In this post I will go over some of the best WordPress themes for photographers.
Choosing a WordPress theme is one of the more exciting parts of creating a new WordPress site. You get to look through all kinds of creative themes and envision your own work taking the place of the default content.
It’s also one of the most important decisions you will make when designing your website. A great theme can instantly transform a boring amateur looking website into something professional looking. A bad theme can detract from your customers’ experience, cause stability issues and ultimately break your site.
Therefore, It’s important you find the right theme to represent your brand and business. I’m going to cover both free and paid premium themes but I want to be clear. If I was going to spend money on one thing, it would be a premium WordPress theme. The cost, relative to what they provide you with is priceless.
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Why Should You Purchase a Premium WordPress Theme?
So what do they provide you with? For starters, a starting point! You see when you first install WordPress you’re pretty much staring at a blank canvas. Sure, it has some structure. You might even have some idea about where you want to go. Still, depending on your experience level it can be hard to envision how to get there.
By combing through a list of the best WordPress themes and their corresponding demos you can find something that speaks to your heart, this is your starting point. Now, certainly, you will want to customize it, personalize it and make it your own and this is where premium themes shine.
You see, many great themes go way beyond the default WordPress interface and give you the freedom and tools to easily customize the appearance of your website without knowing anything about CSS or HTML. They make things easy so to speak.
Many premium themes also come packaged with many of the most popular WordPress plugins. You essentially get these plugins free. When the theme issues an update they will issue updates for the plugin as well.
Sounds good right? Great, in this post I’m going to help you pick the Best WordPress theme that fits your needs. I’ll cover what to look for when choosing a WordPress theme, some of the different places to purchase a theme and I’ll even explore some themes individually.
What to look for when choosing a WordPress Theme
When was the Last time the Theme was updated?
First and foremost, make sure the theme you are looking at is regularly updated. Look through the changelog. WordPress updates all the time. The best WordPress themes keep up with these updates and actively try to fix bugs as they appear.
If you can’t find a mention of when the theme last saw an update just use the contact form and ask the theme developer. I’m certain they will be more than happy to answer any questions.
How many sales does the Theme have?
Second, we want to look at sales. There are two ways to look at this. A theme with a lot of sales will be less likely to abandon development on the theme as they are making money from it. It also means the theme must be pretty good.
On the other hand, if everyone else is using that theme your site might start to look like everyone else’s unless you take some time to personalize it.
A theme with low sales, on the other hand, might give you something more unique. Maybe it’s just a new theme, find a release date. See if the theme author has other themes and how they rate.
You might want to avoid a theme if it is rather old and has a low sale volume because you don’t know if the author will just abandon the project on account of low sales.
Does the Theme include lifetime updates?
Third, will I always receive the latest update? Generally, I see this go two ways. You purchase a theme and support is only included for 6 months or so but updates are for the life of the theme. This is how Themeforest and Themefuse work.
On the other hand, many independent theme shops operate on a subscription-based model. You pay yearly for both, support and theme updates. WPZOOM and Photocrati come to mind.
Alternatively, some of the theme shops will offer you both options. This way, you pay a higher amount upfront but lifetime updates are included. CSSIgniter and Pixelgrade both include options for lifetime updates.
What are the comments and reviews?
Fourth, what are people saying? Some theme shops let you comment and leave reviews, Themeforest comes to mind. If this is the case do some digging. What are people saying? If there a few negative reviews don’t get discouraged. There will almost always be some negative feedback but how does the theme author respond? Do they offer to fix the issue?
What kind of support do they offer?
Last, make sure you check for some type of theme support. The Best WordPress themes always come with support. What does it cover and for how long?
Ask a presale question and see how long it takes for the theme author to respond. Look at other presale questions in the comments, are they answered promptly?
Presale questions don’t necessarily translate into how support will be but it gives you some kind of idea. If my presale questions don’t get answered then why should I think my support questions will be answered?
