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Everything You Should Know to Create a WordPress Photography Website

Bernadett Toth
Bernadett Toth
April 15, 2020
wordpress photography

Many professional photographers think that a website is not necessary in their work and the social media platforms are enough to promote their business. But actually do you need a website if you are a photographer? Why to choose WordPress? Which plugins are useful on a website? Check out the article and you will encounter the most popular themes and plugins, and you can read tips on how you can build your own WordPress photography website.

Jump to a section quickly

💻 Do you need a website if you are a photographer?
📷 The best free WordPress themes for photographers
🎓 Which plugins do you need on your photography website?
🖼️ How to display photos on your website?
Useful effects what you can use on your photography page
💡 Tips & tricks for creating a Photography website

Do you need a website if you are a photographer?

The answer is simply yes. Sometimes social media aren’t enough and a photography site can take your business even to a professional level. People can find you, discover your images on your site or read reviews about your customers, so everything is in one place. OK, then maybe you are thinking of how you can build a website if you don’t have any coding skills? The solution is simple: use a website creation tool, like WordPress.

Why to choose WordPress?

WordPress is an open source website creation tool which you can easily use even if you aren’t a developer. I could list many advantages why to choose WordPress, but now let’s see some of the most convincing facts:

  • You can use a page builder to create your website easily with drag & drop
  • You don’t need to code
  • Search engines can find you and your business
  • You can create your website yourself, you don’t need to pay for a developer
  • You can choose thousands of plugins which can be useful, for example to create a contact form or a slider
  • There are a lot of tutorials for WordPress in the web, where you can learn a lot
  • You can easily upload a photo, add a category and display it as you want

The best free WordPress themes for photographers

To start building a great website you’ll need a theme which you can easily work with and which you can customize as you need and create a responsive design. Which theme can you choose for creating a WordPress photography website? I’ve collected 5 great themes which I can suggest choosing even if you are a beginner or an expert WordPress user. Let’s see them!


oceanwp photography

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OceanWP is a free WordPress theme which works well with the best page builders like Elementor or Divi. It is fully responsive and you can change what you want. OceanWP has an Ocean Extra plugin which offers you ready to use templates. If you import a template, you can fully customize it with your page builder, but you can use the theme without a page builder, too.

The theme has settings to everything in the WordPress theme settings. You can set all font types, you can customize the menu, the style, or the typography but you can create a custom header as well. The theme offers paid extensions which can be useful on a WordPress photography website. With them you can show your latest posts in a slider, and there is also an option to create a photo grid layout with your portfolio images.


Neve WordPress Photography

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Neve is a popular free theme in the WordPress theme directory with 100.000+ active installs. It features a nice hero header for displaying images, which can be a great first impression for your visitors. Neve works well with Elementor, Brizy, Beaver Builder, but you don’t need a page builder plugin if you don’t like them, because it works very well with Gutenberg as well.


astra photography

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Astra is a simple theme and has a lot of customization options in which you can personalize your own website. This theme has simple editing options, and you can find every setting in one place. The theme has also pre-built templates which you can choose from. Just choose a WordPress photography theme, change the content, and use it easily on your website. It can be a great help at the theme designing and website building.


shapely theme

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Shapely is a great theme with 60.000 active installs. Shapely offers you a demo content which you can fully customize at the WordPress customizer settings. The front page stays from sections which you can change one by one as you want. The hero header is a full size image with CTA buttons, and has a fixed background which has a parallax effect. Then you can set your own portfolio section and you can add more sections if you want. You don’t need a page builder to use it, all settings can be done at the WordPress menu.


ashe theme

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Ashe is a free WordPress theme with 50.000 active installs and 5-star rating, you can download it from the WordPress theme directory. Ashe gives you more options to set the layout what you prefer. This theme can be a good choice if you want to use a theme where you can easily set everything in one place without any page builders or other plugins. But Ashe has a Pro version as well which offers you more features that can be useful at your WordPress Photography website.

Which plugins do you need on your photography website?

