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  5. 6 Best REALLY FREE Website Builders for Photographers [2022]

6 Best REALLY FREE Website Builders for Photographers [2022]

Jade Mudri Jade MudriWebsite Development Expert September 14, 2022
September 14, 2022
Quick Disclaimer
Several free website builders will let you design a decent site – but the one thing none of these builders will give you is a custom domain. If you want your site to look professional (and keep in tone with your brand), you need a paid plan. As far as I’m concerned, Squarespace is my absolute favorite. It has the best-looking templates around, and even its cheapest plan includes a free custom domain plus unlimited storage. Squarespace has a 14-day free trial, so you can test all of its features before you buy.

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.

I tested all the major website builders on the market to see which ones provide exactly that. Wix has my favorite free plan because it gives you the most design freedom, but there were some other good ones as well.

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.

Short on time? Here are the best photography website builders in September 2022:

  1. Wix – Intuitive drag-and-drop editor with almost 50 professional photography templates to choose from
  2. Squarespace – Stunning photography templates that capture the imagination
  3. SmugMugThe best builder for storing and monetizing your portfolio

More fantastic free builders | Comparison Table | FAQ

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.

Wix photography templates
Browse more photography website templates on Wix


Wix is my favorite photography website builder for many reasons, but mainly because it really lets you create exactly the site you have in mind. The free plan gives you everything you need to create a fully functional, high-quality website, including almost 50 professionally designed photography website templates to choose from.

The template designs are clean and minimalistic, with lots of white space so that your images can do the talking. Any template can be customized, and it’s easy to use the drag-and-drop editor to change colors and fonts, adjust the layout, add animation effects, and much more. You can create a website that really reflects your style, and no one will believe you built it for free!

Just keep in mind that once you choose a template and start editing, you won’t be able to switch to a different template without rebuilding your site from scratch.

Another great thing about Wix is the App Market. It’s a magical place where you can choose from hundreds of apps to add to your website, and many of them are free. You’ll find customizable photo galleries, online photo editing tools, integrations with Instagram, and tons of other cool features.

wix logo alt 2

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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
Price of cheapest paid plan $16.00

Squarespace photography templates
See all Squarespace templates


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 is not free forever, but you get a 14-day free trial where you can explore, build, and edit your website as much as you want. The personal plan is incredibly affordable, at just $14.00 per month. And you get advanced SEO features along with a custom domain to really get your portfolio off the ground.

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.

squarespace logo alt 2 1 1

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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
Price of cheapest paid plan $14.00

3. SmugMug – The Best Builder for Selling Your Photos 

SmugMug Templates
SmugMug’s templates highlight your work in elegant and attractive ways.

SmugMug is a website builder designed specifically for photographers. What does that mean? Well, besides offering over 25 stylish templates, and unlimited storage space on every plan, SmugMug also comes with outstanding tools for organizing and selling your photos, and even a special plan for handling storage of your RAW files.

The “organize” tab lets you arrange your photos in different folders, galleries, and pages. You can bulk edit gallery characteristics like meta descriptions, security, and shopping. If you’re a travel photographer, for example, you can create a gallery based on every place you’ve been. Inside that gallery, you can add the location in the meta keywords, protect your photos from right-click downloads, and set a custom “thank you” message when someone buys from that specific gallery.

Whether you want to sell prints or offer digital downloads of various qualities, SmugMug is the best choice for monetizing your portfolio. The shop functionality is easy to set up, and it offers advanced features like discount codes, different prices for different quality downloads, and options for selling in bundles.

The one thing I don’t love is that although SmugMug’s editor is simple, it can still be confusing at times. The user interface is sometimes counterintuitive and finding specific features can be a bit of a headache. Still, for a stylish portfolio where you can sell high-quality prints, it’s worth putting up with a few quirks. 

Top Features

  • Photo lab partnerships. SmugMug has partnerships with some of the world’s top photo labs. This allow you to sell high-quality prints in a variety of materials and ship them all over the world.
  • Advanced features for selling prints. If you’re planning on selling prints, you can customize them even further by adding things like watermarks, back-of-prints messages, custom “thank you” cards, and more.
  • In-app editing. SmugMug offers native image editing for your site. It’s not the most advanced editor in the world, but it can get you out of a pinch.
  • Smart galleries. SmugMug can automatically add any photos you upload to “smart galleries” based on the criteria of your choosing. This makes the process of updating your site even easier.
Free forever? No, 14-day free trial
Photography themes and templates? 26
Mobile-Responsive? Yes
Price of cheapest paid plan $7.00

Zenfolio Wedding Template
Zenfolio is one of the easiest solutions for creating portfolio sites

If you’re looking for a simpler photography-focused solution for your portfolio, Zenfolio is the way to go. Zenfolio is a ridiculously easy-to-use builder designed to help you create stylish, attractive portfolio pages.

The Zenfolio editor is designed to be as simple as possible. You start out by selecting one of 11 available templates and uploading a gallery of photos. After that, you can easily edit your website colors, fonts, and button styles from the “Design” menu.

You add content using “blocks.” Every time you add a block, you can edit specific settings (like an image’s size, focal point, alignment, and scroll effects) and reorder the block’s position on the page. The block system doesn’t offer as much customization freedom as Wix’s drag-and-drop editor, but it helps you make a well-structured site.

Be advised: You can switch templates in Zenfolio if you want, but you’ll lose all your text and SEO settings. Basically, you’ll be starting your site from scratch, so make sure to back up any important content before switching.

