PhotoShelter Review

PhotoShelter is “The Complete Solution to Show & Sell Photography.

Photography Websites

Pro Photo Website

Professional Websites for Photographers

Website builder for photographers

Photo Website Builders

Professional Photography Websites

Online photo proofing

online picture proofing and sales solution

At a Glance

  • Link:
  • Category: portfolio services? photography website design? professional portfolio services? Photography Websites
  • Competitors: SmugMugPro, Zenfolio, Foliolink, liveBooks
  • Based: New York
  • Launched: 2007
  • Started by: Allen Murabayashi, Jason Burfield, Jeffery Arnold, Thomas Chin and Grover Sanschagrin
  • CEO: CEO Allen Murabayashi
  • Size: 70,000 photographers (June 2011)

“The worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites, sales and marketing tools for photographers.” — PhotoShelter

What PhotoShelter says:

Your complete photo business solution

Build a stunning online portfolio, attract new clients to your site, deliver images to your customers, and allow them to buy and license images directly from your website.

Showcase your portfolio with our website design templates, add our professional photo galleries and sales tools to your existing site, integrate your blog, or design a completely custom site on top of our templates.

Sell photos easily

Sell prints, products, royalty-free, rights-managed and personal use downloads using a built-in shopping cart with your branding, not ours.

Self-fulfill orders, use a high-end printer from our exclusive Print Vendor Network, or use one of our 4 different printing partners to automatically print and ship for you!

Get more traffic to your photos

Your PhotoShelter site is specifically designed to optimize your exposure to Google, using 30+ factors you control to improve your rankings, plus a customized grader to rate your success. Built-in social media tools help you build a following and market your work. Tag your photos to get found by buyers who regularly search PhotoShelter’s catalog of 55 million images.

Close the deal

Turn your website visitors into paying customers. Our integrated shopping cart helps you sell your photos in a professional and user-friendly format. You integrate PhotoShelter with your PayPal or merchant account so the money directly goes to you - you’re not waiting for us to pay. And, you can sell in 16 different major currencies.

Manage your photos online

Not just good looks - our powerful pro tools provide high security, bulletproof archiving, watermarking, client access, and many online delivery methods for getting hi-res images to clients fast. No more messy CDs or huge emails!

Unlike other services, we support RAW, TIF, PSD, and JPG with no maximum file size. So upload your 1GB panoramic - we’ll even resize it for your clients on demand.

“PhotoShelter runs my business and allows me to sleep at night knowing my images are safe AND making me cash.” — Brad Mangin, sports photographer

“PhotoShelter enables us to delight our wedding and event clients with a fully branded, customized, and password protected environment to review their images directly on our website. Because of this, we view PhotoShelter as a true partner that helps us get business done.” — Missy McLamb, wedding photographer


  • Forums for in-depth answers from people in your area of expertise.
  • Free reports on topics important to serious photographers: making the most of social media, blogging, SEO, and more.
  • Customer support line in our office to help you along

Company Blurb

About PhotoShelter
PhotoShelter is the leader in portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers. Over 65,000 photographers worldwide use PhotoShelter to power their success online, with customizable website templates, searchable photo galleries, e-commerce capabilities, and bulletproof image storage. Photographers can create a professional PhotoShelter website in under five minutes, or customize the design of PhotoShelter to power their existing photography website. A complete solution designed to make the business of photography easier to manage - PhotoShelter offers image security, online image delivery, and advanced marketing tools like SEO and social media sharing capabilities so photographers can make their images work harder for them. To join our community or try PhotoShelter for $1, visit
PhotoShelter, June 2011

By Andrew Hudson Published: June 17, 2011 Updated: October 19, 2016

Some text goes here.

PhotoShelter Review

deliver hi res images to clients instantly.

What is it good for?

  • Weddings. Private gallery for the happy couple and guests.
  • Sports. Galleries for teams, can sort with keywords such as athlete number or team name.
  • Portfolio. Display your work. Galleries of projects, assignments, niches, styles.

Can be a stand alone site, or integrate into an existing site as the gallery/portfolio section.

Why use a service?

Time is money, and coding is time-consuming. Could take a year to learn how to code and build a working site. Who has time for that? You are beter served by spending that time taking photos to sell. By using a service with drag-and-drop tools and premade templates, can set up a working site in hours. What you spend in service fees you more than save in time. The hosting is secure and the payment processing is dependable. Plus, you get an off-site archive for your photos.

Why pay for a service?

Start selling right away. Much faster to set up a working site. Coding your own HTML takes a lot of time and coding knowledge. Took me a year to learn. Set up in minutes, be working today, small price to pay. Hosting my site with no software tools costs $25 a month, so an extra $25 a month for the tools is well worth it. Only have to make a few sales a month to pay for the service.

