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Zenfolio Review – grow your photography business

Zenfolio Review

Zenfolio is a portfolio web builder designed for photographers. It uses e-commerce features to showcase and sell photographs and photography services worldwide. 

It uses a simple drag-and-drop web building format to make it really easy for beginners to customize the pre-existing templates with their own work.

Overall Score3.6 Fantastic for photographers but does have flaws
Help and Support★★★Good support but at a price
Ease of Use★★★★Drag-and-drop makes it ideal for beginners
Features★★★★Great for photographers but tricky to use
Design Flexibility★★★Lots of features but limited templates
Value for Money★★★★Reasonably priced but no free version

Photographers can grow their business with Zenfolio thanks to several marketing tools, such as automated email marketing and SEO friendly pages. You can also automatically optimize your site for mobile phones and tablets. 

Every Zenfolio account comes equipped with a customizable portfolio website, unlimited galleries, and integrated shopping carts. It also has a host of marketing tools, such as SEO, blogs, email marketing and more. It also appears on our list of TOP-10 website builders this year.

But should you choose Zenfolio? How much does it cost? And is it really the best web builder for photographers? Read on for everything you need to know about this web builder.

Zenfolio Pros and Cons

Zenfolio is an industry-specific web builder, so it’s not suitable for everyone. Here are some of the best advantages of Zenfolio and  some important things we think could be improved.

Pros

  • Drag-and-drop format makes it easy to build your site
  • Reasonably priced plans compared to other website builders
  • A specialized web builder for photographers
  • Free trial gives you unlimited access to the program without giving up credit card information

Cons

  • Limited number of templates and fonts to choose from
  • Slightly overwhelming number of features, making it difficult to navigate
  • No free version beyond the 14-day free trial

How to use Zenfolio

Zenfolio has a clean interface that’s easy to use. However, it doesn’t make it clear how to use some of the trickier tools. Because of this, the dashboard can appear overwhelming and difficult to navigate.  Luckily, Zenfolio has excellent tutorials to help customers get the most out of the features available.

Here is a brief guide to help you make a website with Zenfolio:

  1. Choose your plan. You can choose from the Starter plan, the Professional plan or the Advanced plan. Alternatively, if you just want to try it, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial.
  1. Basic setup. Once you select your plan, there is a basic setup option. Choose the type of photography website you want, select your template, and choose at least five photos. Then, create your homepage title and write a brief description of you and your website.
choosing type of photography website during setup in Zenfolio
  1. Customize. Once you have a basic website, you can start customizing it. Change your template, layout, themes, background content, and more.
website customization dashboard
  1. Publish. Once you’re happy with it, simply publish your website.

Zenfolio platform features

Even with the free trial, Zenfolio comes equipped with plenty of fantastic web building features. In fact, the sheer number of tools can be a bit overwhelming for beginners. Having said that, Zenfolio has some excellent online tutorials to help you.

setting up website page in zenfolio

Templates and themes

There are 13 templates and 53 themes to choose from. The range is quite varied and gives you a decent amount of choice. Better still, all the templates and themes are free, so you don’t need to pay extra for any of them.

choosing from templates available in zenfolio

You can create your own theme. And there are 25 different layouts if the templates on offer don’t suit your needs. Once you have the basic design sorted, you can start integrating your photos and videos into galleries. 

Plugins 

There are plugins that connect Zenfolio to Windows Live Photo Gallery and Express Send. But the most useful one we found is Photo Upload, which allows you to upload photos from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to your Zenfolio site.

lightroom plugin in zenfolio for easy and quick photo upload

Photoshop is almost universally considered the best photo editing software available, so having a plugin that connects Photoshop Lightroom to your Zenfolio site is an invaluable tool. It costs $15 to buy, and the integration is seamless.

Integration 

Once you publish your website, you can get a unique web address on the Zenfolio server with Zenfolio’s branding. Alternatively, you can import your own domain name across. ZenfolioPress is another useful plugin that lets customers link their WordPress account to their Zenfolio portfolio. This allows you to embed thumbnail photos of customizable sizes into your WordPress site. Once you’ve added your galleries or collection to your WordPress page, you can add a Buy Prints or Buy Products button to your page.

