SmugMug vs. Pixieset: Which is Better?

SmugMug vs. Pixieset: Which is Better?

Choosing the right photo hosting platform can be a daunting task. Do you go with SmugMug, which has been around for years and is popular among photographers? Or do you choose Pixieset, which is newer but offers some great features? In this article, we will compare SmugMug and Pixieset to help you decide which platform is better for you. We’ll cover everything from cost to features to customer support, so that you can make an informed decision about which platform is right for your business!

What is SmugMug?

SmugMug is an online photo sharing, printing and storage service that provides users with the ability to securely store, share and print digital photos.

It was founded in 2002. With SmugMug, users can privately or publicly share digital photos with family, friends or the world, as well as create custom galleries and pages for special occasions like weddings or reunions.

SmugMug also allows users to upload multiple images at once from their computers, smartphones or other devices. Once uploaded, images can be organized into albums for easy viewing. The site features a range of tools for sorting and editing images including cropping, resizing and adding captions. Users can also purchase professional prints and gifts through the site.

What is SmugMug?

SmugMug can be used to upload images from a wide range of sources, including digital cameras, smartphones, tablets and memory cards. It also offers custom branding options, so users can add their own logos or text to their galleries. Additionally, users have access to powerful SEO tools that make it easy to promote galleries and images on search engines. The service is available in several different pricing tiers ranging from free to paid plans with additional features.

And the best feature of SmugMug by far is unlimited storage, so you can store as many photos and videos as you want without worrying about running out of space. All in all, SmugMug makes it easy to organize, share and print your digital photos quickly and securely. [1], [2], [3], [4]

What is Pixieset?

Pixieset is a cloud-based platform designed for professional and enthusiast photographers who need an easy way to share, store, deliver, and sell their images.

It offers a variety of features that help photographers manage and protect their digital images, such as unlimited storage space, password-protected galleries, customizable client access permissions, on-the-fly watermarking, and more.

Pixieset also makes it easy for photographers to share photos with clients and turn them into memorable products. Photographers can create beautiful eCommerce websites with integrated shopping carts where customers can purchase prints or digital downloads directly from the site. Plus, Pixieset integrates with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram so users can easily showcase their images on all the major platforms.

For photographers looking to build their business, Pixieset offers a range of additional features designed to help them increase sales and grow their customer base. Photographers can add personalized branding to their galleries, create coupons for special promotions, track analytics information about how customers are interacting with their photos, and much more. They can also set up personalized client portals to make it easier for clients to access and download photos directly from the site.

From advanced storage options and editing tools to integrated eCommerce solutions, Pixieset is an all-in-one platform that helps photographers showcase their work in the most professional way possible. [1], [2], [3], [5]

What is Pixieset?

Comparison of SmugMug and Pixieset

Now that you have a decent grasp of what SmugMug and Pixieset have to offer, let’s take a look at how they compare. Both services allow users to upload and store photos online, but the similarities largely end there. In this section, we’ll break down the key differences between the two services to help you determine which one is right for you.

Designs and templates

Designs and templates have become an integral part of modern photo sharing platforms. Designers are now able to incorporate stylish layouts, typography, colors, and other elements into their images in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

A great design can make all the difference for a user’s experience on the platform. It can help make content stand out from the crowd and draw attention from others. By making use of interesting layouts, font types, colors, etc., designers can create unique pieces of content that will grab people’s attention quickly. It also helps with creating a consistent look across the platform which increases brand recognition and trustworthiness.

Templates allow users to quickly create stunning visuals without having to start from scratch. By providing templates that can easily be customized with text, images and other elements, users are able to create great visuals in a fraction of the time compared to creating everything manually. This saves time which allows them to focus on their creative workflow instead of spending hours dealing with technical aspects of design.

Pixieset offers five templates for users to choose from which can be customized in a variety of ways. SmugMug, on the other hand, offers over 20 templates for users to choose from. While Pixieset’s selection of designs is limited, the ones they offer are of high quality and look great.

Comparison of SmugMug and Pixieset

Ease of use

The importance of ease of use in photo sharing platforms cannot be understated. In an increasingly digital world, people are accessing and sharing photos from a variety of sources – from computers to smartphones to tablets. As such, the user experience must be easy and intuitive for all users, regardless of device or platform. Photo sharing platforms should strive to provide a simple and smooth experience that allows users to quickly upload, organize, view and share their photos with friends and family.

To ensure maximum usability for the platform, developers should keep in mind the principles of good user interface design: usability, accessibility, aesthetics, learnability and efficiency. The objective is to create an intuitive product that can be used by any user without difficulty or frustration. This includes having an easily navigable user interface, providing clear instructions and understandable labels on buttons, as well as offering drag-and-drop features for easy uploading and organizing of photos.

