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The Ultimate Guide to Portfolio Builders

We talked to 823 real-life users of portfolio builders to find which one is best for photographers, designers and artists. Here's what we found.

(We created this guide by finding websites using portfolio builders. We then emailed them and asked if they recommended the portfolio builder. We personally replied to all responses. Our work is supported by affiliate commissions.)

Company

Description

Customer Satisfaction



People Like

  • Easy to Use — “Simple and easy all around”, “I find Format very clean and user friendly”, “It’s really easy to edit the captions and the alt text on photos”, ”Easy to learn and use”, “Easy to use interface”, “It’s really simple to use”, “I love it, simple, easy to use and navigate when putting together.”, “I know Squarespace always advertises how easy it is to use, but compared to Squarespace, Format is idiot proof.”, “Format provides a super clean, modern, easy to navigate site.”, “The editing interface is pretty self explanatory”

  • Price — “At a great price too.. I pay $6.99”, “I forgot what I'm paying for Format but as you can imagine, if you can forget the cost, it is pretty nominal!”, “The price is actually really good for the service and build that you get”, “It’s quite simple to use and doesn’t cost too much”

  • Templates — “Also customizing the design is quite easy”, “They have a good few design templates you can choose from”, “It’s really good on iPad and mobile”, “I tried out other website builders but Format was the only … where my website is exactly how I want it to look.”, “The layouts are nice and simple.”, “I’ve tried several other platforms, and this one is the best design and quality”, “They also add new layouts regularly”, “The designs / templates are nice and sleek and compliment whatever work you have.”, “They have so many layout options that are specially formatted for still and motion portfolios that it was very well suited for what I was looking for even before I did any customization.”, “would definitely recommend to anyone looking to create an online portfolio that is sleek and modern”

Screenshots


Format screenshot 1 Format screenshot 2 Format screenshot 3

People Like

  • Customer Service — "Bryan is a standup guy and has been extremely helpful since I first signed up.", "The customer service is second to none.", "The folks there have always been super responsive to any service requests."

  • Easy to Use — "It's intuitive", "It's really easy to maneuver and setting up your style.", "Creating the site was really easy.", "It's easy to use, intuitive", "The back end user interface is extremely simple, and makes it easy.", "Adding new work is easy. Layouts are easy to change as well.", "Backend is super easy to manage and organize."

  • Price — "It's fairly cheap.", "The price is right", "Their customer service and prices have always been very good.", "I decided on it after trying out both 22Slides and Squarespace and 22slides had the exact features I was looking for and was a better deal for me.", "Pricing is better than I've found anywhere else", "22Slides is competitively priced"

People Don't Like

  • Video — "I'm looking for a more video-friendly option.", "I am thinking to switch to Squarespace cause my works are animations and videos. I think 22Sldies is a good choice for photography."

Screenshots


22Slides screenshot 1 22Slides screenshot 2 22Slides screenshot 3

People Like

  • Customer Support — "Customer support is lightning fast.", "Customer service is very, very good.", "Customer support is ultra fast", "Email support is really fast, they always reply within a few minutes", "SmugMug also reply quickly when you contact them.", "I’ve also contacted support several times and they’ve always been very helpful and customer focused."

  • Printing & E-commerce — "The prints always look great and arrive quickly", "I'd recommend it to other digital photographers selling their work.", "Their print lab gurantees are unbeatable", "They really do a good job of printing", "I recommend them for selling photos!", "For print sales and order fulfillment— they've been the easiest thing to use.", "I highly recommend them for client galleries and business features.", "All the shopping cart functionality is embedded which is great"

  • Unlimited Space — "It's unlimited web space ... is a key feature.", "[I recommend them] for their unlimited photo storage", "I love it. Esp the unlimited storage, I have over 450,000 photos on their site."

People Don't Like

  • Blog — "They don’t have a blogging feature, or at least I don’t use it, if they have one.", "It doesn't quite do everything I want it to do (style of blog, more flexible template options, adding buttons) and I plan to make the change to a wordpress site this winter during my slow season.", "It doesn't work well as a blog.", "It's not perfect (for example: no blog) but nobody is perfect.", "For my blog I use Wordpress."

  • Complicated — "It's sort of complicated to get going and contains many features to navigate through.", "Site design is a steep learning curve, so it's a time consuming process unless you're a whiz at such things.... but my site has ended up heads and shoulders above my competitors.", "Yes, I like it, though it's not the most user friendly.", "It took some time figuring out how to modify every aspect of the template"

Screenshots


SmugMug screenshot 1 SmugMug screenshot 2 SmugMug screenshot 3

People Like

  • Typography — "I like the level of detail for font modification", "It's quite easy to work with it, there are many possibilities with design and type.", "I appreciate the fact that I can customize ... especially when it comes to spacing and typographic elements.", "Also the very high quality of fonts is very good."

