Getting Started Guide

Once you have an account with Zenfolio, your site is live and online with all the building blocks in place. You'll be able to add content, implement a site design, and add a few finishing touches.

Please note that some features below are not available at all account levels. See a detailed comparison here.

Here is the outline of the recommended first steps in setting up a professional portfolio website: 
  1. Step 1 - Add your Content
  2. Step 2 - Design your Site
  3. Step 3 - Finishing Touches

Step 1 - Add your Content

Start your website by uploading and organizing your content. This includes visuals such as photos for your portfolio, an image of yourself, and a logo to brand your site with. You’ll also be able to add textual content such as 'about' information to the welcome message on your homepage.


Upload Photos to Galleries

Upload Photos to Galleries

Upload photos and video through your web browser or use a photo management plugin. Migrate images from your hard drive, or even other online hosting systems. An unlimited amount of original photos may be stored in any gallery, available for download anytime.

Photos are best uploaded in JPEG format using the sRGB color profile. The maximum files size for Pro and Advanced accounts is 64 megabytes. Every photo is automatically converted to several different image sizes optimized for web viewing.



Organize All Photographs

Organize All Photographs

Photos and video are stored in galleries underneath your All Photographs group. Toolbox settings applied to the All Photographs group define your defaults for all other groups, galleries, collections, and photos.

Groups are like folders on your hard drive, they are used to organize your work and can be nested within each other. Galleries are pages within Groups, used to show off photos and videos. When uploading and storing photos and videos, it is the Galleries that hold and store that content.
Collections have photos referenced from many galleries assembled into one page.

Everything within the All Photographs group can be rearranged by dragging and dropping into a new order or using the sorting options . You can also move galleries into different groups, and move or copy photos into different galleries.



Apply a Unique Logo

Apply a Unique Logo

Please note: the ability to display your own logos on your site is limited to Trial, Pro and Advanced subscribers.

Having your own logo is a way to visually brand yourself and your photography. You can display a logo in different sections of your site such as your Homepage, Site Header and Site Footer. The Mobile Logo will appear on smart phones. You may also upload a Web Browser Icon (Favicon).

The recommended guidelines for sizing can be found in the Support Center. With the exception of the Web Browser Logo (Favicon), all logos should be saved as a PNG file with a transparent background. This allows the website background color or image to appear behind the logo.

The Favicon should be saved as an image without transparencies (jpeg) for best results.



Configure the Public Profile

Configure the Public Profile

You can display information about you and your photography business in your site. You can let visitors know about the name of your photography business by modifying the Display Name, Homepage Title, and Copyright. You can create a Welcome Message for display on your homepage. You can also create an About Message that describes you and your photography. You can also display your own Photo on your site so visitors will know the face behind the lens.

You can also display your Contact Information (phone number, email address, etc) in your Contact Page.



Step 2 - Design your Site

Customize your website through our intuitive graphical interface. It is all done with no coding required from you. Select layouts and choose your elements for each page. Apply a different theme to every gallery, or design your own unique theme for the entire site.


Configure the Homepage

Configure the Homepage

The best place to begin designing your website is by customizing your Homepage. While viewing the homepage in Customize Website View, you can choose a Site Preset. Site Presets apply a preset template to every page in the site, allowing you quickly customize the entire site in just a few clicks.

You can further customize the site by applying a different Layout to each page. Layouts control the placement of elements on the page.

You can also change the colors and fonts used in the site by applying a different Theme to your site's pages. You can also manually choose the desired colors and fonts by creating a Custom Theme.

Page Options allow you to further fine tune the site by allowing you to show or hide different elements, and configuring them as necessary.

In addition to customizing the homepage, you can also customize other built-in pages in your site such as your galleries and groups.

Lastly, the changes made in Customize Website View do not apply to your actual site until you Publish the changes. So feel free to experiment with different combinations of Layouts, Themes and Options until you're happy with your site.



Put a Spotlight on your Work  

Put a Spotlight on your Work

The Homepage Spotlight or Background Content is the first thing visitors see when visiting your site. The content displayed can be a slideshow of images or a single photo or video.

