Photoshelter Review – Is it Really Worth Your Money?

If you are an online course creator who wants to:

  •  grow their online business
  •  have a photography-based web design
  •  have the ability to sell your courses 
  •  and manage clients

Photoselter is the program you should consider. 

In this Photoshelter Review, we will go over its main features, pricing, pros, and cons to help you decide if Photoshelter is worth your money. 



Photoshelter is a website and e-commerce program built for professional photographers. As an online course creator, you can use this platform to upload and sell your courses, license downloads, and expand your client base. It has great SEO features to help you rank well in search engines including a guide on how to optimize your account for SEO. 

Alternate #1


We would recommend SmugMug as a beginner-friendly alternative to Photoshelter. It has some great features and customization options to make it easy for you to upload your online course into galleries. It allows for effortless e-commerce and purchasing. This allows you to keep 85% of the profit above SmugMug’s minimum rates. 


Alternate #2


If you want customizability to your website, we would recommend Zenfolio. It offers fully customizable galleries including logos and 7 different styles of the homepage. Moreover, it has unlimited storage and bandwidth with premium plans. 


Quick Summary of the Main Product

Launched in 2005, Photoshelter is a portfolio website that doubles as a cloud storage service. It has over 100 tools that can combine seamlessly into a photographer’s work process. 

You can use Photoshelter to create an online hub to showcase, sell and organize your lectures in one place. 
It currently hosts 80,000 users worldwide, from rookies to industry professionals. 

Photoshelters backend engine is built to give you full control over your online course business. 

This means you can use it to:

  • Sell prints, packages, and royalty-free stock photos
  • Get paid 
  • Upload your lectures and photographs to their cloud storage
  • Share your online course publicly or privately with prospective customers
  • Automate print and product fulfillment  
  • Protect your content with a watermark

Features and Benefits

To write this Photoshelter review, we tested the site for a few months. We evaluated Photoshelter pricing, its site builder and used it to work online on our business. 

Here’s a list of some of its main features: 

Website Builder and Templates

When it comes to configuring websites, Photoshelter offers only 9 templates. 

Our team tested out the templates, we found that we couldn’t remove or add content to customize our site.

Each template came with a predesigned layout including: 

  • A homepage 
  • A page used to represent yourself
  • Contact page containing all the contact information
  • An Archive page to store and manage your online courses

On the upside, the templates were easy to use, with no coding required.  This means you do not need to be tech-savvy to set up your own website using Photoshelter. 

Moreover, you can bend them to suit whatever niche you’re in by customizing the font, color palette, and sample photos for your online course.



Photoshelter has many 3rd party integrations built into its interface. 

Here is a list of platforms Photoshelter integrates with:

Social media platforms

  • Twitter 
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr 

Analytical providers

  • Google Analytics

Payment portals

  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • Netbilling


  • Vimeo

SEO and mobility 

It’s really easy to make your site SEO-ready through Photoshelter. 

Moreover, it generates image level-timestamps, title tagging, and ALT. The keywords and codes are automatically indexed and submitted to Google. 

Photoshelter supports many operating systems including Windows and Mac OS. So, all layouts are also optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. 

This makes your portfolio look the best on all platforms. 


If you want to work on an online course for photography, it is important to watermark your work. 

You can use Photoshelter to add text-based watermarks or images to all your online courses. Furthermore, Photoshelter prevents people from saving their work to their computers. 

You can find the option to add watermarks to your course under the general and security settings once you access the main site builder.


Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Photoshelter


The first factor you need to consider is Photoshelter pricing. 

Photoshelter offers three plans, basic, standard, and pro. We found these plans to be a bit pricey as compared to its competitors. 

Below you will find the breakdown of the Photoshelter pricing plan:

  • The Basic Plan for $9.09/month

It comes with 4G storage, all 9 templates, eCommerce tools, and social media integration. Moreover, it is mobile-friendly and you get a 10% commission fee on your online course sales. 

We would recommend this plan for lite users who don’t need client proofing. 

  • The Standard Plan for $20.99/month

It includes everything in the basic plan except it offers 100GB storage space, client proofing, and 20GB bandwidth

This plan is best if you require more space and client proofing for your online course. 

  • The Pro Plan for $34.99/month

You get access to everything in the previous plans, plus unlimited storage, unlimited downloads, and one-on-one live consultation from an expert to help you set up your site. 

We would recommend this plan if you want to sell an online course on photography with lots of high-quality images. 

However, it’s best if you take advantage of the 14-day free trial before you make your decision.

Basic: $12.99/month, Standard $29.99/month, Pro $49.99/month.

E-commerce for digital downloads

Photoshelter makes it easy to sell your online courses thanks to its backend engine and built-in eCommerce tools. 

It took us 5 minutes to list out products and start selling them. 

We compiled a list of some of the useful options we found while we listed our products: 

  • Buy now buttons next to images
  • Set shipping costs and tax
  • Option to add discounts and deals 

Moreover, Photoshelter can interface with other eCommerce platforms, has a built-in stock pricing calculator, multiple languages, and currency support. 

If you are a professional photographer, you can also use Photoshleter to sell prints with your online course. 

 e-commerce photoshelter allowing most photographers to set up products and sell them via vendors

Customer support 

Photoshelter gives you access to excellent resources to help you get comfortable with the platform. 

They include: 

  • A Contact Us section 
  • Support Center 
  • Community Q&A

Our team sent them three different emails to ask them about a query. All three emails were answered within 8 hours by the Photoshelter team. 

