Guaranteed you'll love them or your money back in full
Signature Lightroom Presets
SEO & Conversion Focused
Showit Website Templates
Schedule Your Free Discovery Call!
Things That Can
Read, study, take notes, take action, get results. That's what it's all about. And when you want more, simply send me a message using my contact form.
We're The Goldies!
As a professional photographer, having a visually stunning and user-friendly website is essential to showcase my work and attract potential clients. However, with so many design platforms available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one that suits my needs and style (and budget).
DISCLAIMER: Below, you will find my personal thoughts and opinions on various website builders. I am an affiliate for Showit and have my own Showit website templates, but please understand that does not sway my opinion one way or the other. My duty as an educator in the photography industry is to be unbiased with recommendations and to uphold my responsibilities to help in the best way that I know how.
Before we dig into all of this, please just know four primary things:
In this article, I will explore some of the top design platforms for photographers and share my insights on which one might be the best fit for unleashing both your creative vision as well as your boost in SEO performance and higher rankings (and conversion rate to boot).
One incredibly popular option among photographers is WordPress. Known for its flexibility and customization options, WordPress allows me to create a unique website that truly represents my brand. With numerous photography-focused themes and plugins available, you can easily showcase your portfolio in a visually captivating way.
That said, I don’t recommend just “any” WordPress theme/design/platform, so stick with me throughout this article.
Additionally, WordPress offers powerful SEO plugins/tools that can help boost visibility in search engine rankings, ensuring that my work gets noticed by the right audience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced web designer, platforms like Showit (my personal favorite at the time of this article) provide endless possibilities for creating a stunning online presence.
After all, your website is your most important marketing & conversion tool that you have as a professional photographer.
WordPress is a popular choice for photographers looking to create visually stunning websites with its vast selection of customizable themes and user-friendly interface. With WordPress, photographers have the ability to showcase their work in a way that reflects their unique style and vision.
One of the main advantages of using WordPress for photography websites is its flexibility. There are countless themes and plugins available, allowing photographers to easily customize their website to fit their specific needs. Whether it’s creating a portfolio page or adding an online store, WordPress offers a wide range of options.
However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons before choosing WordPress as your website design platform. One advantage is that WordPress is open-source software, meaning it’s free to use and has a large community of developers constantly working on improvements and updates. This ensures that your website will always be up-to-date with the latest features and security measures.
On the other hand, one drawback of using WordPress is that it can be more complex to set up and maintain compared to other platforms like Squarespace. Additionally, while there are many free themes available, some premium themes may require additional costs.
That was a long heading to this part of the article, but that about sums it up.
This is my top, go-to recommendation for any professional photographer who specializes in niches like weddings, elopements or portraits to the public.
A beautiful WYSIWYG drag-and-drop page builder, fantastic customer support, an intuitive UI (user interface) within the Showit dashboard, and stunning templates available from many different designers. All check boxes when looking for professional designs.
On top of that, Showit integrates directly with WordPress, meaning you will be blogging within the WordPress dashboard and getting access to the wide array of incredible SEO and conversion plugins available to WordPress-based blogs. BIG WIN! (They will help you with the login point, etc). FYI – When you blig in WordPress, it will automatically appear within your Showit design after it’s connected properly.
Yes, I have my own Showit website templates that are already ready to rock ‘n roll for your aesthetic, baseline performance, conversion, and SEO heading tag structure – but the support team at Showit also has your back for all the FAQs that will naturally occur as you are putting things together and building throughout your career.
Affiliate link: You can use this discount link for Showit to get some money off. (I still recommend Showit regardless of the affiliate link though – just giving you a discount if you want it.)
Personally, I have Showit website templates for wedding, elopement and portrait photographers. Photographers who are incredibly advanced in their career as well as total newbies have used my template designs with success, and you’re dang sure that we track their conversion rates and increases in income* throughout the process.
* No guarantees, of course – but just saying the facts. It’s awesome to see what has happened when photographers have used these templates. Obviously a big variable is in the quality of the work, the personality of the human behind the brand, and the quality of the marketing efforts by the business.
I highly, highly recommend you check out Showit for its versatile platform and (in my opinion) perfect blend of aesthetics, design platform, customer support, and template designs that are ready to be implemented quickly.