With Background content, displaying a Photo Strip also an available option.

Create a gallery specifically for this content then upload the photos you wish to display to that gallery. It’s best to keep all photos or video the same aspect ratio and to use only horizontally oriented photos (not portraits). You may also want to hide the gallery from visitors. This way the gallery itself is not displayed in the site.

You can configure the Spotlight Content or Background Content options when viewing the homepage in Customize Website View.


Select or Design the Site Theme

Select or Design the Site Theme

Themes control the colors and fonts used in the site.

Different themes can be applied through Customize Website View.

By default, the theme applied to the Homepage becomes the default website theme. A number of pre-made Themes are provided so you can quickly change the colors and fonts by applying a different theme. You can also manually choose the colors and fonts applied to your site by creating a custom theme.



Edit the Site Menu

Edit the Site Menu

Your Site Menu is the main navigation tool used by your visitors.

Make pages easily accessible by creating links to those pages and adding them to your Site Menu from Customize Website View. Menu Items can connect to page in your site such as your All Photographs group, built-in pages, and your custom pages. You can also create links to other websites outside of Zenfolio.

Generally, Site Menus are most effective with five or six items, but you can always add more by creating drop-down menus, and creating additional menu items inside those drop down menus. Menu items can be dragged and dropped into a new position in the Edit Site Menu panel in Customize Website View.


Step 3 - Finishing Touches

Once you’ve added content and applied your design, your website may be ready for public viewing. However, there are a few finishing touches you may wish to add before inviting people to view your portfolio or look at client galleries. Here are a few suggestions.


Get a Domain Name

Get a Domain Name

Purchase a custom domain name from a registrar to have a unique online presence. Pointing your custom domain name to Zenfolio is a two-step process. First, update the DNS settings at your domain registrar, then test the DNS setup in your Zenfolio account.

For ease of use, check out to register or transfer your domain name. They have an instant 1-click setup option right after purchase. Once applied, you’ll still need to go to your Zenfolio account's Custom Domain page and test the DNS setup for your Custom Domain.



Controlling Access

Controlling Access

Your entire website does not need to be public. It is possible to password protect Groups and Galleries, or make them private so no one can see them but you. You can also apply many other Access Control options to different sections of your site. A built-in Client Access page is also available to hide galleries.

If you choose to use the Client Access page, be sure to configure it with text and a photo. Also make sure to add a link to your site menu that links to that page.. You’ll also need to apply a Gallery ID to Groups and Galleries.



Add Branded Watermarks

Add Branded Watermarks

While photos cannot be right-click saved or dragged to the desktop, nothing beats protection like a good watermark. Our watermarking tool allows you to upload your own watermarks or use ours. These can be applied to specific photos, or entire Galleries, and set to be applied by default to any new Gallery.

If you choose to create your own watermark, use a photo editing program to design it with a transparent background as a PNG file. Size your watermark assuming it would be placed on a 800 x 600 pixel photo. Once uploaded, you can set the positioning and opacity on the photo.


Print Ordering and More

Print Ordering and More

All Zenfolio accounts are automatically configured to allow you to sell prints and products directly from our vendors at base lab prices. However, you may choose to disable this option. Pro and Advanced plan subscribers have the added option of selling for a profit. Also available at these account levels is the ability to sell digital downloads and self-fulfilled products.

Zenfolio provides a robust and flexible online selling platform with a range of account levels to fit your needs. Be sure to take a look at creating your own template designs, setting up packages for easy client selection, and creating coupons and gift certificates. If you have questions, see our Support Center for additional information.



You've completed the initial setup of your site!

Find out what else is possible with your Zenfolio account.

Check out our video tutorials page -

Check out our blog for the latest updates and inspirations -

You can also join our Zenfolio User Forums where you connect with other Zenfolio users about Zenfolio and the photography business -

For additional help, check out our Support Center for illustrated help guide articles that can show you every step in setting up and editing your site -

But also feel free to contact us directly through our contact page anytime -