They were friendly and gave us in-depth answers to our questions. They did not link us to a cookie-cutter tutorial which is quite often the case. 

Pros and Cons

What we likedWhat we didn’t like
Easy to use 
Free trial
Watermark protection
Custom domain name
Cloud storage
Full-screen portfolios
Limited number of templates
No blogging platform
Images shorter than 350px can’t be watermarked

Social Proof

We went through Photoshelter’s reviews to fully understand what people think of the platform. 

Most customers used Photoshelter for their photography business. They were satisfied by its ease of quickly creating the foundation and structure needed for a functional web page. 

Many professional photographers were also pleased by its large storage capacity to upload full-resolution images to the site. They had a platform to display their professional photography. 

photoshelter social proof
photoshelter social proof

Similar to Photoshelter (Recommendations)

#1: Best User-Friendly Website – SmugMug Review


SmugMug is a code-free site builder. It acts as an online gallery to display all your online courses and images. 

This makes SmugMug perfect if you want an online course for photography.

It offers 21+ templates that are customizable and mobile-friendly. This allows you to create your website even if you are a novice. 

You can also use its mobile app to download images and manage galleries. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy SmugMug


SmugMug is well-priced as compared to Photoshelter.

It offers four different pricing plans:

  • Basic for $7/month
  • Power for $11/month 
  • Portfolio for $27/month 
  • Business for $42/month 

It also offers a 14-day free trial

As an online course creator, we would recommend you go for the portfolio plan or the business plan. It has everything you need to create a platform and manage clients.


SmugMug has some great e-commerce tools. It offers unlimited storage for your lectures, right-clicks protection, and bulk image management

We tested out the check-out process to purchase an online course. The ordering and payment process was fast and simple. It is also great for the delivery of large batches of files. 

However, when we were downloading our online course we found it was only available as a zip file. We had no option to choose the size or format of the file which was a huge disadvantage for us. 

Customer support 

SmugMug has a well-organized support center. 

They offer 24/7 email support and plenty of online tutorials to help get familiar with the platform. 

The only downside is that they do not offer phone support, and can sometimes take a while to get back to emails. 

What we liked What we didn’t like
Ease of use
Customizable galleries 
Good integration with social bookmarking sites 
Custom domain name
Watermark protection
Storage space
No ability to invoice
15% fee on everything

Best User-friendly Website 

The best user-friendly website is SmugMug because of its flexibility, customization, design, and support. 

#2: Best Portfolio Builder for Professional Photographers – Zenfolio Review 


Zenfolio is perfect to host and sell your photography course. 

You can use their services to build your online store, share your lectures, and manage communication with your clients. 

It offers 13 customizable and responsive templates so you have abundant space to showcase your lectures. It also comes with social media integration so you can link all your platforms on your website for students to reach you. 

The setup process is simple and easy for people with no website building experience. You can have a fully functional site within minutes.

Moreover, Zenfolio also lets you add HD video lectures to your site. This feature is absent in Photoshelter. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Zenfolio


Zenfolio offers a 14-day free trial to all its users. After the trial, you’ll need to upgrade your subscription.

 It has 3 different pricing plans: 

  • Portfolio for $5/month
  • PortfolioPlus for $12/month
  • ProSuite for $25/month 

As an online course creator, the PortfolioPlus would be the most suitable for you. You can use it to create a multi-page site and sell your course through their eCommerce features.

zenfolio pricing


Zenfolio allows you to integrate your site with print labs so customers can purchase downloads of your lectures. 

You can accept payments for your online courses through PayPal or credit cards

To manage your courses, Zenfolio lets you edit your pre-filled price lists so you have full control of what you offer and when your clients place orders. 

It also helps you track your sales and profits and aids you to deposit your earnings into your bank account.

zenfolio package

Customer support

If you have a query for the Zenfolio team, you can get in touch with them through:

  • Email 
  • Live chat 
  • Telephone

They are available 24/7. You can also take advantage of their one on one session with their team members to set up your lectures and upload images. 

What we liked What we didn’t like
Simple to set up
Watermark protection
Drop and drag editor
Option to print sales
Limited templates
Clunky interface
No free version

Best Portfolio Builder for Professional Photographers

The Best Portfolio Builder for professional photographers is Zenfolio. It allows you to sell your online course on a fully functional site. You can use it to create hiring pages, galleries, and everything in between to display your lectures. 

Guide to Buy

photoshelter review


Everyone has different needs and a specific budget for their portfolio site. 

As an online course creator, you need to be sure of what you will use this site for to get your money’s worth. 

Consider a platform that will allow you to grow at a price that fits your budget. We would also recommend you make use of free trials before you choose a platform.


One of the most important features of portfolio sites is their e-commerce tools and services

As an online course creator, you’ll need a place to upload your lectures, sell them and manage your clients. 

Therefore, consider a platform with simple and intuitive features to sell as well as to purchase products.

Customer support 

If you are experienced in building websites, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. 

However, as a novice, you’ll want to consider a platform with prompt customer support to address all your questions.

Want to know about getting into the online course business? CLICK HERE

Wrapping Things Up…

This is the end of our Photoshelter review. 

Overall, the Photoshelter site is one of the easiest website builders we have come across.

It is great for professional photographers who want to sell prints and maximize their online presence or people who want to take pictures as a hobby and showcase them online.

Let us know in the comments below if Photoshelter is the right pick for you.