In days gone by, photographers would have to pull out ‘the book’ – a bound portfolio filled with their best work. Fast forward to today, and digital portfolios rule the roost. There are numerous benefits to showcasing your work online, including ease of access and enhanced options for interactivity – all possible when you choose the right theme.
One of the first decisions you’ll make when plumping for a suitable photography theme is whether you pick a free option, or stump up for a premium offering. If your budget is tight, some free photography WordPress themes can be just as powerful as their paid counterparts.
While flexible design and navigation options are nice, the real dealmaker is the image layout choices at your disposal, such as the popular masonry and grid designs. Choosing the right one is often key in creating a unique and attractive portfolio.
If you’re looking to build your own photography website, we’ve got you covered! Below, we’ve dug through a myriad of choices to bring you over 35 of the very best free photography WordPress themes – and for those with a little cash to splash, you may also want to sift through some premium options too.
The Photo Perfect WordPress theme delivers an incredible layout for getting all of your images on a website within minutes. The design is centered around the header, which contains a consolidated menu and category navigation area. We enjoy the fact that the Photo Perfect WordPress theme has a spot for uploading imagery to the header, such as high resolution photographs or banners that are showing off your most recent promotions. What's more is that the header has a spot for overlaying text. Some people might consider putting a logo in tagline in this area, but we also like it for more useful call to actions.
Upon scrolling down from the header you'll notice a few grid-based photographs, all of which come together to reveal a portfolio-style layout. These lead to additional blog posts, so you have the chance to show off your most important content. For example, you may have a few portfolio items that are from your trip around the world. If so, these all show up on mobile devices, and your clients will see lightbox versions of the images to view them in the right format. Threaded comments and custom colors both come along with the Photo Perfect theme, making it a solid solution for when you need to professionally post your images online.
With the Pixgraphy WordPress theme you get a large full screen header image. This is something you don't usually see with free WordPress themes, so it's definitely worth looking into if you're trying to find a platform that grabs attention right from the start. Social media buttons are located at the top, and you'll notice that they are each branded just right for this theme. You don't have to worry about going out to find a third party plugin for social media buttons either. In addition, the logo is situated at the top of the homepage, making it easy to brand your site and give people an idea of what website they are at.
Contact information goes at the top left corner, and you have some overlaying text on the header for implementing call to action text or to simply tell people what your site is all about. This is a completely responsive WordPress theme for photo bloggers and hobbyists. The layout looks rather impressive on the mobile interface, as all of the images and text modules snap right into place when they need to. Along with that you get threaded comments for talking to users and translation files for reaching out to the followers that don't speak your language.
The Fotographie WordPress theme packs quite the punch as a highly visual, free theme for photographers of all skill levels. It's a modern theme with a minimal design and numerous features to use. The whole point of the theme is to make things simple and to the point for photographers, since a photographer's job should not be to handle a messy website. We like Fotographie for photographers, obviously, but it also works nicely for regular bloggers, freelancers, and artists. A large header image starts off the homepage, but that leads to multiple other banner images with a navigation menu and a logo area in between. The hero content is worth looking into, and the portfolio takes only a moment to configure. There's a featured content area for showcasing your best work, along with a setting to adjust your site colors. Therefore, you can brand your photography business or blog with the colors you enjoy.
Fotographie really does allow you to build a simple and elegant website in no time. It puts your pictures in the limelight and ensures that no space is wasted on the screen. Not only that, but it's completely free so you can download it directly from the WordPress Theme Directory. Fotographie is ready to be translated as well. So if you have foreign clients or are trying to get more readers from different places, the Fotographie theme helps you along the way. The theme has both one and two column settings, with sidebars to feature widgets and a flexible header to adjust the way you welcome users. You also receive footer widgets for placing things like contact information or maybe a contact form. Overall, the Fotographie theme looks great and doesn't take too long to manage.
