What are the best web templates for professional photographers?
This series gives photographers a more systematic basis for comparing and choosing.
Note: Photocrati has just released an outstanding set of WordPress-based photography website templates. Unlike most solutions I’ve looked at in this series, they combine both gallery management and blogging in one package. I may be biased, since I’m involved with Photocrati, but I think they’re an awesome solution.
While I’ve done weddings and portraits in the past to supplement income from my other photographic work, I recently entered the waters of wedding and portrait photography more thoroughly. As part of the new venture, I needed a new website dedicated exclusively to wedding and portrait photography.
These days, there are tons of great website templates and pro storefronts available to photographers: Printroom, Smugmug, BetterPhoto, ifp3, Snapfish, Foliolink, and others. Although all of these solutions have limitations, they also offer some great websites. Unless you’re a web guru or have lots of money to burn, there’s really no reason to build a site from scratch.
In the past, and in my more recent search, I’ve examined or tested a wide range of photo website templates. There are almost no genuine reviews of what’s out there, and the information provided by the sites themselves is obvious biased and limited, so you often have to actually buy and test a templates to really see if it’s the right fit.
The aim of this series is give photographers a better and more systematic basis for choosing their web template. So over the next couple of months, I’m going to write reviews of all the major web template providers. Here’s the list of site providers you’ll hear about over the next two months:
- Big Black Bag
- WordPress Templates (from various providers)
I’ll also prepare a article with a round-up review of general template sites like Template Monster, Entheos, and Flash Mint. These are huge template shops that provide photography templates along with many, many others. While they have nice looking templates, they generally don’t anticipate photographers’ needs as well as sites dedicated to photographers.
That’s still an incomplete list, and I’ll add additional sites as I find them. If you know of good quality photography template providers, please let me know in the comments.
In order to be systematic and provide a basis for effective comparison, we’ll be looking each of the following aspects, which reflect some of the features I think are important for today’s photographers.
- OVERALL APPEARANCE
- FLEXIBILITY OF DESIGN
- BLOGGING CAPABILITY
- E-COMMERCE FUNCTIONALITY
- COST AND FEE STRUCTURE
- SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
- FREE TRIALS AND GUARANTEES
- CONCLUSION (INCLUDING PROS AND CONS)
I’ll provide screen shots of sample websites and links to demos built from the templates as well as screen shots of the back end management system so you’ll know what you’re really getting into.
The first review will cover Photobiz, which is the provider I ultimately chose for a new wedding and portrait site. While I like the look, Photobiz also come with important limitations that I’m just now encountering. Look for the first review by early next week.
UPDATE: I’ve since switched my sites to PHOTOCRATI. It’s based on WordPress theme for photographers, which is the fastest growing platform for websites, build for blogging, and among the most SEO friendly platforms.