Every photographer needs a portfolio, but there are thousands of ways to toss a few good images online. So what about going beyond just displaying your work? What about selling your work too? Thankfully, there are a few great platforms that photographers can use to both create a portfolio and sell prints online.
While you can create a portfolio with nearly any website builder, platforms designed specifically for photographers and creative professionals offer many more perks. Monetization through selling images can be a big perk, and saves time from having a separate online ordering system. They also tend to have designs that work well for photography portfolios and other tools to make updates faster. We’ve searched through the options and rounded up the best photography portfolio websites with monetization, so you can both display and sell your work in one place.
PhotoShelter is the luxury version of online photography portfolio builders, with a wide selection of great features for photographers. It’s actually several tools wrapped into one.
The first is the online portfolio builder. PhotoShelter templates use the latest HTML5 for modern looking websites that work well on any screen size, including smartphones. While you can customize your site with HTML and CSS if you happen to speak code, there’s no fancy internet knowledge required and all the edits are made in real-time, so you can see changes as you make them. Portfolios are easy to customize, and photographers can add their own watermark to images automatically too.
While the portfolio builder is great, it’s even better with sales tools. Photographers can choose one of several print labs that work with PhotoShelter for convenience, or use their own printer. Photographers set their own prices, and the transaction fee is between 8 and 10 percent. The shopping cart is designed just for photography, and orders can be accepted from 23 countries. Stock photography licenses can be sold through this platform as well.
Along with the portfolio builder and sales tools, PhotoShelter also offers cloud storage, so photographers can back up their files. Search engine optimization tools are included too, so that beautiful portfolio is easier to find online.
PhotoShelter plans range from $8/month to $50/month, with increasing amounts of cloud storage and extra features in each plan.
Pixpa has an excellent feature set at an affordable price. The website builder starts at $4 per month, though the ability to use the website for client proofing is only available in the $8 and $15 plans.
Pixpa uses a good variety of HTML5 templates that look good across all browsers and screen sizes. Since it’s template-based, it’s fairly easy to use. A drag-and-drop style editor allows you to edit the look of pages without knowing code. Social media can be easily integrated, and there are tools for search engine optimization and blogging too.
Pixpa can be used to create private client galleries, like for proofs, as well as for selling both prints and digital downloads online. The platform uses a Fotomoto plugin to make photo-ordering possible. Both tools make it possible to easily monetize an online portfolio.
While SmugMug uses templates, they include a drag and drop style editor too, so it’s easy to create a custom page layout for your portfolio. Widely popular, SmugMug has a lot of great options for creating photography portfolios.
The website builder is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) program that allows you to click on what you see to change that item, which makes editing the webpage simpler. The additional customization options may take more time, but SmugMug is a good program for creating a portfolio with a different look or layout.
While there’s a small handful of portfolio builders that allow you to sell prints, SmugMug allows photographers to sell both prints and photo gifts. Clients can order items from mugs to luggage tags featuring your work, all through your website.
The monetization feature is available on SmugMug portfolio plans of $12.50 a month or higher.
Zenfolio is truly a feature-packed program for the photographer looking to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
The portfolio tool allows photographers to create their own website using one of many beautiful themes. For photographers that want a bit more customization, there’s even a “Build Your Own Theme” option. Along with creating pages of images, you can create pages of text (like for an About page) or add a blog to your site. The webpages are optimized for both smartphone and larger screens.
Photographers can also easily add a store to their portfolio. Zenfolio has over 500 products, and photographers can choose which ones to add to their store. Clients can even order and design their own album right on the website. Photographers can bundle items into discounted packages, or choose to self-fulfill the orders.
Along with the website builder and online sales, Zenfolio also offers marketing tools. Photographers can choose to ask their visitors for an email, then easily build an email list and sent out marketing emails all within Zenfolio. Tools for search engine optimization and social media integration are also available.
Zenfolio is pretty packed with features, but of course those options come at a price. Monetization comes in at the $20/month price, though there’s a $5 option if you just want a portfolio. The $30/month option includes all of the marketing tools and a discount on the selling fees associated with image sales online.
Conclusion: Monetizing an Online Portfolio Saves Time and Money
Creating an online portfolio is a necessity for professional photographers today—but why stop there? Many website builders that are designed just for photographers offer a few extra perks, like selling images online either to clients or as stock images. By combining both features into one program, photographers can save some time, and sometimes even a bit of cash.