We like the Photolite WordPress theme for companies that would like to feature services on a website. It has a stunning layout for displaying a list of services with pictures and descriptions. The header module is rather large for one of your higher quality photos, and you can even implement some overlaying text and buttons on there if needed. It's worth mentioning that the call to action buttons are customizable, so if you'd like to send someone to a landing page, that's completely fine. However, you can also change this to navigate others to blog posts, product pages or information about your services.
The navigation panel and logo areas are right at the top, and all of these are completely customizable from the backend interface. The developer recommends the theme for photography, photo blogging, business, restaurant, corporate, consultancy and other industries. A custom header is available for changing around your branding, and this pairs well with the custom background. Along with threaded comments, translation files and some tools for changing around the layout of your sidebars, the Photolite theme has what it takes to make you shine.
The Infinite Photography WordPress theme has a darker complexion for a more modern look, but the main reason we like it so much is because of the portfolio setup. This has some camera icons which prompt users to click on the images. This way you don't have to worry about whether or not people know where to click next. The grid-based format is a solid choice as well, considering each of the photos are constructed nicely and setup in a way that looks professional and reasonable. A logo spot is available towards the top of the homepage, and you'll see a little search bar for guiding people throughout your website.
The Infinite Photography theme provides a header module with text on top to ensure that everyone knows what type of photographer you are. For example, you could tell them your name or talk about the services you offer, all from the convenience of your own header image. The responsive theme comes up just fine on all mobile devices, and we're impressed by the way the blog looks for users. It has a certain elegance that is sure to intrigue your users and show the search engines that you should move up in the rankings.
The Fotography WordPress theme is by far one of our favorites on this list. Why is this the case? Because it looks and works just like a premium theme. It provides a beautifully designed slider for sharing one of your best pieces. This leads into the portfolio section, which has thumbnail images and little descriptions of what's in your portfolio. Since the theme is responsive your clients can go to the portfolio on their smaller devices. Opening up an image on a phone is no problem, and it's pretty easy to scroll through the wide selection of items you may have on your site. The Services section is exactly what you need for telling people what type of photography you offer.
For example, you can implement lists of your services or talk about your services in a more column-based format. The Instagram showcase is one of the standout features, since it provides a way to integrate with Instagram and share the photos from a single place. Heck, if you wanted to you could use Instagram for most of your posting then come back to talk about the imagery on your blog. The four gallery layouts come in handy when you need to upload a large collection of photos and display them professionally. Along with testimonials and an area to talk about your team member, the Fotography WordPress theme has enough flair to help out your career quite a bit.
In terms of uniqueness, the Portfolio Gallery WordPress theme beats out the rest of the options on this list. Not only does is have a navigational menu that resides on the left hand side, but it offers a beautiful portfolio with the thumbnail images mashed together for a modern and professional look. An important part of the theme is right behind the navigational menu. It's a background that you can modify to reflect the overall atmosphere and feel of your website. So if you'd like to show off your face or a little inspirational photo, feel free to do so.
It's nice because you don't have to worry about the menu being modified or diminished in anyway. Regardless, you also gain access to a spot for your logo at the top, which comes in handy when you're trying to quickly brand your page or list your name for people to give you a call and contact you about your photography services. In addition, you'll gain access to a little box in between the portfolio. We like this for explaining more about your services or expanding upon the types of photographs you generally like to take. This is a multilingual theme as well, and it integrates with the following plugins: JetPack, Contact Form 7, bbPress, WooCommerce and many others.
Here's yet another option for those who would like to setup a situation where the entire homescreen is filled with a large picture. It's not exactly the most lightweight theme, but for a free option it certainly does the trick. The header provides a consolidated menu so that whenever someone scrolls over the menu and clicks on it they see all of the options. In addition, the header image is actually a slider, which rotates to reveal a collection of images that are useful in convincing customers to pay for your services. The overlaying text comes in handy when you'd like to talk about your photography, while the overlaying button sends folks to places like landing pages and portfolios.