Work Protection 

Of course, one of the main things photographers will want from a web builder is the ability to protect their work from being used without payment. Luckily, Zenfolio has you covered, as you can apply watermarks onto your work to protect it from being stolen. However, it’s important to be aware that this perk is only available for people who have bought the Professional or Advanced plan. It is not available on the Starter kit.

You can also protect your galleries with passwords. This means that only the user can edit, delete or modify the photos and galleries. And if someone types the incorrect password a certain number of times, that person would be unable to access the gallery for a period of time.

SEO 

Zenfolio offers a range of useful SEO features, including: 

  • Meta tags, titles and descriptions
  • Integration of Webmaster Tools 
  • Integration of Google Analytics
  • Custom HTML 

Domain and hosting

You can host your website on the Zenfolio server with Zenfolio branding, or you can import your own domain from a hosting site. Zenfolio offers a comprehensive guide on how to import a custom domain from third-party hosts.

Security

In 2018, Zenfolio became a lot more secure by moving from an HTTP protocol to HTTPS. This provides you with a security certificate free of charge for websites both on the Zenfolio server and external domains. This makes your site a lot more trustworthy and, therefore, more likely to rank well on search engines.

Custom code

Zenfolio also offers limited custom coding for those who want to edit certain aspects of their site. You can edit HTML code on custom pages, blog pages, and custom header and footer for Pro and Advanced customers, but it can’t be edited anywhere else on the site. You are also unable to edit the custom code of built-in pages like the homepage, photo pages or different galleries. You can’t edit CSS code on Zenfolio.

Zenfolio Self Fulfilment 

Photographers can sell more than just photos on Zenfolio. If you want to sell a specific item that isn’t available through Zenfolio’s integrated labs, such as an acrylic print, or services like photo sessions, you can sell your own custom products provided you’re on a Pro or Advanced plan. 

To do this, you need to create a product list of what you want to sell. Once you’ve done that, you can set pricing and shipping details to match your requirements. Zenfolio charges a commission of 9.9% on Self Fulfilment products. This is less than SmugMug, but more expensive than a site like Pixieset, which offers commission-free sales.

Zenfolio Mobile App

According to Zenfolio, its app has been voted #1 by professional photographers. It enables photo uploads, gallery management, offline viewing and more. You can approve, review or cancel pending orders, and can easily download entire galleries onto your phone.

Zenfolio customer support 

Zenfolio offers a range of customer support channels, but only customers willing to pay will get access to all of them. No matter what plan you’re on, you’ll get 24/7 email support

If you sign up for the Pro Plan, at $20 per month, you also receive live chat support. And those on the Advanced plan can phone the customer service team.

Zenfolio app for clients 

If you want to give customers access to your photos, there’s an app for that. Invite your clients to download the Photo Moments app with a unique URL and they’ll be able to access the images in a password-protected gallery. Your customers can view their photos in a slideshow and download the images onto their own devices.

Zenfolio prices

Zenfolio does not have a free option, but it does give you a two-week free trial that gives you a chance to try it out. After this, there are three reasonable price plans.

Starter plan

The cheapest plan is the Starter package, which costs $5 per month. It is a basic package that includes the ability to integrate social media into your website. Users can order prints and gifts, and it comes with 24/7 customer support via email.

Pro plan

The Pro plan costs $20 per month, and it comes with a lot more features. You get everything included with the starter plan, plus unlimited photo and video uploads with custom watermarks and a built-in shopping cart to sell digital downloads. It also offers a range of custom packages, the full suite of marketing tools, and dedicated live chat support.

Advanced plan

The Advanced plan costs $30 a month. With this, you get all the other benefits, along with additional features for particular types of photography, including School, Sports, Dance, and Events. It also gives you the ability to post-shoot a green screen and set up pre-orders. And you get dedicated live chat and phone support.

