36 of the Best Online Tools to Boost Your Photography Business

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As a beginner photographer, I put most of my time and energy into the product side of my business. I need to practice, improve my shooting and post processing skills, and just grow as a photographer. However, I have a strong intention to make photography my full-time job and be successful in it, which is hardly possible without a business strategy. Besides, with over five years of experience in social media and content marketing, I know for sure that establishing a sound online presence and effective marketing channels may not show you the money today, but it will shape your business in the long run.

35 photography marketing tools

In this article, I’m sharing the results of my recent research on the online marketing and workflow organizing tools for photographers. I use some of these services on a daily basis; others are carefully stored in my bookmarks, eagerly waiting for the moment to come in handy. Each tool category includes several noteworthy options (both big players and lesser known tools), so that you can use this article as a catalog to refer to in your marketing pursuits.

Photography Website Builders

1. MotoCMS

Since I was looking for a self-hosted solution with no additional costs for the tools I don’t need just yet, this one worked perfectly for me. For $139, I got a modern website template based on the quite powerful MotoCMS. Among the key features are advanced drag-and-drop website editor, SEO & social media tools, e-commerce widget, etc.

2. Squarespace

Squarespace offers 25 modern-looking templates with e-commerce integration, custom domains (no self-hosting, though), mobile-ready websites and support. There’s no free plan, but prices start from $8 per month, and you have 14 days to give it a try for free.

3. Portfoliobox

There’s a free account option allowing you to select a clean template and fill it with up to 40 images. A $6.90/month Pro plan (paid yearly) with Portolfiobox includes more design and marketing options, as well as a custom domain name and email.

4. Wix

The free plan includes a wide gallery of templates, unlimited pages and hosting. Premium plans start from $4.08/month, but your website will carry Wix brand ads both on desktop and mobile.

5. Pixpa

Pixpa offers hosted portfolios with private galleries, ec-ommerce with Fotomoto, custom domains, social media sharing and other features. All-inclusive plans start from $4.00/month (billed annually) with a 50% discount available for students.

6. Portfolio Lounge

A custom domain is included in Portfolio Lounge’s free plan, which is nice! Upgrading to the Pro ($7.99/month) and Max ($16.99/month) will get you extra storage space. This is quite a simple service with no pricing gimmicks and overwhelming feature sets.

7. Folio Websites

Folio Websites templates are based on WordPress, which is quite a benefit these days. There’s just one plan available – $175/year, and your decision to sign up may only be based on examples and promises since there’s no trial period offered.

8. Carbonmade

Carbonmade is a kinda hipster among portfolio builders – its design is funky, the words are fun, and the service is on trend. Opting in for the free “Meh” plan, you get a 35-image portfolio on the carbonmade.com domain. Upgrade to the $12/month “Whoo!” plan, and you get 500 images and 10 video slots, domain binding, ad-free site, private projects and tech support.

9. Zenfolio (added by the Editor)

Editor’s note: I personally use Zenfolio for my portfolio, and have for several years. The benefits of choosing something like Zenfolio over just a portfolio site is that they also offer a way to sell your images, preview them for clients, have locked or private galleries and even a blog element. Their Basic Plan is only $30/year but if you want unlimited uploads, and the ability to price your own work go for the Premium at $140/year. This can also act as you backup as well with unlimited storage of images. They do offer a free trial. I get NOTHING for mentioning this, no kickback or referral fee. I only recommend them because I think they’re one of the best options available. 

By DAVID MELCHOR DIAZ

Have you ever wondered why crappy photographers do better than you? It’s because they know that both creative and business sides of photography are critical for success.

Cloud Storage and Media Library

10. Flickr

With a colossal 1TB of free storage on the table, Flickr remains a first-class service for photographers of all levels. I’m using it to store my photos, too. However, I really hope their sluggish interface will be updated very soon.

11. Streamnation

Streamnation supports a pile of photo file formats, including RAW and C2R – a feature any photographer would appreciate. 20GB of storage is free. The price varies from $4/month for 100GB to $19/month for unlimited space biled annually.

12. Dropbox

While Dropbox’s experience for photographers still feels half-baked, it’s definitely a solution to consider since, unlike your average cloud hosting startup, the established service provides welcome peace of mind.

