With many platforms competing to be considered among the best website builders, the best small business website builders, the best free blogging site, or the best ecommerce website builders, a very small number are designed specifically to be the best website builders for photographers.
However, among the many free and affordable builders widely available, there are some aimed at photography and portfolio sites, and while photo sites have common features shares with other website types, professionals need to utilize website builders that can display high-quality images in the way they're intended to be seen.
Our guide to the best website builders for photographers aims to showcase the best solutions for this niche, like we have with the best website builder for musicians. We discuss five website builders, each offering ease of use, excellent tools and features, and reasonable pricing. A few chosen also offer the opportunity for ecommerce, so that photographers can sell images via sites too.
We examine each builder's pros and cons, to help you find the best website builders for photographers, and display your photos online.
What are the best website builders for photographers?
Our pick of the best website builders for photographers is Format, which streamlines building a website via an easy-to-use editor, a series of customizable templates optimized for desktop and mobile, and a 14-day free plan that allows you to test it out before buying. Easy image uploading, domain importing, online store and blogging functionalities mean it's the top choice for a photography website.
At the higher end of the scale, Squarespace isn't specifically designed for photography sites, but offers a wide range of tools and professional templates, while its automatic cropping and resizing of images is a big plus. Carbonmade offers a similarly easy building process, and is built specifically for photographers, with specific tools designed in mind. Its intuitive interface and wide range of online guides mean it's easy to use and customizable, making it a great option.
Dunked competes on ease of use with a really simple drag-and-drop site builder, alongside a 10-day free trial for testing before you pay. Finally, Zenfolio is aimed at the top-tier professional photographers, providing a strong set of tools and features that may be too complex for beginners. For the pros, it offers stylish design templates, quick gallery uploads, and an in-built payment system for selling prints.
The best website builders for photographers available
While Format doesn’t provide the same range of features as more robust website builders, it streamlines virtually every aspect of building a website. Its ease of use and decent set of features for basic website building make it a great option for any photographer looking for a simple way to develop a website.
Users can choose from more than 60 themes, with premium themes available for an additional charge. Every theme is thoroughly customizable, so you can always make changes if you don’t like particular aspects of a given template. Format is free for up to 14 days, giving users more than enough time to test the platform.
Furthermore, each theme is set up to display perfectly on all devices, including computers, tablets, and phones. You can easily check what your site will look like on different devices using the Preview function.
Format also makes it easy to upload and display images on your site. After uploading, simply drag and drop each image to the desired location. Assuming you don’t want to make any changes to your template, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to put your new site online.
It’s also worth mentioning that Format provides some extra features and options that aren’t available with certain competitors. For example, users can import an existing domain, create an online store and blog, and edit CSS directly. There are numerous video tutorials to help you understand the platform’s functionality.
It has two plan categories - Portfolio and Workflow - which themselves have three and four pricing plans respectively, and which cover an ascending scale of capacities, features and services. The Portfolio plans start at $15 a month with the Pro package, rising to $25 a month for the Pro Plus package and $40 for the Premium plan, while the Workflow plans start with a free service, moving up through the same options as Portfolio and at the same cost points.
Read our full Format review.
Although Squarespace isn’t specifically designed for creatives, it still comes with sufficient features for photographers. Arguably the most well-known website builder, it provides numerous professional templates including options for both full-screen and grid formats.
Squarespace automatically crops and resizes images for you, so you won’t have to do any extra work to make your site look good on all devices. Furthermore, while certain colors, fonts, and other options are applied by default, you can quickly customize these based on your preferences.
Unlike Carbonmade, Squarespace gives users the ability to set up password protection on certain pages in their gallery. You can also set up a contact form in just a few clicks to give visitors an easy way to get in touch with you if they’re interested in your work.
While most users will focus on the platform’s web interface, Squarespace works surprisingly well on mobile devices through its iOS and Android apps. All things considered, Squarespace provides everything most photographers need to showcase their work on a professional site.
Read our Squarespace review.
Like Format, Carbonmade is designed for speed and ease of use rather than a deep set of features. That said, it’s built specifically for photographers and other creatives, so many of its tools are perfect for artists.
In contrast to Format, Carbonmade only includes a small selection of templates, although you do have some control over the specifics of each design. It also has a highly intuitive interface that facilitates quick website creation and editing. There are three tiers of pricing, starting with the Beginner package at $8 a month, with the Pro and Expert tiers respectively costing $12 and $18 a month.
While help resources are available if you run into any issues, Carbonmade generally makes it easy to find what you’re looking for on your own. It provides decent room for customization without making the interface overly complicated or confusing.
Carbonmade Messages, one of the platform’s more unique features, enables site creators to communicate directly with visitors who are interested in their photography. Other tools include the option to connect a custom domain or upload images directly from your Dropbox account.
Although Carbonmade is missing a few features, such as password-protected pages and online sales, it’s still worth considering for photographers who simply want to display their work. Especially given its affordable rates, Carbonmade is an accessible option for many photographers.
Dunked is missing the depth of some of its competitors, particularly with respect to its selection of templates and features. On the other hand, it makes up for these issues with incredible ease of use, enabling users to put their websites online in as little as a few minutes.
Like many other website builders, Dunked uses a drag-and-drop approach to website building. Subscribers can also split images by category or simply onto different pages for full control of site layout. The platform’s simple interface streamlines these processes into just a handful of clicks.
While Dunked doesn’t provide as many templates as other website builders, each template works well on all devices and screen sizes. Additionally, experienced users can make fine-grained adjustments by editing the CSS. Speed and accessibility are two of the platform’s greatest advantages.
Dunked is undoubtedly too simple for some use cases, but most photographers will find that it has all the tools they need to get started. It offers a ten-day free trial, so you can set up your site before deciding whether to stick with the service or switch to another website builder,
There are two paid options, Agency and Professional, priced respectively at $19 a month and $8 a month, offering different services and features for businesses and individuals.
Zenfolio, on its homepage, states that it's been voted the top website builder for photographers, by professionals, and on looking into what it has to offer, there's not much to suggest this is wrong.
A very strong toolset included with plans aims to help photography businesses flourish, with features aimed at users and clients, which other builders might not do. It is however quite complex for beginners.
In terms of templates, Zenfolio offers a wide variety of stylish designs that can be modified to suit your own brand, while photo gallery uploads are quick and easy, and include password protection options.
An in-built payment system means selling photo prints is incredibly simple, while the multiple plans available offer top features such as unlimited storage for RAW files, image protection, and security.
Further reading on website builders
If you're looking to find out more about simpler website building tools, make sure to read our guide to the best easy website builders available. If you're on a budget, read our comparison between free website builders vs paid to see what might be best for your site.