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6 Best (Really FREE) Website Builders for Photography Sites [2019]

Jade Mudri
Jade Mudri
55
December 02, 2019

Not every website builder can give you what you need to build a high-quality, stylish photography website that stands out in an exclusively visual industry.

You’re looking for a builder that offers beautiful templates and gallery layouts and allows you to upload hi-res photos, but there’s more to it. Your website builder should also provide marketing tools to help potential clients find you online.

Choosing the wrong website builder can mean a waste of time and money on a website that doesn’t suit your aesthetic. But if you choose right, you can build a fully functioning site that displays your photos in the best light within a few hours – and for free.

We tested the best website builders on the market. On this list, you’ll find only the ones that provide you with all the tools you need – and more.

Best Photography Website Builders – Our Top Picks

  • Site123 – The quickest and easiest platform to set up and to put your portfolio on display
  • Wix – Pixel-perfect drag-and-drop editor with 40+ professional photography templates to choose from
  • WordPress.com – Great blogging features, the right choice for visual storytellers
  • Weebly – Built-in advanced editing tools to perfect your images for different screen sizes and devices
  • Squarespace – Premium platform with an exclusive selection of designer portfolio templates
  • Pixpa – Created especially for photographers to build a professional portfolio website and bring in more paying clients

What We Look For in the Best Website Builders for Photographers

I tested dozens of website builders, but only six made it to this list. Here’s what instructed our choosing process:

  • Clean, professional, and attractive design: Say no to clutter and large blocks of text. Your photos should be in the spotlight.
  • Personalization: Because your website should be a reflection of you and your business. Customize themes, layouts, colors, and fonts for 100% creative freedom.
  • Bulk image uploader: Save time by uploading your entire photography portfolio to your website in one go.
  • Ease of use: You won’t need to learn how to code. These website builders are drag and drop, with plenty of out-of-the-box theme options.
  • Mobile readiness: So that your website and images display beautifully on any type of device.

1.  Site123 – The Best Platform for Beginners

6 Best (Really FREE) Website Builders for Photography Sites [2019]

View all Site123 templates

The ultimate in user-friendly website builders, Site123 makes it fast and easy to set up a brand new photography site. In fact, you can be up and running in under two minutes! Beginners will especially appreciate the tutorials to guide them through the whole process, and the fantastic customer support that’s always on hand.

There’s a surprisingly large selection of over 80 photography templates to choose from, but not a lot of variety. Most of the designs have a very similar layout, and you don’t have as much freedom to change things around. But the templates are modern, clean, and professional, and you can still add your own personal touch with custom fonts, colors, and branding (like your business logo).

Site123 photography templatesView all Site123 photography templates

Site123 is a no-frills, user-friendly platform. If you just need a high-quality, professional portfolio and a way for clients to reach you, without all the extra bells and whistles, then this is the free website builder to choose.

Top Features

  • Crisp, clear image display: Necessary for all your high-definition photographs. When someone clicks on an image in your portfolio, it automatically opens in full-screen mode with handy social sharing icons across the bottom.
  • Multiple gallery layouts: From slideshow and carousel galleries to simple rounded images, you can customize your photography portfolio to suit your style.
  • Easy-to-use custom form builder: Get the information you want from your clients by creating your own contact and booking forms. Add, remove, and change the text, auto-reply message, thank-you message, and more.
  • 24/7 customer support available: The support team makes it easy for you to reach out to them via live chat. And they’re serious when they say they’re available 24/7; when I tested, I got a response in under a minute every time!
Free forever?Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates?80+
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, all templates

2.  Wix – The Complete Website Package

Wix is a popular website builder that’s about as ready-to-launch as you can get. The free plan gives you everything you need to create a functional, high-quality website, including secure and reliable hosting (though storage and bandwidth are both limited to 500MB), and 40+ professionally-designed photography templates to choose from.

Wix photography templatesSee all 40+ professional photography Wix templates

The template designs are minimalist and clean, with lots of white space so that your images can do the talking. If customization isn’t that important to you, you can simply replace the text and images on the template of your choice with your own, and your photography site is ready to go!  Or, play around with hundreds of different fonts, effects, and colors to brand your website and make it a perfect reflection of your business.

Just make sure you’re 100% happy with the one you choose because Wix currently doesn’t let you change your template once your site is live. But it’s not a deal-breaker, because you get a lot of customization control and can add, change, and arrange elements however you like to give your site a new look and feel. Plus, if your heart is really set on a new template, there’s nothing stopping you from changing it – you’ll just have to redesign your site from scratch, because your original content and design won’t transfer over.