13. Google+

You can store up to 15GB in Google+ Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive for free and then pay for additional storage (up to 16TB) as your account grows. A neat thing about Google’s offer is that, unless your photos exceed 2,048 pixels by width, Google won’t count them against your total amount of available space.

14. Crashplan

A neat feature about Crashplan is that you can recover a deleted file no matter how much time has passed. Prices for unlimited online backup to the Crashplan cloud start at $5/month with annual billing.

15. Zoolz

Unlike most cloud hosting services, Zoolz is a long-term storage unit designed for storing your data on the cloud for a lifetime. With a 5-year subscription you can have your photos reside on reliable Amazon AWS servers for as low as $2/month.

By Anca Mosoiu

Image Proofing and Selling Prints

16. Pixieset

Pixieset is my number one tool to create beautiful client galleries. It has all the key features to help you deliver, proof, and sell your work (unlimited galleries, proofing system, instant download, password protection, audio, just to name a few). The best part is that all this is available in their free plan. If you’d like more space and a custom domain, you can upgrade your plan (prices range from $8/month for 10GB to $40/month for 1TB).

17. Nextproof

Nextproof a pay-as-you-go service with a $0 plan (1GB of space and a 15% transaction fee) on the table and a free 30-day trial available for every paid plan (ranging from $9-99/month).

18. OnlinePictureProof

There’s a single, $29/month plan you can buy. Among the key features are slideshows, mobile app and a shopping cart. Online Picture Proof is a simple yet professional picture proofing and sales solution.

19. ProofBuddy

If your website runs on the WordPress platform, you can make use of this free WP plugin, ProofBuddy, to activate a fully-functional proofing system built to show your proofs and accept orders from clients.

20. ShootProof

With ShootProof, you can create public or private galleries that work equally well on desktop and mobile devices. The great feature is that each visitor’s activity is displayed in detail to you. ShootProof has a flexible payment plan (commission-free $10-50/month) as well as a free plan allowing up to 100 uploads.

21. Zenfolio

Editor’s note: see above for Zenfolio info under the website section, also works for image proofing and sales.

By zizzybaloobah

Scheduling

22. Setmore

Getting started with Setmore is very easy thanks to a clean, intuitive interface and wizard-like design. Standard features are free to use and include unlimited appointments, services and customers, as well as the ability to add up to 20 staff members to your account. Upgrading to $25/month brings you to the premium level with Google Calendar sync, unlimited SMS (text) reminders and recurring appointments.

23. Ubooq

Ubooq makes it easy for clients to schedule an appointment with an easy-to-use, online reception page. Appointment ticket and reminders help avoid no-shows. You can schedule up to 30 appointments in Ubooq for free, and then, if you like it, pick a plan that suits your needs. There is a 5-grade plan system, with prices starting at $19 for the monthly service.

24. BookedIn

A pretty cool feature in BookedIn, that I didn’t see on similar services, is that you can add a booking app to your Facebook timeline. Payment plans include a pay-as-you-go model (you purchase a block of booking for 50 cents each) and a monthly plan costing $20/month. You can try out the complete set of features for free during 30 days.

Note: other free options: Calendly and TimeTrade (also have a paid version for more appointments)

By keso s

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System

25. Simply Studio

For $29/month (billed annually) with Simply Studio you get a full-fledged, web-based CRM system with client-money task management, accounting, invoicing and bookkeeping, online proofing, polls and email marketing. All features are included in a free trial version available for 15 days. My workflow of a newbie obviously does not require such software yet, but I surely love the features-price ratio of Simply Studio, as well as the simplicity of its interface. So Simply Studio is already in my bookmarks waiting for my photography business to grow and call for it.

26. StudioCloud

StudioCloud is free desktop software for photography studios. Standard features include cloud syncing, a client database, scheduling, billing, order management and other business-management tools. While the basic functionality (which is quite rich, though), is free to download, some extra tools, such as multiple users, online proofing and automatic client reminders, will cost you between $10-60 per month.

27. ShootQ

ShootQ offers the most comprehensive list of management tools, which naturally reflects in pricing. There are three all-inclusive and monthly plans to choose from, and prices range from $39.95 to $79.95 depending on the desired number of users, pages and amount of storage.

