Building a Svelte WordPress Photography Portfolio

Because I already have a “primary” portfolio site for my past Web design, multimedia, print design, and writing (journalism) projects that I created fairly recently, I decided to use this opportunity to put together a portfolio site that focused on my photography–which I’ve always been passionate about, but only as a hobby. I’ve amassed a substantial collection of aviation and sky photos that I’d like to showcase in a supplementary capacity to my main portfolio site.

I therefore set out to look for a free WordPress theme, but limited my search to themes catering to portfolio/photography sites. Specifically, my most important criteria was that the index page was immediately visually captivating and highlighted the photos themselves in a way that would compel users to click through more photos and spend more time on the site. The theme also needed to have a unique, free-flowing layout, and distinguish itself from the “typical” look of a WordPress site with fixed columns and lots of empty space. Lastly, it needed to be easily navigable and high on usability, especially when users navigated to the individual photo pages (posts).

Here are the three themes I chose as candidates:

Fullscreen (demo | info)

“Fullscreen” is a stylish one-column WordPress theme catering specifically to photographers and multimedia content creators. It has a side-scrolling homepage and, as stated in its name, has a clean responsive layout that fills the entire browser window. One of its neat design details is that it “highlights” images upon placing your cursor over them. I’ve used another theme by Graph Paper Press in the past, so I also have a sense of familiarity with the company.

Shaken Grid (Lite) (demo | info)

“Shaken Grid” touts its freely resizable panes (note how the boxes in each column each have different heights) as its biggest asset. Though the theme can support a wide variety of content, I feel it’s particularly advantageous for photographers who like publishing photos of differing aspect ratios. Though the “Lite” version of this theme lacks support and has somewhat limited functionality, I’m drawn to its simplicity, its infinite scrolling feature, and how well the layout holds up even with content of all different sizes.

Photoria (demo | info)

Photoria is a clean, no-frills photography theme with perhaps the most orthodox layout of the three. It has a fully-functioning built-in jQuery slider, though, and I’m drawn to the fact that customizing colors, typefaces, and other design features doesn’t seem too difficult given its simplicity. It doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to itself and is apparently a popular choice among photographers and photobloggers.


About Iku Kawachi

Iku is a first-year student in the MCDM program at the University of Washington from Kyoto, Japan, and an avid Web designer, baseball blogger, and aviation photographer. He graduated from the University of Miami with a B.S. in Communication. His interests also include the Los Angeles Lakers, weight training, eating chicken, and binge-watching hour-long dramas on Netflix.

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