Photography Portfolio Website Products Compared

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.



Discussion

  1. 01. j

    July 3, 2010

    i’ve been with neonsky for four years, (now with two sites), so i’m obviously a satisfied customer. but to be specific, they are are really easy to work with on customization (often for no, or only nominal fees) so that you can get away from the template feel. they are really quick with the changes and with responding to requests. they are extremely dedicated to development and on top of things with regards to new technology, SEO and the like, and i believe they are about to launch a new template platform that will allow for a lot more user customization. as it is now, they just launched a new content management tool, and the backend is extremely easy to navigate.

    my two cents.

  2. 02. David

    July 6, 2010

    For a custom photography website and more try digitaltechparis in New York:
    http://www.digitaltechparis.com/

  3. 03. admin

    July 15, 2010

    A lot of these sites don’t support deep-linking (in fact most don’t). APhotoFolio does and Neon Sky says they are working on it and should soon. That to me is a major downside to the flash sites.

    As an agent, I was constantly on the prowl for work that I liked. Not being able to send a link to a colleague of a particular image or gallery is really annoying.

  4. 04. Jeremy

    August 10, 2010

    Been using NeonSky for a couple years now and I second most of what David said above. Good support, easy to use the back end and customization tools.
    The one huge drawback is the deep linking.
    I have been asking about that for a while now and they say they are working on it, but as Jasmine stated above, it is terrible not to have it when trying to send a specific gallery to a potential client or other editor. I almost switched this year because of it, but was assured it was coming so I did not do it, such a hassle.
    Does my site look like everyone else’s?
    Not sure but I have been told it is easy to navigate and the images look good, so I stay with it. For someone like me who does not want to learn web design, the templates systems are great. I just have a designer help me with the logo and color schemes and go from there.
    Good post and blog in general, thanks
    jml

  5. 05. Jasmine

    August 10, 2010

    @jeremy, I think your site looks nice. It does look similar to other neon sky sites because of where the navigation is and the rollover sound effects (but I don’t think that is a big deal, as the images are what is most important)

    fingers crossed for deep linking SOON!

  6. 06. Jeremy

    August 18, 2010

    @Jasmine
    Thanks for the look
    Fingers crossed here as well.

  7. 07. Johanna Lowe

    August 24, 2010

    Alex and Bo at dripbook.com do a great job.

  8. 08. Lukas

    September 13, 2010

    Enjoyed your post.

    Wanted to let you know about 4ormat (http://4ormat.com) which has been in beta for a few months.

    Would love to hear your feedback about 4ormat.

    - Lukas

  9. 09. Jack S.

    November 3, 2010

    Great post Jasmine. Definitely brought some options I wasn’t even aware of :) .

    I help students and creatives get started with their websites and a portfolio cms can be very helpful for those without any web knowledge or experience.

    Some people aren’t in agreement with template systems, but I think its a great framework to start with that makes it easy for any artist to transition to the web.

    We deal mainly with indexhibit, secretary and wordpress: http://fastfolio.com

    Check us out and leave some feedback, we’re almost looking to improve. I will definitely be following you on twitter!

  10. 10. Pradeep

    November 7, 2010

    Zenfolio, Smugmug etc not even in the list?

  11. 11. Jasmine

    November 15, 2010

    @pradeep, I didn’t include them because I feel they fall under the enthusiast/prosumer category. There are so many great products for professionals that I had to limit the list.

  12. 12. Aaron Packard

    January 5, 2011

    Been using APhotoFolio since soon after it’s creation, I love it and my clients love it. Kudos to Rob!
    Also use photoshelter for stock/proofing/storage/print sales. Like it but the e-commerce on print sales could be better/easier on the bookkeeping. Really Backprint.com is my favorite (bookkeeping wise) for event print sales but their interface leaves a LOT to be desired.

  13. 13. Kevin

    January 5, 2011

    Showit is another great place for websites. They are fully customizable for only $39/month. Great option.