The PhotoBook WordPress theme delivers a responsive layout that also comes with social media buttons for pushing people to places like Facebook and Twitter. You don't have to implement the buttons, but it's recommended considering you have a much better chance of gaining clients with pages. The theme is recommended for photography, photo blogging, portfolios, and personal websites for other creative people. The built-in widgets are easy to handle, and they pretty much turn the backend of your website into a drag and drop interface. The homepage even shows the most recent posts without you having to do a thing.
Silvia is one of the more basic themes on the list, since it provides a beautiful white interface and some portfolio items that are to die for. As you can see from the screenshot, all of the portfolio items are organized in a professional, yet elegant manner. This way you can increase the number of clicks that go through and you ensure that all of your images look beautiful when people come to your site. What's more is that each of the portfolio elements have titles and descriptions to make them look a little better.
The top part of the website features a wonderful logo spot, and the search bar is there for when people want to punch in a keyword to locate one of your blog posts. The navigational menu is customizable on the backend, while the descriptive text in the header is your personal introduction to the users who are new to the page. The theme is recommended for photography, graphic design, fashion, art, architecture, interior design, and other creative fields. The standout feature is the layout structure, since it lets you change around everything like colors, typography and the overall layout.
Consider the Full Frame WordPress theme if you're trying to construct a website that provides a place for people to look at your photography services or products. The theme looks just like any business website, so you're able to talk about your services, display some of your work and give people a chance to contact you if they want. The header is the first item that people will see, as it sits right behind the top bar with social media buttons, a search bar and logo. Users will be sure to click through the social media buttons if your pages have relevant content, and the search bar is bound to bring in some folks who want to look at your blog.
A call to action button can be moved around on the homepage, but we highly recommend using it to direct people to a contact form or a portfolio. What's interesting is that you can have a portfolio on the homepage or decide to insert it on a regular page. This is a simple, clean and creative WordPress theme for just about any type of creative, and the translation files on the backend are sure to bring in more customers who may not speak your first language. For example, Swedish people can translate from English to understand what your blog posts say.
The Electa WordPress theme presents a more modern take on the regular photography portfolio layout, since it has a stunning grid for presenting all of your photos and a menu on the left hand side, straying away from the tradition of placing menus towards the top. You're sure to grab attention with your best pieces, and the social media buttons can direct users to the pages that are more likely to serve you well in marketing. The Electa WordPress theme provides a completely responsive layout for people to view your photos on a mobile interface. Not to mention, the threaded comments come into play when you post a blog and want people to respond to it.
The grid-based portfolio mainly resides on the homepage, but you do have the opportunity to expand on your past work with full blog posts. Some of the plugins that integrate with the Electa WordPress theme include WooCommerce, Site Origin's Page Builder and more. These are awesome tools for building your website, since WooCommerce converts your page into an online store, while the Page Builder plugin gives you a drag and drop interface for keeping your hands out of the source code. Along with a few color options, featured images and translation tools, the Electa WordPress theme is ready to go.
As a photography theme, the Photomania solution takes a rather unique approach. It can be used as a general portfolio, but the default design looks similar to a photography search engine or image library, like ShutterStock. The stunning design resembles something you would generally have to pay for, with the responsive layout, modern elements, and the engaging typography and graphics. The portfolio section provides a filter for guidance, and all you have to do is upload your images to place them in a beautiful grid format.
What's more is that the theme has a custom background, and you can even adjust items like the colors, logos, menus, and more. The featured images look wonderful on the primary blog, and the footer module is ready to provide space to place your widgets. For example, you might want to put some social media buttons or a text widget in the footer. The full width template makes your page look a little cleaner, and the sidebars are there for organizing your widgets. Along with that, you gain access to threaded comments, multiple columns, and translation settings.
Minimalism is a rising trend in web design, and it’s easy to see why. It emphasizes function over flash, and Snapshot takes things to the extreme with a distraction-free design.
There’s very little to Snapshot, which is part of it’s charm. There’s a simple slider to display images you’re really proud of, and below that a grid-based gallery. Rolling over each thumbnail displays information such as the published date and number of comments, and that’s the extent of the theme’s functionality. However, the designers among you are not left completely high and dry. Snapshot also comes bundled with the SiteOrigin Page Builder plugin, enabling you to create page layouts to match your own unique requirements.
