With online photography portfolios being absolutely essential, it’s paramount you ensure you have the best website possible. Here are my top five templates for photography websites.
Over the last decade I have navigated through many different website providers, platforms, and systems with my online portfolio. It has always been very important to me, but where once I gravitated towards interesting features, now my chief concerns are image resolution, mobile compatibility, and tools for analytics and SEO. To that end, is undoubtedly one of the best options not only photographers and videographers, but any website owner. You may spot the “sponsored” tag on this article and presume I’m made to say these things, but I jumped at the chance to work with because of the depth of their platform, and its holistic approach to online portfolios.
The five templates I have chosen here are styles I’m always drawn towards (of which there are probably ten or more) but which have executed very well. These are chosen on design, functionality, and image presentation. All sites have full mobile, tablet, and computer compatibility.
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The large carousel layout is one I often head towards first as it’s intuitive, clean, and engaging. While it doesn’t offer the wealth of images that a tiled approach does, it hits you straight away with one or two images in high resolution, that entices the visitor to keep scrolling on through.
Crucial information can be put in the header and footer, along with relevant links and social media icons. This is somewhat of a classic layout for portfolios, but it’s a classic for a reason. I tend to follow the carousel route for the galleries listed in the navigation page, giving the user the least amount to do and the least amount of resistance possible for scrolling through my work.
While the layout is uniform and simplistic, it can be built upon to be more complicated and interactive. For me, the merit of this template is its straightforward nature that anyone with a phone, tablet, or computer can navigate without thought. This is the template I would use if I had a number of different galleries I wanted to display, each with several flagship images.
This is undoubtedly one of my favorites, if not my number one choice. It’s as clean a design as you’re likely to find, with a great subtle feel to the navigation. However, it hits you hard with a full screen image straight off the bat. I’ve always been attracted to these large photo formats, but too often it’s paired with fiddly animated navigation bars, or text obscuring the image which is meant for that maximum impact. The navigation bar being at either side renders it a write-off for me, as it defeats the point of the large homepage image. The navigation bar at the top can work, but I’ve always had a sense that it was a little distracting. A thin and soft navigation bar at the bottom is perfect for me.
One of the allures of this template is the Contact page. Its monochromatic design is in line with the high-end feel of the website, with its subtle, unobtrusive gray text, feigning a lower opacity. The map is beautiful all the while being interactive and fully functional within the confines of the portfolio.
A minimalist template that lets your photography do the talking. This is the template I would opt for with commercial imagery, or any high quality and high impact photographs that would see the most value out of the large photo presentation.
One of the biggest draws to for me is that you can customize templates that aren’t necessarily engineered towards photographers, and make them in to unique photography portfolios. The Native template while still aimed at creatives, is geared more towards blog-centric, writers’ websites. However, if you regularly maintain a blog, you can pair that on your homepage with links in the navigation bar to galleries of images.
I love how simple this website is. The flow of the design leads you down the center of the page, offering all information and galleries as you want it presented, and seamlessly into your blog posts and articles. The merits of having a blog as a photographer or videographer are many and well covered, but I always saw it as a separate entity, tacked on to the main body of photographs. With this layout, that’s not at all true, and the false dichotomy is removed in favor of one synergized website.
The dynamic tiled galleries that are chosen by default are a good fit and more can be added if necessary. For me, Native is for a blogger primarily, with the template paying dividends for those who do a specific niche of photography and write about each shoot.
Although I do enjoy the crisp white themes that are in vogue for photography portfolios, I am always fighting the urge for a darker, moodier approach. If you’re bored enough, you can research why most websites are white and not black (I did and the TL;DR is ease to read black text on a white page), but that’s not applicable if you have few words.
With the move towards a darker theme, comes more unusual layouts and color themes. A dark brown and gold fit my commercial fashion images well, and the homepage is certainly one of my favorites on this list. It’s not obviously a photographer’s portfolio upon first glance, and I like that. There’s value in standing out if done correctly. As with any of these templates, it can be molded and tweaked until your heart’s content, adding galleries and project pages where you please.
This is a template for someone with a highly refined and selective body of work they are looking to present to their potential clients. There is zero clutter, and every image gets the spotlight one by one. For photographers who have a specialized niche, this could be your perfect choice.
Finally, I’ve chosen a template with a little less of a minimalist layout. Sometimes you want your flagship image, front and center, but sometimes you want a series spread out in front of people. Wexley is a dynamic grid layout that works perfectly with large sets of images, allowing viewers to scroll through them immediately. Rather than a flagship image on your homepage, you can instead have a flagship series or project.
It’s worth pointing out that cohesion between the images selected is crucial to a grid style working. Disparate image themes, from hugely varying shoots will give off a messy and confusing aesthetic. If you have a series or a set of images with a consistent thread that runs through all of their appearances, this template could be an excellent way to present it.
In stark contrast to the complex layout of the portfolio, the blog is neat and simple. For this post, I simply created a carousel at the top of the post, a title, and wrote about the shoot. The post formatting is uniform across templates, and it’s swift and easy to use. How it’s presented within the template can vary, but Wexley’s is great straight out of the box.
As someone who has done everything from WordPress, to full plug-and-play website templates where you merely upload the photos, I’m encouraged by the direction platforms have headed. With , designing a website for your photography portfolio to have an online presence can be as simple or a deep as you want it to be. Furthermore, the integration of a blog so comfortably in to the portfolio makes it an attractive prospect for hobbyists and professionals alike.