If you want to share your photos with the largest audience possible, creating a WordPress photography website is one of the best ways to get more eyeballs on your work. But, while WordPress is fully up to the job, there are some photography-specific elements you need to keep in mind as you build out your site.
In this article, we’ll teach you about the four key elements to an outstanding WordPress photography website. We’ll explain why each factor is so important and we’ll also provide you with the tools you need to implement each feature.
1. Choose a WordPress photography website theme that highlights your photos
WordPress is such a widespread platform that you can find themes targeted at nearly any type of website. For your photography site, you’ll want a theme that is focused on highlighting your images. RokoPhoto is one strong example, since it’s designed with nearly all the features a photographer might want:
As you shop themes, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for these characteristics:
- Multiple gallery types. You’ll want plenty of options to choose from for displaying your photographs, including slide and grid-based galleries.
- Photography-enhancing effects. Visitors should be able to zoom in on your images, and dimming the rest of the screen when they do so is a nice touch. Plenty of themes include these types of effects. Lightbox galleries are also another good option.
- Integration with e-commerce plugins. If you’d like to sell your photographs online, you’ll need a theme that can be integrated with e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce.
- Social media integrations. If you want to boost your traffic, allowing visitors to easily share your photos can help expose your photos to new audiences. If your chosen theme doesn’t include social media buttons by default, you can always add it later with a plugin.
There are a few additional tips you can keep in mind when picking the perfect theme. First, always check to see if a particular theme was updated recently, which shows the developers haven’t abandoned it.
Also, it’s a good idea to see what reviewers have to say about their experience with the theme and to test the theme’s demo for yourself if possible. This way, you’ll have all the facts you need to determine if the theme is a good fit for your needs.
2. Include multiple gallery options
We touched on this topic a moment ago, but it deserves further explanation. When you’re building a WordPress photography website, you’ll likely want to have access to multiple gallery options. You can always use different types of galleries to differentiate between multiple projects, or use them for individual pages on your site.
By default, WordPress includes only a simple grid-based photo gallery, but there are a couple of ways to add more options to your roster:
- Use a WordPress photography theme. As we mentioned earlier, a well-designed theme will pack multiple options that you can play around with (such as grid and sliding galleries), which are often accessible through pre-built layouts.
- Find a gallery plugin. If the theme you pick doesn’t include the options you want, you can always look for a dedicated image gallery plugin such as Photo Gallery by WD, Portfolio Gallery, and Modula Photo Gallery.
If you decide to go the plugin route, make sure to be selective about which ones you choose. Just as with themes, you’ll want to keep in mind the qualities of an excellent plugin.
3. Optimize your images
Images are the heart and soul of any WordPress photography website, so you need to make sure yours display in high quality. The problem is that higher-quality images lead to larger file sizes, which can result in longer loading times.
The longer your site takes to load, the more users you’ll drive away, because:
- Long loading times lead to higher bounce rates. A lot of people will leave your site immediately if they find it takes more than a couple seconds to fully load.
- Excellent performance makes for a better user experience. Nobody wants to interact with a sluggish website or app, so making sure your site is running in top shape is always smart.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can optimize your images to minimize loading times. For example, you can use the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin, which will automatically optimize every image you upload to your website:
After installing and activating the plugin, you can check out this simple tutorial on how to get it working. Alternately, if you’d rather do things manually, you can optimize your images in bulk using a web service such as TinyPNG.
4. Provide options to purchase your photographs
Depending on what type of site you’re building, you may want to provide your visitors with the option of purchasing your photos. If all you want is a portfolio to reel in new clients, this feature may be overkill. However, if you’re at all interested in selling your work, it’s worth considering since it isn’t a difficult feature to implement.
Selling your photos online can benefit both your wallet and your reputation:
- A secondary income stream. You might not be able to quit your day job, but some sales here and there always help.
- Increased credibility. Having purchasing options can make visitors take notice of you, since this will give your WordPress photography website a more professional vibe.
While WordPress does not support e-commerce by default, you can integrate this functionality easily thanks to plugins such as WooCommerce and Sunshine Photo Cart:
The latter option is ideal if you’re just going to sell images online, since it’s designed with photographers in mind. The developers even offer a tutorial to get you started towards your first sales.
While you’re at it, you might also want to check out the Photography Management plugin, which will enable you to create private galleries and images that clients will only be able to access with a password. If you’re going to put your photography online, it’s a smart idea to take steps to protect it.
There’s more to a great WordPress photography website than just showcasing your images. You also have to think about your users’ experience and make sure your site includes all the features you might need. The good news is that WordPress already packs a lot of the functionality you’ll want, and you can implement the rest via themes and plugins.
Here are the four key elements you should consider when creating a photography website:
- Choose a theme that highlights your photos.
- Include multiple gallery options.
- Optimize your images.
- Provide options to purchase your photographs.
Do you have any questions about how to create an appealing WordPress photography website? Ask away in the comments section below!