What you get:

  • Website hosting platform
  • Image management system
  • Online marketing tools such as SEO (search engine optimization) and social media interfaces.
  • Searchable image database using keywords
  • E-commerce cart and payment processing
  • Delivery of downloads
  • post recent phtos from assignments, events
  • Image proofing and sales
  • Direct connection to photo labs for prints, enlargements fulfillment
  • Pre-designed layout templates for a professional looking site

Your customers can:

  • See a professional-looking site which shows off your photography
  • Search for the photos they’re interested in
  • Review a gallery of relevant photos
  • Be assured that private photos aree safely password protected
  • Make purchases of prints, products, downloads, packages
  • Get orders fulfilled automatically, wihout having to bug or wait on you


After taking and editing your photos, upload. Organize into galleries. Optionally add captions, keywords, pricing. Email potential buyers with a private code to see the galleries. Customers can review your photos in their own time and purchase whatever they want, without involving you. Order processing and fulfillment and charging is automatic; money gets deposited into your bank account.

How to pick a site

Top 10. Top 40 by traffic. Compare offerings and prices. Read reviews. What features are key to your photography sales goals?



Overall, Photoshelter is a web platform with a strong content management and delivery system that really serves as a powerful selling tool for photographers.


With PhotoShelter, you can display photos online quickly and professionally, attract new clients from search engines, and efficiently sell downloads and prints.


  • Easy set up. Easy to set up and modify
  • SEO tools. SEO and social media tools.
  • Template and custom designs
  • Easy ordering for the client
  • Automatic fulfullment from printers


  • Only two printers to choose from
  • Doesn’t offer gallery wraps, standouts, canvases
  • No free option

More pros (rewrite)

  • Networking/Forum
  • Great looking galleries (with full customization if you wish)
  • Matching wordpress templates for your blogs (super cool - read our review of the photoshelter wordpress feature)
  • Digital downloads with different license types
  • Easy gallery management
  • Virtual agencies with other photographers to increase exposure
  • Fantastic SEO tools and guidance about how to use them
  • FTP accounts (Finally! no more browser plug-ins or desktop tools required)
  • Huge range of file types supported: JPG, TIF, PSD, RAW, PDF, GIF, PNG, more


  • ??virtual agencies??
  • FTP accounts?
  • client management features??

4 different choices of fulfillment labs. Offers self-serve printing and labs:

  • AdoramaPix
  • Exposure Manager
  • EZPrints
  • Spectrum Photographic


  • Pricing
  • Customization? Yes including full CSS modifications
  • Storage? storage and bandwidth
  • Margin: 92% of the profits (lowest percentage of all reviewed photosharing sites)


  • Three offering with monthly fees.
  • No free offering but a starting offer of $1 trial
  • List cost of plans basic, standard, and pro tiers.

Free: What Can You Get for Free?

  • PDF books on SEO
  • Blog
  • Forum?


Where based, when started, who owns, wikipedia entry, any numbers? About page.

Review in terms of workflow.



four different plans: Starter, Basic, Standard and Pro.

Starter - The Starter plan is free, but has limited options and features. The Starter has a custom web address, optional Flash slide show, gallery archive search, image resizing and buyer options. The marketing and sales tools are not available at this level. You get the image delivery options, support, limited self-marketing tools, image security, community tools and limited archive space. The starter package is amazingly robust for a free service. They do take a 30 percent transaction fee at the free level.

Basic - The Basic plan costs $9.99 a month and has all the same features as the Starter plan, but you get listed in the photographers directory and can post in the forums. The transaction fee is much lower at 10 percent at this level. There is not much difference between the Starter and the Basic, which does not seem like a big incentive to upgrade. Unless the user has a high volume of sales, it is a better choice to stay at the Starter level.

Standard - At the Standard level, the marketing tools are available and all the credit card tools are included. With the other plans, you have to have an initial investment of $50. The Standard plan costs $29.99 per month. All of the tools and sales options are available at this level.

Pro - The Pro plan costs $49.99 per month and the only difference between the Standard and Pro plans is in storage. The Standard has 20GB/month and the Pro 50GB/month with more overall storage space.

Building a Site:

Site Builde. The user can choose to use a template or to customize their website. It only takes a few minutes to set up a simple site and start selling right away. The site builder guides the user through the process seamlessly. This is nice feature for photographers who want to get their site up right away. Overall, everything is user friendly and quick to set up. it is simple and quick to set up with easy to customize template themes.For those who want to take it a step further, manual customization is available.



  • Web browsers
  • Desktop loader
  • Photo editing software
  • FTP
  • Send a hard drive


The Photoshelter interface is similar to Photo Mechanic and the two integrate to upload images from Photo Mechanic straight into your archive without using a web browser.


Crucial to any photographer is the back up of images. The PhotoShelter image archive is excellent. It has the benefit of supporting raw and psd files as well as jpeg and tiff. I no longer have the worry of losing valuable images.


PhotoShelter’s keywording tools are great too. This turns my least favourite, but most important, stock photography task into something relatively painless and easy.