  14. 14. Ellen Petty

    January 5, 2011

    Photography Blogsites http://photographyblogsites.com/ is another to consider. All-in-one WordPress portfolio sites for photographers. Prices starting at $19/month, we are offering a limited time $499 Lifetime Membership offer. Includes hosting, maintenance, updates, backups and a one click switch between all our themes. No flash what-so-ever, so sites are fully viewable on mobile devices and ipads.

  15. 15. Michael Shelley

    January 6, 2011

    Your assessment of Photobiz is off base. They are definitely not just for folks who want to sell stuff with their pictures on it.

    I’ve found them to be one of the easiest and most flexible systems to use. One time setup fee, reasonable monthly rate and one-click template changes make them one of the best out there. Plus, their customer service is like no other in the industry. Extremely quick response and follow-up.

  16. 16. Jasmine

    January 7, 2011

    @michael thanks for weighing in on photobiz. In my research and when I put out a call to my network asking what companies people are using primarily for portfolios, it never came up.

    But I stand corrected about it being primarily a commercial app geared to people selling photo merchandise. That was something that I gleaned from looking at some of their example sites but you are right, that is not the whole story.

  17. 17. aliak, LLC

    January 19, 2011

    I found this post extremely informative and helpful. Thank you for taking the time to compile all the options. I do want to encourage you to take another look at Zenfolio- Though some of the others offer very pretty templates for portfolio review, the back end and sales aspects are lacking. Zenfolio has made real strides in the past several months with regard to functionality and their service is just unmatched. It’s true they offer consumer options, but their business packages are robust and offer much more than many of the template builders including fully customizable templates, sales fulfillment, excellent back end record keeping and simple user interface.

    Thanks!

  18. 18. erik

    April 21, 2011

    Sitewelder has completely Failed!
    Sitewelder’s email hosting for it’s customers went down over 24 hours ago and they are still not back up. After talking to them throughout the day and being told that it will be up in an hour, today, and now not answering the phone anymore, I am ready to move on. Email is the main way for a photographer to get work, and they have no backup system when they go down. Alan, one of the founders did not seem to be too helpful. The company is tiny and unprofessional. I think after this failure with there email that many photographers will be dropping them and going with a more reliable venue, such as Livebooks. I have been with them from the beginning and they have not been able to grow with the amount of customers they have.

  19. 19. Leonie

    August 2, 2011

    Dear Jasmine,

    Enjoyed your poste.

    I heard about ALLYOU.net a new online portfolio platform, which should be really easy to use. With a lot of fancy designs and updating is made easy.

    Would like to hear you comments about it.
    Greets

  20. 20. Jasmine

    August 2, 2011

    This looks interesting. would like to hear how it compares to sites like foundfolio and dripbook. will look into it. thanks for sharing @leonie

  21. 21. Dan

    December 14, 2011

    I’ve been using viewbook since i’ve graduated last May, I switched from livebooks due to price difference. I think this is a website that people should be paying attention. Currently as you pointed out here they are mostly flash, however with that being said the new V3 they have been developing which is scheduled to roll out in early 2012 (almost all of it is done) will be all HTML 5. This is going to be a big competitor in the future along with their Ipad app, cross platform use, very customizable, and clean look. http://www.viewbook.com/weblog/ Not to mention the price is amazing for what you get.

  22. 22. Jasmine

    December 16, 2011

    thanks for the tip Dan. I will definitely check it out!

  23. 23. Cameron

    January 25, 2012

    I with Dan and Viewbook on this one. I spent months researching online portfolio sites and I stopped when I found Viewbook. The reasons I chose Viewbook:

    * I can use my own url
    * Simple layout
    * Big pictures
    * Customization
    * Price

  24. 24. Shannon McIntyre

    February 8, 2012

    This might be slightly off topic, but I’m interested to know your thoughts on using an iPad for showing a portfolio in person? I’ve been hearing that this has become popular, but I still wonder if it’s underwhelming (too small).

