If you’re looking for a place to host your images, chances are you’ve come across Squarespace and Zenfolio. Squarespace, for instance, is known more as an all-in-one website builder but it does come with some beautiful templates for photography, too. Zenfolio, on the other hand, is dedicated solely to creating photography websites. But does this focus of Zenfolio make it better than Squarespace? Below, we compare these two website builders to give you an idea where you should start your photography website.
Squarespace vs Zenfolio Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Plans at Squarespace||Check Plans at Zenfolio|
|Best Known For||Stunning, professionally-designed templates||Dedicated website builder for photographers|
|Templates||60+ with 12 dedicated for photography websites||13 customizable templates|
|Custom Domain Name||Supported||Supported|
|E-Commerce Features||Extensive||Limited to booking services and selling pictures|
|Trial||14 day free trial, no credit card required||14 day free trial, no credit card required|
You don’t need design or programming skills to start a website on Squarespace or Zenfolio.
Combining stunning templates with its drag-and-drop interface, Squarespace makes it possible for users without design or programming skills to launch a website. Registering is fairly easy, although it might take a while to grasp the website editor. Everything is also arranged into sections so you can easily navigate across the platform’s features.
Squarespace takes care of everything including your hosting needs and site security. Moreover, the platform supports a range of content blocks and features that photographers will find useful. For instance, Galleries offer hundreds of presentation variations that you can add anywhere in your website. You can, for example, showcase your work via grids and slideshows. Depending on the size and style of your images, you can even customize the theme of your Galleries section.
In Zenfolio, the approach is even simpler. Just like Squarespace, the platform takes care of the basics. You simply sign up, choose a template based on the previews, and upload your initial set of photos. After uploading your images, you will be asked to describe what your photography website is all about. This textual information also helps in optimizing your site for SEO. Once the information is complete, you’re immediately directed to the website editor to continue with the customizations.
Zenfolio’s editor, however, lacks the sophistication of Squarespace. At certain times, it can be cumbersome toggling between pages and waiting for editing tools to load. For instance, adding photos to a specific section of your site can only be done through the dashboard. Inside the web editor, you can’t edit individual images as well.
Squarespace offers better sitewide customizations while Zenfolio has the edge when it comes to adjusting color schemes.
From a design perspective, it’s hard to choose between Squarespace and Zenfolio’s templates. Some users may prefer the more minimalist aesthetic Squarespace adheres to while others might like Zenfolio’s simple and clean layouts better. In this case, beauty really boils down to the eye of the beholder.
With Squarespace, however, you can choose outside of its selection for photography websites. This certainly opens up the templates you can work on for your site. Squarespace also makes it easy to adapt its templates for your brand or portfolio. You can change fonts, colors, and page configurations using the platform’s visual editor. It’s both fun and challenging, considering the depth of options you get — from font types and animations, to page buttons and footers.
Meanwhile, Zenfolio boasts a solid catalogue of 13 templates. While it might seem like a modest set, each design comes with customizable themes as well. Here, Zenfolio’s theme designer takes center stage, allowing users to make extensive modifications to the color scheme and font style of your site. However, you can’t move around design elements, which can be frustrating if you really want to update your site’s layout.
Both platforms do support image and video files for its headers. You can also adjust how big or small you’d like your photos to be displayed in your pages. Nonetheless, Squarespace offers deeper customizations with its built-in CSS editor. On Zenfolio, you can only edit the HTML code in select areas of your site, while the CSS code is off-limits.
Image and Sales Features
These website builders have built-in tools to edit, manage, and organize your uploads.
Since you are building a photography website, managing your image uploads is important. Zenfolio’s galleries host all of your image uploads reliably well. Its main dashboard, on the other hand, allows you to edit, organize, and manage your photos. Simple drop down menus allow you to rename files, add watermarks to them, or include them in a collection. You can even limit access to some of your files with a password.
Squarespace’s image manager plays a similar role. Artists and photographers can use the feature to carry out basic edits to their images. To save you time, the platform can also automatically apply metadata to your photos. And since people access websites from different devices, Squarespace’s image loader is capable of loading the right image size that will look best on a specific device or screen.
Of course, Squarespace has the advantage when it comes to sales features. The platform already comes with integrated e-commerce tools. This makes setting up shop a mostly seamless experience. With Zenfolio, the focus is really on just managing orders for your photographs. The company boasts of a dozen print lab partners to fulfill customer orders. In addition, you can set up preorders, coupons, discounts, and packages as well. Price lists in Zenfolio are fully customizable, too. And if someone is impressed by your work, the platform includes its own booking management system.
Pricing and Plans
Squarespace and Zenfolio offers subscription-based plans with discounts if you opt for annual payments.
Currently, Zenfolio offers three plans. Its entry-level package called Starter costs $7/mo. The plan includes 24/7 customer support, social media integrations, and the ability to use your own domain. If you want to sell digital downloads or offer custom packages, you’ll have to subscribe to its higher-priced packages. Zenfolio’s Pro costs $28/mo while the Advanced plan will set you back $40/mo. If you opt for an annual payment, the Starter, Pro, and Advanced plans come in $5/mo, $20/mo, and $30/mo respectively.
Squarespace, on the other hand, offers four plans. Its most popular is Business, which comes in at $18/mo. You can, however, enjoy a 30% discount if you opt to pay annually. The other Squarespace plans are Personal at $12/mo, Basic Commerce at $26/mo, and Advanced Commerce at $40/mo. Discounts are also available for annual subscriptions. Just like Zenfolio, you get access to more features as you move up the plans.
If you’re looking solely at photography features, go for Zenfolio. But if you’re thinking of growing beyond a photography website, opt for Squarespace.
For photographers, having a professional website is crucial in establishing your brand. It’s essentially the platform-of-choice to build your reputation and showcase your work to potential clients.
That being said, Zenfolio is clearly made with photographers in mind. Since it only focuses on photography websites, you get slightly better tools that photographers will actually use. For instance, the gallery uploads make it easy to add watermarks on photos. You can also easily incorporate a copyright notice in your website.
But if you want to really make a profit, you’ll be better off with an e-commerce platform.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is an out-of-the-box solution that focuses on being the best website builder possible. The templates are world-class and you’ll find no shortage of marketing and business tools to grow your business. It’s image manager even fares well against Zenfolio’s. If you’re looking to scale and go beyond just being a photography website, then this platform is it.
If you are on a paid plan, you get to enjoy unlimited photo and image uploads.
Zenfolio allows subscribers to upload JPEG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF files.
Squarespace is a website editor that comes with a suite of marketing and e-commerce tools. If you need these features, you’ll find Squarespace is better than Zenfolio. But if you just need to launch a photography website fast, Zenfolio is a solid option.
Yes, Squarespace offers the Products on Instagram feature but only for its Commerce plans.