  • Easy to Use — "Very easy to use and customize.", "I think it's easy to configure and handle.", "Super simple and easy!", "it's easy to use and there's a lot of variations in the templates.”, “it`s quite easy to work with it,”

People Don't Like

  • Limited — "Your options are kind of limited.", "You don't have too many design options", "All you is simply, but very limited.", "Not as much templates as other sites", "It's pretty basic when comes to website builders and does have limitations.”, “A bit limited at some areas”, “You don`t have too many design options but if you want a simple site it works well.”

Screenshots


AllYou screenshot 1 AllYou screenshot 2 AllYou screenshot 3

People Like

  • Print Fulfillment — "I love that people can order what they want from the site and the order goes straight to the lab so I don't need to worry about it.", "The only advantage of Fotomerchant would be the direct fulfillment prints.", "They are easy to and cheap to work with if you want to sell photos off of your website.", "I use the self-fulfillment option as I print and frame my own. It caters to both, those who want their products printed and shipped and also those like myself who do their own... I would and have recommended Fotomerchant!", "It's great, as clients can order right form the site it links direct to my printers."

  • Australian — "I chose Fotomerchant as it was Australian based and local printing services. There are so many others like 500px, SmugMug etc but at the time all the print services were in the US or overseas.", "I like that it's an Aus company that also uses Aus customer support & an Australian photo lab", "Good: Australian (no shifting conversion rates) and I know where they live"

People Don't Like

  • Not easy to use — "Navigation is clunky, no breadcrumbs for seeing where you are on the site.", "I have not had success in understanding their blog setup.", "The UI is counter-intuitive."

  • Templates — "The templates are fairly limited in the their ability edit unless you know a coder.", "There is a lack of templates and some things I couldn't add easily.", "Only a handful of the website themes are mobile friendly.", "I found the templates limited and the look and feel I was looking for wasn't there.", "Limited and relatively unsophisticated templates."

Screenshots


Fotomerchant screenshot 1 Fotomerchant screenshot 2 Fotomerchant screenshot 3

People Like

  • Printing — “[Photoshelter] supports European customer fulfillment for print orders”, “The [feature] that lets you send your photos to a print shop … is great”, “Their built-in sales and licensing platform make them a solid choice.”, “If you need your photos available for purchase and licensing immediately, and have customers who regularly do that already, its a fine system.”, “Their lab integration seems to be very seamless”, “I highly recommend it, especially for client proofing and delivery of images.”

  • Proofing & Client Galleries — “I make a lot of use of their backend functions for client proofing and image delivery.”, “I wanted something where … my clients could have secure hidden galleries for them to pick from and this does it.”, “I have galleries for each of my shoots and I can leave them up indefinitely so inevitably when the client contacts me in 5 years looking for something from a shoot I did yesterday, I can re send them a link.”, “[I recommend PhotoShelter] because my clients can login any time to download their files. I have 200 gb of photo files accessible on the site. All my client photo projects going back to 2011 are uploaded and access able to download from the site.”

People Don't Like

  • Pricing — “It’s not the cheapest option”, “The downside is their pricing reflects their awareness that in some ways they are the only game in town.”, “I think it’s too expensive.”, “I do feel it’s pricey.”, “The e-commerce fees were a little bit hidden and costly once sales started.”, “It is expensive though!”

  • No Gif Support — “They don’t support GIFs which seems like a pretty basic thing to have support for”, “The only thing I don’t like - it doesn’t support gif format”

Screenshots


Photoshelter screenshot 1 Photoshelter screenshot 2 Photoshelter screenshot 3

People Like

  • Simplicity — “I just don’t need all the bells and whistles like maps, buttons, forms and loads of pages”, “I’d say it’s for artists looking for a clean and simple platform”, “It’s a very primitive but tasteful portfolio builder and that’s why it’s so perfect. It provides what you need and nothing more.”, “It suits me because it’s simple and I’m quite lazy.”

  • Unique Themes — “It avoids the generic look of some template sites”, “It's super minimalistic and makes me feel like I don't have a cookie cutter same as everyone website”, “Lots of good themes”, “Better than Squarespace in my opinion, which doesn't allow a lot of customization and end up being very template-looking.”

People Don't Like

  • Coding — “You have to learn a tiny bit of CSS”, “[I’d recommend it] if you know a thing or two about coding. Or you’re willing to look it up.”, “There’s some HTML/CSS editing you have to do if you want to change the site from it’s stock settings.”, “[I wish I could] create something more personalized without knowing HTML, css etc.”, “It’s good! Specially if you know a bit of HTML.”, “Only downside is to build a store you need to know code”

Screenshots


Cargo screenshot 1 Cargo screenshot 2 Cargo screenshot 3

People Like

  • Phone Support — "They are very helpful on the phone when I have a challenge.", "You can talk to a real person in real time... They are always prompt patient and helpful.", "I find it's worth it in spades for the tech help and being able to actually talk with the human on the phone.", "It is great to be able to make a phone call during working hours to a tech guy who can answer questions."