Plugins can add awesome functionality to your site without needing to code. They have special functions which can substitute custom coding. Each plugin has their own function, but they can be more complex, for example a page builder can be used in a lot of cases instead of using plugins.

Choosing a good plugin isn’t always simple. Everyone has different needs, so sometimes it is hard to find the best plugin for your website.

What I can suggest before you choose a plugin:

  • Check the active installs
  • Check the ratings of the plugin
  • Read some reviews of different users
  • And check the change log which can show that the developers take care of the plugin.

Page Builder

If you don’t know any programming languages, WordPress is your choice with a free page builder plugin with which you can build up your website with drag & drop. Elementor is one of the best page builder plugins which has a free and pro version as well. You can easily build your pages, and you can also use widgets like a gallery from your images. But there are more powerful page builders besides Elementor: Divi, or Beaver Builder which have their own strengths.


Galleries aren’t new, but they are important in a WordPress photography website. But how do you know which gallery plugin you should choose? If you work with a page builder, you can choose from more gallery widgets. But if you don’t use a page builder, then you can search for galleries on the WordPress repository.

gallery plugins

What I can highlight is the Elementor’s gallery widget. This can be useful if you use Elementor, but all the page builders have gallery widget which you can use on your site. In the basic Elementor gallery you can insert your photos, set the image size, the column, and you can open your images in a lightbox. If you have Elementor Pro then you will be able to use another gallery widget where you can set the layout, the columns, the spacing, the overlay, and you can also add an accordion to your gallery which can be useful if you have more photos in different categories.

Slider plugin

If you have a photography website you may need a slider plugin to display your photos in an attractive way. A slider can be used in more cases: it can be a simple slideshow, a carousel, or a portfolio slider, but you can create a thumbnail gallery style or a full-page slider, too.

free caption slider

Smart Slider 3 is the best slider plugin in the WordPress repository. It is totally free, but there is a Pro version as well which has more features and effects. In Smart Slider 3 you can use layers, so you can put a text or a button on your slider, and you can also create a dynamically changing slider from your posts. With Smart Slider 3 you have an option to create a landing page, so you can display your sliders under each other where you can mix the slider types.

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Caching plugin

Caching plugins can help to decrease the loading time of your WordPress photography website. Speed can be a critical part of every website, and if you work with images, it is much more important. If your site loads slowly you can lose your visitors, so you should take care of the performance.

WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins. It makes your website load fast,it is simple, user friendly, and compatible with the most themes and plugins. It is a premium WordPress caching plugin with three payment plans offered. The plugin offers a simple user interface, and makes your site really fast. You should set it properly, but they have a lot of documentation which can help you where to start.

SEO plugin

SEO is an important factor in a website, if you want the search engines and people to find your website. Don’t be afraid to use an SEO plugin which helps you to use a keyword correctly, and gives you advice on what you should change.

yoast seo

Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin which you can use for free. It lets you easily add SEO titles to your post and pages, you can define a keyword, and also you can write a meta description which will appear below your title in Google. Yoast SEO automatically generates a sitemap which helps search engines to find your WordPress photography website.

Contact form

If you have a website, it is important to add the opportunity for the visitors to contact you. You can add your email address, but if you want to make it more professional, then you can use a contact form plugin. Contact forms has a lot of extra features which you can use, and they are reliable, so you will get the email.

I can highlight Contact form 7 from the contact form plugins because it is a really great and easy to use plugin with 5 Million active installs. Even a beginner can customize their own form, you don’t need any coding skills.

How to display photos on your website?

You can encounter several ways to display images on Photography websites. Image grids, fullscreen images, sliders, gallery templates. They can cheer up your website, and can show your images in different views. But how can you display them? It depends on 2 things: how much images you have and which mode you prefer.

In the past few years there have been some popular trends of how you can display your images. Let’s see them!


photo slider

With a slider you can display your images and this is a popular way to showcase your work. But it is also important to always give control to your visitor. If you have an autoplaying slider, make sure that your visitors can stop it and check your images more carefully. A slider can be full width or full page, but you can use a boxed layout which will be as big as the container where the slider is. You can feature images and use it as a header, too.

