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Building A Stunning Photography Portfolio With WordPress Themes

Ever since the introduction of photographic film by George Eastman in 1885, we have been captivated by the images that reflect and redefine our world. As cameras evolved from the Kodak of 1888 to the increasingly user friendly and more affordable digital and smartphone cameras of today, we became shutter bugs, documenting our lives, preserving our most precious memories, and articulating our unique perspectives of the world. Social media has also become increasingly visual. Pictures are uploaded and tagged, shared and pinned at lightning speed. We creatively alter images with photo editing programs like Photoshop and applications such as Instagram. Pinterest, the online pinboard revolves solely around images, and is the third most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter. On some level, we are all photographers and a large percentage of us have a genuine passion for it. Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, you may want to showcase your work with an online portfolio. WordPress is an excellent place to start. You might also want to check our WordPress CMS review. as well as some of the most popular WordPress plugin reviews.

As a web platform, WordPress is easy to use, highly customizable, and, for the most part, free. While you can certainly pay for premium WordPress themes and plugins, you can also construct a stunning portfolio and easy to navigate site with the many free components that are readily available. Some premium photography themes are worth the expense, especially if you are a professional or a student pursuing a photography career. Before purchasing a premium theme, however, take a look around and see if there are more economical options that will suit your purposes just as well. Also, keep in mind that it is not uncommon for individuals to switch themes. While it is not something you would want to undertake frequently, it is easy enough to do if the spirit moves you. Given the sheer volume of options, choosing a WordPress theme may seem daunting, but there are a few things you can do to whittle down your choices.

The first thing to do is to explore what is out there. If there are photographers you admire, visit their sites and decide what you like about them. In order to keep  the process productive yet manageable, visit no less than three and no more than 10 sites. For each one, identify three things you like about it and three things you do not. Write them down because you will be comparing your lists eventually. If you do not have specific photographers in mind, just do an online search and find 3-10 viable candidates. Once you have done this, compare your lists. Chances are clear preferences and commonalities will emerge. It will help you identify what you elements absolutely must have on your site and what you definitely  want to avoid.

Next, start perusing themes and note which ones appeal to you. An online search for WordPress photography themes will present several lists that declare certain themes as the top 10 (or 12 or 14 or 5). Some of these read like advertisements for paid themes, so be mindful of the source, and do not be afraid to specify free or premium in your search. While each theme will have its own aesthetic and unique architecture, photography themes tend to be clean and simple. You do not want a cluttered site with design elements that detract from your primary content (i.e. your photos). You also want a site that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Make sure social sharing buttons are embedded and that the most popular ones (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+) are prominent. If it is not integrated into the theme, there are several plugins that will do the trick.

While I believe themes are a very personal choice, particularly ones that will provide the framework for artistic content, there are a few free and paid ones that seem particularly well suited for professionals and novices alike. I would recommend checking out, in order of my personal preference, Portfolium, FotoFolio, and Thomas Hawk’s Photographer, all of which are free and excellent themes.

In the premium category, Invictus by ThemeForest is a highly rated, completely customizable, full size image and video theme. Its versatile and dynamic design coupled with an affordable, single use license fee of $35 makes it an appealing and frequently recommended choice. Manhattan by StudioPress is another widely praised theme with dramatic framing and a simple but stylish portfolio format which costs $79.95 for an unlimited license. Lastly, Photocrati specializes in creating WordPress themes for photographers. Their multifaceted platform comes with 15 preset theme styles, which are easily customizable, and, if you factor in the various permutations of their features, you have access to 60 different out-of-the-box styles. They also have integrated ecommerce galleries, a huge plus for those who want to sell their art without any fuss. An unlimited license is $89, which includes support and updates for the first year. Beyond that, support and updates are available for an annual fee of $39.  

These are just a handful of WordPress photography themes that are well respected and I find personally appealing. They may not suit your taste or your purposes. The more you explore, the more likely you are to find the theme that works best for you. Also, keep in mind that paid is not necessarily better. While it is true that paid, or “premium,” themes tend to come with more bells and whistles, if you are just starting out and are not pursuing this professionally, there is no reason to invest money at this juncture. It may be best to start small and consider upgrading when you are more experienced and outgrow your original theme.

Mashable Tech reports image uploads that clock in at 28 photos per second/2.4 million per day for Flickr, 60 photos per second/5.1 million per day for Instagram (prior to the purchase by Facebook), and 2,894 photos per second/250 million per day to Facebook. In a world where we are constantly sharing and viewing images in quantities that are difficult to fathom, it is important to have a piece of the internet to call your own, a place where you can compile a portfolio that encapsulates your aesthetic and complements your photographs without the cookie cutter, overly familiar architecture of social networking sites and absent from the hustle and bustle that can dilute the impact of your work. That does not mean you should not share your photos through social media. In fact, utilizing social networking to promote your pictures is essential to cultivating a following, and, if you are a professional, could lead to job opportunities. It is equally important, however, to have a home for your creative work in an environment that you design, nurture, and control. Your personal website is an ongoing exhibition in your very own gallery, free from the restrictions of geography and time. If you construct a site that reflects your personality and showcases your work, you will build a dynamic and engaging world, one captivating photograph at a time.

If you have a genuine passion for photography, you can create a stunning portfolio with WordPress themes. Sharing your images begins with selecting your ideal photography theme. 

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