It’s no secret that WordPress is a top-notch platform for photographers. It’s flexible, easy to learn, and can be used to both showcase and sell your images. Of course, a basic WordPress website can only get you so far.
If you want to build a thriving, highly-customized, and attention-grabbing photography site, you’ll need the right set of tools. Fortunately, the larger WordPress community offers plenty of themes, plugins, and other solutions that enable you to create anything from a simple portfolio of your work to a thriving online photography store.
To get you started, we’re going to introduce you to 12 of the best tools available for WordPress-based photographers. Let’s jump right in!
Themes and Theme Shops
Naturally, you’ll want your website to look just as good as the photography it showcases. With that in mind, we’ll begin by looking at a few top theme options.
Photocrati is an extremely popular choice for WordPress photography sites, and for good reason. It offers a vast amount of demo content and customization options, which means you can build nearly whatever type of site you can imagine.
- Offers 60+ customizable designs to get you started
- Includes a built-in (and thorough) photo gallery system
- Provides its own e-commerce system for selling your work
- Lets you choose from four lightbox options
- Enables you to disable right-click on your pages (to prevent image theft)
Pricing: A license for Photocrati will cost you $99, and includes the NextGEN Pro plugin (which we’ll introduce later).
This next theme lives up to its name – everything about KingSize is larger-than-life. It’s a fullscreen photography theme offering plenty of customization options, lots of included features, and compatibility with major plugins such as WooCommerce and WPML.
- Includes 4 unique layout options for portfolios and galleries
- Lets you use 6 different gallery types, and create as many as you’d like
- Offers a custom ‘portfolio’ post type
- Enables you to use fullscreen image and video backgrounds
- Provides plenty of custom shortcodes and widgets
Pricing: KingSize is available on ThemeForest, and costs $27 for a single-site license.
Flothemes is a little different, since it’s a theme shop rather than a single theme. It’s focused solely on photographers, however, offering 14 themes to choose from that have unique styles, layouts and features.
- Rosemary: A clean, minimal theme that’s well-suited to vertical imagery such as portraits and fine art.
- LVY II: A stylish theme with an ‘art gallery’ aesthetic, excellent for showcasing events and portfolios.
- Fiji II: a clean and minimal modern all-purpose theme for photographers.
Pricing: Each theme in the Flothemes collection is priced at $279, but we have a coupon code for WP Mayor readers. Check it out below – you just need to copy the coupon code at checkout.
Using one of the above themes, you can give your photography site the right look. Now let’s talk about how to provide it with the feature set you’ll need to display your photos in all their glory.
4. Envira Gallery
A solid gallery plugin is practically an essential for any WordPress photographer, and Envira Gallery is one of the best options. It helps you easily create stylish galleries and display them anywhere on your site – and includes a host of other functionality as well.
- Provides you with a drag-and-drop builder for creating your photo (and video) galleries
- Lets you organize your galleries into customizable albums
- Makes it easy to set up an automatic or manual slideshow
- Helps you share your work on social media platforms
- Includes watermarking functionality, image proofing, and password protection
Pricing: There’s a light version of the plugin that focuses solely on galleries, while premium licenses start at $29. For the full feature set, you’ll want the Pro tier, which costs $99.
After picking up a gallery plugin, a slider solution should be next on your list. Our top choice in this category is Soliloquy. It’s quick and simple to use, yet enables you to create attractive and customized sliders to really show off your work.
- Gives you access to a drag-and-drop slider building tool (for images and videos)
- Includes pre-made slider templates with a variety of designs
- Lets you create sliders based on custom post types, and integrates well with WooCommerce
- Offers lightbox and carousel options
- Makes it easy to integrate with image platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest
Pricing: As with the previous plugin, there’s a limited version of Soliloquy you can try. The premium tiers start at $19, with the full feature set costing you $99.
A well-curated Instagram account is an essential part of any photographer’s portfolio. The social platform lets you share your work easily, gain followers, and grow your brand while connecting with your audience. Spotlight now lets you embed your Instagram feed directly into your WordPress website without any coding required!
- Easily design the look of your feed using the live interactive preview
- Connect to multiple accounts and create unlimited feeds
- Display your feeds in a sleek Grid, Masonry, Highlight or Slider layout, with full control over the look and organization of your photos
- Add a “Follow Me” button to gain more followers and display your Instagram like and comment counts
- Show your posts in a pop-up or lightbox
- The plugin is fully responsive – you can also design different layouts for different devices
Pricing: You can find the free version of this plugin on the WordPress plugin directory. The PRO version will cost you $49/year for a single site license with other license options available here.
