Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I'm looking to build a photo sharing website for a photographer (starting out) and wanted to know any known choices. I don't mind paying up. I had a look around and I find Smugmug the best yet with 500px being the second choice. However if there are any other services like that, please let me know. I'm looking for a sharing style engine (something beyond wordpress -- like Smugmug), with some descriptions/captions (write ups about the work -- some of the photos could be architectural work/portfolio) and the ability to have different sections. I'm not looking to sell the photos/have an e-cart, just a nice portfolio feel. I'm a web developer so I don't have a problem with working on any code to do custom tweaks. Please let me know if you think anything is better and if you have any personal recommendations! Thank you.

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I think we have many questions that already cover this such as:… ,… ,… – dpollitt Jan 5 '12 at 19:55
As well as… – dpollitt Jan 5 '12 at 19:57
As the answers thus far haven't really addressed it, I want to point out that this user is a web developer looking to create a website or portfolio solution for a client, besides that, the other questions above are duplicates. – dpollitt Jan 6 '12 at 0:14
up vote 6 down vote accepted


If you value sharing over everything: Flickr

If you value photography-centric community: 500px

If you value simplicity and ease of use in your online portfolio: Zenfolio

If you would like a bit of all the above, but with flexibility to custom code your own online portfolio: Smugmug

Smugmug isn't quite the sharing site that Flickr is, and isn't really a photo community like 500px, though it does sponsor Digital Grin. Zenfolio does not have much sharing or community either, but it's online portfolio is much easier to use and configure. The downside is that you must use their tools and options are limited, without the ability to edit CSS or HTML or Javascript. Smugmug is a bit clunkly in the tools area, but the online portfolio looks good, and you can edit CSS, HTML and Javascript if you prefer to do most anything. For the record, I use Smugmug.

Other options include Fotki, focused more on photo hosting, and PBase, and more or less bare bones photo hosting site.

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I'd start with 500px, and then see if that meets your needs. You can upload 20 pictures a week for free. Do you create more than 1000 portfolio-worthy photos a year? :) – Eric Jan 5 '12 at 22:21

I use Smugmug. It was a toss up between Smugmug and ZenFolio, and equally popular site with very similar features.

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Fotonomy has a nice, simple design, free hosted full-size picture uploads and downloads, and you can create albums (which are more like tags, really) for your photos. I'm not sure what limits are placed on the caption length.

It has a community aspect, so the photos might draw a lot of comments from other fotonomy users.

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If you are a web developer, then you should definitely consider Piwigo. It's free software, you can either self-host it if you want full control on it, or use a paid-for hosting service like Even with the solution, you still have a lot of control (you can customize your gallery with themes, plugins, and even write CSS code).

I personally found Piwigo "not so good" out of the box, but is by far the most customizable option I found. After a bit of tweaking, my gallery ends up being almost exactly the way I want it to be.

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