If you’re a photographer, your skills are photography and you’re not specialised in web design and anything else that’s needed to showcase your portfolio to the world. This is where Zenfolio steps in. It’s a website builder centred around photography.
You can build a website, add a blog and sell your work, all without web development skills. As Zenfolio is niche-oriented, it provides all you need revolving around photography.
This means Zenfolio is a one-stop shop to get you started and grow your website. Even if it’s photography-oriented, it still competes in the same space as Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. And, of course with other photography-based website builders such as Format.
Over 100’000 photographers all around the world are using Zenfolio since its launch in 2006. It’s headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
- Pros and cons of Zenfolio
- Who is Zenfolio for?
- How easy is Zenfolio to use?
- Zenfolio design and templates
- How to manage your ecommerce store in Zenfolio?
- Zenfolio integrations
- What marketing and SEO tools does Zenfolio have?
- Payment options
- Zenfolio security
- Zenfolio customer support
- Zenfolio pricing
- Is Zenfolio the right tool for you?
Pros and cons of Zenfolio
As an all-inclusive website-builder oriented towards photography, Zenfolio offers everything you need to create your site, grow and communicate with your audience.
- Give access to your work to your clients with an app
- Solid marketing tools
- Unlimited storage space
- Templates are mobile-ready, that is that look good on all kinds of devices
- Templates show off your work
- You can also add HD videos
- Reasonable pricing
- Zenfolio can be slow at times. This makes working on the site a hassle and if loading times are longer for your visitors, they can just jump to another site.
- No free plan
- Only the highest plan includes chat and phone support
- Limited scaling
- Limited number of templates
Who is Zenfolio for?
As an all-inclusive website builder for photographers, it offers features from helping you create your site, selling your work to seeing website statistics, sharing your work, and managing communication with your clients, to marketing your website.
How easy is Zenfolio to use?
As with many website builders, you first select your template when you sign up. Zenfolio recommends a template based on how you select which type of photography you shoot the most.
The setup includes more steps than with a multi-purpose website builder. In one of the steps, you are asked to upload your images so that you can start with a populated website.
In the backend, you’ll find 4 main sections in the top navigation:
- Photos are where you upload and manage your images
- Website is the section where you customise your website
- Selling gives you all the tools needed to sell your work
- Communications is for your email communication as well as visitors stats
You can add as many pages as you like, just create it using the built-in page editor. This editor is not drag-and-drop, it’s a WYSIWYG editor, similar to a word processor, which may be unusual especially if you’re used to other drag-and-drop builders.
Some customisation options are limited for the built-in pages, such as the contact form. Since Zenfolio wants to help you with a well-crafted website, your customisation options can be limited at times. But on the other hand, this means you can concentrate on just growing your business.
Zenfolio design and templates
All of Zenfolio’s templates are free. They all put the focus on your images, regardless of what type of device you’re using. You can even disable the mobile version entirely – although we don’t recommend it.
Alas, there are only 13 templates to choose from. You can choose different layouts and themes which is how you change fonts and color schemes.
How to manage your ecommerce store in Zenfolio?
In the two higher plans, you get an integrated shopping cart with your branding. You can set your own prices, self-fulfill photo, and print products, or sell digital downloads.
All the tasks associated with your store are managed in the section Selling. Within Zenfolio, you can connect with known print labs for fulfillment.
Some integrations let you connect Zenfolio to Windows Live Photo Gallery and Express Send. Others let you upload photos directly from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
For selling downloads or physical copies of your work, custom image packages, or other items of your work, you can integrate your site with major print labs.
What marketing and SEO tools does Zenfolio have?
The marketing and business tools provided by Zenfolio will help find clients and sell your work.
It’s easy enough to add meta tags, titles, and descriptions to custom pages and blog posts. More importantly, can add titles, captions, keywords, and alt attributes to your images, groups, and galleries.
Although blogging is integral to Zenfolio, you can’t expect its feature to match WordPress. It’s easy to write regularly blog posts. You can even schedule your posts.
Out of the box, Zenfolio provides you with the abandoned cart feature. Zenfolio calls it Shopping Cart Reminders. You just need to tick the checkmark to enable it and it will automatically remind your registered clients.
Zenfolio ap for clients
You can use Zenfolio’s app to share your work with your clients. Ask your clients to install the Photo Moments app with a unique URL and they’ll be able to access your images in a password-protected gallery. Your clients can then view your work and download a photo.
You can choose to use Paypal or collect payment yourself.
All sites created with Zenfolio are secured with SSL. Zenfolio automatically stores backups of your site and its contents, but there is no backup function for your photos. This means you need to secure them separately, for example by downloading them and storing them on your computer.
Zenfolio customer support
All plans include 24/7 support via email. The higher the plan, the more options you have to contact Zenfolio’s support team. In case you don’t want to wait, you can search the support centre.
There’s no free plan, but you can use Zenfolio for free for a 14-day test period. All plans include unlimited storage space and unlimited bandwidth traffic.
Only in the 2 higher plans do you get the options to watermark your work, get coupons and there is no Zenfolio branding. For a full list of the features and its current prices hop over to Zenfolio.
Is Zenfolio the right tool for you?
If you’re a photographer or running a photography business, Zenfolio is a robust option. You can get a domain name, build a photography-based website with an integrated online store, share your work, and manage your communication with your clients. You also get a decent set of marketing tools to find clients and grow your business.
This said, if you want to branch out and sell courses, sponsorships or have another business model in mind, Zenfolio’s feature set is too narrow.
Do you have any thoughts or questions? Please leave your comments below.