When it comes to sleek and modern designs, Squarespace is a very popular choice for photographers. The platform offers a wide range of beautifully designed templates that are perfect for showcasing your photography portfolio.
Additionally, Squarespace’s user-friendly interface makes customization a breeze, allowing you to easily make changes to your website without any coding knowledge (like many other modern-day website builders). They refer to their newest drag-and-drop builder as the “Fluid Engine,” but I still personally prefer the Showit builder over Squarespace. My two cents, of course. You might feel differently, but it’s still not a WordPress or Showit design (my favorites).
One of the standout features of Squarespace is its integrated e-commerce functionality, which allows photographers to sell prints and merchandise directly from their website. This makes it convenient for both you and your clients to purchase and display your work in a professional manner.
For photographers looking to create a website with a contemporary feel, opting for sleek and modern designs can captivate their audience – Squarespace is an overall solid option.
One stand-out popular choice is using minimalist templates from Squarespace, which emphasize simplicity and clean lines. These templates showcase the photographer’s work without any distractions, allowing the images to take center stage.
Additionally, responsive layouts are crucial in today’s digital landscape where users access websites on various devices – and the Squarespace platform seems to nail the head on this one. With responsive designs, photographers can ensure that their website adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes and resolutions, providing an optimal viewing experience for their audience.
Sleek and modern designs not only elevate the visual appeal of a photographer’s website but also contribute to creating an innovative and engaging user experience. By incorporating cutting-edge design elements, such as bold typography or parallax scrolling effects, photographers can leave a lasting impression on visitors. The combination of striking visuals and intuitive navigation creates a seamless flow throughout the website, encouraging users to explore further.
It is important to note that these sleek designs often come with built-in tools that allow photographers to effortlessly personalize their websites without requiring extensive technical knowledge or coding skills.
To easily customize your website, you’ll love the user-friendly interface that allows for seamless personalization without any technical know-how or coding skills required. With easy customization options and a drag and drop interface via the Fluid Engine on Squarespace, you can effortlessly modify your website’s layout, colors, fonts, and images to reflect your unique style and brand.
The intuitive design platform provides a variety of pre-designed templates to choose from, making it simple to create a sleek and modern website that showcases your photography in the best possible way.
With these user-friendly customization options at your fingertips, you can create a stunning website that truly represents your unique style as a photographer.
In short, Squarespace is a great option, but I just prefer WordPress & Showit websites for the reason mentioned in that respective area above.
Similar to the WooCommerce functionality via a WordPress website, Squarespace is a popular option for those that have eCommerce stores as the forefront of their business. So, if you are a landscape or travel photographer that specializes in artwork and not portraits – then it could be an option that you explore specifically for that purpose. Just weigh it against WooCommerce and Shopify designs.
Maximize your sales potential with the integrated e-commerce functionality that allows you to effortlessly sell your prints and merchandise directly from your website. With this feature, you can offer a seamless shopping experience to your customers, making it convenient for them to browse through your portfolio and purchase their favorite prints or merchandise with just a few clicks.
Integrated payment options ensure secure transactions, giving your customers peace of mind while boosting your credibility as a professional photographer.
When it comes to designing websites for photographers, Wix is a popular choice that offers user-friendly templates and customizable features. With its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, I can easily create a stunning website that showcases my photography portfolio.
Here are some reasons why Wix is commonly used by photographers:
With all these features combined, choosing Wix as the platform for designing my photography website has been a great decision so far. Now let’s move on to discussing the ‘format’ section without wasting any time.
When it comes to creating a portfolio website for photographers, Format is an excellent choice.
Their platform offers a wide range of portfolio-focused designs that are visually appealing and showcase your work beautifully.
In addition, Format provides built-in proofing and client management tools, making it easy to collaborate with clients and streamline your workflow.
Lastly, Format understands the importance of SEO optimization for photographers and ensures that your website is optimized for improved visibility in search engines, helping you attract more potential clients and grow your business.
Personally, SmugMug was my first website – and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I could have my website that showcased my work, a client gallery function right in there, and it connected to the print shop that I preferred at the time. Perfect, I thought.
That said, SmugMug felt dated to me after awhile, and I eventually cruised through various platforms over my career after leaving them.
That said, if you prefer a minimalist design or something more vibrant and bold, SmugMug has got you covered. And the best part? You don’t need any coding skills to make it happen. (But neither do many of the other modern-day platforms).