  25. 25. Jasmine

    February 8, 2012

    Hi Shannon, I just hosted a portfolio review here in Austin and a few people had iPads. My feeling is, if the light in the room is good (not too much glare), it’s ok. But you will get a lot of compliments on a well-printed book if you show one. People still love to hold real books.

    If you’re doing a lot of motion work, or have a separate personal project to show, the ipad can be a nice supplement to the print book and complete your presentation.

  26. 26. Ali Sharaf

    August 21, 2012

    Thanks a lot Jasmine for the lovely post. Did you hear about Cargo? http://cargocollective.com I found top photographers like http://www.lachlanbailey.com using it for a while now. Awaiting your kind reply.

  27. 27. Kamini Dixit

    February 26, 2013

    Hi! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

  28. 28. Eric Kayne

    May 4, 2013

    Just switched from NeonSky to Squarespace. NeonSky was the bomb when I first signed up in ~2006: a flash-based site that looked slick and loaded fast. Eventually, I got tired of hearing about how terrible flash sites were for SEO (although I think NeonSky now mirrors sites in HTML in the background, it still seems like a patch fix). I also got tired of hearing (mostly) non-photographers and editors complain that they couldn’t figure out how to navigate the site. This got me thinking that I didn’t want to rely on a photo editor’s intuition, especially as NeonSky becomes more and more of a legacy portfolio website. Lastly, their backend, while fairly easy to use when I first started, is now kind of a mess with every single image I’ve ever uploaded to the site sitting in a side window that has become troublesome to filter through. I would typically just re-upload an image if I wanted it back in the mix because finding the original in the admin page had turned into a nightmare. I’ve been impressed with Squarespace so far. Their customer service is on-point, and everything is under one roof now: my wordpress blog, portfolio, galleries, even commerce (although I have Photoshelter for this aspect of things). When it was all said and done, the price is the exact same: $20 a month. However, this time I didn’t have to pay the somewhat exorbitant initiation fee like I did with NeonSky, which was much, much more than their current set-up fee. Also, my monthly fee is grandfathered. Their new fee ranges from $35-45. Anyway, my two ¢.

  29. 29. Jasmine

    May 7, 2013

    thanks for the feedback Eric! I’ve heard great things about squarespace and can’t wait to see your new site.

  30. 30. Ed

    August 15, 2013

    I’d like share some feedback about Aphotofolio with Design X. I cancelled my subscription because the $1,000 fee is overpriced for a product that under delivers. The desktop version has issues on iPads esp ipad1. When icons are pressed they are latent and will open up adjacent icons. The product has an Ipad version which is also hard to navigate and looks bad and has no options to customize. They have a great backend for uploading using flash, they give you a test environment to config in, have very good vimeo training vids and the Desktop output for desktop only product is very very good. In the end, during a beta test with a few users, they were all frustrated with ipad navbar and trying to bang at tiny icons to get functions to open, that I decided to opt out. This product output for navigation is just not designed for the user experience. Service is quick to respond with suggestions for settings. But this is not CMS. I’ll check back in with them with next iOS release, they may have things right by then.

  31. 31. Bryan Buchanan

    January 13, 2014

    I might as well throw our hat in the ring too: 22Slides (http://22slides.com)

    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.

  32. 32. wholesale cheap Packers jerseys china

    June 20, 2014

    Best VIP cheap Flyers jerseys Store

  33. 33. Tamika

    July 15, 2014

    It’s hard to find your website in google. I found it on 20 spot, you should build quality backlinks , it will help you to get more
    visitors. I know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tricks

  34. 34. Muriel

    July 16, 2014

    Finally i quit my day job, now i earn decent money on-line you should
    try too, just type in google – bluehand roulette
    system

  35. 35. Jon

    July 24, 2014

    I see a lot of interesting content on your page. You have
    to spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there
    is a tool that creates readable, google friendly articles in couple of seconds, just type
    in google – k2 unlimited content

  36. 36. ewmyers

    August 2, 2013

    Thanks Olivia!


Leave a Reply

*


© 2013 Jasmine DeFoore LLC