5 Great Online Portfolio Hosting Websites

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Successfully reaching and capturing online clientele is just as important as the work you display in order to do just that.  Making sure your online portfolio presents your work in the best possible way is equally as important.  So when you start looking for an online portfolio hosting website to assist you with all your portfolio/client booking needs, spend some serious time seeking out exactly what it is you need from a hosting site.  There are hundreds of free and paid websites that do as little or as much as you require of them.  The following sites made our short list. 

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Always ranking high on these types of lists, carbonmade is one of the most popular portfolio hosting sites in all of Internetland.  User friendly and easy to manipulate, carbonmade got its start as a pet project for one ambitious dude in need of a professional online portfolio.  After realizing its potential, founders Dave Gorum and Jason Nelson opened the site to the public.  For the past 5 years, they have been listening to the needs of its users and adapting the site accordingly.  When asked why a person should use carbonmade, their site simply states "You bring your best, we'll do the rest."  

You simply upload your photos and then alter the appearance of the site and how your work is laid out.  They have a handy DEMO that allows you to play with the interface without uploading any images.  Think of it as eating the samples at COSTCO before committing to buying the whole 30 pound bag of chicken wings.  They never resize your images, reduce the quality of your videos or alter your hard work.  They have a couple of options upon signing up.  For free, you can work on five projects, upload 35 images and utilize all their easy-to-use features giving you ultimate control of the final product.  

For $12 a month, you can work on 50 projects, upload 500 images and 10 videos plus all the domain binding, flash & video hosting, ad-free, project-hiding, tech support you can get for $12 a month.  They have some really snazzy examples they are promoting to showcase all their hard work.  So hop on over, try the demo, check out the examples and sign on up!

www.carbonmade.com

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Behance is a comprehensive portfolio tool that not only hosts your work but also helps you book future work.  More on that in a second.  You can build a multimedia portfolio that supports text, video, images and audio simultaneously.  You're also able to embed works you have already posted online hosted elsewhere.  Once you have joined the site and uploaded your work, you can join a number of groups promoting a creative community that is ever growing and learning.  From there, you can promote yourself with the click of a button on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the Behance partner sites throughout the web.  Because Behance is free they promote ads alongside your work.  

However, you have the option to include an "ad-free" version of your site that is free as well.  Behance strives to make sure your best work is the only thing potentials clients get to see.  While your clients are there, they have the options to buy your work from an already established online store or an easy-to-set-up Behance store, making you all the richer and still for free.  But here is where Behance rules: they have a job board and Company Directory of businesses looking to hire professionals just like you.  

There are numerous success stories attesting to Behance's influence in the creative market.  Companies like MTV, the Discovery Channel, Sprint and huge creative ad agencies such as R/GA use Behance to find new partners and artists to pay thousands of dollars to for simply doing what they love: create art.  Behance has an unbeatable work ethic serving as a beacon for the industry.   And you can utilize every aspect and it is all still free.

www.behance.net

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If it is reputation that wins the crown at Homecoming, then Photoshelter just placed first, second and third.  Users consistently rave about Photoshelter's entire product.  And those who are in the know are better off for it.  Photoshelter is huge on promotion.  They claim to be one of the best in the business of Search Engine Optimization, social networking and blogging.  Their Photoshelter SEO Cookbook is reason enough to use the website; they analyze, grade and suggest ways to improve your site in terms of search engine success.  

They work hand in hand with Wordpress and offer Twitter, Facebook and a general Share tab for every image putting you on the map easier and quicker.  Ease of use is great for the photographer but even better for the potential client.  One of the most unique features of the site is the user's ability to sell their work, including "an integrated shopping cart that supports sales of prints, products, Royalty Free, Rights Managed and Personal Use downloads."  Photoshelter takes 8-10% of the final sale and the rest is yours.  

They offer three different paid monthly subscriptions to the site ranging from $9.99 for 10GB of storage or $49.99 for 100GB but they all start with a 14-day $1 trial allowing you to get a real feel for the site and its capabilities.  All come with a massive amount of usability and help from the site itself.  It is really worth the investment in the site and your work.

www.photoshelter.com

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Contemporary, clean and creative, Dripbook made this list for all the right reasons.  Extremely hands on, Dripbook is there to guide you through the process of uploading and then promoting your work on a number of platforms.  Once you organize your portfolio on their site, you can then use it on your own personal website, Facebook and other networking sites.  For your personal Dripbook site, you can upload your work, your logo, contact info, a descriptive bio, and a clientele list then allowing you to customize the features making it ultimately you.  Lucky for the user, no HTML or technical know-how is necessary.  You simply upload and organize.  The template takes care of the rest.  

Once you start using Dripbook, you become part of their Creative Index listing you by location, type of work and specific tags linked to images.  This technology makes it easy for future clients to find you and then book you.  Much like other photo hosting websites, anyone can bookmark and favorite select images or Creatives (as uploaders on the site are referred to as) allowing clients to keep up with your current work.  If you don't believe us, Dripbook has Ten Reasons why you should use their services, all ten of which are spot on.  

They offer a slew of pricing and billing options; you can pay monthly, quarterly or yearly.  The basic package runs you $10 a month/$90 a year while the Premium package is $39 a month/$350 a year allowing you to upload 2500 images, 50 books and the ability to export your design to any website platform.  And just because Dripbook believes that much in itself, they are offering a 30 day free trial of any package just so you can be that much more confident in its power. 

www.dripbook.com

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You spend a lot of time and effort taking the best possible pictures.  Viewbook understands and appreciates that by displaying your work in the highest quality available.  They resize but not compress your images to ensure they look their best when viewed in Full-Screen mode.  Their Image Manager makes it easy to organize your work and then allows you to send out your work to clients via social networking and website embedding.  But what good is sharing your work if it doesn't look great on the page?  Viewbook keeps it nice and simple, clean and concrete.  

Your site will contain your bio, contact info and most importantly a concise display of your work.  You can even create multiple portfolios for multiple reasons allowing you to direct clients to specific images ensuring direct sales every time.  The portfolio creator allows you to make a site that speaks towards your style and personality, two key points in helping you sell yourself when you aren't physically there to do so.  And due to Viewbook's easy self-promotion tools, it won't be hard to bring in those views from Facebook, Wordpress, Myspace, Twitter and even from your iPhone. 

You can also hook up your page to Google Analytics helping you figure out why and how your portfolio is or isn't working online.  After you have uploaded all your images, tweaked your portfolio and promoted your hard work on various platforms, it is instantly saved in giant backup storage centers around the world so you don't have to worry about catastrophic data loss.  

Viewbook wins first place in the Bang-For-Your-Buck category.  For $4 a month, you can upload 1000 images in an unlimited number of galleries.  For just a few dollars more, $19 a month gives you space for 5000 images, custom logos and portfolios, password protection and Google optimization.  Viewbook promises to be an excellent means of showcasing your work without the hassle. 

www.viewbook.com


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Maggie OBriant
Maggie O'Briant  Personal Blog Flickr

Maggie O'Briant recently graduated from Florida State University with an English Literature degree.  She is currently a freelance writer and photographer.    She currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and giant baby. 

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