Both SmugMug and Pixieset offer a user-friendly experience. SmugMug provides an attractive and easy-to-navigate interface that allows users to quickly find their way around the platform. The photo galleries are easy to browse and share, and the drag-and-drop feature makes uploading photos simple and quick. Pixieset also has a modern, clean interface that is easy to use, with helpful features such as auto sorting of photos into albums.

Plugin and app support

Plugin and app support are important features of photo sharing platforms. They provide users with the ability to expand the capabilities of their photo sharing platform by adding extra features which they may not have been able to access or take advantage of otherwise. Plugins allow users to easily enhance their photos, apply special effects and filters, create slideshows and albums, integrate with other software applications, modify light settings for videos and photos, share images across social media platforms, and much more. In addition to plugins being a great way for users to add extra functionality to their photo sharing platform, apps can also be used as well.

Comparison of SmugMug and Pixieset

Pixieset allows you to link your account to the Lightroom which will make the most of photos you upload. It also lets you use tools like Photoshop Express and the Photobucket app to improve your image editing capabilities. SmugMug, on the other hand, offers Lightroom and Photoshop plugins to help you edit your photos. You have to manually download these however.

Customer support

Customer support, or customer service, is an integral part of any successful business. It is the direct link between the company and its customers, and it plays an important role in building relationships and creating loyalty. In a photo sharing platform, this role is even more significant since customer satisfaction ultimately affects the user experience. Good customer support will ensure that users are satisfied with their experience on the platform and can quickly resolve any issues they may encounter.

Pixieset offers decent customer support, with a comprehensive help center.

They use bots however, so the whole process is less personal. On the other hand, SmugMug offers dedicated customer support with quick response times and helpful representatives. They also provide personalized help for premium subscribers.

Payment support

When it comes to making money online, the payment support of any photo sharing platform is absolutely essential. Whether a person is selling photos or services through their own website or an existing marketplace such as Etsy, being able to accept payments quickly and securely is crucial for a successful business. For example, if customers are unable to pay for goods or services on a timely basis, sales can be lost.

The importance of payment support in a photo sharing platform also extends beyond the sale of goods and services. Many photographers rely on the income from purchasers who license images for use in advertising campaigns and other projects. Without a secure payment process, these types of transactions can be difficult and time-consuming, leading to fewer sales and reduced profits.

Pixieset clearly wins in this category as it offers a wide range of payment methods, including PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, credit cards and offline payments. SmugMug does offer payments through PayPal but lacks the extra flexibility that Pixieset provides.


Cost is arguably one of the most important considerations when choosing a photo sharing platform. The costs associated with using a particular service can vary widely, depending on the features and services offered by the platform.

For example, many of the popular photo sharing platforms offer basic services for free. These include creating an account, uploading photos, and sharing them with friends or followers. Other programs may provide additional options for a fee, such as storing high-resolution photographs or enabling users to access their photos from multiple devices. Additionally, some platforms may charge fees for certain features such as printing and editing tools or providing extra storage space to store large collections of images.

SmugMug offers three different plans with varying levels of features and services. The basic plan starts at $13 per year and includes unlimited storage, password protection for albums, a custom domain name, and customer support. The Portfolio Plan ($28 per month) adds additional features such as SEO optimization and analytics, while the Pro Plan ($45 per month) provides access to advanced tools such as watermarking images, creating galleries with detailed descriptions, and displaying ads on your site.

Comparison of SmugMug and Pixieset

Pixieset also offers three different plans that range in price from $8 to $40 per month. The lowest-tier plan includes basic photo management tools such as uploads, album organization, and security settings. It also gives users access to Pixieset’s customer support team and free software updates. The higher-tier plans offer premium features such as custom domains, high-resolution image downloads, unlimited storage space, and advanced analytics.

You can use Pixieset for free but it limits you in a lot of ways. You are limited in the amount of photos you can upload, the number of albums you can create and the features you can use. SmugMug on the other hand charges a fee for their services but gives users access to more advanced tools and features that Pixieset doesn’t offer. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

Pros and Cons of Pixieset

Now that you know more about Pixieset and SmugMug, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each platform. We begin with Pixieset.

Pros of Pixieset

There are plenty of advantages to using Pixieset as a photo hosting and sharing platform.

Commission-free sales for paid accounts

It’s hard to find anyone who actually enjoy commissions. Pixieset offers commission-free sales on paid accounts, which is a huge plus for photographers who sell prints or digital downloads of their work. This means that when you make a sale through the platform, all proceeds go directly to you without having to split them with the platform. Furthermore, Pixieset allows users to set their own prices so they can maximize their earnings.

Integrated Google analytics

Analytics are an important tool for any business, and Pixieset makes it easy with their integrated Google Analytics. This feature allows users to track the performance of their site in real-time and evaluate their overall success.

