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9 Best FREE (or Cheap) Website Builders for Photographers in 2021

Jade Mudri Jade Mudri September 09, 2021
September 09, 2021

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. In some cases, you can do it all for free!

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

Short on time? Here are the best photography website builders in October 2021:

  1. Wix – Intuitive drag-and-drop editor with almost 50 templates and tons of apps designed specifically for photographers
  2. SITE123 – A great way to get your photography portfolio online quickly and easily
  3. Squarespace – The best-looking, most modern templates around, with tons of space for your images

See 6 more fantastic builders | Comparison Table

1. Wix – The Best Selection of Photography Website Templates

Wix photography templates
Hands down, Wix has the most versatile collection of photography templates.

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!

In addition, Wix’s App Market lets you 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 2

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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.
Try for free?
Yes, free-forever plan
Photography themes and templates? 40+
Mobile-Responsive? No, but mobile-friendly
Price of cheapest paid plan $14.00

2. SITE123 – The Most Beginner-Friendly Builder

SITE123 templates for photography websites
SITE123 templates are all pretty similar, but they look fantastic across devices.

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. 

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’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to process online payments, however.

site123 logo alt 2

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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.
Try for free? Yes, free-forever plan
Photography themes and templates? 80+
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $12.80

3. Squarespace – Professionally Designed, Image-Forward Templates

Squarespace photography template
If you’re going for a high-end design, Squarespace is your best bet.

Squarespace is often praised for its striking templates, and its photography template category is no exception. These templates come with the space to present your photos in their best light, and you could even choose a template that’s not specifically designated for photography but still has an image-focused layout.

The block editor lets you choose from a series of page layouts and gives you some freedom to customize the look of your site. The page elements (buttons, headers, etc.) snap to a grid, so you don’t have complete freedom to place them anywhere you’d like – but there’s an upside to this limitation. Squarespace’s layouts are well-thought-out, and when you work according to the grid, everything stays neat and aligned, without distracting visitors from the real stars of the show – your photos.

Squarespace has a series of eight different gallery layouts to display your photos, and you can also find layouts for appointment scheduling, contact forms, customer reviews, and more.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a free forever plan, but Squarespace does offer a 14-day free trial.

squarespace logo alt 2

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Features

  • Built-in image editing. Squarespace boasts the most image editing options, allowing you to make a range of adjustments (e.g., brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, shadows) so your photos look their best.
  • E-commerce functionality. You can sell a variety of products on Squarespace, including prints, digital downloads, your photography services, and even gift cards. You can keep track of all sales from your dashboard.
  • Integrated marketing. When it comes to spreading the word about your products and services, you can keep everything in one place: Squarespace integrates social media, email marketing, and SEO, and you can manage it all from your account.
  • 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.
Try for free?
Yes, 14-day free trial
Photography themes and templates? 20+
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $12.00

Zyro Portfolio Templates
Zyro’s templates are fairly simple, but that can be a plus for photographers.

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 from, 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 logo alternative

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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.
Try for free?
No, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee
Photography themes and templates? ~15
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $2.90

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

Jimdo template for photographers
Jimdo Dolphin makes it super easy to customize your favorite template.

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. 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.

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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.
Try for free?
Yes, free-forever plan
Photography themes and templates? 15+
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $9.00

6. IONOS – The Best Customer Support for Beginners

IONOS photography template
IONOS rivals Wix’s massive library of templates – and most of its designs look pretty good.

IONOS (by 1&1) is a versatile website builder with a massive library of well-designed templates, including dozens of options for photographers. The Starter plan (MyWebsite Now) is fairly inexpensive compared to the other options on my list, and it includes everything you could possibly need to create a gorgeous and functional photography website.

The editor itself is pretty basic, but if you ever need help implementing a new feature for your site, you can rely on your personal consultant – provided by IONOS for free, as part of your plan. This makes IONOS one of the best options for you if you’ve never built a website before.

There’s no forever-free plan, but for $1.00 per month, the starter plan is almost free. Plus, you have 30 days to change your mind and get a full refund.

Features

  • Fully-responsive designs. All IONOS templates are pre-optimized to look good across multiple devices.
  • Professional email. Unlike with other site builders, you won’t have to pay extra to get an email address @yourdomain. One is included for free in every IONOS plan.
  • Built-in analytics. Curious to see how your visitors spend time on your website? IONOS’ simple analytics tool can tell you just that, and more.
  • Room to grow. You can easily add email marketing, an online store, or other features to your plan. Most of these cost extra, but the prices are fair overall.
Try for free?
No, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee
Photography themes and templates? 60+
Mobile-Responsive? Yes, all templates
Price of cheapest paid plan $1.00

7. Square Online – Best for Setting Up an Online Store for Free

Square Online template editor
Square Online has a single template on offer, but it’s optimized for sales.

Square Online is the only builder on this list that doesn’t make you upgrade to a paid plan to open an online store. Instead, it takes a 2.9% + 30¢ fee for each online sale – which means you only pay once you start earning.

You can’t sell digital products on your site, but you can sell physical photos. You can also sell memberships for exclusive content, and you can even sell event tickets, which is handy if you do speaking events in connection with your photography.

