The internet has radically transformed the landscape for creatives. From writers to designers and everyone in between, it is now possible to get your work out to truly massive audiences. For these reasons and many more, few professions have been so thoroughly transformed as that of the professional photographer.
Though everyone may have a camera in their pocket now, this has in no way quenched the demand for professional and beautiful photography of all types. Thanks to equipment that’s more affordable than ever, powerful design software, and web platforms, it is possible for anybody with the right skills, and a little luck, to become a successful photographer.
This is precisely where Zenfolio comes in. Whereas photographers in the past relied on physical portfolios and their prints, Zenfolio is a cloud-based app that makes it easy for photographers to create a complete website to show off their work instead.
Different from other site builders, Zenfolio specifically focuses on photographers and includes numerous tools, including built-in selling, customer management, and more. With plans starting from just $5/month, it’s also very affordable as well.
In this review, we’ll dive into what you need to know about Zenfolio. We’ll explain what you use it its main features, pricing, alternatives, and much more. We’ll also explore the question of whether Zenfolio is worth it, or if you should go with a general site builder instead.
Is Zenfolio the right choice for you. Discover this and more in our ultimate Zenfolio review.
What Is Zenfolio?
Zenfolio has been a major force in the online photography world since 2005. In that time, they have worked with over 100,000 photographers across every genre, from senior portraits to weddings, photojournalism and travel, and much more.
Zenfolio offers an all-in-one website design, client relationship builder, and e-commerce print distribution. Their aim is to empower photographers with everything they need to run successful businesses.
Each plan includes access to the website template, a blog, unlimited photos, social media and marketing tools, and a built-in shopping cart. You also get a custom Zenfolio domain or can connect your own website in the settings.
Overall, it’s an affordable and intuitive portfolio solution that many photographers can benefit from using.
- Website builder
- Custom domain
- Shopping cart
- Email marketing
- Unlimited photo library
- Social media integration
- SEO friendly
- Responsive design
- Scheduling tools
- Password-protected galleries
- Email templates
- Lead capture forms
Getting Started With Zenfolio
Zenfolio offers a 14-day no credit card required free trial. Simply sign up on their website with your name and email address and then set an account password.
You can then pick your site design from 10+ built-in templates, add your photos, and enter a short description of your site. When you’re finished, Zenfolio will generate a preview for you.
From here, customize your galleries and head over to your dashboard, where you can explore Zenfolio’s other features.
Zenfolio even includes customer-relationship tools like email marketing templates, basic automations, and built-in integration with photo labs to make it easy for you to sell your prints.
Best of all, if you get lost anywhere along the way, there is not only a training center, but tons of videos and a support team to help answer any questions you might have.
Zenfolio offers three different plans starting at $5/month billed annually. Here’s what each of them includes:
- Starter: $60 annually/$7 monthly: customizable website and blog, unlimited storage, website builder, password-protected galleries, and hosting of HD videos, order prints, and gifts at base prices
- Pro: $240 annually/$28 monthly: all Starter features plus custom watermarks, sell digital downloads, marketing tools, built-in shopping cart, offer self-fulfill products, free full-service marketing campaign
- Advanced: $360 annually/$42 monthly: all Pro features plus order minimums, online pre-orders, add boutique packaging, post-shot greenscreen, much more.
One thing you do need to factor in, however, is that Zenfolio does not host domains. It does offer a free sub-domain that you can use (e.g., yourname.zenfolio.com). But if you want your own domain, you’ll have to find hosting on your own and point the URL to Zenfolio.
This isn’t that difficult or particularly expensive. For example, you can get a HostGator site from $2.75/month and then connect the domain. But just be sure to remember this as you weigh Zenfolio against its competitors.
Zenfolio has a ton of amazing features that photographers will love. More than anything, you’ll appreciate just how much of the work they take care of for you so you can focus on what you do best—creating gorgeous photos.
Here are some of the ways Zenfolio will make your life better:
1. Unlimited Photos And Large File Size Upload
Most sites have a limit on file size and the number of photos you can upload. This often means sacrificing quality, which is something few photographers want to do.
Even on the Starter plan, Zenfolio offers unlimited photo uploads. In addition, the Starter plan gives you a 36 MB photo upload limit size while the Pro and Advanced option unlock up to 64 MB. Compare this to just 20 MB in Squarespace, and you’ll begin to see why you want a platform built specifically for photographers.
