A Brief Guide to Themes for Photography Sites

I recently joined a group of WordPress.com colleagues at PhotoPlus Expo, a global tradeshow for photographers. We spoke with hundreds of people over three days about site design options including themes, a critical aspect of how a site looks.

The hardworking WordPress.com team at PhotoPlus Expo 2017. Photo by Jeff Golenski

Below are six recommended themes for photographers and designers, a list put together for PhotoPlus with the help of Dan Robert, a front-end developer at Automattic.


AltoFocus offers featured images on individual pages.

AltoFocus offers extra space between individual photos in a grid presentation and, similar to other themes listed here, it can do many jobs at once. Individual pages are anchored by featured images, as shown in the example above, but you can also take advantage of the photo gallery option when one photo just isn’t enough.


Blask is a classic portfolio style with an exposed menu.

The exposed design of Blask’s navigation offers a starting place for sites with a minimal amount of pages. Its image-first, text-free approach provides a sense of clarity to the homepage.

Radcliffe 2

With Radcliffe 2, business logos are easily adjusted to the right size.

Radcliffe 2 is an update on an original theme by Anders Norén, whom we interviewed in September. It takes advantage of the full width of a screen. Since there are no sidebars, photos are full-bleed, left to right, on any device. It gives logos their deserved time to shine with prominent, adjustable placement, too.


Orvis brings a gallery experience right to your homepage.

Enjoy photo galleries on the homepage of your favorite site? Orvis offers a refreshing twist to a classic portfolio-style site theme — add a gallery to a homepage as a stunning invitation for readers to interact with your work. Orvis includes multiple color-scheme ideas to inspire customization, including white, light gray, and navy.


Illustratr is both hard-working and fun.

Illustratr’s powerhouse design features drop-down submenus within each primary menu on the homepage for visitors to navigate to different sections, like a blog or portfolio archive. If you often share text-only updates, Illustratr is a good fit — its crisp typography does a wonderful job displaying image-less posts.


Resonate with readers with magazine-style posts using Resonar.

For those who write about every photo (and know exactly which photo belongs at the top of the homepage), Resonar’s straightforward approach to featured images and pull quotes helps make every post impactful. The magazine-style design of every page will leave readers impressed.


The aptly-named Cubic theme.

If you’re fond of the idea of a homepage that reflects the feel of an Instagram profile, try Cubic. In its grid-like homepage design, there is a minimal amount of space between photos, and the theme displays the dates of published posts. If you need help with editing the order of the final display, visit this guide on managing the publication order and displayed dates of posts.


If you’re not quite ready to jump into testing themes, consider browsing the sites of the many great photographers we’ve featured on Discover, like that of Joshi Daniel, who recently shared with us what he’s learned during nine years of photoblogging. Getting a sense of what you like about other sites may help you determine which design elements best display work similar to yours, hopefully providing a clearer sense of what you want a theme to accomplish.

Business plan users can integrate their site with ecommerce and other third-party plugins to sell their work. Not sure which plan is right for you? Learn about picking the best plan for your goals.

To find more designs for your site, browse our collection of photography-focused themes. To demo themes on your site, go to My Sites → Customize → Themes.

What influences the elements of design on your site?

November 7, 2017Design, Photography, , , ,