Organization and Automation

28. IFTTT

This brilliant service saves me lots of time for shooting. Using IFTTT’s straight-forward formula, you can automate a variety of tasks, such as tweeting your new blog posts or notifying you of the latest dPS posts.

29. Buffer

A dead simple, yet useful tool, to schedule your social media posts. If you’re a heavy social network user, Hootsuite might work for you better, but if you just don’t want your Twitter and Facebook get dusty while you’re on vacation, Buffer has you covered.

30. Nutcache

Nutcache enables you to easily create unlimited number of invoices, do estimates, and track time. Great tool to operate your photo business in the cloud. It’s also multilingual.

By Staffan Scherz

You won’t believe how many tasks you can manage with some organization and system put in the process.

Mobile Client Galleries

31. Myphotoapp

Myphotoapp boasts the widest library of tools among mobile photo gallery builders. Client email collection, integration with MailChimp and advanced app analytics are some really neat features that make this service my number one choice. I hope, though, the usability of the administrative panel will be soon revised towards a simpler and more intuitive interface.

32. StickyAlbums

Create mobile photo apps that your clients can save on their iPhones, iPads and most Android devices using Sticky Albums. Features include custom branding, built-in Facebook sharing, password protected albums, photo album hosting and sharing via SMS. Prices start at $19/month with a free, 14-day trial available.

33. ProImageShare

If you’re a Lightroom diehard, it’s an easy winner here. ProImageShare lets you publish and host your own web app that can be downloaded on iOS devices with the appearance of a custom app. With a one-time payment of $69, you can publish as many apps as you want to your own unlimited, shared-web host.

Brides will definitely appreciate a custom app with their wedding pictures. Expect referrals to come your way!

Multi-platforms and Services

34. Photoshelter

I bet you’ve heard about Photoshelter, as it’s one of the industry’s “big dawgs”. Portfolio websites, integrated e-commerce, cloud storage and client-proofing system are the tools you can find under this shelter. Prices vary from $9.99/month for the basic feature set, to $49.99/month for the premium toolbox.

35. Zenfolio

Zenfolio is another giant in the field of digital marketing for photographers. The number of features here is impressive, too. One of the recently added ones is Photo Books (order and sell). Prices start from $30/year with a free, 14-day trial on hand.

36. Queensberry Workspace

Built around Quensberry’s range of print products, Workspace enables you to create, organize, and market your online presence, as well as order and sell photo books, albums, frames, etc. Its basic version is available for free and you can upgrade from $4 monthly.

Editor’s note: once upon a time I was a consultant for Queensberry Albums (for 9 years) and I can attest to their dedication to quality albums, products and software. They also make Photojunction, a powerful album design tool.

Another biggie in this area is SmugMug. Slightly more than Zenfolio with many of the same features.

Last Click

Defrozo

I didn’t include Defrozo on the round-up because currently it’s a private beta, but the features listed on the “coming soon” page make it so worth mentioning.

Website builder, Media Library, Image Delivery and Proofing, Scheduling, E-commerce, CRM system, and Websites for Clients make the initial toolbox Defrozo is going to deliver from the start. Moreover, photo book design tools and retouch services are scheduled to be added to the products’ following updates. How do I know that? Well, I subscribed for early access and received an invitation from the Defrozo team to join the focus group of photographers from 30 countries worldwide. I recommend that you sign up, too, since a new player on the market will likely offer something extraordinary to attract users. There are good chances that it’s gonna be a freemium or at least offer extra benefits to early adopters.

By Pascal

Defrozo seems to have a potential to be the ultimate weapon for your business to reach zen.

What’s in your digital toolbox?

I hope my research will come in handy, and I’m sure there are a lot of other tools and services worth mentioning here that I missed. What do you use to manage your photography workflow and business? Is there any all-in-one tool out there you could recommend? Please share your suggestions and experience in the comments below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Julia May is a beginner photographer striving to blend her marketing experience and creativity to succeed in the photographic field.

  • Zealousfolio

    Great list! But I think you forgot to mention Zenfolio – it’s a cool service with all sorts of cool features!