Where to find your new WordPress Theme
So where does one go to find the best WordPress Themes for Photographers? Here I cover some of the more common options along with a few that might not be so common. Look through them and remember, your looking for a starting point. Customization is often a strong point of these premium themes.
Pricing Model: Yearly Subscription with Lifetime Option Available
CSS Igniter currently has a collection of 11 portfolio/photography themes. Three of my favorites include Benson, Koehn, and Lense.
Benson offers video and slideshow support, multiple image layouts, complete color control, jetpack support, custom widgets, and a drag and drop homepage.
Koehn is a premium business WordPress theme perfect for an Architectural Firm or similar endeavor. Features include a drag and drop homepage builder, flexible layouts and various custom widgets. The minimal and distraction-free design will really make your photos pop.
The Lense theme is both mobile and SEO optimized. It offers multiple gallery layouts, complete color control, and beautiful full-screen display.
Pricing Model: No subscription. Free Updates & Support for life of the theme. Completely new versions offered to existing customers at a discounted price.
If you are looking to stand out amongst your peers then Flo Themes is a good option. They currently have a collection of 14 WordPress themes. All themes run $279 without the optional advance setup bundle. This might seem expensive at first but it’s actually on par with many of the themes that offer updates for life option. Not to mention you get free support.
Almost all of the themes take a minimal approach and feel perfect for a wedding photographer, videographer or vendor. Really though, they are so well done that they could be pushed in a lot of creative directions. I’ve included two of my favorites below.
Fiji II seems to be the reincarnation of a first-generation theme as they offer a deal for Fiji 1 Users. This means at times some themes may be phased out and completely rebuilt with new features, etc.
Fiji II is again, clean and minimal with multiple design layouts. If you are a wedding, travel, lifestyle or fashion photographer I think this one deserves your attention.
This theme offers multiple clean, minimalistic layouts really great for wedding, portrait, film, editorial, fashion, lifestyle and travel photojournalists.
One cool feature is the LookBook feature. This gives your clients the ability to create an inspiration board from your galleries and save it as a PDF file. This way you can see exactly what the client likes and better understand their expectations when it comes to your photography style.
Graph Paper Press
Pricing Model: Yearly Subscription with Lifetime Option Available
Graph Paper Press has several free WordPress themes available in addition to the premium paid themes. Many of the themes are geared toward creatives in need of a portfolio or photography website. Browse the full collection of Graph Paper Press WordPress themes.
One thing to note, with your yearly subscription you get unlimited access to all the themes. For a little more you can get all the themes as well as all the available plugins. This may seem a little overkill if you’re just looking to buy one theme for personal use. However, if you are a web designer and creating websites for others then it’s great!
I’ve decided to list a few themes by Graph Paper Press that stand out to me. One thing I couldn’t find was the last time these themes were updated. I wish they showed that somewhere. Please let me know if I’m just not seeing it.
As the name implies, this theme is designed for those wishing to sell their work via the “Sell Media” plugin also available through Graph Paper Press. I like how this theme boldly puts your photography front and center.
Features include easy customization, responsive design, sell photos/prints, slideshows, post formats, custom widget areas, unlimited galleries, and automatic updates.
Much like the above theme, Stock Photography is for those wishing to sell media files and also utilizes the “Sell Media” plugin. If you have ever wanted to start your own stock photography website then this theme might be what you’re looking for.
Features include all of the same features listed in Sell Photos.
Photocrati by Imagely
Pricing Model: All Purchases Renew Annually
Photocrati is a very popular WordPress theme by Imagely, the same group that now owns the NextGEN Gallery WordPress plugin. The Photocrati theme gives you over 60 customizable design options for the look of your photography website. It also has seamless built-in gallery management so you don’t necessarily have to use the NextGen Gallery plugin but you certainly can.
One of the biggest features is automatic print fulfillment with WHCC. This means your customers’ orders will be automatically printed and shipped to them via White House Custom Colour, my favorite print house. That’s huge and can save you a lot of work.