Overall, Snapshot offers very little other than a way to showcase your photography – after all, isn’t that the point? This theme will certainly be of interest to those who want to spend their time capturing images, rather than tinkering with their website.
Some themes on this list are full-featured, song-and-dance solutions for displaying your photography. However, a bare-bones solution such as Pictorico could be all you need if your inclination to tinker is low, and your time is limited.
Pictorico is a single-column, grid-based theme for displaying your images. Rolling over each thumbnail offers a neat animated title and date. Unfortunately, there’s little else on offer. Even individual image pages seem to emphasize the accompanying text rather than your photography.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to recommend Pictorico to photographers looking to showcase their work, given the minimal focus on photography. Simply put, there are many other more compelling photography themes on the market to choose from.
Who better to turn to for a fantastic-looking photography theme than the experts: Graph Paper Press? Snaps is their solution if you’re looking for a simple, modern theme for displaying your images.
Graph Paper Press love minimalism, and it shows. Other than a header that covers three quarters of the screen, there’s little to distract from your photography. Image thumbnails are displayed in a simple grid, with no bells and whistles other than a stark rollover animation.
Snaps stands out among its competitors by virtue of its well-chosen typography, and extensive customization. It may be minimalistic, but it oozes class.
To be honest, Snaps won’t offer functionality that pleases everyone. However, given its gorgeous design and its customization options, there’s no reason to pass it by – it could be the ideal theme for you.
While the primary currency for photographers is their images – as it should be – that doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty to say. Katori caters to photographers who want a simple theme that displays images prominently and is centered around WordPress’ traditional blogging functionality.
While this theme offers a modern full-screen background slider for showcasing your photography, the default fonts give it a classic WordPress vibe. It’s homely and familiar – just the ticket for a blogging photographer or photojournalist.
Katori eschews the grid-based design common to many photography themes, enabling you to tell the story of your photography solely through blog posts. There’s also a neat button in the header menu that when toggled, displays your latest posts in a fullscreen overlay. It’s unique, and displays your featured images prominently.
Overall, this is a good theme. The default fonts are familiar, the color scheme is minimal yet pleasant, and it will suit photographers who like to tell a story while simultaneously showcasing their work.
We’ve mentioned Graph Paper Press elsewhere in this collection, and they’re known as photography theme experts with a keen eye for quality design. However, Mansion is really more of a neglected townhouse than an elegant palatial dwelling.
The first thing to note is that this theme is old – it was released over six years ago and is really showing its age. While we like the idea of a thumbnail grid layout, this example isn’t visually appealing. Furthermore, the blog archives are presented in a masonry-style layout, which in this guise just doesn’t work.
Mansion could be so much better. While the homepage grid layout is a novel idea, the theme is tripped up by dated font choices, a lack of white space, a murky color scheme, and unattractive page layouts.
Minimalist themes are always popular for showcasing photography – they place your work front and center, with no other elements to distract the reader. Satu is yet another in a long line of minimal photography themes. The question is: does it do enough to convince you to click the Download button?
The answer for us is: no. While the typography has been well-chosen, there’s little else of note to write home about. There’s a full-width header to display one of your best images, but there’s no other functionality suitable for displaying a photography portfolio.
While Satu markets itself as a “minimal and modern photography” theme, Satu would be better suited to photobloggers – but even for that purpose there are more attractive alternatives available.
There have been a few themes in this collection that will struggle to make your photography shine – but with Freedom, you’ll be free of those worries.
The developer, Theme Grill, has designed this theme to be a simple solution for displaying your images with minimal fuss – and on the whole they’ve succeeded. Like many themes on this list, this is more of a photoblogging theme, with each large thumbnail on the homepage taking you to a relatively standard blog page for further reading.
That being said, images are displayed prominently on the homepage – whether that’s via the aforementioned thumbnails, or the built-in header slider. There are also plenty of design options to tinker with, all accessed from the WordPress Customizer.
