large volumes of photos, Zenfolio is a good choice, since even its cheapest plan offers unlimited storage. That means you can batch-upload albums and galleries without worrying about space. The more expensive plans also provide special support for school and event photographers, including password-protected folders and the ability to add packaging and pre-orders for prints.

Zenfolio is well known in the photography profession, and its interface is generally easy to use. You can have a good-looking portfolio site up and running within hours of starting a plan or 14-day free trial (which you can get without putting in any credit card information). The templates don't have the most exciting designs, and there aren't a huge number of them, but they're perfectly decent. 

Don't, however, choose Zenfolio if you expect to need a lot of customer support. There’s no phone line or live chat, so if you need help, you have to fill in a form and wait for an email – average resolution times are listed as four hours. 

Do photographers need a website?

A website is almost a must for any photographer these days. No matter whether you want to attract professional clients, or just have a nice-looking space to show off your images to peers, a dedicated website is the way to do it. It allows you to showcase your portfolio in a way that your work is ordered, clearly categorised and searchable. All of this makes it easier for people to find what they're looking for, quickly, before they get bored and look elsewhere. 

What's the best website builder for photographers?

The best website builder for you will depend on which features you need, and which you don’t. Firstly, ask yourself whether you want to sell things through your website, like prints of your photos, or workshop spaces. If so, you'll need dedicated ecommerce features: Shopify is probably going to be your best choice for this.

Secondly, consider how important the look and design of your website is to you. If you want a sleek, minimalist look, a website builder with a good range of attractive templates will help you realise your vision. For our money Squarespace has the most beautifully crafted templates that are perfect for showcasing large-format photography.

Thirdly, think about how many photos you plan to upload. If it's just a few, pretty much any web builder will work. But it's a lot, you'll probably want to upload multiple galleries with sub-folders and password protection. Smugmug, Format or Zenfolio will probably be your best choices in this case. 

Finally, what’s your budget? Squarespace offers super-sleek templates but it is a little more expensive, while Wix is very cheap and even has a free plan that will give you a basic website to get started with.

How do I create a free photography website?

If you want your own website to showcase your photography portfolio, but don't want to spend any money at all, we recommend Wix's free plan. This allows you to create your own site, but there are limitations. 

You only get 500MB storage space, so you won't be able to upload many photos. You only get 1GB bandwidth, which limits the number of people who can access your site at any one time. Your site will also feature Wix ads, and its URL will be Wix-branded, making it a bit clunky. That said, it's a great way to get started with a photography portfolio site, and if you need to remove these restrictions later on, the paid plans are very affordable.

What should a photography website include?

A photography website should always include a gallery of images to showcase your work: without one, it's kind of pointless. It's also good to include an 'About me' page, that gives a little of your personal story and explains what makes your services different from other photographers. Thirdly, you need a 'Contact' page that provides a telephone number and/or email address for people to make enquiries. 

You'll probably also want to add other content, depending on your specialism and the way you structure your business. For example, if you're a wedding photographer then it's useful to have an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, to save you time explaining how you work, again and again, to each potential customer. 

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.