Overall, Zenfolio is a great choice for creating a stunning portfolio site without needing to get to grips with the more advanced functionality you get with some of its competitors.

Top Features

  • Simple, intuitive galleries. Zenfolio’s gallery options are simple but useful. You add your photos to galleries, and you can sort your galleries into folders. Inside a gallery, you can edit settings like expiration dates, download permissions, watermarking, and more.
  • BookMe add-on. BookMe helps you streamline your booking process by giving you a centralized dashboard for handling things like shooting locations, calendar availability, and payment methods.
  • Find photos by model. Zenfolio uses face recognition technology to let you sort your pictures by the people that appear in them.
  • Lightroom plugin. If you’re an Adobe Lightroom user, you can install the Zenfolio plugin that lets you upload your finished products directly to your site, no middleman involved.
Free forever? No, 14-day free trial
Photography themes and templates? 11
Mobile-Responsive? Yes
Price of cheapest paid plan $5.00

SITE123 templates for photography websites
SITE123’s photography templates are simple but effective.

SITE123 makes creating your photography website a hassle-free process – in fact, you can have your website online in a matter of minutes. If you’re a beginner, you’ll really appreciate SITE123’s tutorials that walk you through the process of building your website. And if you get stuck, the customer support team is available 24/7 to help get everything running smoothly again.

There are 10+ photography website templates to choose from – all of them mobile-responsive. The templates include single-page websites (all the content displayed on a single page) and multi-page websites – but you can easily switch between the two in the settings tab of the editor. 

The templates are quite similar, but once you’ve chosen a template, you can customize it with themes (pre-configured color schemes and fonts). You can also change the colors and fonts to match your branding and add a customizable shape divider to your homepage image to make your website stand out from the crowd.

SITE123 supports e-commerce features, so if you want to sell your photos rather than just display them, you can add an online store to your website. If you choose to sell your images as digital files, you can upload the files and have these automatically sent to your customers’ email addresses when they complete checkout. You will need to upgrade to a paid plan to process online payments, however.

Something else to consider is that even SITE123’s premium plan limits you to 10GB storage and 5GB bandwidth. If you intend to upload lots of photos to your site or expect to attract lots of visitors per month, you may be better of choosing Squarespace, which gives you unlimited bandwidth and photo storage, even on its cheapest plan.

site123 logo alt 2

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Top Features

  • Eight gallery layouts. You’re not limited when it comes to displaying your photographs, as SITE123 gives you multiple gallery options, including a rounded gallery grid that really breaks from the “ordinary” square grid layouts you commonly find in website builders.
  • Full-size image display. Every time someone clicks on one of your portfolio images, it opens in a full-screen format to allow your visitors to fully appreciate your photographs. The full-size display works for all gallery types except carousel.
  • Bulk image upload. To make putting your photography online faster than ever, SITE123 supports bulk uploading of your images, so you can upload your whole portfolio in one go and then organize and add titles and descriptions later.
  • Custom image categories. Keep your portfolio neatly organized by creating custom categories for your images. You can easily create gallery pages for each category so your visitors can easily find the types of image they’re looking for.
Free forever? Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates? 80+
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $12.80

WordPress.com templates for photography
See WordPress’ free themes selection


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.

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.

wordpress logo alt 2

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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 themes
Price of cheapest paid plan $45.00

Which Builder Is the Best for YOUR Website?

You can use any of the builders on my list to create a professional photography website. Each one has its own strong points, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs.

If you want the freedom to design your website exactly how you like, then you can’t do better than Wix with its endless customization options.

If you don’t mind paying a small monthly fee, you may prefer Squarespace for its clean and professional template designs.

If you’re looking to monetize your work and store large amounts of data, go for SmugMug. Its advanced e-store features and partnerships with professional print labs make it ideal for shipping high-quality custom photo prints all over the world.

For more details, check this handy comparison table:
Photography Website Templates Image Editing Capabilities Storage on Free Plan
Wix 40+ Intermediate 500 MB
Squarespace 20+ Advanced Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
SmugMug 25+ Basic Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
Zenfolio 10+ Basic 15 GB (on cheapest plan)
SITE123 80+ Basic 500 MB
WordPress 100+ Basic 3 GB

FAQ

Is Wix a good site for photographers? Definitely! Wix has over 40 templates specifically created with photographers in mind. It has incredible image editing tools, and it’s able to compress and optimize photos in order to speed up screen loading times for your customers. Each of these templates is minimalistic, with a lot of white space to highlight your art. Which free website builder is best for photographers? There are two great ones to choose between – Wix and SITE123. Wix has better image editing tools, a larger range of templates, and full-screen gallery capabilities. SITE123 is definitely easier to use for beginners but has fewer templates on offer. Both have great customer support, e-commerce capabilities for an online store, and the ability to bulk upload your photos. For a more in-depth look, check out our list of the best website builders in 2022. Is Squarespace good to build a photography website? It’s amazing – a match made in heaven! Squarespace templates allow you to display your photos full screen, or in a grid format. It also offers automatic image cropping and resizing tools. Overall, Squarespace is a great choice for a photography portfolio. However, you need more than just a great builder to create a functional site. For more information, check out our guide to building a website in 2022.When should I upgrade to a paid plan? Free plans come with limitations. Certain features or functionalities are offered for free – for example the amount of storage provided – and if you want more gigabytes of storage, then you will have to upgrade to a paid plan. Most commonly, e-commerce capabilities are limited or unavailable on free plans. You’ll also need to upgrade if you want to connect your own custom domain.

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