If you’ve been in the photography game long enough, then you’ll remember that back in the day the prospect of setting up your own photography website was more of a hindrance than something to look forward to. Luckily, processes have become far more automated and streamlined and if you hire a web designer or do it yourself, WordPress is usually the first port of call for a standard portfolio website. Thus, the reason for looking into the best WordPress photography themes.
WordPress is usually the number one choice because it’s so simple to set up, with generally a one-click install. It also comes out of the box with a basic theme/template, but if that is not to your liking, there are plenty of themes out there which better suit the purposes of photography.
One of the first decisions you need to make in this process is where to host your WordPress website. WordPress.com will host your website for free with limited customization options, while the other route is to find your own web host service. This route allows for far more customization options and freedom. In other words, for a simple ‘this is me and this is what I do’ website, use WordPress.com. For anything more advanced, host your WordPress website on a dedicated service. One of the most cost-effective options around is Bluehost.
You will also need a domain name, which isn’t a necessity with WordPress.com, but advisable for branding purposes. Domain names can be bought independently or bundled with web hosting, as with Bluehost. Once you have done the initial setup process, then it’s time to choose a worthy-looking photography theme, which come in all shapes and sizes.
1. Oshine (Overall Winner)
Just because it’s popular and highly used doesn’t mean the Oshine theme should be ignored. This is a multipurpose theme, with lots of scope for customization via its visual page builder. This is an important point as once you have changed the logos, text, and added your own portfolio images, the design becomes bespoke to you.
The theme comes prebuilt with 51 demos and over 100 sample pages, which can be installed and customized or you can build your website from the ground up. The overall look of the Oshine theme is simple and classic, with plenty of widgets, slideshows, galleries, carousels, password protected galleries, and custom colors.
The amount of customization options is almost overwhelming, which means once the base WordPress install is in place, this theme will give you endless possibilities of creating a unique looking website.
I would class Divi as more of a framework than a theme, simply because it gives you the scope of creating any layout you desire. Lots of options usually means lots of complication, but the process is simplified with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface and 20+ pre-made layouts. There are many more options available online if you prefer an off-the-shelf design.
Each layout area can feature variations of 46 different elements ranging from galleries, image sliders, plain text, and others being added on a regular basis. Just like the Oshine theme above, it’s a simple matter of selecting the options you prefer, then saving the settings.
If ultimate customization with an easy-to-use interface is your thing, then Divi is a worthwhile option.
It’s pretty obvious who this WordPress theme is aimed at. The Photography theme comes with customizable layout options and seamless integration with the WordPress e-commerce plugin WooCommerce.
Included in the package are 70+ page designs, with a one-click import of a demo layout. Each area of the website can be customized with its own color schemes and fonts, with easy integration of purchasing links through all the gallery options. Client areas can also be set up with password protected areas, right-click protection, and client proofing.
There’s also a Lightroom plugin to easily sync all your photos to a chosen gallery, with the ability to change all aspects of layout and typography.
Essentially, this theme is chock full of features which can be configured with the click of a button. Plus, the theme comes at a very affordable price.
While there are many WordPress photography-based themes that are ideal for showing a basic portfolio, the list is far shorter for those that offer a full workflow. These more customizable themes not only offer a good-looking design along with image galleries, but also built-in e-commerce with automated print fulfillment.
The basics of the Photocrati theme contains 60 designs, with built-in image galleries, SEO tools, social media linkup, and a whole host of customization options. Each gallery can be configured with its own thumbnail options, lightbox effects, slideshows, colors, and fonts. For the complete selling workflow, there is PayPal integration along with a seamless linkup to White House Custom Colour for high-quality prints.
This theme may seem initially expensive compared to the rest, but considering the extensive e-commerce abilities and the current 30 percent reduction in price, the one-off payment is a great way to easily set up not just a website portfolio, but also an image-selling platform.
5. Neve Photography
While the Neve WordPress theme is not specifically aimed at photographers, it has all the features needed to create a professional photography website. While the Personal package provides all the essentials, it’s the Business package that provides the best e-commerce solutions, with premium starter websites.
Pages and galleries follow a drag-and-drop method, with a simple link to the WooCommerce plugin for straightforward image sales. There is no faulting the simplicity of setup and configuration. Most importantly, there’s an efficient support structure, with plenty of online docs and videos to help you set up your website, along with quick email support.
This theme is also extremely SEO-friendly, has a super fast load speed, and is usable on all devices.
6. Photo Perfect (Budget Winner)
As budget photography themes go, you can’t do better than free, which is what you get with the Photo Perfect WordPress theme. Although this theme has less customization options than the rest, there’s still plenty of scope to make a website look truly unique.
Elements such as the large header image and masonry portfolio section can be used to showcase your own images. Plus, widgets, custom colors, and menus can all be configured using the WordPress Live Customizer.
This theme is a good solution if you only need a basic photography website with a simple layout design.
Matching the Best WordPress Photography Themes to Your Style
Once you start down the rabbit hole of WordPress photography themes, you’ll see there are endless options offering very similar features. The list above will give you an idea of the most popular choices that have been tried and tested, and will most likely have support and updates moving forward.
The last point is important to consider as you may choose a good-looking, obscure WordPress theme, but if it is no longer updated and things go wrong, you’re left with an expensive debugging and maintenance fee.
Another consideration is the integration of e-commerce. WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce plugin for the WordPress platform, but it still needs a fair bit of configuring, especially if you want to sell individual images. Themes which have integration between galleries and WooCommerce are a good option if you want a quick and painless way to sell your images online.