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SmugMug vs Squarespace: Which Is Better For Photography?

Thad Allender

by Thad Allender

Dec 31, 2020 · 4 min read


If you’re looking for a platform to sell your photos online, chances are you’ve already narrowed down your choices to SmugMug vs Squarespace. Both services are hugely popular among visual artists. However, there are some differences you’ll want to know about.

While you can always build a stunning photography website in WordPress, you may prefer an all-in-one solution. Both SmugMug and Squarespace are fully hosted and require no coding skills. However, they may not suit all types of users, so it’s crucial to establish your needs first.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each platform and give you an overview of their features. We will also recommend a robust alternative if you’re still unsure whether you should choose SmugMug or Squarespace.

What to Look Out For When Choosing a Photography Website Builder


When choosing a platform for your photography portfolio website, it’s best to evaluate your expectations first. For instance, if you take thousands of photos that fall under various categories, your needs might differ from photographers who only upload occasionally.

Some of the must-have features for your portfolio might include:

  • A choice of customizable templates 
  • Bulk upload of photos
  • Integration with tools such as Lightroom
  • Ability to sell your photos digitally or in print
  • Ability to organize your work in galleries and categories

Also, you’ll want to make sure some general web fundamentals are in place, such as a way to carry out Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ll also want to make sure you choose a responsive design, so that mobile users can view and purchase your work without any problems.

The Pros and Cons of Using SmugMug or Squarespace


Now we’ve helped you establish your needs, let’s look at each platform’s unique points, best features, and drawbacks.

SmugMug


SmugMug shows your talent in the form of an online gallery. You can display your geotagged images as interactive maps, which is handy for travel photography. Also, the platform lets you bulk manage your pictures and add them directly from Lightroom, which can save you a lot of time.


Other useful features include:

  • Customization: All templates are customizable with a drag-and-drop editor. 
  • Plenty of photo uploads: SmugMug offers “unlimited” cloud storage.
  • Visibility controls: SmugMug lets you create private pages, galleries, or folders.
  • E-commerce: All plans let your visitors order prints. The higher plans also include order fulfillment, product mockup, and more.

The platform is straightforward to use. You can choose from four plans that target users with different levels of experience. If you want to sell your photos online, you should opt for the Portfolio plan, which costs $242 per year (or $32.67 if billed monthly).


Unfortunately, SmugMug won’t enable you to create blogs, so your content marketing options are limited. If this is a deal-breaker, you might want to consider other platforms like Visual Society, which comes with various photo blogging templates.

Squarespace


Squarespace is a popular website builder that boasts award-winning designs. While it’s not a photography-specific platform, there are many portfolio themes you can easily customize to suit your needs.

Apart from creating galleries with stunning visual effects, you can also build a fully functioning website. Squarespace lets you add a practically unlimited number of pages such as a blog, events page, or online store. However, the latter is only available with one of the higher plans. 


Other useful features include:

  • Real-time editor: Squarespace provides a visual creation experience with a drag-and-drop builder.
  • Photo upload storage: Similarly to SmugMug, Squarespace gives you unlimited storage.
  • Responsive design: Your photos will look excellent on any device.
  • E-commerce: You can use Squarespace to sell your photos online.

Squarespace’s interface is super intuitive, so you’ll be able to use all functions with ease. There are four plans to choose from. The Business plan costs €17 per month and offers basic online store features.


Although it’s a powerful website builder, you may encounter some limitations. For instance, you won’t be able to add images in bulk, which could cost you a lot of time in the long run. Also, if you sell prints, you can’t offer multiple size options.

SmugMug vs Squarespace: Which is Better For Photography?


Overall, you can build a decent portfolio website with both platforms. However, some of the features won’t appeal to all users.

SmugMug is aimed at photographers, so you’ll set up your photo gallery in no time. It will also make uploading your work easy thanks to features like bulk image editing. However, you won’t be able to blog, and the pricing can be a bit steep if you want to access more advanced store functions.

On the other hand, Squarespace lets you build a complete website. It offers you a lot more flexibility in terms of content. Its templates are stunning and will impress your peers. However, if you work with extensive collections, you’ll have to perform many tasks manually, and there are no fulfillment options for your store.

Another alternative would be to build your website with Visual Society, a fully hosted platform specially created for photographers and artists. It offers many advantages designed to simplify your workflow, such as:

  • Selling multiple print sizes
  • Importing images in bulk from Lightroom.
  • Automatic product mockups
  • Automatic fulfillment
  • Superior SEO with automatic keywords
  • Password-protected galleries
  • A variety of templates that work for portfolios, stores, or blogs

Visual Society goes one step further, helping you sell your photos successfully. User Karima Asaad noted that it’s “…a brilliant platform to showcase your work!” As such, it’s a worthy contender to consider when making your final choice. 

Conclusion

Choosing the right platform to showcase your photography skills is the first significant step towards establishing your online presence. Most photographers want to be able to sell their prints as well, which is why they often consider SmugMug vs Squarespace.

In this article, we’ve given you an overview of both companies’ features and price differences. Squarespace is a more robust solution for photographers who want to build a proper business website. However, if you just need to set up a quick portfolio, SmugMug will get the job done.

Which platform do you prefer, SmugMug or Squarespace? Let us know in the comments section below!




Category: Business
Thad Allender

Thad Allender

Founder / CEO

Thad Allender is the founder of Visual Society. He leads a team of passionate designers and developers working to revolutionize the way photographers and artists sell online. He lives north of New York City in the Catskills.