While it’s not perfect, Freedom has a clear focus: offering a simple yet customizable solution for blogging about photography. If that’s what you’re looking for, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration.
Whenever you see the name Automattic as a theme’s developer, you should expect a standout example of how to do things right. After all, the developers of WordPress.com have a duty to show off the platform’s capabilities – something that Sketch does with little effort.
This theme ticks all of the boxes for users who want a simple photography theme: large prominent thumbnails, distraction-free posts, and a simple featured content slider – but there’s more to Sketch under the hood. The default font and color choices complement its minimal look, and there’s an option to display a custom logo. In addition, the sidebar can contain a Google Map of your location if you work from a permanent office.
All in all, Sketch gets everything right. It’s minimal, it looks gorgeous, and it offers you a way to display your portfolio with little fuss. Even if you have the budget to spare, Sketch should be on your shortlist – you may find that your wallet stays closed!
Graph Paper Press are well known for their photography themes and minimalist design tendencies. Fullscreen is another of their offerings and it enables you to showcase your images with a stylish and modern design, and no outlay.
This theme could be thought of as an update to Graph Paper Press’ underwhelming Mansion theme. The homepage is presented in a grid-based layout, with a number of featured images along the top of the screen. Each thumbnail is greyed out until rollover, which gives the theme a murky look. We’d rather have seen a set of brighter thumbnails, but in its current guise, it’s not a dealbreaker. In addition, the choice of font size is absolutely tiny, making any text accompanying your images hard to read.
In conclusion, Fullscreen has almost everything you’d want in a grid-based photography theme. Font sizes and thumbnail overlay choices aside, this is one you’ll definitely want to take for a test drive – and because of the price tag, doing so is completely risk-free.
If we mention the phrase “minimal photography theme” again in this collection, you’d be forgiven for scrolling onto the next entry. However, Fukasawa demands that you stop and take in everything it offers.
This theme has a minimal masonry-style design, with a left-hand navigation bar similar to the Twenty Fifteen theme. The monochrome color scheme could come across as bland, but the hints of grey (especially for the background) help balance the negative space. Font choices also suit the minimal layout.
The masonry thumbnail layout looks gorgeous, and the individual image pages also do a good job of showcasing your photography. Images are displayed almost full screen, followed by any corresponding text – just as it should be.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you get what you pay for”, but in Fukasawa’s case, it’s the exception to the rule. Add it to your shortlist, regardless of your budget.
ThemeIsle is a purveyor of high-quality themes suitable for all manner of WordPress websites. ThemeIsle’s free photography theme, RokoPhoto Lite is a stylish offering designed for photoblogging.
At it’s heart, RokoPhoto Lite is a simple theme that serves as an introduction to the premium version. As such, customization options are limited. Fortunately, this theme looks classy out of the box, with a monochrome color scheme and condensed uppercase lettering throughout. However, there’s no way to display your portfolio on the homepage, so you’re restricted to using this theme as a photoblogging platform. That’s no bad thing, and the theme will find fans in those who just want to post their images with minimal fuss.
Although RokoPhoto Lite’s design is aesthetically pleasant, it’s hard to see past it’s true reason for being: a gateway to the full-featured premium version. As such, there are plenty of other photography themes available that aren’t hamstrung and offer relevant functionality.
On the surface, GK Portfolio’s list of features could be interchanged with a number of other themes: a monochromatic color scheme, minimal design, and sparse functionality. However, there’s more here than meets the eye.
Yes, GK Portfolio could be labelled as a “me too” theme, but to do so would be missing its unique points. For a start, its focus is on displaying a portfolio. The home page offers large image thumbnails, each labeled with any associated tags, and a smooth animation displays the title and a brief excerpt.
Images are centrally focused on each individual post page in a skinny single-column layout. The default font choice is small, which is not usually a plus, but given the condensed design, it fits the overall aesthetic.
Overall, GK Portfolio is a solid option for displaying your photography portfolio. It’s clear that thought has gone into the design, and as such, it is well worth your consideration.
