Posted: December 8, 2011
Updated Summer 2013
Every week it seems a new company launches offering photographers simple to set up web portfolios. They all claim to have great SEO, offer responsive design or html mirror sites, etc, so what makes them all different? Who stands out?
Here’s a list of some of the ones I know people like, please comment below to add more.
This list covers template-driven websites, not custom designed ones. If you have the means, I highly suggest going custom. There is nothing quite like the attention to detail and creativity you can get when working one on one with a good designer. My personal website and ILoveTexasPhoto.com were built on customizing WordPress themes.
I haven’t used all of these sites so don’t know how easy their backends are to navigate. Would love to hear people’s feedback! Hope this is helpful…
HTML Based Sites (compatible with ipad and most mobile devices)
- Graph Paper Press – WordPress themes for photographers. Great comparison pricing chart at http://graphpaperpress.com/pricing/. Pricing starts at $0 and goes up to $99 a year. Integrates with Photoshelter.
- 22Slides - Free 14-day trial and a flat $10/mo afterwards. Mobile-compatible, HTML5, integrates with lots of services like Dropbox, Tumblr, Instagram, and Flickr. The biggest differences we think there are between our service and the others is probably the customer service (We’re smaller and can afford to spend more 1-on-1 time with people) and the ease-of-use.
- 4ormat- Easy to use interface. Plans offer websites that are optimized for mobile devices. No HTML knowledge required. Free 30 day trial. Basic plan for $6.99 per month, pro plan for $12.99 per month.
- Behance ProSite- Build site for free, go live for $11 per month. No programming required to use and setup. Import your blog. No behance ads or branding.
- Big Folio – $299 set up fee, $19 per month subscription fee. Includes HTML5 sites for iPad and iPhone. Offer personalized SEO for $699 and up. Design services available for logo creation. Proof delivery sites available.
- Big Black Bag- Price plans start at $8.99 per month for basic, up to $29.99 per month for pro unlimited. Responsive design so that site looks good on ipad, iphone.
- Big Flannel - HTML and flash versions of sites that are compatible with various devices. Prices starting at $99 per year. Big Flannel is extending a special offer to Jasmine DeFoore blog readers of 10% off everything in the first year of their purchase. Use the discount code DEFOORE10.
- Cargo Collective – Cool HTML publishing platform. Offers users free-standing websites and a wide variety of customizable templates. See it in action at Brent Humphreys’ site and Joseph Escamilla’s web site. By invite or submission only.
- Fluid Galleries - Free 30 day trial period. Using HTML5 and strong design practices, Fluid Galleries allows you to quickly build & publish your online presence across the web and mobile devices. Only one pricing plan with everything included at $16 per month with annual billing.
- FolioLink – Archive, print fulfillment, flash and HTML sites. Switch designs at any time for free. Free 7-day trial period. Prices range from $99 a year for students to $790 a year for pros. Some one time fees apply.
- FolioSites- Each photography portfolio website is hosted and controlled using the FolioSites interface which is based upon wordpress core providing the best possible service without the technical overhead required to run a server. Great integrating social sharing tools and a unique gallery presentation system which allows you to use photos, videos and html code as slides. Check out Emiliano Granado‘s site for an example. One set fee for all users of £60 per year.
- Indexhibit- Services provided according to a schedule: http://www.indexhibit.org/services/ . Entire site customization usually starts at £1000.
- Koken – Free! Also, nearly all of the default themes it comes with are fully responsive.
- Krop – Builds professional creative portfolios and resumes searched by companies. The basic portfolio plan (with a limit of 10 images) is free. The pro plan (with unlimited portfolio images) is $9.99 per month.
- Made by Minimal- $100 setup fee and $99 annually. Unlimited portfolios, unlimited photos. Pay a one time fee of $99 for mobile optimization.
- Neon Sky - HTML5 sites. $350 to set up, $45 a month
- Pixpa - Preset and customizable designs. Embed video. Use FotoMoto to sell prints or downloads. Free 15 day trial. Pro plan for $19.99 per month or $199 per year. 50% discount for students. Optimized to work seamlessly with ipad, iphone, and other mobile devices.
- PortfolioWebsites.com - Prices range from $12 per month to $26 a month. A mobile optimized website will be shown automatically when your website is viewed on a smartphone.