Photo grid

photo grid

Photo grid is the most used type of displaying your photos. You can display predefined number of photos, and can add a “more button” to your other photos, or if your design lets you, you can set an infinite scroll for your images. But it is useful to set a category, and the visitors can choose which category they want to see.

Fullscreen images

fullscreen image

With a fullscreen image you can show your photo in a good quality, and call the visitors’ and potential customers’ attention. You can use a full screen photo at your homepage, where you can put CTAs which you can navigate to useful parts of your WordPress photography blog.


If you have a lot of images, the best way is if you try to save space on your website. Carousels can show more slides next to one another at the same time. It can be useful to show your portfolio in a small place.

Thumbnail gallery

thumbnail gallery
A thumbnail gallery can show a small preview of your photos, so you can check their preview, and if you want to show it in a bigger size, then you can just click on it.


masonry layout
Nowadays you can encounter the popular masonry style on a lot of websites. This card design is similar to the photo grid, it lets you display a large number of photos that users can see. In some designs you can add a short title, brief description and a CTA below your image, which helps to navigate the visitor to the page of the actual image.

Useful effects what you can use on your photography page

Animations and effects can cheer up your website and you can grab your visitors’ attention with them. An animation can help to focus on something, like an image or a CTA button. On a photography page you can encounter lots of effects, let’s see the best ones.

Ken burns: The Ken burns effect is a popular zooming effect, it turns a still image into a motion picture. It looks good in a hero image or a header, it grabs the visitors attention, and makes your website live.

Parallax: You can encounter the parallax effect on more and more WordPress photography websites. The effect creates the illusion of depth when you scroll on the page. It makes a great user experience, and cheers up your website, and makes it special.

Change image on hover: A hover effect can show your visitor that something will happen if they click on the image. This can be an actual CTA, but it can be just a simple information which appears to hover like a description of the image.

Before & After: Before & after effect is useful if you want to visualise that something changed before and after a given state.

Open image in lightbox: On most of the websites you can encounter photo galleries where you can enlarge the images in a lightbox. Lightboxes can help to focus on one image, and you can check the images in a bigger size.

Tips & tricks for creating a photography website

If you are thinking of creating a new website for your photos, check out these few tips & tricks, which can be useful for you, and which can make your website more powerful.

1. Always fill the image alt tags

Image alt tags help the search engines to index your images. It is important, because if you fill the alt tag correctly, the visitors can find your website easier.

2. Use readable image filenames

You should take care of the filename of the photo because of SEO reasons as the alt tags. A relevant name is much better than a generic one. For example, if you add an image which shows a golden retriever, don’t use the generic name like DSC1234.jpg because the search engines can’t find it. Instead of that, you can add a name like Golden_Retriever.jpg, and with that you can increase the chance that visitors will find your images.

3. How to put watermark on your images?

If you want to display your images, maybe you want to protect them. The best is if you watermark them. That can be done one by one with your photo editor, but you can use a plugin for that.

4. Provide options to purchase your photos

If you want to sell your images, and you have a WordPress website, you can use an ecommerce plugin like Woocommerce where you can easily set up the prices and the payment.

5. Resize your images before uploading

If you upload your original photo, you give access to your photo for the whole web. In addition, they are too big, and can slow down your website’s loading speed. Resize your images, and then upload them into your WordPress media library.

6. Don’t ignore the updates

Always take care of the updates at a plugin or at your theme, because they are important for security reasons, and the update can have bug fixes, too.

Final Thoughts

Creating a website isn’t simple, but a good choice CMS like WordPress, and great plugins and themes can make the whole building process easier. You can make your own work much simpler if you plan, what you would like to achieve. Check out a few WordPress Photography pages, collect ideas, watch tutorial videos, and then you will see it isn’t as hard as you thought for the first time.

Bernadett Toth

About Author

I’m Bernadett Toth and I’m a member of Nextend‘s support team. I have two dogs, in my free time I teaching them. Besides that I often ride a bike, watching movies or reading.