Yet another theme from Automattic showcasing the flexibility of WordPress, Harmonic is a photoblogging theme with a design that’s packed full of potential to showcase your photography.
Harmonic takes a different tack to other themes in that it eschews the monochromatic color scheme and boxed layout. Instead, it displays full screen images and page sections, a feature that is most noticeable on blog post pages. This is the place to really show off your best work, and each post’s featured image also includes a call to action button encouraging visitors to read more.
In addition to the image-centric blog post layout, Harmonic also offers a portfolio page for displaying photography and other creative projects. Portfolio projects are displayed in a four-column grid layout and clicking on any project reveals a project page with a larger view of the image – perfect for showcasing your best work. In addition, you can use the portfolio layout as your site’s homepage if you really want to display your photography front and center.
All in all, Harmonic is another good showing from Automattic, and there’s plenty of scope for the creative blogger to showcase their images and tell their story.
Let’s face it – a lot of themes on this list look similar. While that’s not a bad thing, if you’re searching for something unique and are working with a small (or non-existent) budget, you may come up short. Espied bucks the trend, offering a unique approach among free photography themes.
This theme has been on the market for a couple of years now, and has garnered only a modest number of active installs. That’s a shame, because it offers standout functionality in a crowded marketplace. Espied’s primary focus is on displaying your portfolio, and it does so utilizing a full-width grid and understated hover animations. Each image page is simple, with primary focus given to your photography, and a More Projects section gives your visitors the opportunity to keep browsing your site.
What’s more, Espied’s font choices have been well thought out, and it looks top-notch on high-resolution displays. That being said, the menu’s vertical bar may be off putting to some – it causes the portfolio itself to look a little off-center.
Top to bottom, Espied is ideal for those who wish to showcase their photography with a standout look, for zero outlay. Why it hasn’t been shown more love is quite simply mind-boggling!
Simply put, your photography must always be front and center. Whether you’re displaying it on your home page, or showcasing an image on a blog post, your work must always be the star of the show. Enter Portfolio Press.
Right off the bat, you may notice this theme’s color scheme and layout is similar to the WordPress.org website – that’s not a bad thing, but it is a little unoriginal. That being said, there are worse examples of design, and at least your website will have a familiar look and feel.
As for the portfolio itself, it’s a 3×3 grid of chunky thumbnails and no other distractions – it ticks all the right boxes for how a portfolio should be displayed. Individual image pages are simple, with the image itself dominating the screen. Also, while Portfolio Press can utilize a sidebar, it looks best without it – its addition will give your portfolio a lopsided appearance, and the full-width version is much easier on the eye.
Overall, Portfolio Press is another worthy addition to the list of themes suitable for showcasing your photography – if you can get over the visual similarity to WordPress.org, that is.
We know – another minimal photography theme. However, there are very good reasons for adopting the approach – it keeps a theme free from unnecessary functionality, and best of all, it focuses a visitor’s attention solely on your images. It’s apt then, that this theme is called Visual.
Its design is centered around a skinny, three-column, masonry-style grid layout, with a dark color scheme. Because of its murky, minimalist leanings, it serves to almost frame your images, highlighting them on the page.
Although Visual’s focus is on your photography, readability is also good thanks to the well-chosen font and color selections. However, it’s worth pointing out that this theme hasn’t been updated in over two years. That means it may not play nicely with future versions of WordPress, leaving you to start your search again if things go awry.
Visual is a decent, if not spectacular offering. Under normal circumstances, we’d recommend considering a theme such as this – but given its lack of updates, you may be better off finding a better-supported alternative.
There’s an argument to be made that good photography should be imposing. After all, if your images demand attention, more eyes will be on your work. Illustratr, from WordPress.com developers Automattic, is one theme with a commanding presence.
Illustratr is described as a “minimalist portfolio theme”. We’d go so far as to say it’s stark. There’s little evidence of an accent color to contrast against the black text on white background, and display fonts are uppercase and chunky. This theme could be likened to a billboard of sorts – it’s that imposing.
