Whether you’re an illustrator, a graphic designer, or any other kind of creative professional, an online portfolio is absolutely essential. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a web-design guru to put together a great portfolio site. Here are seven websites that can host your work and help you create a stunning showcase for it.
Carbonmade aims to make setting up an online portfolio as easy as checking your email. With over 500,000 portfolios online now, Carbonmade is the service of choice for many talented creative people looking for a hassle-free solution.
Price: The free option allows for 5 projects and 35 images, while the premium package offers 50 projects, 500 images, and 10 videos for $12 per month.
Cons: Completed portfolios tend to look somewhat similar. The templates are easy to alter, but the range of customization is limited. If you’re looking for something you can make completely unique, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
The Bottom Line: Carbonmade is a great choice if you want something simple and fast that will look good. However, it’s unlikely to satisfy designers in search of a wide range of templates or unlimited customization.
In a word, Krop is “chic.” The templates have a stark, modern flair, perfectly suited to the diverse group of high-end photographers and designers who populate the site.
Price: The basic package is free with a 10-image limit and one available template. The premium level, at $10 per month, allows for unlimited images, video content, and a range of style options.
Pros: Krop portfolios are arguably the best looking and most stylish of any on this list. The wide range of templates available to premium account holders allows you to choose the perfect look for your work. Krop also includes integrated resume building and job-hunting tools.
Cons: Once you’ve selected a template, the fine customization options are somewhat limited. Also, while the premium option is unlimited, the 10-image cap makes the free option nearly useless, especially for anyone looking to show multiple samples from more than one field.
The Bottom Line: If you’re searching for a service with great-looking modern templates and an integrated job billboard, Krop is more than worth the price of admission. However, if you want to try before you buy, you’ll likely find the basic package painfully limited.
Behance is a community-driven portfolio service that focuses on networking and building relationships. The Behance network also offers a unique set of tools for anyone looking to hire talent or find work.
Pros: Behance is part portfolio-hosting service and part networking tool. It boasts a social network that lets you share your portfolio not only with other artists, but potential clients as well. Behance is also fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to allow for easy self-promotion.
Cons: The networking tools are great, but customization options are highly limited and the finished product looks more like a Facebook profile than a sleek portfolio.
The Bottom Line: Behance is a great tool for social networking and you certainly can’t beat the price, but if you’re looking to make an attractive, unique portfolio, a Behance profile alone likely won’t do the trick.
PhotoShelter is a high-end service targeting serious photographers who want to develop top-of-the-line professional portfolios with a suite of upscale tools and features.
Price: There are three different monthly subscription models, ranging from $49.99 per month for 100GB at the high end to $9.99 for 10GB.
Pros: PhotoShelter offers the most impressive range of professional tools and services of any platform on this list. It’s a leader in the field of search-engine optimization and analytics. It also boasts a unique, integrated shopping cart that lets users sell their work directly to anyone browsing their portfolios.
Cons: Sadly, this excellent suite of instruments is intended only for photographers, leaving illustrators and all other artists and designers out in the cold.
The Bottom Line: If you’re a professional photographer who wants nothing but the best, PhotoShelter is worth the investment. If you’re not a career photographer or a serious amateur, PhotoShelter won’t be right for you.
Dripbook’s simplicity and integrated job-tool set have made it the service of choice for thousands of creative professionals.
Price: Once again there are three subscription levels with optional monthly, quarterly, or annual billing, ranging from the standard package, offering 200 images for $10 per month, to the premium option, with 2,500 images at $39 a month.
Pros: DripBook is remarkably easy to use, with a hand-holding tutorial that will guide you through every step of building your portfolio and promoting your work. DripBook will also include you in its creative index, making your information available to a huge number of potential clients.
Cons: While DripBook’s organizational tools are incredibly user-friendly, they offer little in terms of customization or templates, and the end result doesn’t leave much room for personal flair.
The Bottom Line: While DripBook provides a handy tutorial for exporting your hosted content to a custom website, it’s a shame that the template and customization options for the on-site portfolios are so limited. The networking tools are great, but the cookie-cutter look of the portfolios is bound to disappoint.
Dribbble is a unique web portal and portfolio service that bills itself as “Show and Tell for Designers.” It features a unique community geared toward sharing, rather than a traditional portfolio presentation.
Price: A regular account is free with the option to “Go Pro” for $19 per year. A Pro account gives you a nifty little badge, lets you organize projects and upload full size images, and gives you access to advanced analytics tools.
Pros: Dribbble is a great way to explore and discover other artists, prompting users to share snippets of in-progress works and encouraging designers to collaborate and discuss. It’s also a great tool for anyone looking to find and hire talented professionals.
Cons: Much like Behance or DripBook, this kind of approach just doesn’t lend itself to the kind of customization that many designers are looking for in a portfolio hosting service. Signing up also poses a unique challenge for designers, as anyone can register as a “prospect,” but you need to be “drafted” by the community before you can become a full member and upload images.
The Bottom Line: Dribble is a great, unique community to be a part of, but on its own, it’s unlikely to satisfy most artists looking to kickstart their web presence.
Cargo Collective has caught the eye of a wide range of highly talented creative professionals. The unobtrusive, sleek portfolios might even beat out Krop in terms of the aesthetic “wow” factor.
Price: The basic account is free with a 100MB storage limit. An upgraded account is $9 per month, or $66 per year, for 6GB of storage with unlimited bandwidth.
Pros: Of all the services on this list, Cargo Collective is perhaps the most successful in helping users to easily create portfolios that look like they were individually made by a professional web designer. The templates are not only highly customizable, but they also look fantastic.
Cons: You need an upgraded account to get the full experience. A basic account is limited to a selection of only 10 templates and the ability to edit HTML or CSS is limited to upgraded members.
The Bottom Line: While the free option leaves much to be desired, upgrading your account at the yearly rate puts your monthly cost under $6. If you’re looking to create a professional, attractive and unique portfolio, Cargo Collective might just offer the best bang for your buck.
With all the services available, choosing the right one for you can be intimidating. At the end of the day, what’s most important is getting your work out there. Most of these sites provide some kind of free subscription model or trial offer, so there’s no reason to wait and ponder. Give one a shot today. (And if you’re a Shutterstock Contributor, here are a few suggestions to help your Shutterstock Portfolio shine!)