  • Customer Support — "Great customer support", "They have been very helpful when I ask for help.", "Recently I needed the font size on one of my pages to be customized, and they took care of it within two hours.", "They've always been very helpful and I like their customer service people.", "Their customer service is very good and prompt.", "I've been with them a very long time, and have come to know some of the staff as friends.", "They're good natured and responsive with excellent customer service."

People Don't Like

  • Not Easy to Use — "When I [re-use an image] I have to upload the image from my computer (which is silly because they already the image) and I have to type in all the details that go with the image all over again. This can lead to small mistakes and everything not looking the same.", "Compared to other services, like Squarespace, it's a bit dated and somewhat cumbersome.", "I find it a bit cumbersome and non-intuitive to initally set up.", "My challenge has been in uploading content. The back end is a bit slow to me.", "The text editor is a bit funky feels outdated."

Screenshots


Foliolink screenshot 1 Foliolink screenshot 2 Foliolink screenshot 3

People Like

  • Simplicity — “simple and functional - would recommend”, “Super easy to set up”, “Super lite and quick and way more intuitive than Wordpress”, “I would recommend it for a simple portfolio”, “Very easy to manage a portfolio”, “Dunked’s admin UI is very straight-forward.”, “Super simple to use”, “I would recommend it to anyone who needs a quick easy site to display their work on.”

  • Price — “It’s been good for the price”, “Only $12 a month”, “Pricing model is good for what I want”, “It’s not super expensive (I think I pay $50 per year)”

People Don't Like

  • Basic — “If you’re looking for something more robust, Dunked might not be for you”, “Dunked has limited options”, “I generally wouldn’t recommend it, as it is too limited”, “It doesn’t offer much outside of the basic portfolio. If you need a blog, they don’t support that.”

  • Themes — “It’s kind of limited in what it can do. But you would need more advanced HTML and CSS skills than I have.”, “[I wouldn’t recommend] if you want something more customer where you have more control over things”, “If you have HTML/CSS knowledge you’re able to change the themes a bit.”, “You can customize some things… but not the whole template.” Others suggested they themes themselves weren’t great: “Stock themes were not good at all”, “Not all templates are good in my opinion”, “There isn’t too much of a variety of templates”

Screenshots


Dunked screenshot 1 Dunked screenshot 2 Dunked screenshot 3

People Like

  • Free for Adobe Creative Cloud Subscribers — "It's free as I pay for Adobe apps... so that sweetens the deal for me.", "If I had to pay, I'd ditch it.", "I would recommend it... especially if you are already a Creative Cloud subscriber.", "It's free for Creative Cloud subscribers, sign me up!", "I don't think I would have used Adobe Portfolio if it wasn't included in my Creative Cloud subscription.", "I was already paying for Creative Cloud software so it really appealed to me.", "It is included with my Creative Cloud membership, so it saves me money.", "If Adobe didn't include Adobe Portfolio in my plan, I would probably go for Squarespace."

  • Behance Integration - "It automatically creates a linked project on my Behance page.", "I like that it is connect to Behance.", "It's useful for me as it links up with my Behance profile.", "It's well integrated into the Behance platform.”, “It suits my needs because it interfaces seamlessly with the images I upload to Behance.”

People Don't Like

  • Lack of customization - "It doesn't come with many choices for customization.", "A little basic.", "A lot of options are very, very limited.", "It wish it had more shopping cart customization and a little better design flexibility.", "Adobe Portfolio is too simple, it offers not enough customization.", "There were aspects that, as a designer, I wanted to control but couldn't.", "If you want something with a lot more customization I'd probably suggest a different platform.", "I think my only complains would be lack of customization— not many themes and you can't alter them a great deal.", "It does seem to lack the ability for wide design customization.", "There aren't a lot of options to make your website stand out more.", "If you want a massive amount of customization than it is probably not what you want."

  • Upload Limit - "I find the photo upload maximum of 15mb is pretty low and hard to work with.", "The upload is limited to a certain size so it does make uploading video a little finicky."

Screenshots


Adobe Portfolio screenshot 1 Adobe Portfolio screenshot 2 Adobe Portfolio screenshot 3

People Don't Like

  • Video — "Not every design works for video", "Some videos don't play full screen, while other don't ever get larger than a small window when activated.", "It's not very friendly with Vimeo videos.", "To display videos you have a $99 subscription fee. And even then you can only embed videos from Youtube or Vimeo... I feel $99 is a little steep for a feature several other hosting sites offer for free."