  • Keith Starkey

    I can gladly and happily say that without any desire, whatsoever, to make a business out of my amateur photography, I don’t have to bother with trying to wade through this onslaught of “tools”β€”man, Lightroom and getting through the PDF for any new camera I get. Nope, I’m good. Best to all of you in the other camp!

    (Really, for those of us who need these tools, this is good stuff. Thanks for the post.)

  • Mo

    LOL!

  • EmilyHJones

    Besides, with over five years of experience in social media and content marketing, I know for sure that establishing a sound online presence and effective marketing channels may not show you the money today, but it will shape your business in the long run. http://num.to/427-837-276-945

  • Ivan Pavlovskyy

    This list comes in the nick of time for me as I was looking for some good photo
    website builders! Pixieset is another great find. Thanks!

  • Bettina Schwarz

    Awesome post – thank you for this!! … I’ve been using Zenfolio since 2009 and they are immense – seriously haven’t seen a better all round solution out there!

  • Thomas Jergel

    Am I the only one who noticed that point 3 and 4 are missing?

  • ACA Images

    I am currently using cloud storage such as Flicker, 500px, Pixoto and Viewbug. I also used Google drive to store some of my images.

  • Heather Baugh

    Hii Darlene thanks to both you and Julia for the the great article and for featuring Queensberry and Workspace. It’s appreciated cheers heather

  • Kitten

    I hope the editor is decent enough to disclose if he received anything from Zenfolio for hijacking this article on their behalf lol.

  • Vedranius

    No word of http://koken.me/ as a only one free CMS for photographers that you can easily set-up in minutes on your hosting plan.
    As for example I’m running my own portfolio on 000webhost.com for free with 1500MB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth.
    Check out my portfolio made with Koken: http://vedranpapes.from.hr/
    So
    after many many days of looking what to use, what portfolio to use, and
    to choose a free domain, I realized that this is the best solution.

    And you can get free domain anywhere today. And if you need a real domain like “name”.com or so you can cheaply buy it…

  • Thanks for the tip! I never heard of that service πŸ˜€

  • Those are secret hidden points. Tweet me (@indigomay) if you’d like me to reveal them. πŸ˜‰

    Okay, you got me. Sorry for this mistake… I had cut off a bunch of tools as the post appeared too long, and I messed up the numbering a bit.

  • Thanks for your suggestion! That’s a great system for sure. Although, installing it on your own server is not what everyone can do.

  • Viewbug is a great photo contest platform, thanks for the tip!

  • Glad you liked it, Ivan!

  • Vedranius

    The thing is, you download Koken on your PC, it’s just one file something.php and you upload it at public_html folder through CPanel or through FTP.
    And that’s all, you go to your website, make a username, database and bam, you have fully functional portfolio/web site…

  • thanks for your comment, Keith. They say, to each his own.
    at least if one day you decide you want to make a business out of your photography, you have the list of useful online tools πŸ™‚

  • “She” thanks. And I get absolutely nothing for mentioning Zenfolio. I do have a referral link which I do get credit for but have not used it here. I recommend them only because I think they are one of the best options available. Period.

  • Sorry about that. I rearranged some of them and must have missed those. I’m away from computer and Internet will fix when I can. Thanks for the notice.

  • Christopher Stevenson

    Smug mug πŸ˜‰

  • She wrote it not me, I just agreed – hi Heather!

  • Yeah same. I’ve looked at other options and never found a reason to switch.

  • Keith Starkey

    I know. Watch now: I’ll start some sort of photography business, saying to myself, “Where the hek is that article about tools…?”
    You watch! It’ll happen. It’s a conspiracy!

    Thanks again.

  • Gary

    I don’t see smugmug on the list. Is it not up to par with these? I have had it for a couple of years and am looking for greater ways for exposure, sell images, and gain clients.

  • Jim Cook

    This is awesome… I haven’t heard of many of these tools. Thanks for putting together this list. You rock!

  • Crystal Samson

    This is a great list. I also use MyPhotoApp.com, and it’s fantastic. Jim (creator) is really attentive and helpful. If you’re thinking about signing up, use ‘CaptureYou’ in the coupon field and get 2 free months!

