Website review

Pixpa review: the best platform for photographers?

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Want to create a website? Then in 2022, Pixpa is just one of many options to do so. Many website builders give you templates that you can simply drag and drop your content into. But with so many services on the market, it’s hard to know which one to use.

If you don’t want to spend time and effort learning to code, you can use one of the best website builders. these provide you with templates that you can drag and drop your content into. But with so many services on the market, it’s hard to know which one to use.

To help you narrow it down, we’ll cut to the chase. Pixpa is a good option if you’re a photographer who wants to build a portfolio and potentially sell prints or other products or services to your fans and followers. So if you’re not, you should probably look elsewhere. (Our summaries of the best website builder for artists and the best website builder for small businesses should point you in the right direction.)

If you are, however, Pixpa has you firmly in their sites. But is it really the best website builder for photographers? We tested it to answer this question.

Pixpa: Plans and Pricing

Pixpa starts at $3.60 / £3.32 per month for the Basic plan when paid every two years, $4.80/£4.42 paid annually or $6/£5.53 paid monthly. This allows you a maximum of five pages and/or galleries and 100 gallery images and an SSL certificate, but you will need to organize your domain name separately.

The Creator the plan is $7.20/£6.63 per month when paid every two years, $9.60/£8.84 paid per year or $12/£11.05 paid per month. This allows you a maximum of 10 pages and/or galleries, 300 gallery images, an SSL certificate, and a custom domain. You’ll also be able to sell up to five products through an online store and, as with all plans except Basic, sell images as prints or downloads.

The Professional the plan is $10.80/£9.95 per month when paid every two years, $14.40/£13.26 paid per year or $18/£16.58 paid per month. This allows you unlimited pages, galleries, and images, and up to five user accounts. You will also be able to sell up to 50 products through an online store and create up to 25 bespoke photo apps for customers. With this and the advanced plan, you can have a Pixpa expert set up your website for you.

Finally, the Advanced the plan is $15/£13.82 per month when paid every two years, $20/£18.42 paid per year or $25/£23.03 paid per month. This allows you an unlimited number of pages, galleries, images and user accounts. You will also be able to sell up to a thousand products through an online store and create an unlimited number of bespoke photo apps for customers.

You can start with a 15-day free trial, followed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Note that if you are a student or teacherYou can receive 50% off any Pixpa plan (opens in a new tab).

Pixpa: getting started

It really couldn’t be easier to get started with the Pixpa website builder. All you have to do is click on the “Get Started for Free” button on the top right of their homepage, enter your name and email address, choose a password and away you go. If you want to make things even easier, you can log in via Google or Facebook instead. You don’t need to provide a credit card and you automatically get a 15-day free trial to try out the service.

Registration form on the Pixpa website

(Image credit: Tom May)

First, you will be asked to choose the category of website you will use and a name for the site. It will then take you to an appropriate template to start with. Don’t worry too much about which category you choose, because you can always swap templates later, without having to re-upload your content. And in all honesty, they’re not that different from each other anyway.

Pixpa: Interface

If you’re used to using modern software like Lightroom or uploading files to a client’s content management system, you should find Pixpa’s interface relatively straightforward. The main thing you need to do, in order to turn your template into a working website, is simply swap out its default text and images for your own.

I found the interface, admittedly, a bit laggy at times. However, this is quite common among website building platforms: after all, there’s a lot going on below the surface, and so the odd split-second delay is quite understandable.

Pixpa interface showing the default photo

The interface makes it easy to edit a template to create your own website (Image credit: Tom May)

That said, I didn’t find the system entirely intuitive. Even though I’ve used many similar services before (or maybe because of it), Pixpa’s quirks have held me back a few times. For example, when it came to doing something as simple as swapping out the default photo for one of my own, I had no idea how to do it and had to resort to reading the files help.

Pixpa interface showing my own headshot

Adding my own image to replace the default photo wasn’t as intuitive as expected. (Image credit: Tom May)

On the plus side, these help files are clear, concise, and comprehensive, so as long as you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll likely be able to have a basic website up and running in a few hours or so.

Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, Pixpa’s templates are pretty basic and largely focused on a grid layout of images, with the goal of creating a portfolio. You also get About Me and Contact pages, and the ability to add a blog and online store (on all but the Basic plan).

Want more than that? Well, you can certainly add additional sections to your website and even modify the HTML code if you wish. But if hosting a photography portfolio is the main focus of your website, you won’t really need it: these templates already have everything you need.

A small drawback is that if an image appears in more than one gallery, you have to re-upload it (there is no central storage area for images), and this will reduce your storage allowance. However, it at least keeps everything nice and simple.

Pixpa: e-commerce features

Pixpa interface showing options for buying a print

The default pricing options configured to allow you to sell prints (Image credit: Pixpa)

In our experience, Pixpa does a good job of letting you create a portfolio of photographs, relatively quickly and easily. But the same goes for Format, Smugmug and others. Where Pixpa really trumps the competition is in the specific features that help you make money selling prints and downloads of your images.

For the purposes of this review, I tested the Professional Plan and was impressed with the multitude of ways I could set up my booth. I could create an online store, which would allow me, for example, to sell photo books or personalized photo gifts. Alternatively, I could create an e-commerce image gallery, which collects the images you have made available for sale online, as prints or downloads. This option would be perfect, for example, if I were a wedding or portrait photographer looking to maximize revenue from each session.

There is a lot of granularity in how you configure these pages; for example, you can choose to have a shopping cart icon appear on any image available for sale, or only appear when people hover over it. You can use Stripe or PayPal for payments, or PayUmoney if you’re in India. Alternatively, you can choose to settle payments manually, outside Pixpa’s system (this is the default option). Anyway, Pixpa doesn’t take any sort of discount from your sales: they take your subscription fee, but nothing else.

Pixpa payment options

The default payment option is to pay offline, but you can also choose between Stripe and PayPal. (Image credit: Pixpa)

You can also disable right-clicking on the images you feature so people can’t download them without paying. You can create discount coupons for buyers to use. And, if you’re a commercial photographer or work at an agency, you can create a bespoke, password-protected gallery that only your client can access, to make it easier for them to review your work.

You can even set up client galleries as a bespoke mobile app for download: a special feature unique to Pixpa, as far as we know. These are surprisingly easy to set up, although again you can’t transfer images from an existing gallery and have to re-upload them.

Pixpa Gallery app setup with colorful house photos

(Image credit: Tom May)

In all honesty, I don’t know if I would use these client apps myself, as they are a bit difficult for the client to download, and they need to have Google Chrome on their phone to work. So it can cause more trouble than it’s worth. It’s nice to have the option, though, and they work well once you launch them.

Pixpa: Customer Service

As we mentioned earlier, Pixpa has an excellent database of help articles and FAQs that should answer most beginners’ questions. If you’re having trouble, however, there’s a web chat icon in the bottom right of the screen, which promises responses within four minutes on average. I tried it and got a full response to my query in 18 minutes. However, there doesn’t seem to be an option for customer support via email or phone.

Should you buy Pixpa?

Pixpa does something very specific and does it very well. If you want to take a bunch of images, present them as an online portfolio, and possibly add a blog, the interface makes it easy and the service is nice and affordable.

If you want a lot of control over how your site looks and works, then look elsewhere: the templates here are pretty much the same and there aren’t many options to customize them. However, if you’re happy to let your work speak for itself, then there’s a lot to like.

More importantly, if you want to add e-commerce functionality, the range of features is pretty unbeatable. And the lack of transaction fees also puts Pixpa above the competition. In fact, in most cases, for a photographer trying to make money from their work, we’d be hard-pressed to recommend a better platform.

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