When looking for alternatives to SmugMug, it’s important to consider pricing as well. SmugMug offers competitive pricing plans that cater to different needs and budgets. From basic plans for hobbyist photographers to advanced plans for professionals, there is an option for everyone. If you are closer to being the side of a hobbyist, SmugMight might be a good option for you (my two cents) – but I don’t recommend this platform to pro photographers.
A massive amount of photographers use PixieSet. It’s marketed as an all-in-one platform, but even they themselves have their home page SEO title “Client Photo Gallery for Modern Photographers.”
And that’s what they are really known for. Client galleries.
But when push comes to shove, all-in-one platforms (all of them at the time of this article), aren’t really all that great (in my opinion).
What should be done for your professional photography business (regarding your website and client gallery) is this:
Bottom line, when you are trying to OPTIMIZE everything in your business, it’s not just a matter of finding the “best all-in-one” platform.
It’s a matter of optimizing EVERY AREA of your business regardless of the number of tools or subscriptions that you might be paying for.
After all, even if you are paying for a larger number of things; if your systems are dialed in and profits are going up because of the additional conversions —- then who cares? It’s all a matter of the maximum ROI (return on investment) for your efforts, after all.
That said, Pixieset is a good platform for photographers who don’t want to deal with that.
It’s a great platform for those who just want simplicity and that is taking priority.
If that’s you, that’s 100% okay.
But at the end of the day, WordPress/Showit with a WordPress blog will still be my recommendation.
Showit. Personally speaking, I’m a fan of anything WordPress based at the foundation – or at least that integrates seamlessly with WordPress. And because photographers (by large) are not professional website designers, I prefer a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop builder like Showit.
And if you are reading this far into this article, I’m going to give you a coupon code for $100 off any of my templates that I typically only reserve for my photography business mastermind members. That Showit coupon code for my Showit templates is ROCKSTARDESIGN100. You can use that on any website template on any payment plan – making your decision incredibly affordable.
Yes, you can definitely sell prints of your photographs directly through your website on WordPress, but if you aren’t needing a completely dedicated site with top-of-the-line eCommerce functionality (like may high-end fine art landscape & travel photographers), integrating something like a fine art Pictime gallery suffices perfectly fine (Use Pictime coupon code G9Y7CP for a free month). Either way, with the right WordPress eCommerce plugins and payment options (or something simple like Pictime which is already designed for photographers), it becomes incredibly easy to set up an online store and start selling your prints to a global audience.
WordPress offers various e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, which allows you to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers. You can customize your store layout, showcase your prints with high-resolution images, and even offer different sizes or framing options.
When it comes to payment options, there are plenty of choices available such as PayPal, Stripe, or even direct credit card payments. These secure payment gateways ensure that both you and your customers have a smooth transaction process.
So whether you’re just starting out or an experienced photographer looking to expand your business online, selling prints directly through your WordPress website is a fantastic way to showcase and monetize your work while reaching a wider audience in innovative ways.
Personally speaking, I have a Showit website that integrates with Pictime to sell printed artwork.
There are no limitations on the number of photos you can upload on Squarespace. However, there may be limitations on file size to ensure faster loading times for your website. Be sure to run each page through something like GTMetrix.com to determine your page speed.
To optimize your images for faster loading, it’s important to reduce their file sizes without sacrificing quality. This can be achieved by resizing via proper Lightroom export settings and compressing the images before uploading them via tools like TinyJPG.com. Additionally, using image formats like JPEG or WebP can also help in reducing file sizes while maintaining good image quality.
By being mindful of these limitations and optimizing your images accordingly, you can create a visually stunning website that loads quickly and provides a seamless user experience for your visitors.
Yes, Wix does offer specific features for photographers, including password-protected galleries. This feature allows photographers to share their work with clients and control who has access to their images. It adds an extra layer of security and privacy, ensuring that only authorized individuals can view the photos.
Additionally, Wix provides various other tools and functionalities that are beneficial for photographers, such as easy image uploading and editing options. With these features, photographers can showcase their work in a professional and visually appealing manner.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for print sales options specifically, WordPress might be a better choice as it offers more robust e-commerce capabilities with plugins like WooCommerce or simple links to places like Pictime (as mentioned above).