The PRO version gives you even more control over your feeds by enabling you to moderate and filter your content, as well as link Instagram posts to product listings, blog posts, and any custom URL. You can also display your Instagram stories to connect further with your audience, as well as display your feeds in stunning layouts such as Masonry, Carousel, and Highlight.
All photography websites have to deal with the same problem – adding lots of high-quality images to your site can slow down its pages. To fix that, you can pick up an image optimization plugin. Imsanity is one of our favorites, because it’s simple and convenient to use.
- Lets you upload images at any size, and automatically scales them down to more reasonable dimensions
- Enables you to configure maximum width, height, and quality settings
- Makes it easy to bulk-resize existing images on your site
Pricing: Imsanity is a completely free plugin, which is another point in its favor.
All of the above tools are great for showing off your photographs. However, what if you’re also looking to sell your work? If that’s the case, here are the plugins that can help you get the job done.
WooCommerce may not be a photography-specific plugin, but it definitely bears inclusion on this list. It’s a user-friendly and powerful way to sell anything online – including digital media. What’s more, there are lots of extensions and add-on plugins you can use to expand its capabilities.
- Lets you sell both physical and digital products on your site
- Enables you to fully customize pricing, payment gateways, taxes, and so on
- Integrates with your site smoothly, so you can include a storefront alongside other pages and features
Pricing: WooCommerce is 100% free to use, and won’t charge you any fees or commissions.
9. Easy Digital Downloads
While WooCommerce is an excellent plugin, it has a rather broad focus. That’s where Easy Digital Downloads comes in. This e-commerce solution is all about selling digital products, which makes it perfect for a photography store.
- Enables you to sell any type of media file on your site
- Lets you provide immediate download options to your customers
- Supports multiple payment gateways, including PayPal and Amazon Payments
Pricing: The base plugin is free, and there’s a good chance it’s all you’ll need. However, there are also premium tiers with extra features, and additional extensions you can purchase.
10. NextGEN Pro
If you have a more robust budget, and you’re looking for an e-commerce solution that’s designed specifically for photographers, NextGEN Pro is worth a look. This plugin includes the basic NextGEN gallery building features, along with full e-commerce capability (and a range of other options).
- Helps you sell your photography as digital downloads on your site
- Supports multiple payment gateways, including Stripe and PayPal
- Lets you set up price lists, create coupons, configure taxes, and more
Pricing: NextGEN Pro starts at $99, and that starter tier gives you access to all the e-commerce related extensions.
Last but not least, you’ll want to carefully consider which hosting provider you choose for your photography site. As we mentioned earlier, an image-heavy site can easily suffer from slow speeds. That means it’s crucial to opt for a host that provides optimized performance, along with quality support and (ideally) WordPress-specific features.
Behmaster provides premium, managed WordPress hosting. Its plans are well-optimized for performance, as well as for the WordPress platform. Plus, the fact that this is managed hosting means a lot of the routine technical tasks will be taken off your hands.
- Includes plenty of behind-the-scenes technology that keeps your site running fast
- Handles backups, updates, and security scans for you
- Provides expert WordPress support
Pricing: Behmaster offers a number of pricing tiers, starting at $30 per month for one site and up to 20,000 visits.
Servebolt is an especially strong option for online photographers. That’s because its selling point is performance. In other words, everything about its infrastructure is designed to provide fast loading speeds and response times.
- Is highly-optimized for performance (including a unique OS)
- Provides multiple hosting locations, so you can choose the one closest to your primary audience
- Offers managed hosting, so you only have to perform minimal site maintenance on your own
Pricing: The WordPress hosting plans at Servebolt start at $99 per month, and permit up to three sites.
13. WP Engine
Finally, WP Engine is an extremely popular host among WordPress users. Like the previous two providers, it offers managed plans, and they come with a lot of perks that will be handy on your photography site.
- Offers managed WordPress-specific hosting plans, which are well optimized for speed and security
- Provides access to a global Content Delivery Network (CDN), boosting performance even further
- Includes a wide variety of premium themes
Pricing: WP Engine plans start at $35 per month, which will get you one site and up to 25,000 visits.
Running a photography website can take a lot of work, especially if you’re looking to sell your pieces online. The good news is that you can eliminate some of the challenge and improve your chances for success if you’re thoughtful about how you build your site.
Throughout this post, we’ve looked at 12 of the best tools you can get as a WordPress photographer. You’ll want to set up your site with the right theme, add in a collection of feature-boosting plugins, and select a performance-optimized host. After that, you’ll be well on your way to an outstanding photography site.
Have you used any of the tools mentioned above, and what did you think of them? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
Image credit: Max Pixel.