WordPress and photos 4: WordPress photoblog themes

I have been thinking about whether I should separate my photography from the rest of my blog content or not. I thought about buying another domain name or to use a subdomain to make a distinction. Initially I wanted to make a distinction between the “professional” (academic research) and “personal” (photography) me, but then I figured the two belong together. I am planning on making two RSS feeds, one for photography and one for everything else. I am still in doubt though because at times it seems better to have a coherent blog about one topic but at the same time this is “my” blog and I am research + photography. Only time can tell… Have you had the same “problem”? How did you solve it?

Experiment safely
Before you get started to integrate Flickr into your blog I would strongly recommend creating a safe environment to experiment. I created a subdomain at photos.annehelmond.nl, created a new MySQL database and installed another copy of WordPress on the subdomain so that I could safely experiment with themes, plugins and stylesheets.

Photoblog themes
I download a few WordPress themes that have been written to turn your blog into a photoblog and tested them.

1. Nishita
This is a very nice clean and minimalistic looking theme but there were a few reasons I didn’t stick to it:

  • It is written for photos with a 720 pixel width and the standard Flickr photo width is 500 pixels. This would mean rewriting the stylesheet (fix level: easy).
  • There’s a 10 pixel wide white gap beneath every photo. This would mean debugging the stylesheet (fix level: moderate).
  • The archive files don’t work when you use Flickr’s Blog This function (fix level: difficult/impossible (?)).

Nishita photoblog themeNishita photoblog theme

2. SimpleT
A very straightforward and elegant theme but there were a few reasons I didn’t stick to it:

  • No previous/next buttons on front page, only on individual pages (fix level: easy).
  • Comments are in a popup (fix level: moderate).
  • The archive files don’t work when you use Flickr’s Blog This function (fix level: difficult/impossible (?)).

SimpleT photoblog themeSimpleT photoblog themeSimpleT photoblog theme

3. Click!
I actually made some adjustments to the stylesheet because I really liked this theme but I ran into the same issues as with the previous theme (the themes are made by the same maker)

Click! photoblog theme

I actually liked the basis of all the photothemes I downloaded and with some CSS adjustments you can really make these theme fit your photoblog except for the archives issue. This probably has more to do with the way Flickr parses the pictures to your blog than with the photothemes themselves. Going to try to figure this one out.

4. PhotoPress (added June 19, 2007)

Performancing released a Photoblog Theme for WordPress that looks very promising. It especially suitable for pictures that are 640 x 480 (landscape standard) wide. The theme looks clean and is getting good reviews so it is worth checking out.

Regular WordPress themes

Any minimalistic theme with a previous and next post link on the main page would work really well for a photoblog. I also considered these regular WordPress themes:

You don’t need a special photo theme for a photoblog and almost any theme will be fine but the main div has to be wide enough. The main thing to keep in mind is that the theme has to be able to display photos with a width of 500 pixels or your photos will be cropped. Continue reading for how to integrate your Flickr photos into your current theme.

10 thoughts on “WordPress and photos 4: WordPress photoblog themes

  1. Hey Anne,

    This post was very helpful. I’m in the process of searching for a solution for my blogs photo gallery but haven’t found one I like 100% yet. I’m using LightBox and Slickr right now, but the page that’s currently posted http://www.frederickvan.com/gallery is static. I basically want what I’ve got now, but dynamically generated from flickr based on tags. So I theoritically I could tag a photo with the words “model”, and “blog”, and any photo in my account tagged with those words would then show up on my site. Is that too much to ask? How come I can’t find what I’m looking for? :(

  2. Thanks for the summary, I use Nishita on my site and hacked the stylesheet so the 10px row below the picture disappeared.

    I haven’t narrowed the page to fit standard flickr images of 500 px. I don’t think it looks good when you do so.

    Anyway, good writeup of the options that are available.

  3. Hey Anne, I use the Yet another photo blog plugin by Johannes Jarolim and a self-hacked theme to make my wordpress blog into a photo blog. It gives me all I want from a photo blog plus the flexibility and great community of wordpress.

  4. Thanks for the tip, the plugin looks great because it will also show your photo’s EXIF data. I am thinking about starting a separate photoblog and this plugin looks very useful.

  5. There are some beautiful themes included in that list. Now I am getting more and more inspired to start my photoblog. All I need is a good URL :)

  6. In the Nishita theme for having flickr images on the archive page all you have to to is add the link to the small photo (in the All Sizes on Flickr) to the excerpt field

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