Yes, you can absolutely customize the layout and design of your portfolio website on Format. They offer a wide range of customization options that give you the flexibility to create a unique and visually stunning website.
Personally, I believe that something like Format is a solid option for commercial photographers who just need the basics and want things ultra simple. That said, if you are a wedding, elopement or portrait photographer, I’d go with something like Showit instead. My two cents.
From choosing different themes and templates to customizing fonts, colors, and images, Format has all the tools you need to bring your creative vision to life.
Whether you want a clean and minimalist look or something more bold and vibrant, Format allows you to easily customize every aspect of your website’s design.
With their user-friendly interface, it’s simple to experiment with different layouts and designs until you find the perfect fit for your photography portfolio.
So if you’re looking for a design platform that offers exceptional customization options and design flexibility for your commercial photography business, Format is definitely worth considering.
Technically no, but it does integrate with WordPress. And at the time of this article, the Showit customer support team (a group of badass individuals), will help you understand the steps necessary to make your website live and will help get it connected properly to your WordPress blog.
You can even change your main website pages into WordPress pages, if desired. You’d simply follow their helpful doc that walks you through it. Read this article on converting your Showit home page into a WordPress page.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing a design platform for your photography website, there are several options available.
WordPress is a popular choice among photographers due to its flexibility and customization options. With numerous themes and plugins tailored specifically for photographers, it offers great versatility in creating a unique and professional website.
Showit is my personal favorite option since it’s a great drag-and-drop design editor, has fantastic customer service, integrates seamlessly with WordPress – and therefore getting you access to a wide array of incredible SEO and conversion plugins for WordPress-based websites.
Squarespace is another excellent option, offering sleek and modern designs that are visually appealing. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy for photographers to showcase their work and create a stunning online portfolio.
Wix also provides an array of customizable templates and features that allow photographers to create a personalized website with ease – but it’s not a recommended platform by me.
Format is a design platform specifically designed for creative professionals, including photographers. It offers beautiful layouts and galleries that effectively display photographs in high quality. I do recommend to consider this option if you are a commercial photographer who just wants things to be simple.
SmugMug is known for its focus on photographers who desire to have artwork stores, providing powerful tools for organizing and selling images online. That said, I would consider this website platform to be better designed for hobbyists rather than high-end pros. (Yes, I know there are many pros who use SmugMug, but I believe there are better options out there for aesthetics, branding and conversion).
PixieSet is primarily marketed as an “all in one” platform to photographers, which is why it is so massively popular, but equally leaves pro photographers left thinking “what else is out there to improve the perception to my brand?”
Ultimately, the best design platform will depend on your specific needs and preferences as a photographer. Consider factors such as customization options, ease of use, pricing plans, and the overall aesthetic appeal when making your decision. By carefully evaluating these platforms, you can find the perfect one to showcase your photography skills to the world in the most effective way possible.
If you are stuck on your decision, reach out to me and I will be happy to lend some guidance. Just understand that my typical recommendation will be Showit.
And if you’d like help with your photography business as a whole – inclusive of your website design and its respective SEO, have you considered hiring me as your photography business coach yet?
Get Help & Join The Mastermind
I help photographers (of all types) as well as educators (course creators, consultants & coaches) make more money, work fewer hours per week, and improve their work-life balance. All without ads.
If that sounds like something you're wanting for yourself and your business, check out how I can help. What I offer is a blend between coursework, coaching, and done-for-you services. I have all the options you could need. And, of course, if you ever want to see which is the right path for you or if you have any questions - just reach out to me using my Contact form on my website or simply schedule a free call with me.
I really am here to help.
Photography mastermind »
Education Mastermind »
Listen & Subscribe!
Check Out My Podcast Below
How i Can Personally Help you
Choose Your Path
Apply for a Free Discovery Call
Get on a *free* 1:1 Zoom call with me to help identify a path that is unique to you. It will also give us a chance to chat about what it's like working together on that unique path. Schedule your call now!
Showit website templates, and custom website optimization sessions that are designed for both conversion and SEO.
Signature Lightroom Preset Pack
Quite possibly the last pack you'll ever need. These took me more than 12 years to refine.
Photography Business Mastermind
SEO, sales, website conversion, systems, automation, client communication, time management, and way more. Get my personal help directing you... step-by-step with full clarity, accountability, and with strategy that helps get you more bookings, more profit, and more time back with your family.