Best Photography Portfolio Site: 500px vs Smugmug

I’ve been using 500px for about 3 years now and when it first came out it was the answer to everything I had been looking for in a photography portfolio website. I still love it, it’s a daily source of inspiration and the iPad and iPhone apps are probably the best designed apps I’ve ever come across.

However, since my photography and video work have both expanded I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with the limitations of 500px and was disappointed with their latest update.

That got me looking at the competition and with the new update SmugMug just brought out, I decided to see if it was worth switching over. Here’s a breakdown of the good and bad of these two rivals:

Your pricing options:

Free – limited uploads, less organisation options, free!
Plus $25 p/y – unlimited uploads but no personal domain or analytics
Awesome $75 p/y – the whole package


  • free option
  • great portfolios
  • responsive design
  • own domain
  • amazing community with amazing photos
  • really great apps


  • no flexibility with commerce, all controlled by 500px
  • portfolios not very customisable
  • responsive design not often a great experience
  • can’t link individual images from portfolio
  • not a great deal of portfolio template choices
  • no option to include video
  • no blog integration but can link to your blog on About Me page


Basic $40 p/y – unlimited uploads but no personal domain and less template options
Power $60 p/y – huge variety of templates but no extra commerce options and no UK printing
Portfolio $150 p/y – more commerce options and watermarking but no custom price lists
Business $300 p/y – the whole package


  • many more templates to choose from
  • much more customisable
  • huge variety of commerce options
  • own domain
  • responsive designs
  • huge number of linking and embedding options for images and galleries
  • can upload videos as well as photos
  • UK printing
  • multiple galleries with privacy options


  • free trial for 14 days but no free option
  • no apps (apart from Camera Awesome but that’s just for snapping photos with your phone, not accessing your SmugMug account)
  • not the same community and inspiration that 500px brings
  • no blog integration but can link to your own blog on homepage


As much as I love 500px, it looks like SmugMug is winning here. The $60 per year Power account is cheaper than 500px’s $75 Awesome account and has more of the features I’m after. For photographers like myself that are keen to have a fully customisable website with a variety of commerce options, SmugMug is my recommendation.
If you want to sign up to Smugmug, please help me out and use my referral link here.

Leave a Reply