With this data, photographers can gain valuable insight into what pages are performing well and which ones need more attention. They can also use analytics to better understand customer behavior, giving them the opportunity to make more informed decisions about how to improve their website.

Ability to set gallery expiration dates

For photographers who don’t want their galleries to remain public forever, Pixieset allows users to set expiration dates for each one. This feature comes in handy for those who are selling images on a limited-time basis or simply want to keep their content fresh. With the ability to set gallery expiration dates, photographers can make sure that they’re always offering their customers the best and most up-to-date work.

Cons of Pixieset

Although there are many advantages to using Pixieset, it also has some drawbacks.

Pros and Cons of Pixieset

Lack of your own logo

The biggest downside of Pixieset is the lack of your own logo on the platform. As users do not have the ability to customize their page, customers may find it difficult to identify and remember who they are buying from. Furthermore, photographers must rely solely on the Pixieset brand to promote and market their work, which can be a challenge when competing with other photographers using different platforms. [1], [2], [3], [5]

Pros and Cons of SmugMug

It’s time to talk more intimately about the pros and cons of SmugMug, so you can make the right decision for your photography site.

Pros of Pixieset

Just like SmugMug, Pixieset offers plenty of advantages for photographers who choose to use their platform.

Very easy to use

The main advantage of SmugMug is that it’s very user-friendly. Even if you’re not tech savvy, you can get started with building and managing your photography website in no time. The intuitive design makes it easy to customize your site, upload photos, and create galleries just the way you like them. Plus, their customer support team is always willing to help if needed.

SmugMug also comes with lots of great features that make it a great choice for photographers. It provides unlimited storage space so you don’t have to worry about running out of room for all your photos.

Password protection of folders & galleries

Another great feature of SmugMug is that it allows you to password protect folders and galleries. This is a great way to keep your images safe and secure, so only those with the right access can view them.

Having a secure password on your photo-sharing platform is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your photos and user data. By having strong passwords, you can help prevent hackers from accessing your account, stealing your images or personal information, or doing any other kind of malicious damage. It’s also essential to make sure people don’t guess or use weak passwords that they can easily remember.

Impressive SEO

SmugMug impresses with its SEO capabilities, which is great if you want to make sure people can find your photos online. It has built-in analytics, which will help you understand how people are finding and viewing your images. It also includes a variety of options for optimizing your site’s metadata, making it easier for search engines to locate and index your content.

Great branding options

SmugMug also offers lots of great branding options to make sure your website looks professional. You can customize the look and feel of your site, as well as add logos, backgrounds, and fonts. Plus, you have full control over the images that appear on your site, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues.

Custom domain support

Custom domain support is essential to any photo sharing platform. It allows users to customize their own domain name, which helps create a more professional look and feel for the website or blog. This makes it easier for potential customers to find and recognize the brand, as well as generate more traffic.

Additionally, custom domain support provides more SEO benefits compared to free hosting services such as Blogger or, since Google will rank websites with custom domains higher in its search results.

Pros and Cons of SmugMug

Custom domain support is one of the areas where SmugMug has a clear advantage over Pixieset. With SmugMug, you can easily get a custom domain name for your website and have it automatically linked to your account. This makes it easier for people to find your site and remember the URL, which can help increase your traffic.

Fair sale commissions

Finally, one of the best advantages of SmugMug is that it offers fair payment commissions for selling photos on your website. When you sell a photo through SmugMug, you get to keep about 80% of the profits, leaving only 15% for their service fee. This makes it an attractive option for photographers looking to make some money from their work. [1], [2], [3], [4]

Cons of Pixieset

Despite all the advantages of SmugMug, there are still a few drawbacks to consider.

Doesn’t have an internal blog system

One of the major downsides of SmugMug is that it doesn’t have an internal blog system. This means you’ll have to use a third-party blogging platform if you want to create a blog for your site.

Internal blog systems are an important feature of any photo-sharing platform. Blogging can be one of the best ways to attract visitors and increase engagement, so this is definitely something to consider if you plan on using SmugMug. In addition to sharing photos, users can communicate with one another through blogging. This helps to build community within the platform and creates a sense of belonging. By creating content that can be shared and commented on, users can engage in discussions about topics related to photography or simply share experiences about their day-to-day life with other members of the platform.


Another downside to SmugMug is that it can be quite pricey. The basic plan starts at $13 a month, but if you want all the features you’ll need the Pro plan, which costs $45 a month. This may be too expensive for some photographers just starting out. We already talked about the advantages of SmugMug, so it will be up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth the cost. [1], [2], [3], [4]

Pros and Cons of SmugMug


Is Pixieset any good?