The portfolio displays images in a masonry style, but it’s a shame that text takes precedence over images on individual pages. It seems a bit of a misstep, especially since the rest of the theme’s primary focus is on your photography.
It goes without saying that Automattic knows how to create a good theme – it’s no surprise given their day-to-day business. Certain minor aspects aside, Illustratr gets the thumbs-up from us, and it’s another solid example to add to your shortlist.
Some themes specialize in photography, whereas others – such as Tracks – are suited for all types of bloggers, not just those wielding a camera. However, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, as long as the functionality is up to snuff.
In Tracks’ case, it definitely is. While we’re not necessarily going to bat for the murky color scheme, the layout is pleasant to look at. The position of each image on the home page is alternated to break up the monotony, and we like that each image is balanced by a title and excerpt that manage to avoid detracting attention from the image. Clicking through to an individual post page and you’ll find that each featured image fills the screen, giving way to an oversized uppercase header as you scroll down.
Overall, Tracks’ design is sleek, and although it could use a bit of color, there’s plenty here to convince photobloggers to download a theme with functionality that belies its lack of a price tag.
Designed as a theme for “people, bloggers, and photographers”, Family is a child theme built on the Omega theme framework. However, even with a reputable framework behind it, can it do enough to convince you to hit the Download button?
There’s a distinct lack of color in Family, which combined with the large amount of negative space, makes it seem a little barren. We’re also not fans of the Disney-style header font, but seeing as it’s targeted at family photoblogs, we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
However, although it’s marketed as a photography theme, there’s little functionality here catering to photographers. In reality, this is a straight blogging theme with prominent featured images.
Family is a simple theme, almost to the point of being unfinished. It’s so straightforward that you’ll likely have a completed layout ready to go within minutes. Although little of its functionality caters to photographers, it could still be suitable for photobloggers looking for a quick way to display their work.
A change in pace now, as Fifteen looks to combine attention-grabbing visual elements in order to stand out. Gone are the minimalist elements – they’ve been replaced by smooth animations and a busy design.
Unique among free photography themes, Fifteen employs a fullscreen parallax background. It may seem like a minor detail, but along with the over exaggerated portfolio animations, it offers some welcome movement in contrast to other static themes.
However, the default color scheme – mainly dark gray – needs to be given some attention. It causes Fifteen to seem a little cheap and dated, although the colorful and prominent social icons restore some brightness.
Overall, Fifteen can hold its head high. Color scheme aside, it offers enough visual interest to stand out against its competitors. For those who are looking to showcase their portfolio, and add in some modern flourishes for good measure, it could be ideal.
For the uninitiated, origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Expert origamists can transform a single piece of paper into almost anything you can imagine – and it’s this concept of versatility and transformation that has inspired the Origami theme.
This theme has been created by WordPress developers SiteOrigin, who have bundled their popular drag-and-drop PageBuilder plugin with Origami. While this plugin is available for free from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, this is one of the few themes that incorporates its functionality out of the box. It means almost any layout is at your fingertips, including a stellar photography portfolio. There are a myriad of ways to display your work, such as carousels, sliders, and an impressive masonry layout perfect for showcasing your captivating work.
The appeal of Origami boils down to the bundled PageBuilder plugin. While the skinny one column layout is attractive, the ability to create almost any layout of your choosing is the real dealmaker. This theme should be at the very top of your shortlist, especially considering that its out of the box functionality belies its lack of cost.
In a break from black on white monochromatic design, Photomaker adds a splash of color and unique site navigation to liven up a simple design.
Much like some other themes in this collection, Photomaker is more suited to blogging about your work than showcasing it prominently. As such, font choices are large with good readability, and blog posts include an oversized comments section for interacting with visitors.
In contrast to most other themes, Photomaker’s bright red navigation is positioned on the right hand side of the screen. It can be tucked away at the click of a button, and can also include a thumbnail gallery, social media links, and much more.
Although its name may state otherwise, Photomaker isn’t really designed for photographers given that it has no portfolio feature worthy of the name. Nevertheless, it’s still a suitable theme for photobloggers looking for a bold and bright design to display their work.