There are unlimited gallery possibilities and PhotoShelter has partnered with WordPress and Graph Paper Press for a large selection of theme designs. The photographer controls page text, watermarks, layout style, size, navigation and design. Another plus is the variety of galleries that can be created. Most websites are static in design. They offer one type of gallery. Most photographers will shoot a variety of photographic projects and the ‘’one gallery fits all’ style is not the most productive or best suited for all types of projects. Thumbs up for versatility.

Within my PhotoShelter archive, I can assign one image to any number of galleries I wish, with one click. I can group those galleries into collections and create private galleries for clients. Photographers can build an entire photography website straight from PhotoShelter or integrate it into a pre-existing website, as I have. In fact, you may not even have noticed that the new Photo Galleries section of is driven entirely by PhotoShelter.


Photoshelter does have embeddable code available for direct galleries and single image embeds.The WordPress Plugin, which was referred to earlier, is an additional method for embedding images.


Social Media Tools:


automatically post my new galleries to my Facebook Fan page and create embeddable slide shows I can use to promote my work on other websites with a couple of clicks.


PhotoShelter claims to focus on SEO and includes many tools to maximize your search engine mojo. control across 30 factors to help you climb the search rankings

SEO Grader

SEO webinars led by founder and search expert Allen Murabayashi. Photoshelter has a Search Engine Optimization grader that walks you through the steps topromote your site online that includes everything from captioning and keywording to having an “About” page on your website to get your contact information seen. Photoshelter has a Search Engine Optimization grader that walks you through the steps topromote your site online that includes everything from captioning and keywording to having an “About” page on your website to get your contact information seen.


From PhotoShelter’s Product Tour page highlights, about SEO: The PhotoShelter SEO Grader. Scan your account anytime. It reviews 32 different factors and gives you specific recommendations for how to improve your SEO inside PhotoShelter.

On-Page Factors You Control. Unlike other services, PhotoShelter makes it easy to edit and expose key factors to Google – stuff that’s known to help – like page titles, keywords in URLs, image ALT text, and on-page text. Little green icons inside PhotoShelter show you where to use strategic keywords. Direct sitemap submission to Google. We automatically create, submit, and update your sitemap with Google Webmaster. This helps save you time, and immediately alerts Google about your latest website updates so you get an edge with faster web page and image indexing.

More SEO juice with custom pages. Search engines love rich, relevant content and lots of links – so our templates let you give them exactly that with 2 additional pages you’re free to customize as desired using our simple HMTL editor.

Blog Power. Frequently updated, keyword rich blogs help boost your rank potential, and you can easily integrate yours with PhotoShelter for a seamless link between the two platforms.

No Flash design. PhotoShelter websites are not built with Flash – because it’s a web design language that major search engines simply can’t decipher. We stick to HTML and CSS so the search engines can easily crawl and index your entire site.

Keep your keywords. We automatically import your meta data from IPTC to EXIF. If you’re captioning/keywording in programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, or Photomechanic, all your meta data will be preserved. You can always change it later through PhotoShelter too.

Integrate Google Analytics

A critical component of SEO for any website is tracking success and continuous improvement. Integrating Google Analytics with a PhotoShelter website is simple and exposes data such as what keywords users type to find your website, the source of inbound links, as well as overall traffic dashboards. Allen Murabayashi created an incredible guide – Google Analytics for Photographers – to help you learn the ins and outs.



e-commerce so I can now offer direct sales of downloads and prints directly through


Images can be sold in a variety of ways as stock, prints or image downloads. PhotoShelter has a print lab for photographers who do not have printing capabilities. They offer analytics and reports. You can sell to 16 currencies.

A tax chart is included.

Coupons and sales options are available.

Full rights managed pricing (This is an extremely useful tool. More sites should include this type of pricing flexibility).

Merchant of record sales. This means that all sales are instant and go directly into your account.

PayPal or Netbilling

The tools are easy to access, easy to use, have a great selection of convenient options for the photographer. Many similar sites offer nice options, but they do not offer some of the special tools such as ‘’merchant of record’ sales and ‘’Rights Managed pricing.’ These are exceptionally useful tools which offer something for both professionals and amateurs.

Image Delivery:

One way in which Photoshelter has saved me a significant amount of time is worrying about image delivery.What used to require cds, contact sheets, and a trip to the post office or a drive to hand deliver my files can now be done by creating a private gallery for a client who can then download the images they want.


  • FTP
  • Simultaneous FTP (This is a very nice feature)
  • High resolution files
  • Archive access download

A good comparison:


One day write about Photo Mechanic, Lightroom


Reply by Jim Rice

February 24, 2013

I am looking for a site where i can upload a gallery and a client can download

The full size images,i do not want too sell them, they would be from a job i have


I do not want a web site.

Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

March 5, 2013


Hi Jim,

See my list of Portfolio Websites.

Best wishes,


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