Another great feature is that it comes with the Lightroom plugin by Imagely. This will allow you to publish and manage WordPress galleries directly from Lightroom. Have to be honest, never tried it before but that sounds like a serious time saver!
Features include 60 plus starting designs, highly customizable, responsive, built-in gallery management, built-in e-Commerce, thumbnail galleries, four built-in lightboxes, slideshow galleries, filmstrip galleries, blog-style galleries, multiple blog templates, featured posts widgets, many widget areas and right-click protection.
Expect to pay $99.00 a year for one website which includes updates and support.
Pricing Model: Yearly Subscription with Lifetime Option Available
PixelGrade has several themes available for Portfolio and Photography Websites. You can view their collection of themes here. They have them categorized by type so just scroll down a little. Personally, my favorites are Lens, Noah and Timber.
Lens is a full-screen theme that really shines with beautiful slideshows and grid-based galleries. I like that no screen real-estate is left unused.
Features include photo proofing, WooCommerce integration to incorporate sales, responsive design, easy customization and fast page loads. It’s perfect for lifestyle, fashion, and portrait photography.
Noah is simple, elegant, bold and witty. The subtle effects and unique transitions will really engage your customers in a unique way that keeps them clicking.
The smart galleries let you mix landscape, portrait, text, slideshows and whatever your imagination can conjure forth to create a truly unique experience.
Other features include responsive, easy customization, and fast page loads. It’s perfect for portrait, wedding and fashion photographers.
Timber is another WordPress Theme with a unique horizontal filmstrip layout. With the smart galleries, you can mix landscape, portrait, videos, text and more.
Like the Noah theme, the fast and smooth animated transitions work to give life to your work without detracting from it.
Features include photo proofing, WooCommerce integration, easy customization, responsive design and fast page loads. This theme would be great for wedding, fashion, lifestyle and portrait photography.
Pricing Model: One-time payment, completely new versions offered to existing customers at a discounted price.
Pro Photo is a complete set of tools aimed at photographers and built on top of the WordPress platform. It transforms the WordPress framework quite a bit and is supposed to provide you with greater creative flexibility in regards to customization.
Features include a front end editor, customizable layouts, 100% responsive, social media integration, customizable forms, galleries, grids, menus, tiles (layered graphic elements) and typography. One cool thing is that you can mess around with all these customizations privately before publishing them live.
The only thing is, you can’t use and edit stand-alone WordPress themes with the ProPhoto software. It only works with designs created with the software. When you install ProPhoto, you will choose a “design” as a starting point. The software comes with a selection of free designs. If you want a premium design it will cost you more.
The ProPhoto software is currently priced at $249 for new customers. If you want a premium design you will have to pay for that as well. Premium designs run anywhere from $75.00 to several hundred dollars.
Pricing Model: Yearly Subscription with Lifetime Option Available
Tesla Themes has a number of themes available for those looking to build a portfolio website. A single theme is $58 but you can also purchase all the themes for $99. This offer includes lifetime rights to use the theme but updates and support renew annually. Let’s look at a couple of choices you might consider.
This is a cool storytelling theme with a unique feel for those wishing to create an immersive reading experience. Not only does the story jump off the page at you but so does the photos.
Easily incorporate galleries, video, and audio into your stories to make the experience immersive. Additional features include one-click demo import, responsive design, built-in visual composer and unlimited page variations.
This theme screams travel blogger, lifestyle photographer or destination blogger but I think it could even be used to create a different vibe in wedding photography as well.
Suarez is another WordPress theme with a unique feel. It’s suited for a travel or lifestyle photographer that wants to blog alongside their photos.
It comes with the visual composer plugin ($39 value) which allows you to structure the content on your page without playing around with any code.
Zoomy is a great option for those looking for a clean, stylish theme with a minimal feel. Beautiful galleries, smooth transition effects and stylish sliders really make this one stand out.
