Instagram, 500px and other Flickr are very popular tools for sharing our photos, but ultimately they are only social networks dedicated to photography and not a real way to present a portfolio. In this article, we will detail the different web services that allow you to create one, even without any knowledge of website creation.
From the moment we start talking about the creation of a website, many are held back by the idea of having to code an entire site or free up a budget to call on a professional. Today, thanks to shared hosting offers and Open Source CMS such as WordPress or Joomla, the creation of simple websites has become accessible to the neophyte and the curious, but not everyone has the desire and the time to get on it. This is why we are going to analyze here the free and paid services that offer you to create a “turnkey” portfolio.
Given the plethora of offers available on the market, the list below is not exhaustive, but brings together the sites best suited to the creation of a portfolio, as well as the most popular among photographers.
The free ones
In reality, almost no site offers a real completely free and comfortable solution: each time, many paid options are added in order to remove certain restrictions, whether it is storage, domain name or even The advertisement.
No, it's not the CMS that you will have to install on a server and customize at will based on plug-ins and lines of code, but its little brother which is none other than a website hosting and management.
Like its big brother, the CMS, WordPress.com offers a fairly simple interface to learn and fairly wide customization possibilities for a free service: downloading and modifying templates (free and paid), modification of the layout, logo, font, etc. At the hosting level, you will have enough to store up to 3 GB of data, or thousands of photos.
In the radius of hiatuses, if the free offer allows you to present your work properly, the list of restrictions and disadvantages is unfortunately quite long. In the free version, among other things, advertisements will be imposed as well as a domain name of the “monsite.wordpress.com” type, with the impossibility of installing extensions of the professional gallery type. These three points alone should limit the “pro” impact if you want to canvass customers. However, if you like the universe and the reliability of WordPress, paid offers ranging from 4 to 25 €/month allow you to lift these restrictions without having to manage the maintenance of your site.
→ Site web : wordpress.com
One of the main competitors of Wordpress.com on the market, Wix also offers many themes for all types of sites, including nearly 40 free and designed for photographers. Above all, we notice a greater simplicity of modification thanks to a simple drag and drop to add, delete or modify content.
To qualify all the same: like its competitor, Wix imposes in its free version advertisements and a domain name of the type “mysite.wix.com” as well as a storage limited to 500 MB. To lift these restrictions , it will be necessary to opt for a package ranging from 8,25 to 24,50 € / month.
→ Site web : wix.com
Acquired by Adobe in 2012, Behance is the perfect hybrid site. At the crossroads between a community space for creatives, a social network and a real way to present a portfolio, Behance may not be the ideal solution on all levels, but it deserves to be considered, d especially since it's 100% free.
Presented like a social network with the wall on the home page, its system of “likes”, comments, etc., the real attraction of the site lies in the layout of the profiles. These allow you to present your work in the form of a portfolio with the creation of projects that can contain photos and text, but also a personalized presentation to describe your background, CV and work.
→ Site web : behance.net
Cargo Collective is also aimed at all creative people – and therefore at photographers – but focuses more on quality than on quantity. About forty themes are available in free version, sober and elegant and perfectly highlighting the visuals.
As stated above, the emphasis is on quality and this criterion is found in the free and paid version. In the free template, you will only have 100 MB of storage to create up to 12 projects and 3 fixed pages. To switch to the Premium version, it is not enough to just pay: in addition to paying €9/month or €66/year, you will above all have to present the use you want to make of your site – a good way to continue to benefit of an image of quality service.
Note recently the launch of Cargo 2, a 100% paying service at €99/year or €13/month. Version 1 is still available.
→ Site web : 1.cargocollective.com
With nearly 900 online portfolios, this editor doesn't bother with details and gets straight to the point. It's up to you to create your portfolio in a few clicks! To do this, the free offer provides you with around ten free templates.
The interface highlights your projects and offers only the bare minimum in the radius of the modifications, namely the font and the color, the rest remaining fixed. In its free version, you will be limited to creating 3 projects and 35 uploaded images. To increase this quota, it will be necessary to opt for the subscription at 12 €/month and thus be able to increase to 50 projects and 500 images.
Carbonmade is perhaps not the sexiest offer on the market due to its price and its limitation. However, its ease of use makes it a truly attractive offer.
→ Site web : carbonmade.com
Intended solely for hosting portfolios, unlike more general offers, Portfoliobox also provides its users with quality and professional-looking templates with a complete customization interface. But where the site editor pulls out of the game is by offering an e-commerce service.
Obviously, we must not kid ourselves… In its free version, everything is limited, and especially the store. You will thus be restricted by uploading 30 images, creating a maximum of 10 pages, and above all uploading 10 products at a time. Of course, these restrictions can be lifted provided that you subscribe to the Pro offer set at €5,90/month in order to benefit from a personalized domain name, the uploading of 1 images and all the other unlimited services.
→ Site web : portfoliobox.net
As we have seen previously, few offers are really free for total freedom of creation and personalization. Therefore, why not turn directly to a paid service which, in addition to offering real freedom of action, has specific and essential tools for professionals, such as the creation of private galleries or a space for e -commerce for the sale and management of prints and user licenses.