Top Features

  • Beautiful, full-screen gallery pages: The most effective way to showcase your best work, grab visitors’ attention, and keep them scrolling. You have full design control over your gallery layout and effects.
  • Excellent image quality: Wix doesn’t wash out colors like some other platforms do, and will automatically optimize your images for quality and load time. It also offers no-frills image editing tools to sharpen and enhance your photos for the web.
  • Eye-catching visual effects: Add advanced design features to your website like scroll effects, animations, and video backgrounds to give it a premium look and feel.
  • Built-in contact and booking pages: Complete with online forms to make it easy for clients to reach you. Most of the photography templates come with at least one of these pages already built and ready to be customized with your own text and branding.
Free forever?Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates?40+
Mobile-Responsive?No, but mobile-friendly

3.  WordPress.com – The Perfect Stage to Share Your Story

WordPress is one of the most widely-used website builders in the world, and when you see the level of customization it offers, you’ll understand why. Not only does it have the largest theme library for photography and portfolio websites, but it’s also one of very few site builders to give you total control over your source code. So if you have some coding knowledge, know someone who does, or don’t mind learning some basics, then the sky’s the limit with what your site can do.

WordPress.com templates for photographySee WordPress’ free themes selection

The platform is a little more complicated than beginner website builders like Site123 and Wix, as it’s designed to cater to advanced users as well. But once you get used to navigating around the dashboard, tweaking and managing your site is a breeze!

WordPress is totally free to set up and use, but your website will automatically have a WordPress.com domain name. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want a personalized domain name, to use premium themes or to add plugins to your site. However, it’s entirely possible to create a simple yet beautiful photography website with free options alone.

Top Features

  • 100+ stunning photography and portfolio themes: And that’s just in the WordPress theme library. You can also find hundreds of free WordPress themes on the web from independent developers.
  • Worldwide support from the community: The WordPress support network is unlike any other. It’s entirely community-run with over 500,000 active members around the world, covering more than two million topics on the official support forum.
  • Thousands of plugins and widgets for extra functionality: Countless ways to make your photography website stand out. Add advanced gallery effects, professional watermarks, an e-commerce store to sell your photos online, and so much more.
  • Built-in SEO to help your website rank higher on Google: Better search engine visibility means more traffic to your website and more potential clients for you. WordPress is an SEO-friendly platform that lets you optimize your content and fine-tune the technical details.
Free forever?Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates?100+
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, but not all templates

4.  Weebly – The Easiest Way to Put Your Snaps on Show

The Weebly free website builder is an excellent choice for the budget-conscious photographer. It’s incredibly easy to use, and you get a lot of design flexibility to make the site truly your own.

The selection of themes is much smaller than other platforms, and there’s no specific photography category. But the portfolio category is well-suited to photography websites, and the designs are just as visually stunning as some of the best photography themes I’ve seen on other platforms. Plus, Weebly gives you more control over the layout and placement of text and other elements.

Weebly photography themesView all Weebly templates

Uploading images is quick and painless, but you can only upload in bulk when you’re creating galleries or slideshows. Weebly also doesn’t store all your images in a central directory when you upload them, which can be a hassle when you want to reuse the same image in multiple places on your site (like a logo or slogan).

Top Features

  • Mobile apps: You can build your website, edit it, upload photos, and reply to comments from Weebly’s powerful mobile app – no need to wait until you get to your computer to share the amazing shot you caught on the go.
  • Advanced image editing options: You won’t need to use a separate image editor before uploading. Weebly gives you extensive editing and enhancing capabilities, from adding filters and text to adjusting focus, brightness, saturation, and contrast.
  • Flexible gallery builder: Your photos will take center stage with a stylish gallery or slideshow. Bulk upload images, add a custom background and transition effects and choose from a collection of striking layouts.
  • Exclusive app integrations to make your site do more: Weebly’s App Center has over 50 free third-party apps that can be easily integrated into your website. You can find apps to help you create beautiful digital flipbooks, add social sharing icons, and build custom pricing tables.
Free forever?Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates?20+
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, all themes

Not Free, But Worth the Money

If you’re ready to step up your game and move to the professional photographers league, you might have to invest a few bucks a month to get a personalized domain name and remove ads – no matter which builder you choose to use.

