In our Photography 101 series, we covered the fundamentals of photography and learned how to use your camera and take great pictures. At the end of the series, we introduced post-shooting topics like editing images and establishing a workflow. In our next round of photography posts, we’re focusing on more photoblogging topics, from choosing a photography theme to working with featured images to finding free-to-use images online.
To kick things off, let’s talk about how to choose a photoblogging theme.
Get cozy with the Theme Showcase
There are more than 200 themes in the WordPress.com Theme Showcase. If you click the blue Find a Theme button, you can use filters and search terms to focus your search.
Search for “photography,” for example, and you’ll see all of our photography themes. Or click on “free” to view all of our free themes. Or narrow your search even more and search for “photography,” and then click on “free,” to see free photography themes only.
Under the Filters column in the Theme Showcase, familiarize yourself with the various elements in our themes: Colors! Layouts! Columns! Features! If you click on one of these filters, you’ll find many options for themes: one to four columns, left and right sidebars, custom headers and backgrounds, different post formats, post sliders, and full-width templates (especially great for photographs).
Think about the options you need
Your first visit to the Theme Showcase might be overwhelming — there’s a lot to consider when choosing a design that’s right for you. Here are some questions to think about:
What’s my style? Do you want a minimal theme and clean background so your images take the spotlight? Search for “minimal.” Look for one-column themes. Browse designs with white backgrounds. The Styles tab under Filters is a good place to browse themes by their look and feel. From “colorful” to “modern,” there’s likely a style that matches your mood.
Do I want to build a portfolio? Do you want to compile your best images and galleries on an online portfolio? Consider themes with portfolio-style front pages, like Photography (premium) or Fontfolio (free).
Do I want a space to blog, too? What about all of the writing photographers (or photographing writers) out there? Do you plan to mix photography and prose on a traditional blog, like Ming Thein, who uses Minimum? If so, check out a free theme like Spun, which is a clean, sophisticated pick for bloggers who write and take pictures. At Keep It Skinny, you can see how Spun‘s circular thumbnails create a sleek and visual homepage, while individual posts are both image and text-friendly.
Another versatile photoblogging theme is Photographer: a premium option that doubles as a professional portfolio and blogging platform. You can create multiple portfolios and slideshows, as well as carve out a space for project updates and other writing. Writer-photographer Ryan Bolton‘s website is a fantastic example of Photographer in action: he displays image-heavy blog posts on his front page, and points readers to his writing and photography in his custom menu. Ryan showcases photographs in a stunning tiled mosaic gallery on a full-width template page:
So, think about the type of content you publish. Consider grid-style themes if you want to share photographs only, or a theme that offers options for a portfolio, gallery pages, and a blog for your images and words.
Consider other features that are right for you
If you want a blog or website primarily for your photography, you should consider details that might affect your theme choices — as well as overall layout and design. Think about these questions, and in part two, we’ll look at more blog examples using and customizing themes in ways that work for them — which we hope will give you ideas for your own photoblogging space.
- What are the sizes of your images? Do you want to display full-width photographs?
- Do you need a sidebar? Do you use a lot of widgets?
- Do you envision a custom header for your site? Will it compete at all with your images?
- What kind of background do you want? Will this pattern or color work with your photographs?
- What do you need to organize your photographs? A custom menu? A solid tag system? Multiple galleries?
In part two, coming at the end of March, we’ll continue this discussion and look at more awesome examples of photoblogs in the community — and the features and tweaks that make them stand out.