Responsive_Web_DesignOn The Hunt For A Fantastic Photography WordPress Template

It should be fairly easy, right?!  With all of the templates out there available for websites, you’d think that finding a great wordpress.org template that meets almost any want and need would be easy to find!

Well, as in many situations, it depends upon what you’re looking for.

My purpose in writing this post is to take the knowledge I’ve gained over many hours of searching the web for my own website template and help you in your template search. This post probably suits small photography businesses the best, but if you’re an avid blogger or run a business that needs to display portfolios, you will find some great sites here as well.

Template Options that Aren’t Included Here:

First, let me start off by saying that there are many different options out there for you.  Since I already have a web host, Site5 (I LOVE their customer service!), my search excluded those sites that sell you templates and hosting all in one. 

Second, although I looked at sites such as iThemes Builder design and Headway, which are some really sweet looking drag and drop themes, I didn’t really consider them contenders for this blog post.  This is due to the fact that once you buy their template, you only receive one year of support and updates.  Unless you are super fly with writing code, this means that you are going to be shelling out more money in the long run because 1) eventually you will run into issues and need help and 2) updates are necessary to keep a website current.

ProPhoto is another template company that many photographers use.  They have some really nice looking designs (13 are included), but they are pricy to start -$199 (all of the other templates I reviewed were between $50-$90). Also, they sell fantastic add on designs, but it’s going to cost you – many of them $100 and up – on top of what you’ve already paid.  Right now the system uses Prophoto4, and once they upgrade to Prophoto5 this will be another paid upgrade if you want updates.

Searching For a Great Web Template

If you haven’t already, make a list of characteristics you want for your website or blog.  Here are some of mine as a photographer.

MY MUST HAVES:

It has to be relatively easy to use for non-coders.  I’m no stranger to using a computer, however, I am not a web designer, so it needs to have a admin. panel that makes customization ‘easy’.  Any unnecessary time spend learning something that could already be found in a user friendly template = a loss in productivity for me.

 There have to be a variety of gallery options for displaying photos:  fullscreen, masonry grid, inline slideshow…at least some options besides the plain old WordPress standard gallery.

SEO optimization is must.  It would be useless for me to create a website with all the bells and whistles and rank poorly in search engines.

It has to be responsive and work well not only on computers, but tablets and smart phones too.

MY WANTS:

It has to have a killer front page with room for displaying multiple photos at one time. Someone web searching for photographers may only spend 8 seconds on my website.  If my front page doesn’t draw them in and make them want to see more then I can spend all the time in the world making my other pages awesome and it won’t help me a bit.

 Woo-commerce templates built in.  Although I don’t currently sell my Fine Art Photography on this website, it is definitely something I will probably do in the future and want to have that option available.

Honestly, I want something a little more feminine or gender neutral. In my search I found this difficult.  So many templates are designed by men for (what it feels like) men.  This just isn’t the trend right now in everyday portrait photography, and I don’t want prospective clients to shy away because they get the wrong impression about my photography from my website.

Must See WordPress Templates for Photographers: The Top Contenders

I literally looked at hundreds of templates.  These were some of the best as far as I could tell from their demos, ratings, and the questions I asked their creators.  Just as a disclaimer, I did not have access to actually being able to try these myself except the last one, Flashlight.

TRIPOD

The Pros:

  • a modern, clean and bright look

  • drag and drop layout builder

  • front page that displays multiple photos at once

  • multiple gallery and blog templates to choose from

  • responsive design

  • built in social media integration

The Cons:

  • no e-commerce templates built in

 Duotive Three

duotive

The Pros:

  • front page displays multiple photos at once

  • huge potential for modifying the look of the theme over time

  • fantastic page layouts

  • the designer responded quickly to my questions

  • many built in color schemes that are easy to change

  • social media integration

  • responsive design

The Cons:

  • no e-commerce built in

  • the front page looks awesome, but may be too ‘busy’ and overwhelm potential clients 

Chamomile

thumb_theme_chamomile (1)

The Pros:

  • a more feminine theme (which is really hard to find in a stand alone template!)

  • e-commerce ready

  • a front page that supports multiple photos, which photos linking to different page

  • social media integration

  • responsive design

The Cons:

  • only one page option for both blog and photo gallery

  • ?? Customer service lacking ??  – I don’t know if this is typical of BluChicwho makes this template, but I emailed them a few questions (through their support site) on Thursday, and it’s now Monday and I haven’t heard back.  They claim they respond within 24 hours.  

Enfinity

01_Enfinity-banner.__large_preview

The Pros:

  • woo-commerce ready

  • many different portfolio options

  • multiple built in skins

  • responsive design

  • they actually give you a preview of the admin. panel and what it would be like to work with their template

The Cons:

  • no specific gallery template, although the portfolio template may suffice depending on what you need

Flashlight

flashlight

Before I begin, I have to say that this is the template that I use for my site, so I have a much better working knowledge of it. Overall, I’ve been happy with it and the support and updates I receive.  It responds well to plugins and widgets.  It’s been a little bit of work learning how to navigate it, but I’m sure that is true of any template when the person is new to website creation.

The Pros:

  • woo-commerce ready

  • responsive design

  • some built in social integration

  • fantastic tech support (way to go Kriesi)!!

  • multiple gallery and portfolio layouts

  • SEO optimized

The Cons:

  • The front page has a nice looking fullscreen page, but I find that it doesn’t fit my pictures well without modification.  It makes the picture fit the screen which can make a image of a child’s head go out partly out of view – not so great for prospective clients.  So, I have to be a little picky about which images I choose, or modify them in Photoshop by shrinking the photo and adding a black background. It also makes portrait orientated photos hard to display on the front page, unless doing something similar.

  • no built in Facebook commenting

  • From my search, it looks like some of the other sites reviewed may have a more extensive admin. panel for making changes without using code.

Conclusions:

I really hope that this post can help you in your search for your own personal web template.  There are so many options out there, but honestly, if I were going to change templates now, it would be to one of these – and I’ve looked at SO MANY!

I would love it if you would drop me a note or comment below!  Happy template hunting!!

-Chris