- Photobiz - geared more towards the commercial photographer who needs to sell consumer goods with photos on them & shopping cart functionality for selling merchandise. See example of shopping cart at http://sample1.photobiz.com/cart/ . Offer HTML5 (and flash) templates. Mirror sites for mobile devices.
- Redframe – sister site of ifp3 (listed below). Free 10 day trial period. Three different payment plans, lowest is $30 a month.
- SpaceCraft - A new service with HTML5 and responsive design. Pull your social feeds like Twitter and Instagram right into your website. Lowest price starts at $8 per month.
- Squarespace - Free 14 day trial period. Offers social integration. Compatible with ipad, iphone, and android. Seamless blog importing. Photo galleries. Starting at $8 per month for a standard plan and $12 per month for the unlimited plan.
- Viewbook – Gallery basic plan starts at $4.99 per month, $9.99 for a standard portfolio, and $19.99 per month for the pro plan. Portfolio app available for viewing on ipad.
- Virb - Free 10 day trial period. Customizable themes. One set price of $10 per month. Doesn’t support WordPress for blogging.
- Visual Server- Self-administered website creation tool and hosting service. All pricing includes $50 setup fee. “Lite” service plan for $20 per month or $200 per year. See Julie Blackmon‘s site for an example.
- Whiteloupe - Free 30 day trial period. Batch uploading and easy drag and drop sorting. 100% html (no flash) with built in mobile compatibility. Starting right now at $15.00 per month.
(Mostly) Flash Based Sites. Many include applications and HTML mirror sites to make them compatible with ipads, iphone, etc.
- APhotoFolio.com - Started by Rob Haggart of aphotoeditor.com. One time fee of $1000, $17 a month hosting fee, no ongoing subscription fee. Changing template incurs a charge. Most templates are flash with mirror sites, however, the newest template Design X is HTML5, optimized for mobile devices, and built for retina display. Check out Adam Voorhes site for an example.
- Click Booq – offers three different payment plans. good comparison chart at http://clickbooq.com/pricing.html. Video integration, HTML mirror site for SEO, sell images online with proofbooq.com
- Dripbook - In addition to displaying your portfolio on the Dripbook website, you can export that portfolio for display elsewhere (including a stand-alone website using your own domain name). More export options including a free iPad + iPhone App, a Facebook App, a free Android App, and more.
- Flosites- Logo identity and full brand design. Custom pricelists, brochures, and stationary to match site. Customized blogs. Can pay for each of these upgrades separately or buy packed deal. Portfolio sites starting at $2600.
- LiveBooks – Very popular with the editorial photography world, the downside of which is that you can usually tell when you’re looking at a livebooks site. $399 a year. iphone and other mobile device compatibility. After months of terrible customer service, Livebooks announced it was acquired by WeddingWire in July 2013.
- Other Peoples Pixels - Free two week trial period. Starts at $160 per year and goes up to $260 depending on plan.
- Picaholic – Flash sites with HTML mirrors. Uses full URLs, which should help search engine ranking (at the very least it helps creatives share your work by being able to send a link to a specific page to a colleague). From $25 a month or $200 a year.
- Portfoliositez - Most templates are Flash site with HTML mirror. They have a few template options that are Pricing starts at $5 a month + a setup fee.
- Photo Identies – $399 to $1199 depending on how many services you add on. Pro option offers HTML mirror.
- Photoshelter – Basic website and advanced photo archive tools. Plans start at $9.99 a month. Buyer portal allows creatives to find photographers by specialty, location, etc. Company is great about offering free advice to the photo community through downloaded white papers on topics like SEO and blogging.
- Portfoliositez.com – blog and flash sites. Website is good at explaining the basics of having a web presence (hosting, domain names, etc). Low monthly charges. Compare features and pricing at http://portfoliositez.com/pricing.php
- Qufoto – Pro account allows you to create multimedia slideshows within the CMS. $19 to $34 a month.
- Zenfolio – Ecommerce soultions. Free 14 day trial. Basic plan starting at $25 per year. Premium for $100 per year.
Here’s an interesting discussion on aphotoeditor.com about the pros and cons of Livebooks, HTML, flash, etc. It’s over 2 years old but there’s still a lot of useful info to glean from it.
And over at Agency Access, Suzanne Sease walks users through the custom vs template debate.