But if you’re already on that route, why not take the next step and invest in a premium website builder? These two options have a free trial period plus something extra to make your photography website really stand out:

5.  Squarespace – The Premium Website Choice

For a high-end look and feel, Squarespace is the best website builder choice, especially for creatives. The designs are visually stunning and make your images the focal point.

Squarespace photography templatesSee all Squarespace templates

Similar to WordPress, Squarespace is a slightly more sophisticated website builder with a steeper learning curve. Beginners will need some time to get familiar with the platform (some features take a bit of digging to find), but it’s actually very easy to use once you know where everything is.

Although Square space is not free forever, you get a 14-day free trial where you can explore, build, and edit your website as much as you want. But to publish it live, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan.

Top Features

  • Designer photography templates: Stunning, image-centered designs to put your best work on display. For some added flexibility, you can also switch templates at any time.
  • Pre-designed starter layouts: Make your job quicker and easier by choosing one of the beautiful starter layout options. These have About, Portfolio, Contact, and other important pages already built-in and ready for your content.
  • Eye-catching image presentation: With multiple gallery effects and even more image editing tools than Weebly, your photography portfolio will always look picture perfect.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage: Squarespace doesn’t put a cap on your bandwidth or storage, so you can upload and display as many images as you want without slowing down your site.
Free forever?No, 14-day free trial
Photography themes and templates?20+
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, all templates

6.  Pixpa – The All-in-One Platform for Photography Businesses

When you’re serious about earning an income from your photography and building a proper business, you might want to consider a site builder that’s geared specifically towards that. Pixpa is unique in that it’s designed especially for professional photographers who have – or want to grow – a sustainable online business. It comes built-in with everything you’ll need to do just that, instead of you having to add these features to your website with apps or plugins.

Even at its most basic level, Pixpa gives you a fully integrated portfolio website, online store, client galleries, and blog. The client galleries are a particularly cool feature, allowing you to organize images and albums into private galleries which you can share with specific clients. And no matter which theme you choose, this all comes ready to be customized with your branding and content.

Pixpa templatesSee Pixpa’s theme library

Like Squarespace, Pixpa is a paid-only platform, but it’s slightly more affordable. All plans come with unlimited bandwidth and 24/7 support, but storage is capped. You can upgrade to a higher plan to get more storage, unlimited gallery images, and more advanced e-commerce features like abandoned cart recovery.

Top Features

  • Flexible branding options: Build a memorable brand by displaying your logo, fonts, and colors across your website. You can even create a custom branded favicon to make your site stand out when multiple browser tabs are open.
  • Curated library of professional portfolio themes: Over 35 bold, visually stunning designs to choose from. You can also change themes at any time.
  • Unlimited client galleries: Not only can you set up as many private galleries as you want – you can also personalize them for each client with unique layouts, banners, and a custom domain.
  • Commission-free selling: Sell images, prints, and digital downloads to customers all around the world, with no commission! Pixpa makes it easy to manage your inventory, track orders, and set international shipping and tax rates.
Free forever?No, 15-day free trial
Photography themes and templates?30+
Mobile-Responsive?No, mobile-friendly

Your Website Is Your Online Image – Make It Stand Out

No matter where you’re at with your photography business, saving a few dollars when you can is always a smart move. These six website builders are our top choices for creating a professional and affordable photography site.

While they’re all amazing options, the best one for you will depend on your individual needs:

  • If branding and customization are number one on your list of priorities, then you can’t do better than Wix and its thousands of design combinations.
  • If you’re a website newbie and need a platform that you can learn quickly, then Site123 is ideal for its simple dashboard and beautiful ready-to-go layouts.
  • If you like having a lot of options for your website design and functionality, then WordPress is the way to go for its enormous library of themes.
  • If you don’t mind putting in a little more time to learn the platform, then go with Weebly to get design control, advanced customization options, and a super-flexible drag-and-drop editor.
  • If you want to make an impact with a premium photography website, then Squarespace is well worth the price.
  • And if you’re serious about growing a self-sufficient photography business, then Pixpa puts everything you need in one place to attract and cater to clients.

No matter which of these website builders you go with, the finished product will be a stunning photography site that will help you stand out online and grow your brand. Get the final rundown

with our comparison table below:

 Photography themes and templatesImage editing capabilitiesStorage on free plan
Wix40+Intermediate500 MB
Site12380+Basic500 MB
WordPress100+Basic3 GB
Weebly20+Advanced

 

500 MB
Squarespace20+AdvancedUnlimited (on cheapest plan)
Pixpa30+Basic1 GB (on cheapest plan)
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