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.


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