Long – and still to this day – one of the most reputable and comprehensive offerings, PhotoShelter has just about everything a photographer could expect when looking for this type of service.
PhotoShelter delivers a wide choice of sober and professional templates, malleable and customizable, a personal domain name, all accompanied by the possibility of creating unlimited public and private galleries as well as the sale of prints and photo licenses.
There are three types of offers, the main difference being in terms of storage capacity: €10/month for 4 GB (but unable to benefit from proofing), €25/month for 10 GB (with proofing) and 35 €/month for all unlimited services.
As for the negatives, there's not much to complain about PhotoShelter except for only being available in English. A small complaint...
→ Site web : photoshelter.com
More or less, SmugMug offers the same services as PhotoShelter: an easy-to-use interface, an interesting offer of professional and customizable templates, public/private galleries and e-commerce.
If the services are identical, the two competitors differ mainly in their subscription offers. First of all, SmugMug still offers unlimited storage and traffic; on the other hand, the services there are much more limited depending on the offer you choose. Among the four possible subscriptions (from 4 to 25 €/month), you will have for the least expensive a choice of templates and restricted customization, the impossibility of creating private galleries as well as creating an e-commerce service. To have access to the private galleries, it will be necessary to opt for the second offer, the e-commerce the third and, obviously, the fourth for even more advantages of referencing, management of the shop, etc.
Some services are only available by upgrading to a more expensive subscription, but for someone just looking for a way to showcase their work, SmugMug is great!
→ Site web : smugmug.com
Like its direct competitors, Squarespace offers basic services for creating a professional portfolio, but above all around sixty responsive and fully customizable templates. To differentiate itself, Squarespace places particular emphasis on e-commerce management.
Among the four subscription offers, all basic services are included – note that the domain name is however only free for the first year. The offers are separated by certain details: the first at 11 € / month allows you to create only 20 pages or galleries while the others are unlimited. Above all, the site will take 3% commission on e-commerce sales, where the Business offer at €17/month will only draw 2% by providing you with a personalized email address and an Adword coupon.
With the two Online Store Basic and Advanced offers (24 € and 36 €/month), you will no longer have any commission and many more advantages and tools to manage your sales. This service is mainly aimed at those who intend to regularly sell prints and user licenses via their site. The others will surely pass their way.
→ Site web : squarespace.com
Associated for some time with 500px in order to replace the 500px Portfolio service, Format offers one of the easiest interfaces to learn. Of course, all the basic options are available, such as public/private galleries, e-commerce, personal domain name (free for the first year), etc.
Ideal for those who already have a well-stocked 500px account and are looking for a portfolio service thanks to this partnership, Format offers a simple tool for importing photos already present on the social network. But the real positive point of this site lies in the provision of basic proofing. Thus, regardless of the chosen offer, you will be able to offer your customers private galleries to which only they will have access in order to select, annotate and download the photos from their shootings. A real time saver and a perfect tool for simplifying exchanges with your customers.
The four available offers differ mainly in the storage capacities of galleries and e-commerce. The first proposal at €6/month allows you to upload up to 100 images and 3 products to end with a fourth offer at €44/month with unlimited gallery and product hosting, as well as the creation of 100% custom templates through a code editor.
→ Site web : format.com
Far from being the most elegant on the market, Zenfolio basically offers the same functionalities as its competitors with around thirty customizable themes, unlimited storage and a personal domain name. Zenfolio makes the difference with its e-commerce management tools. In this sector, it is the most complete offer for managing orders, creating price lists (per unit or by lot), and above all putting you in direct contact with partners for the realization prints, photo albums, etc.
An ideal proposition for wedding photographers, for example, who are often required to submit this type of service.
To fully satisfy you, three subscription offers are available ranging from 5 to 30 €/month depending on your management needs.
→ Site web : zenfolio.com
In this register, Photodeck generally offers the same options as the competition mentioned above. The asset of Photodeck is to be the only site of this list available in Spanish since created by Spaniards. So, whether you are a fan of Made in Spain or simply because Keira Knightley's language puts you off, Photodeck is for you.
Except for this Francophile argument, you will have to choose from three subscription offers: Folio at €10/month, Pro at €21/month and one intended for videographers.
The basic options are included in each of these offers, except e-commerce which is only available in the Pro offer. The other difference is in storage: 10 GB for the first, 60 GB for the second.
Note that in the Pro version, proofing is available as well as the sale of prints. Above all, these are made in partnership with the Parisian laboratory Picto, whose reputation is second to none. An additional guarantee of quality for your customers.
→ Site web : photodeck.com
Among the 12 sites presented above, you should find your happiness according to your means and the use you want to make of them. Of course, many other sites also offer this kind of service, but it is impossible for us to list them all here.
In any case, no matter which one you choose, always keep in mind that to present a portfolio well, it is useless to display a huge amount of photos. On the contrary, be selective, take the time to present only your most successful photo projects. Better 5 projects of 10 high quality photos than publishing everything. Social networks are there for that, not your portfolio!