  • Templates — "Templates are not the best though when you get to have a lot [of photos] on your website", "I've never found [a template] that really works for for me", "There are only a small amount of templates available", "Everyone that has visited my website over the past has complained about the way it works. It's not intuitive and it doesn't work like you think it should. If it wasn't for the lack of time I would have moved to some other site a long ago.", "Maybe they should make more themes, I feel that nobody's there anymore.", "The templates are limited and I don't have a way to incorporate my logo into the website design.", "I've had a few friends go over my portfolio and were surprised that it was not quite representative of who I am as an artist.", "Their selection of layouts are a bit outdated"

  • Lack of customization — "It's not as intuitive as other services", "Certain things that should be customizable aren't as much as they could be— like re-sizing text blocks.", "I'm not super thrilled with the interface and ability to really customize.", "I found Krop to be a little stiff as far as customization."

  • Mobile — "It doesn't translate to mobile very well so that kinda sucks... if you send [your website] to a prospect and they look at it on their phone, they might be like wtf is this.", "Best when seen on a desktop.", "When viewed on a mobile phone you can't pinch to zoom the photos. They remain at a small size. I asked about this and they they'd look into it but nothing happened. In hindsight I should have gone with Squarespace."

Screenshots


Krop screenshot 1 Krop screenshot 2 Krop screenshot 3

People Don't Like

  • Downtime — "Last year was a little bit frustrating with the amount of downtime.", "They used to have quite a few issues with downtime, but I haven't noticed this at all since last December.", "They've had a couple of outages", "Perfomance lacks from time to time, I guess operational updates or downtimes will need to happen with other providers to."

  • Templates — "I think they could perhaps add a few more templates", "It's not as configurable as I'd like", "If you are very specific about how your site should look and function then, it won't work for you.", "Very outdated and difficult editor to change layouts.", "Poor mobile experience", "The responsive / mobile version could be better."

  • Difficult to Use — "The e-commerce has much to be desired as it's clunky to implement", "I find that the learning curve is a bit slow", "it is a bit complicated at the begining", "Not always intuitive on the dashboard side of things.", "It’s not always very intuitive", "shopping cart seems to be not intuitive ... from what I get as a feedback from my customers. "

Screenshots


Zenfolio screenshot 1 Zenfolio screenshot 2 Zenfolio screenshot 3

People Like

  • iPad App — "It comes with a great presentation app which looks great on iPads.", "[They have an] app that pairs with iPhone/iPad so I can show my work easily even when I'm on the road.", "The iPad application is interesting to show your work, even without connection."

People Don't Like

  • Difficult to Use — "Learning to navigate their site took more time than I expected.", "It's not that user friendly to build a site.", "It takes a lot of time fiddling around.", "It is a bit of a learning curve since some things are hiding in their menus.", "Some input fields are so small that it's to really even put that in info without getting lost after the third word.", "I think Viewbook has a clumsy interface for a builder.", "The back end isn't the most user-friendly."

  • Lack of Layout Customization — "The options for customization are very limited", "You can't move the title of your page a few centimeters or have the layout of pictures in a grid.", "When it comes to changing the overall layout of your page, Viewbook is on the limited side.", "The amount of that that can be added [beside an image] is very limited as is the position and design options.", "The layouts can be a bit restrictive.", "I found the lack of text options with galleries something of a drawback.", "Not quite as modifiable as I would like.", "I often find myself wishing I could modify the page layout and image sizes more.", "The options are very limited and this I expect would put off some people."

Screenshots


Viewbook screenshot 1 Viewbook screenshot 2 Viewbook screenshot 3





About this Guide

Wise Buyer publish in-depth guides to software. We take inspiration from companies such as The Wirecutter. If you'd like to hear when we publish new guides, you can join our newsletter.

While the research for our buyer guides is a team effort, Steve Benjamins writes the guides. Steve founded Wise Buyer in late 2016. He’s also the founder of Site Builder Report— where he writes in-depth reviews of website and store builders. In the evenings he also makes music which you can listen to here.

We’re always trying to find ways to improve our guides so if you have any comments or suggestions please email steve@wisebuyer.com.

How do you calculate customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is the percentage of users that we talked to that recommended the product. We talk to a minimum of 30 users / company in order to calculate the customer satisfaction. (If we're not able to find 30 users, we don't include the company in our guide.)

You're missing ____ company!

Let us know! Though sometimes we are not able to find enough users to talk to (we need to find a minimum of 30 users to include the company in the guide).

How is your work supported?

Our work is supported by affiliate commissions, so if you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

When was this guide published?

This guide was published Oct 14 2016.