The Best Websites for Photographers to Set Yourself Apart - Justin Katz Photography

The Best Websites for Photographers to Showcase and Sell Your Portfolio


These sites are all great options for building your photography website. If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong.


Jan 2, 2016   |  Justin Katz
the best websites for photographers to build a stand-out portfolio

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As a photographer, having a modern website is crucial. In my endless quest to determine where I should display my carefully chosen portfolio of landscape and outdoor photography, I have tried all of the best websites for photographers that I could find.

As with most things, they all have their pros and cons.

The good news here is that I have done most of the hard work for you; now it is simply up to you to decide which of the following website builders you will use to showcase your own portfolio to the world.

So what are the best websites for photographers to showcase their work and grow their exposure?

  • SmugMug - Easily my favorite choice for displaying images and selling your work online

  • Wordpress - My choice for when I need more flexibility, customization, and integrations. Ideal for a blog.

  • Wix - A more user-friendly option with some pretty great features

  • Photoshelter - Another solid option and similar to SmugMug

  • Squarespace - A more bare-bones site that is aesthetically pleasing but with less features

  • Need to understand the differences between them? Want to see the rest of photography hosting websites that made the list? Keep reading to get a more detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each.


    Building a Photography Website


    What used to be a painful necessity, has become for me an incredibly rewarding and even fun experience. I thoroughly enjoy the process of designing and customizing how I present my work.

    If you are even remotely serious about advancing your photography skills and career, then you know the importance of building a photography website to showcase your portfolio that is unique to you and your individual style.

    Simply posting to Facebook, Instagram, Flikr, Tumblr, or even 500px does not cut it. You need to be able to set yourself apart. You need to be able to direct someone to your website that exists on your own custom domain (not a subdomain like .wordpress or .blogspot, etc.). If you don't, no one will take you seriously, even if your images are incredible.

    While this may seem like grim news to some of you, it really isn't. To illustrate this, I have laid out below some of the most crucial elements that you need to consider when building your own photography website.

    Side note: If you are looking to take better photos, I have reviewed what I consider to be the best online photography courses that can teach you all the skills to capture the images worthy of displaying on your new website. Check them out and watch the free previews.



    Photography Website Requirements - What Your Site Needs


    Crips, beautiful galleries

    This seems like a no-brainer for a website for photographers, but having a website builder that offers different gallery layouts to choose from, that all display your work in a crisp way, is what can make the difference in having a professional photography website.

    Right click protection

    The ability of a site to protect your images from unauthorized download is essential.


    Ecommerce capability

    As someone who actively sells photographic prints, the ease of use of this feature is a big deal. I recognize that this is not as important to everyone, but the best websites for photographers enable upgraded subscription options that enable this.


    Site speed; page load times

    Aside from the obvious user experience (UX) benefits, there are significant conversion implications to having a site that technically performs well and smoothly. Recent studies have shown that 40% of users will abandon a page if it doesn't load in a reasonable amount of time, and there are SEO implications as well.


    SEO friendly

    Any site that I would recommend for displaying photography, must be optimized for search engines. This means: dynamic sitemaps, crawl-friendly pages, image alt text, etc. SEO on its own can be tricky, but SEO for photographers requires a bit of extra knowledge and planning. This only really matters if you want your images and pages to be found in Google, but why wouldn't you?


    Customizable interface

    The website must allow me to have significant ability to edit and customize as I see fit. This is another element that varies depending on the user, but for me personally, I really like being able to personalize every element of my site to my liking.

    FREE: 2017 SEO Checklist for Photographers

    Complete_seo_for_photographers_checklist_(2017)_(dragged)_1

    Your photography website should be making money for you. This 2017 SEO checklist is the best way get started making that happen.

    We promise not to spam you or sell your email. Ever.

    The Best Websites for Photographers - Reviewed


    SmugMug


    SmugMug is an amazing website builder designed specifically for photographers. Can be a bit complicated, but once you get the hang of it there is lots of flexibility. Excellent ecommerce, photo protection, and SEO. This is what I currently use, and I love it. Try for free and get a 10% discount using my link. Full SmugMug review >>

    Wix


    Wix is an excellent all-around website builder. Although not exclusively marketed to photographers, their gallery choices have improved dramatically in recent months, and the parallax scrolling is incredible. Less customizeable than I would prefer, but more user-friendly. Try for free. Full Wix review >>

    Photoshelter


    Photoshelter is another great website geared specifically for photographers. Definitely easy to use. A few minor bugs with the mobile themes, but a solid choice with decent ecommerce options. Try for free and get a discount.

    Squarespace


    Very flexible, fast, and sleek. Squarespace is definitely a versatile all around website-builder. However it is somewhat limited in terms of customization and ability to make the site feel like your own.

    format


    Great for displaying a portfolio. Less impressive ecommerce, SEO, and customization options. Lots of features and easy to use, and they provide lots of well-thought out themes. Try for free.

    Zenfolio


    A little difficult to use, and the photo galleries are a bit bland. However the large issue with this is that the image display is less crisp than on other platforms. Worth trying the free trial for yourself though.

    Jimdo


    Full of features, but a bit difficult to use. Some good theme options, but I wasn't able to create a crisp and clean portfolio in the style that I wanted. Worth giving it a free trial to determine for yourself. Full Jimdo review >>


    Final Thoughts


    Whichever you chose, creating a photography portfolio to showcase and/or sell your work can actually be incredibly fun. So my advice is to take advantage of all of the free trials available, and enjoy.


    FREE: 2017 SEO Checklist for Photographers

    Complete_seo_for_photographers_checklist_(2017)_(dragged)_1

    Your photography website should be making money for you. This 2017 SEO checklist is the best way get started making that happen.

    We promise not to spam you or sell your email. Ever.

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