Zenfolio Photography Websites
Zenfolio began when four friends, all with backgrounds in tech and a love for photography, got together to launch an online platform for photographers to display, share, and sell their images with ease. Since Zenfolio’s launch in 2006, over 100,000 photographers around the world have used the service to build their websites and online stores, share their work, and manage their communications with their clients. If you’re the owner of a photography-related small business, read on to see if Zenfolio is the website builder for you.
Like most other website builders, the first thing you do when setting up your website is choosing a template. Zenfolio offers about a dozen well-designed templates from which you can choose, and all have abundant space for you to showcase your work. Because all of the work has been done for you, you can have a fully functional site in just minutes.
However, a website is more than just the template with your photos shown on the homepage. Here are some of Zenfolio’s other features:
- Unlimited uploads and galleries: images and videos are large, but because you have unlimited uploads, you don’t have to decide what gets shared on your website and what doesn’t
- Shared galleries: easily create an unlimited number of galleries to share with your clients. You can secure access to each gallery, add custom watermarks to protect your copyrights, and enable the list functionality so that your clients can save their favorite images. By default, all galleries are mobile-friendly, so your site looks good no matter what device your users are browsing on
- Marketing tools: Zenfolio’s marketing tools help you get the word out about your business and your website. You can ask visitors to sign-in, capturing their contact information, take advantage of the pre-built email and marketing templates, create an SEO-optimized blog, and launch marketing campaigns
- Support for custom domain names (though you’re certainly welcome to use the free subdomain that comes with all Zenfolio accounts)
Zenfolio also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android so that you can manage your site on the go.
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In addition to the photo galleries, you get additional pages to round out your website. You can opt for built-in, pre-configured pages, or you can customize your own.
All website templates come with the following built-in pages:
- Client Access
- Login or Register
You’re free to customize or delete any of these pages.
Zenfolio also comes with built-in support for blogging. You can easily create new posts, and if you already have an existing blog, you can import all of your old posts over to Zenfolio so that all of your content is in one place.
Finally, Zenfolio also offers robust features for file sharing, especially PDFs. This is useful for sharing things like contracts, agreements, and so on.
Zenfolio allows you to integrate your site with leading print labs so that your customers can purchase downloads of your files, custom image packages, physical copies of your images, or other customized items featuring your work. Some of the customized items you can offer include albums and photobooks, stationary, photo gifts, and home decor items. During the checkout process, Zenfolio allows you to accept payments via PayPal or credit cards.
To help you manage your product pages, you can easily edit pre-filled price lists. You’ll also get support for coupons and gift certificates. You have full control over what you offer, and when your clients place orders, you can review and approve them if you’d like.
To help you with your accounting-related tasks, Zenfolio helps you track your sales and profits, as well as depositing your earnings to your bank accounts.
School and Sports Photographers
If you’re a school or sports photographer, you may want to check out the optional subscription plans that come with additional tools to help you manage and track a large number of photos and orders.
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Getting Started and Managing Your Site
Getting started with Zenfolio is easy and takes just four steps. You simply provide your contact information, your areas of photography (for example, weddings or portraiture), select a template and upload a minimum of five images to populate your site. At this point, your site is fully functional, though of course, you’ll want to flesh it out.
To help you determine what you’ll need to do next, you can opt to book a free, 1-on-1 session to set up your site with a Zenfolio team member.
Everything about your site can be managed within the Zenfolio dashboard, which is divided into four areas: photos, selling, website, and communications. You can certainly access the more advanced features using the provided navigation bars, but the homepage of the dashboard has links to the features Zenfolio thinks you’ll be using most often.
If at any point, you need help, you can launch a Live Chat window to speak to a Zenfolio staff member.
Pricing and Billing
Zenfolio offers all new users a free, fourteen-day trial of their product. In the end, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription, and there are currently three different plans from which you can choose.
The entry-level option allows you to create a photography website in under an hour. You’ll get a homepage, gallery templates, and the ability to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos. You can easily integrate your site with all of your social media profiles, as well as use a custom domain name that you own. You can order print copies of your images, as well as custom gifts, at wholesale prices, and if you ever run into issues, you can take advantage of 24/7 support.
The mid-range option (which is the most popular plan), gets you everything in the starter plan, but you’ll also get additional site customization options, custom watermarks, photo sharing and client proofing tools, e-commerce features (such as a shopping cart and payment processing), the ability to sell digital downloads, commercial contracts with leading labs, the ability to offer self-fulfilled products and custom packages, marketing tools, and premium photo album service.
The most expensive plan is all-inclusive. In addition to the features that come with the two plans we described above, you’ll get support for user accounts, mini-sites for events management, advanced e-commerce features, support for boutique packaging and promotional items, integration with Adobe Lightroom, and dedicated Live Chat and phone support. If you’re a school or sports photographers, you’ll also get additional management features specific to your area of photography.
Regardless of which plan you choose, you can pay on a monthly basis, or you can pay upfront for an annual contract. Those opting for annual contracts receive discounts on their subscription fees.
Technical Support and Customer Service
Zenfolio prides itself on its industry-leading customer support.
To help you get up and running with Zenfolio, you can take advantage of a free 1-on-1 session with a team member to set up your site. While you can get started by yourself in just four easy steps, this session helps you further customize your site to maximize your conversion rates.
If you have questions for the Zenfolio team, you can get in touch 24/7 via email, live chat, or telephone.
Resources and Tools
As a subscriber to Zenfolio, you’ll get access to a host of additional resources and tools.
First, as a subscriber, you can take advantage of the partnerships Zenfolio has set up, getting you discounted or free services on products like Photographer’s Edit, Triple Scoop Music, Plywerk, Canon, ProShow WEb, Tether Tools, and more.
Second, Zenfolio offers a list of tools created by its partners that make the following tasks much easier:
- Photo transfers
- Photo uploads
- On-the-go account management
- Website Management
If you own a photography business and you’re looking for a solid, industry-specific website building tool that includes everything you need to get up and running in no time, Zenfolio is a great option for you. In addition to all of the features you expect from a typical website building tool, you get specialty features geared toward photographers, such as e-commerce tools, support for unlimited uploads and galleries, and the ability to secure access to parts of your webpage to facilitate client proofing and approvals. By opting for Zenfolio over a traditional website builder, you can save yourself a bit of work when it comes time to implement the features you need for your business.