Make is a popular multipurpose theme suited to many different applications, and will be familiar to a lot of WordPress users. That being said, it does have some functionality suitable for photographers out of the box that’s worth closer inspection.
Make is a slightly different beast than some of the other themes in this collection. It’s well-supported, the documentation is comprehensive, and because of the bundled Make Layout Engine, it’s more flexible than most. However, the free version limits this functionality somewhat, leaving behind only a smattering of features to play with.
Fortunately, you’ll still get to utilize the gallery and slider elements, and they both enable you to create a solid portfolio. Galleries are presented as simple grids, and you can link each image to a post or page, or utilize animated captions to display additional information.
While we can’t bemoan the decision when a company uses a free theme to sell their premium version, in many cases it’s little more than a teaser for its premium sibling. That’s not the case with Make – even the free version is a well-rounded theme with good support and documentation, and as such should be given a test drive.
As it’s name suggests, SKT Full Width is a theme that enables you to display your photography using the entire width of the page. Coupled with a unique navigation menu, it could be the perfect choice for creating a portfolio that really stands out.
It’s worth mentioning up front that SKT Full Width is designed to sell the premium version of the theme. As such, although it has a neat sliding navigation menu, it’s missing a lot of elements found in its upgraded sibling. That being said, the home page can include a fullscreen background slider (with or without headings). However, the free version of the theme does not include a portfolio feature, leaving you to use the front page slider, blog posts, and background images to showcase your work.
SKT Full Width highlights the danger of using a free theme that is primarily a teaser for a premium offering. Theme functionality is hamstrung, leaving a subpar theme for displaying your work. As such, while the slider is a nice touch, there will likely be other themes available that are more suitable for displaying your photography.
At a glance, BirdSITE has almost everything required to showcase your photography – a 3×3 grid for the home page and number of customizations – but in reality, things aren’t what they seem.
BirdSITE is an unusual theme. The portfolio grid is pleasant enough, although the animations are a little rough around the edges. However, the theme doesn’t offer a full screen layout option, and there’s an abundance of wasted negative space on the right side of the screen. On top of that, while you can change the text and hyperlink colors as well as the the header and footer background colors, there’s no easy way to change the background color of the page body.
Everything about the theme looks quite dated, and to top it off, the developer’s website is written in Japanese – though, this won’t stop you from browsing the developer’s website, and the translation tool built into your browser will give you an idea as to its content.
As we said, BirdSITE is peculiar. It’s garnered over 2,000 active installs, with at least one download per day. Given its dated look, and odd set of customization, we have to wonder why.
Temptation takes a different approach to its minimalist rivals in this collection. With a plethora of areas to showcase your photography, it’ll attract those with a large portfolio to showcase.
The first element that greets you upon loading the home page is the full-width carousel: this will be the place to show off your most recent work. For some themes, the lack of a portfolio grid feature is a drawback, but with Temptation, there are so many ways to showcase your work that the element is hardly missed. There are recommended post sliders, carousels, a standard grid layout, and a number of custom widgets on hand.
In addition, while the design itself could use a little love, it’s by no means unattractive, and it’s reserved enough that it helps place the focus on your images.
While the image-intensive design of Temptation is commendable, it could also be its downfall. Given that it’s suited to those with a lot of images to showcase, it could send users with fewer images looking for other themes. That being said, it’s worth taking it for a spin – it could be the ideal theme for you.
There’s a fitting story behind the creation of The J A Mortram. It was created for a photojournalist who was documenting the tribulations in people’s lives, and if your work involves a similar melancholy theme, this theme may fit the bill.
The look of The J A Mortram reminds us Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Nebraska album cover art. It’s a stark, monochromatic theme with a one column display and uppercase headings. You get the choice to display a logo in the header, a tag line, a background image, or a full screen slideshow – but little else.
Quite simply, while we like The J A Mortram due to its stark, bleak design, there’s little to appeal to users looking for a photography theme. That’s a shame, but for those working in candid photojournalism, we can think of no better option.