Although there’s just one starting design, it’s not hard to transform it into something useful for your niche. You can create a section on your homepage that showcases featured photos, for example, or display client reviews. Sadly though, Square Online is only available in certain countries, like the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and the U.K.

Features

  • Payment security. Square monitors transactions to keep an eye out for fraudulent purchases, and the company will even manage payment disputes on your behalf. Square Online is also PCI-compliant, which means it meets security standards set by the credit card industry.
  • Simple set-up. Square Online’s set-up wizard not only walks you through customizing your site, but your store and product inventory as well. As e-commerce is more complicated than regular site building, assistance here is pretty useful.
  • Customer management. Your dashboard lets you import and manage contact lists. You can group contacts however you want (for example, “top users” or “likely buyers”), contact those people, and view analytics that help you assess customer interest.
  • Social media integration. If you want to share your work on Instagram, Square Online’s social media integration will be handy. By connecting your site to your Instagram account, you can make sales directly on Instagram’s marketplace. You can also manage Facebook ad campaigns.
Try for free? Yes, free-forever plan
Photography themes and templates? No
Mobile-Responsive? Yes
Price of cheapest paid plan $12.00

8. BigCommerce – Best for Starting a Large E-Commerce Platform

BigCommerce photography templates
If you have a large collection of work for sale, BigCommerce might be the way to go.

BigCommerce goes all-in on the best product management tools, but falls a little short when it comes to other page types or a really user-friendly interface. It’s made for large online retailers who are adding and selling a lot of products regularly, and it offers many features you can’t easily find with other major e-commerce site builders.

There’s a strong selection of e-commerce templates, including some for photography, with homepage and category page layouts that highlight your products with large images.

All of that seems trivial in comparison to the product-selling power that BigCommerce offers. You can manage thousands of products, with options for bulk editing, creating categories, and other essential functions.

Features

  • Dozens of e-commerce functions. You can apply changes in product variants to multiple items, personalize prices based on customer segments, add product filters for easy browsing, categorize products by brand, and much more.
  • Sort and filter tools. These are automatically added to your site’s category pages so your customers can sort by featured items, price, alphabetical order, and more, all from the dropdown menu.
  • Marketing and conversion tools. These include abandoned cart emails, built-in newsletter sign-ups, and the ability to manage sales across other channels, including eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Integration with third-party apps. You can integrate your site with useful apps like MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Try for free?
Yes, 15-day free trial
Photography themes and templates? ~10
Mobile-Responsive? Yes
Price of cheapest paid plan $29.95

9. GoDaddy Website Builder – Best for Uploading Lots of High-Res Photos

GoDaddy Website Builder photography templates
GoDaddy has a fair number of photography templates – not bad!

GoDaddy Website Builder is one of the few options on this list that doesn’t strictly limit your storage or bandwidth – even on the free plan. This means it’s great if you plan to host your own photos (especially if you have a large library of work ), or you have lots of users accessing your site.

GoDaddy has several templates built specifically for photography, and its AI tools can help you get a website up and running in no time. When you sign up, you can select a niche, and GoDaddy generates a base template with roughly 20 different variations. The templates come with large headers (which can feature your latest book cover), About and Contact pages, a blog, and a simple mailing list form.

Free users can only access a limited number of page templates. But on the bright side, there’s a lot of useful content you can add to any given page, like snazzy welcome messages, or countdown timers for upcoming events. Note that GoDaddy’s free plan is only available in certain countries (like the U.S. and U.K.).

Features

  • Social media tools. GoDaddy’s content creator tool lets you build posts for Instagram or Twitter with templates, customizable text, and graphics. You can also manage multiple social media accounts and post to them from within your GoDaddy dashboard.
  • Email lists. You can collect readers’ email addresses and send out newsletters to them. Free accounts allow up to 100 emails per month, so if you expect to have lots of followers, you’ll want to upgrade.
  • Pop-ups. You can create a message that pops up for visitors when they land on your site, or a certain page. You can edit everything, from the text font and background color to the pop-up’s animation. It’s handy if you want to draw attention to your latest work.
  • File sharing. You can add a list of downloadable files (including PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and zip files), so visitors can check out your free ebooks or ebook samples.
Try for free?
Yes, free-forever plan (in some regions) or 15-day free trial
Photography themes and templates? 7
Mobile-Responsive? Yes
Price of cheapest paid plan $6.99

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 to have 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’ve never built a website before and you just want to get online quickly, then SITE123 could be ideal. It’s easy to learn and it doesn’t overwhelm you with too many features.
  • If you don’t mind paying a small monthly fee, many photographers prefer Squarespace for its clean and professional template designs.

For more details, check out this handy comparison table:

Photography Website Templates Image Editing Capabilities Storage on Free Plan
Wix 40+ Intermediate 500 MB
SITE123 80+ Basic 500 MB
Squarespace 20+ Advanced Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
Zyro ~15 Basic 500 MB
Jimdo 15+ Basic  500 MB
IONOS 60+ Intermediate Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
Square Online
None Basic Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
BigCommerce ~10 Basic Unlimited (on cheapest plan)
GoDaddy Website Builder
7 Basic Unlimited
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