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6 Best REALLY FREE Website Builders for Photographers [2020]

Jade Mudri
September 21, 2020

Too busy for a full read? Here is the BEST Free Website Builder for Photography for 2020

Wix – The largest number of templates in the photography category with full-screen gallery pages. Click here for 50% off all Wix plans.

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 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.

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

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. 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
Price of cheapest paid plan$13.00

2. SITE123 – The Most Beginner-Friendly Builder

SITE123 templates for photography websites

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 homepage editor

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.

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

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 themes
Price of cheapest paid plan$4.00

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
Price of cheapest paid plan$6.00

5. Zyro – The Best for Converting Visitors Into Customers

Zyro is a user-friendly website builder with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can enrich your photography site by generating content, and tracking how site visitors navigate each page. You deal with the photos, and Zyro handles the words – teamwork!

The builder is targeted toward people who have zero coding skills and has the usual built-in features that any beginner would need. There’s a large library of mobile-responsive templates, an easy-to-use editor, free hosting, a free SSL certificate, and a 30-day money back guarantee for the “just in case”.

Zyro has around 70 templates to choose between, including over 15 in the portfolio category that would be perfect for a photography site. The portfolio templates have been designed with aesthetics in mind, so are clean, sleek, and built to highlight images.

Zyro Portfolio Templates
I loved how the Portfolio templates are designed to showcase large images

Top Features

  • AI writer for the content: Zyro has a built-in AI Writer that analyses copy from each industry niche, and then generates text for your site. Plus, it follows best practices for SEO.
  • AI Heatmap to track your site visitors: This tool shows you how your visitors are navigating through your photos so that you can rearrange your elements to maximize conversions.
  • Online store to sell your photos: You can set up an online store on your site with the most basic of basic e-commerce functionalities (e.g., there’s no help when it comes to figuring out how to tax or ship your photos). If all you need is the capability to accept credit card payments for your photos then it will suffice.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage: The very reasonably-priced paid plans for Zyro (besides the Basic plan) come with unlimited bandwidth and storage so that you can upload as many images to your site as you need to. Currently you can’t upload videos – you can only embed them from other third-party sites.
Free forever?Yes, with limitations
Photography themes and templates?~15
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan$1.30

6. Jimdo – The Quickest Way to Build a Photography Website

Thanks to its AI technology, Jimdo can take you from sign-up to finished website in a swift three minutes. 

The AI feature is called Jimdo Dolphin, and it works by asking you a few questions about your business and design preferences. We tested Jimdo Dolphin out in our expert review – the result is a very basic website, but you can have it up and running in no time. 

If you don’t want to use the AI tool, you can use the Jimdo Creator app and select a template to get started. Jimdo’s templates look good, though I wouldn’t say they’re quite as nice as the ones you’ll find on other website builders like Wix or Squarespace. On the plus side, Jimdo’s templates are mobile-responsive, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Jimdo template for photographers
Jimdo offers varied gallery layouts that can showcase your work

Top Features

  • Simple photo galleries: Jimdo allows you to easily design the photo gallery you want. Select one of the layouts for a horizontal, vertical, grid, or slideshow display, then size and space your images, and enable a lightbox effect for improved image quality. 
  • Online store for physical prints: List up to five physical prints in your store on the free plan and accept payments through PayPal. Alternatively, you can upgrade your plan to sell more and increase payment options. 
  • Create your own logo: If you need a logo, you’re in luck. We tested out the Jimdo Logo Creator, and it’s super easy to use – but there are a couple things you should watch out for. Use your new logo to brand your website and all of your other marketing materials. 
  • Keep visitors engaged with a blog: Start a free blog to share photography tips, include stories of photoshoots, or explain more about your experience and services. Embed videos and photo galleries or list store items in every post.
Free forever?Yes, but with significant limitations
Photography themes and templates?15+
Mobile-Responsive?Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan$9.00

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.

7. 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 Squarespace 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
Price of cheapest paid plan$12.00

8. 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
Price of cheapest paid plan$6.00


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:

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 & TemplatesImage Editing CapabilitiesStorage on Free Plan
Wix40+Intermediate500 MB
SITE12380+Basic500 MB
WordPress100+Basic3 GB
Weebly20+Advanced500 MB
Zyro~15Basic 500 MB
Jimdo15+Basic 500 MB
Squarespace20+AdvancedUnlimited (on cheapest plan)
Pixpa30+Basic1 GB (on cheapest plan)

FAQ

Is Wix a good site for photographers?
Definitely! Wix has over 40 templates specifically created with photographers in mind. They have incredible image editing tools, and are able to compress and optimize photos in order to speed up screen loading times for your customers. Wix knows the importance of letting your photos speak for themselves so the templates are minimal with a lot of white space to really highlight and focus on your art. I also love Squarespace for their photography templates which are so sleek and made for creatives. Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial to help you get a feel for the builder so that you can determine if it’s the right one for you.

Which free website builder is best for photographers?
We’ve tested all the best website builders and there are two great free 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. They have great customer support, e-commerce capabilities for an online store, and the ability to bulk upload your photos.

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, and their automatic image cropping and resizing tools make it a great choice for a photography portfolio. You can also password-protect specific gallery pages making them only accessible to your paying customers. They offer a 14-day free trial and if you want to continue after that then plans start at $12.00 per month. However, you should always check to see if there is a good Squarespace coupon available.

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.

SITE123’s most basic paid plan includes e-commerce capabilities, giving you the ability to sell your photos on your site. Wix does offer a free plan but if you need more bandwidth, more storage, or if you want to remove Wix ads from your site, then you’ll have to upgrade to a paid package. You’ll also need to upgrade if you want to connect your own custom domain. Also, while embedding videos is always free on Wix, you’ll need to upgrade in order to upload videos in high definition.

Whenever you decide to upgrade, make sure you check out our website builder deals and savings first.

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keshav
I did not find SITE123 user friendly at all. I thought WIX was more user friendly. I am someone who has built website in the past. SITE123 left me completely bewildered.
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