Zoomy utilizes Tesla Framework which gives you greater control when customizing the look and feel of your theme without having to be a web developer.
I can see Zoomy being a good fit for a creative agency, photoblog or travel blogger.
Pricing Model: Support and Updates for life of the theme.
ThemeForest is one of the bigger WordPress theme marketplaces and connects independent WordPress developers with WordPress users. The result is a ton of great themes offered by an array of theme authors.
With so many unique theme developers under one house, you have to do a little research. Luckily, ThemeForest makes it easy as they provide you all the important information I talked about when choosing a theme.
You get sales data, date of theme creation and last update, comments, reviews, and even theme author ratings. With this type of information you just feel more informed and able to make an educated choice.
I have purchased quite a few themes from ThemeForest. I can’t cover all of them here but I will give you a few options that look great.
Avada is the #1 WordPress selling theme of all time. Naturally, it is a multipurpose theme meaning it can work for just about any type of application. If you can dream it up you can probably make it happen with Avada.
Avada comes with 57 pre-built demos to get you started. It also has a high intuitive visual editor to help you build and design the website you want. The options are plenty so you can fine-tune the theme to your liking.
Premium plugins include Fusion Builder, Slider Revolution, Fusion White Label Branding, Layer Slider, Advanced Custom Fields Pro, and Convert Plus.
Avada Integrates with WooCommerce, Events Calendar, Contact Form7 and bbPress.
Additional features include unlimited layouts and design, extensive support and much more.
Azalea is a photography theme specifically aimed at fashion photographers. This theme comes with 12 fully customizable home page templates, client archive page, password protected proofing galleries, pricing tables and much more.
Azalea comes with the Revolution Slider plugin and the drag-and-drop Visual Composer page builder.
Bridge is a creative multi-purpose theme with over 430 Demos to get you started. It is near impossible not to find a starting point that really speaks to the style and design you are looking to achieve. I also love that such diversity exists within one theme as no two sites are going to look the same.
Premium Plugins include the choice of WPBakery or Elementor Page Builder, Slider Revolution, Layer Slider, and Timetable Responsive Schedule.
Bridge also has modules for magazine, listings, music, travel and educational websites. Additional features include 24 layout concepts, open-ended customizability, WooCommerce Integration, an extensive support system and much more.
Core is a simple WordPress photography theme with a minimalist approach. I especially appreciate the unique flow gallery that is perfect for those looking for a horizontal gallery.
Features include minimalistic responsive design, unique flow gallery, 3 home page styles, 6 gallery templates, video support, light and dark skins, full-screen slideshow, 300+ Google web fonts, social sharing support, and password-protected galleries. This theme costs $39.
Core is made by ThemeGoods, a power elite author.
Novo is another great choice for photographers to consider when building their WordPress website. This theme comes with many features specific for photographers including password-protected galleries; right-click protection, watermarks, eCommerce and much more.
Photographer is a minimalistic and distraction-free design geared toward photographers. The live photowall displays a unique homepage generated from your portfolio images randomly. I also really love the fast fades homepage and it will surely impress visitors to your website.
Other features include zoomable galleries, 2 blog layouts, responsive video embeds and much more.
The Photography Theme is created by the same authors of Core, ThemeGoods. Photography really steps up its game however offering a ton of customization.
Features include a variety of light/dark demo content, 70+ gallery and portfolio templates, direct purchase link with WooCommerce integration, photo proofing, password protected client galleries, and client archives.
Photography also includes Revolution Slider and iLightBox. This theme costs $59.
Photography is created by ThemeGoods, a power elite author.
Skylab comes with 24 unique demo designs to give you a head start. Pick one as a starting point and edit it to your heart’s desire. Features include an innovative touch navigation slider, flexible pages and layouts, responsive and retina-ready, fully customizable, fast page loads, WPBakery Premium page builder and more.
Pricing Model: Support and Updates for life of the theme.