VersionFeaturesPrice
Starter Plan• Unlimited photo uploads
• Unlimited monthly bandwidth
• SEO
• Google Analytics
• Email support
$5
Pro Plan• Everything in Starter Plan
• Unlimited video upload
• Custom watermarks
• Integrated shopping cart
• Upload custom logos
• Email support and live chat
$20
Advanced Plan• Everything in Pro Plan
• Manage events with mini sites and participant lists
• Email support, live chat and phone number
$30

How to cancel a Zenfolio account

To cancel your Zenfolio account, you need to go to the website’s Support section and click Cancelling or Deleting your Zenfolio Account. You then select Request Cancellation, and a live chat bot message will appear in a new window to walk you through the cancellation process.

Zenfolio website examples

Here are just a few examples of websites built using Zenfolio:

zenfolio website example 1

https://www.susietalman.com/

zenfolio animal photography website example

https://stonehousephoto.zenfolio.com/

website built with zenfolio

https://www.hansoncarlen.com/

photography service website built with zenfolio

https://www.warrencreativedesign.com/

Zenfolio alternatives 

Zenfolio is really popular among professional photographers. But how does it stack up against its competitors? There are alternative sites like Zenfolio, such as SmugMug and Wix, that might be better suited to your needs. Let’s take a closer look.

Zenfolio vs Squarespace 

Zenfolio is aimed at photographers, whereas Squarespace isn’t industry-specific. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Squarespace is easier to use and has a lot more templates and more extensive e-commerce features.

Having said that, if you want to create a website that will showcase your photography, you’ll find Zenfolio is much more tailored to your needs.

Zenfolio vs Pixieset 

Pixieset is more expensive but it does offer commission-free sales for paid plans and a comprehensive billing system for prints and digital downloads, including Self Fulfilment options. In contrast, Zenfolio charges a commission of 9.9% on Self Fulfilment products. However, Zenfolio is easier to use and has a more elegant interface and more sophisticated templates.

Zenfolio vs SmugMug 

SmugMug is another web builder designed for photographers. It has more templates than Zenfolio, as well as better SEO options. You’ll also find more customization options, including CSS implementation. However, its branding is more intrusive on products, and it charges 15% commission as opposed to 9.9% for Zenfolio. SmugMug is more expensive than Zenfolio, and Zenfolio has more Self Fulfilment products available to be sold.

Zenfolio vs Wix

Wix offers a lot more templates than Zenfolio, has more e-commerce features and uses the powerful SEO Wiz tool to improve your search rankings. But, if you are a photographer, you’ll find Zenfolio more catered to your needs.

Zenfolio review summary and final thoughts 

Zenfolio is a fantastic web builder for photographers. It has an elegant and intuitive interface and is generally easy to use with its drag-and-drop format of web building. While there is no free version, it does offer a two-week free trial of its program’s features, so you can try it out without paying anything.

While it is easy to use, it can take a while to work out what all the features do because the dashboard is cluttered with Zenfolio’s huge range of features. The limited number of templates is also a bit disappointing. However, it is still an excellent web builder for photographers looking to showcase their work.

Zenfolio FAQs

Is Zenfolio any good?

Yes, if you’re a photographer, you’ll find Zenfolio is ideal for helping you showcase and sell your work. It’s really easy to use and it comes with a range of features that will make your images look fantastic.

Is Zenfolio the best website builder for photographers?

Zenfolio was voted the #1 web builder by professional photographers and it comes with an extensive range of features to help people show off their work. It’s also very reasonably priced and easy to use.

Which is better: Zenfolio or SmugMug?

If you value a better user experience of web building such as more templates and more coding options, SmugMug is better. But if you want more Self Fulfilment products and cheaper commission, Zenfolio is the better choice for you.

Is Zenfolio worth the price?

If you’re a photographer, then yes. Zenfolio’s plans are reasonably priced and come with loads of great features. But if you’re unsure, start with the free trial to see if you want to sign up for a paid plan.

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