  • +1 for SmugMug

  • Julia, thank you for reommending Defrozo. We’re honored to be featured on DPS among the best marketing tools for photographers!

    Defrozo will be launched in just a few days, we’re working hard to meet and exceed our subscribers’ expectations.

  • +1 for SmugMug from me too.

  • Melissa

    ShootProof offers unlimited free mobile apps on their pay program (I’m not sure how many are offered on their free account). They also offer archiving for .04/month/GB.

  • Michael McCullough

    I’ve used smugmug for years and love the support.

  • Avril

    No mention of Behance or LightBlue?

  • jp grace

    for those who rather shoot than edit, or just don’t have the time to devote… check out retouchup.com it’s not worth it to do my own portrait editing anymore!

  • jp grace

    demetrio, your website entry point states that defrozo is free, forever… is that accurate or just place holder text??? i did sign up, btw πŸ™‚

  • jp grace

    FineArtAmerica is a wondrous tool as well! post up to 25 photos free. over that, it’s $30/YEAR! i thought that was darn good. they give you their site, plus your own website, you set your own prices, and they do all the rest: printing, matting, framing, shipping, shopping cart of course. oh and if your customer buys any of those things, you get a commission on it. what could go wrong? it’s a fabulous site for fine art photogs!

  • Hey, we plan to make some turbo mode for Defrozo. But our main idea is to have the most feature-packed free product on the market. So our forever free plan will be much powerful even for professional use! Thanks for your question!

  • Mo Arshath

    Happy to see setmore.com in the list.

  • Dragos

    Hi Guys,

    Adding to the free resources, I’m tryng to build value by creating a repository of high quality free portfolio themes for photograhers.

    And just released Elandel, a FREE responsive WordPress Photography Theme

    http://zenphotothemes.net/demo/elandel

    Features:

    – Clean, strong design, with light and dark versions
    – Built on Bootstrap 3.2 responsive engine
    – Sticky menu with dropdown and mobile support
    – Smooth AJAX page transition
    – FullScreen custom gallery with touch / swipe and mobile ready
    – Smooth scrolling and slick, elegant CSS3 animations
    – Optimized for speed +85 with Google Page Speed test, and 99 for Mobile User Experience
    – Theme structured with Portfolio Post Type plugin, allowing you to change themes without losing content
    – FREE forever (or as long as possible )

    – Check it out and let me know what you guys think.

    http://zenphotothemes.net/demo/elandel

    Happy Holidays!!

    P.S. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will help improve quality and create better value themes

  • Robin – Wedding photographer

    Smugmug DEFINITELY needs to be up there. Anytime you mention Zenfolio you should mention Smugmug. For client galleries and your website it’s fantastic with lots of easy customization possible.

    Another good addition to your list is SmartAlbums or Fundy design – great for making album design quickly.

  • valentina spinedi

    Great List! Here I wrote few more that could be helpful πŸ™‚
    http://blog.artly.me/60-free-online-photography-tools

  • Mike Connors

    How about a professional system – morephotos.com

  • Artnethouse

    Not mentioned Photodeck.com? Many features, very suitable

  • Milton Jackson

    You have to check out http://www.picspotr.com... it’s a pretty good one too.

  • Julian Tai

    https://clickbooq.com is another good option for photographers.

  • Also, Smugmug has a great service, with unlimited space if you upload JPGs under 20 MB or videos under 2 GB (I think, don’t remember well). It also has galleries with slideshows and watermarks, two e-commerce plans, password protected and/or hidden galleries, folders for organizing the galleries. I don’t work for them πŸ™‚ I’m just happy with the service.

  • Melvyn Kouri

    Photodeck ?

  • Always interesting to see what others are using and what the pros and cons are. In the multi-platforms section I’d definitely include http://www.format.com. From a photography portfolio standpoint, they’re definitely my favorite and easiest to use.

  • Dafni100

    Great list!
    Try https://rocketgraph.com/reports/88-stats-for-500px to optimize your 500px activity!

  • Great list of products – I’ll have to check a few out. You should add Format to the list though. I’ve been using them for my photo portfolio for awhile now and they just added photo proofing capabilities. Amazing! I didn’t realize what I was missing before.

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