ThemeFuse has a ton of different themes and three geared specifically toward photographers. You can get a free premium WordPress Theme if you buy hosting from one of their partners. Partners include Bluehost, Siteground and Inmotion.
The two themes that stand out are Exposure and Shutter.
Exposure is a great theme for just about any genre of photography. There is plenty of demo content to help you visualize what your work might look like. Features include multiple slider options, theme color changer, shortcodes, eCommerce, built-in event calendar, visual drag and drop page builder, mega menu and much more.
Shutter is another great option that you could consider for just about any genre of photography. It comes with five unique demo templates to help you start. Demos include a fullscreen slideshow, splitscreen, photowall, horizontal slider and fixed columns gallery.
Additional features include the revolution slider, theme color changer, drag and drop visual builder and much more.
Pricing Model: Support and Updates Renew Annually
WPZoom offers a slew of WordPress themes and six specifically aimed at photographers. They also offer a 14-day money-back guarantee if you are not happy. Let’s take a quick look at some of the options.
Inspiro is a flexible WordPress Gallery theme aimed at photographers, videographers and business owners that need a professional-looking portfolio. Currently, this theme has seven unique template demos to start you toward achieving the style and layout you desire.
Features include an advanced theme options panel, slideshow with video background, gallery module, custom page builder and WooCommerce integration.
Monte is a magazine blog WordPress theme designed exclusively for fashion bloggers. It has a clean simple feel that brings focus to your images with elegant style.
Features include an advanced theme options panel, Instagram widget, Infinite Scroll, Visual Composer, WooCommerce Integration and more.
Tempo is a photography portfolio WordPress theme specifically made for photographers. Choose between grid or masonry layout, light and dark skins and multiple headers to style your portfolio.
Features include an advanced theme options panel, two skins, and multiple image orientations, header layouts and WooCommerce integration.
Free WordPress Photography Themes
Free does not necessarily mean bad, right? Whether you’re just starting out or do not have the money to spend sometimes free is the right price. However, free usually means there are strings attached. You might wonder why it is free.
Typically, free themes are a means of advertising for one’s brand or business. They incorporate links in the footer that expose your audience to the original theme developer. These backlinks provide an SEO benefit and help drive traffic to the theme author’s website.
Another possibility is the chance to upsell. They give you one free thing so they can try to sell other products to you. Maybe your free theme is a dumbed-down version with a lot more options and features if you upgrade. Maybe they want to advertise other products to you while you are in the backend of your WordPress dashboard.
This is not necessarily bad, it’s just business. If you are considering a free theme, I suggest you stick to the free themes offered in the official WordPress theme directory. These themes are tested and approved with WordPress. To help you decide if a free theme is for you I reference the pros and cons of free WordPress themes below.
Pros of a Free WordPress theme
- It does not cost anything. A premium theme will cost you money and if you are just starting you might want to save money.
- Free Themes are usually designed with beginners in mind and are relatively simple to use compared to advanced themes with endless options and features.
- The free themes in the official WordPress theme directory are thoroughly scrutinized for compatibility issues.
Cons of a Free WordPress theme
- Simplicity comes at the cost of more advanced features and options that may limit the functionality that many professional websites require.
- You are not unique. Because they are free, new web owners download and use them excessively. Moreover, there is little to no customization, most times they all end up looking the same.
- Most Free themes do not have any type of support.
- Free themes, even those in the WordPress theme directory may not be updated regularly and fall behind a newer updated version of WordPress.
- Free themes not from the official WordPress directory can be buggy and even cause security issues on your website.
I have listed four themes from the WordPress theme directory below. These themes look nice to me but I will let you be the judge.
What is the Best WordPress Theme for Photographers?
Do you have a favorite theme? What theme are you currently using? Please list your theme in the comments and tell us what you especially like about it.
Next Post: How to Optimize Images in WordPress, this is the last post of the series, How to Create a Photography Website with WordPress.
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