2. Website Builder
While Zenfolio is not a dedicated website and page builder, like Duda or Leadpages, all Zenfolio plans do come with a website builder. This website builder is complete and includes great templates for you to choose from. It’s extraordinarily easy to use and means you can have a professional-looking site in just a few minutes.
The sites are also responsive, so they look great both on desktop and mobile and even include a blog built-in. The Zenfolio subdomain is perfect for newbies, too, who may not have the resources to commit to their own custom domain just yet.
3. Selling Tools
Zenfolio does more than just create an online space for your portfolio. It also includes powerful e-Commerce tools to help kickstart your business. From the Pro plan onward, you can even sell digital products, monitor sales, create campaigns, coupons, and more.
This is one of the areas where Zenfolio stands apart because you not only get access to eCommerce, but it’s specifically designed to meet photographer’s needs, including connecting your photography labs directly so customers can order high-quality prints of your work.
4. Customer Management
As you embark on your photography career, you’ll notice just how many things have nothing to do with taking and editing great photos. Managing your customers is the key to your long-term success. You want to alert them about sales, find times to re-engage, track visitors to your site, and more.
With Zenfolio, you get all of this built-in, including pretty solid email marketing tools like customizable templates and triggered emails, which help you further improve the ROI of your web platform.
5. Photo Protection
All photographers know that the internet is both a blessing and a curse. While the internet helps you connect to large audiences, if your photos fall into the wrong hands, that means the end of your profitability.
Zenfolio has a variety of ways for you to protect your work. You can create password-protected galleries, add watermarks, set the largest displayed sizing, and control access to the original files.
Who Should Use Zenfolio?
Zenfolio is obviously targeted at photographers and, to a smaller extent, videographers. Writers, course designers, and eCommerce marketers will probably want something a little more tailored to their needs. However, other types of visual artists, like graphic designers and artists, can likewise benefit from using Zenfolio as their platform.
For anybody in this niche, there’s so much to love about Zenfolio. Aside from a custom domain, it really includes everything you need to get your photography business off the ground. The website designer both looks great and is easy to use, and the sales and marketing tools are effective.
If you’re a professional photographer or looking to turn your passion into a profitable side hustle, then you’ll definitely want to check out Zenfolio.
Is Zenfolio Worth It?
Zenfolio packs quite a punch. With it, you get a website builder, blog, eCommerce, and CRM tools for around the same price as a standard website with a platform like Squarespace and Wix.
It’s also more affordable than its competitors. For example, to get the same functionality out of Pixieset, you’ll have to opt for either a $28 or $48/month plan.
With Zenfolio, you’re getting so much more than an online portfolio, and this is what ultimately makes it worth it.
- All-in-one tool
- Includes eCommerce and CRM
- Designed specifically for photographers
- Great website templates
- Connects directly to print labs and 2,000+ products
- Somewhat flexible templates and responsive design
- Website can be a little slow at times
- It would be nice if there were more templates
- No free plan
- Can be difficult to talk to a real person especially on Starter plan
It depends on what you’re looking for. There are plenty of ways to just put your images online and interact with your audience.
For example, you can go with a traditional site builder like Squarespace and create a site from one of their 100+ templates.
The question is whether you want something specifically designed for photographers or not. What Zenfolio offers are killer features like digital prints and watermarks that can help you really make the most out of your platform. It also throws in email marketing and social integration to further enhance its value.
One alternative all current and aspiring photography professionals should look into, however, is Pixieset.
What Is Pixieset?
Pixieset is a client photo gallery where you can share, proof, deliver, and sell online. It has a ton of overlap with Zenfolio. The main difference is the pricing structure, which is more flexible than Zenfolio’s.
Pixieset offers a free plan with a 15% commission on sales as well as a Basic option starting from $8/month. However, as mentioned, getting all the Zenfolio features will actually be pricier in the end. Overall, if you want a better monthly value and don’t need as many tools, Pixieset is well worth looking into.
Zenfolio: The Bottom Line
Zenfolio makes it easy for you to host your photos, connect with new clients, grow your audience, and sell. Its integrated tools give you everything you need to build a successful web platform to allow you to focus on what you do best—taking and presenting amazing photos to the world. Give the free trial a shot now.
Ease Of Use
Zenfolio is an all-in-one website designed to showcase, share, and sell your photography. Zenfolio provides a full suite of software that includes photography website builders, digital photo gallery sharing tools, and photo protection. It also includes e-commerce solutions, such as the new pre-order feature, paid digital downloads, prints, and photo gifts. Its main features are 24/7 online booking, customized shoot packages, and easy payment processes. Read our review of Zenfolio to learn more before you spend.