Pixieset is a solid option for gallery hosting. Pixieset offers a wide range of features and functionalities to help you deliver amazing experiences to your clients, including password protection for galleries and the ability to easily purchase prints and digital files from your website. Additionally, Pixieset provides an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to navigate even for users new to photo hosting services. With its simple yet powerful design tools, Pixieset ensures that you can customize your galleries exactly how you want them with no coding required. It also offers reliable customer support in case something goes wrong or if you need help optimizing your gallery pages. All in all, Pixieset is an excellent choice for photographers looking for a reliable and user-friendly gallery hosting solution.

Why do my photos look blurry on Pixieset?

Resizing is the main culprit of blurry photos on Pixieset. When you upload a photo, it is automatically resized to fit the website’s dimensions. Depending on the size of your original image, this can cause some distortion and blurriness.

To avoid these issues, make sure that all of your images are at least 1000 pixels wide when uploading them to Pixieset.

Additionally, try using an image compressor or editing software like Photoshop to adjust the resolution before uploading if needed.

What is better than Pixieset?

Pixieset is a popular image and video hosting platform that allows photographers to upload, organize, store and share their content. It offers great features such as an online shop where you can sell your photos and videos directly from the platform, analytics to track engagement on your images and website customization tools. However, Pixieset also has some disadvantages.

For instance, it’s not as secure as other platforms like SmugMug which encrypts all data uploaded to its servers using military-grade encryption technology. Additionally, Pixieset’s customer service isn’t nearly as responsive or helpful as SmugMug which has dedicated support staff available 24/7 for questions or help with any technical issues that may arise. Lastly, Pixieset plans start at $8/month which can be quite expensive for those just starting out.

What is better than SmugMug?

Pixieset is a popular choice among photographers for its ease of use, intuitive design, and outstanding customer support. Pixieset offers an unlimited storage option at no extra cost which can be particularly appealing to users who need to store large numbers of photos. The platform also has powerful tools for organizing images into albums and galleries as well as a range of other features such as image watermarking and password protection. Additionally, Pixieset’s customizable templates make it easy to create professional-looking websites with minimal effort.

In contrast, SmugMug is more expensive than Pixieset but does offer some unique benefits over its competitor. For example, SmugMug provides integrated payment processing so that customers can purchase prints or digital downloads directly from your site. Additionally, SmugMug offers a wide range of customization options, including the ability to add custom code and create custom pages. Finally, SmugMug’s more robust support system can be beneficial for users who need assistance troubleshooting issues or setting up complicated features.

Overall, it is difficult to definitively say which platform is better than the other as each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, it will depend on the individual photographer’s needs and preferences as to which platform would be best suited for their situation.

Do professional photographers use SmugMug?

Yes, professional photographers use SmugMug for their website design, hosting and photo sales. Professional photographers will find that SmugMug’s powerful suite of tools allows them to easily create beautiful websites with custom designs as well as integrating marketing tools such as SEO and Google Analytics. Additionally, SmugMug boasts a great set of printing options that are fully integrated into the service so professional photographers can quickly generate prints from their galleries and deliver them directly to clients.

What is the best client gallery for photographers?

It really depends on the photographer’s needs and how they want to present their work. There are a variety of gallery options, including SmugMug and Pixieset, both of which have many features specifically designed for photographers.

SmugMug is an all-in-one photo hosting platform that includes a built-in store, allowing photographers to easily sell prints or digital files directly from their website. It also has tools to help organize photos, create galleries, and customize the look and feel of websites with themes, logos, and branding choices. Plus, it offers unlimited storage space.

Pixieset is another popular choice among photographers. It comes with features such as customizable galleries with proofing, client access, and password protection. It also offers unlimited storage on its highest tier plan. In addition, it provides a wide range of marketing tools such as email campaigns and online storefronts to help photographers manage their business and showcase their work.

Useful Video: The Best Gallery Website for Photographers (Pixieset? Shootproof? Smugmug?)


SmugMug and Pixieset are both great platforms for photographers. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive experience that can grow with your business and provides a wide range of features, then SmugMug is the best choice. On the other hand, if you’re just starting out and want an easier-to-use platform with fewer bells and whistles, then Pixieset might be the better option for you. Ultimately, it comes down to what fits your needs and budget best.

In this article we have discussed many of the features and options available on both SmugMug and Pixieset. We have highlighted the pros and cons, core differences, prices, and customer service of both platforms so that you can make an informed decision about which platform best suits your needs as a photographer. Use this information to decide whether to go with SmugMug or Pixieset for your photography business!

No matter which platform you go with, make sure to take advantage of its features to create stunning online galleries for clients or friends alike! With either SmugMug or Pixieset, you can easily build beautiful photo collections that your audience will love.

Good luck! We hope this guide has helped you get a better sense of the differences between SmugMug and Pixieset, and which might be right for you. With either platform, you can put together amazing galleries that showcase your work in the best possible way. Happy shooting!