Creating photography websites is easy for the designer and the end user if you build it using WordPress. With a photographer or an artist who is constantly creating new work, it is very important that they be able to add their new pieces and update their photography website themselves. Too often they have someone build a static website for them and are left with a site that they cannot update themselves. Even if they got the site for free this is no bargain when they have to pay a web designer $50 to $100.00 a pop to go in and add new work. Now, there is technology such as WordPress that allows an end user to go in and add photos and write content as easily as adding a post to Facebook or writing an e-mail.
WordPress is open source, so that means it is a free and the code is available to developers and designers to extend its functionality with plugins and themes. You can certainly have a custom theme developed but that is really not necessary. There are may wonderful themes available to use as a starting place and then you can customize the theme with your own logo and colors and other things that make it your own. Some themes are completely free, and others are “premium” and are available at a minimal cost which pays for the themes support and the extra care and added features that are above and beyond what is usually available with a “free” theme. I strongly suggest choosing a premium theme if you want to make sure that you will have a theme that has a track record and support when and if you need it.
I recently discovered Photocrati, a premium theme to use to create photography websites, when I was building a site up for a client who is a true Renaissance man. He is an partner in an Atlanta law firm, a trained chef and much to my surprise, a talented photographer. The Photocrati theme was ideal in that it is lovely and simple and would show the client’s photos well. The cost of the Photocrati theme and support is 79.00, but it is worth every penny. It is like getting fifteen themes in one in that it includes 15 theme layouts, plus you have the ability to change the colors and backgrounds through a theme options admin area without knowing code or having to go change the theme files. It also comes with several nice features for photographers; the option to disable the “right click save” option so people cannot easily copy your images to their computers, nice typography, a beautiful gallery and e-commerce.
Although the most recent version of Photocrati comes with an e-commerce option, if you sell a print through it you would have to fulfill the orders yourself, which my client would not be likely to want to take on. There are several nice services that can make prints of the pieces of various sizes, on a variety of papers and offer them plain, matted or framed. I have not experienced the end product yet but upon evaluation decided on trying Fotomoto. They seemed to have a user friendly site, advertised it as working with WordPress sites and had good on-line recommendations.
However, after setting the site up in Photocrati, we had trouble getting Fotomoto to work with it. The forums were filled with other people having the same issue that at first glance seemed to be related to the fact that Fotomoto works using a j-query script as did Photocrati and they were thought to be conflicting with each other. We were dismayed. What was suppose to be presto-bingo, was turning out to be a big pain.
I knew my client needed the fulfillment services of Fotomoto more than he needed the Photocrati theme so I set out trying to get it to work on 2010 the WordPress default theme which did not have any j-query scripts. Still no dice. This time, I knew that something was not right. There was no reason it shouldn’t work. We went back into the FotoMoto settings and went about making sure we had covered all the bases.
It appears the instructions were not specific enough and we had not filled in every thing. We went to “Site”, “Settings”. We had filled out the primary site address but had left the alternate site address and the alternate images address blank. Once we filled those out with our primary site and the url of the root directory and the additional address, it worked. The buy button appeared under the photo on the home page and also on the photos in the galleries. We were ecstatic as only someone who has worked on sites knows how ecstatic you can get when you get “unstuck” and the thing you have been trying to get to work finally does. Yay!
We still have a little bit of an issue and that is once you go through a gallery, the buy button appears on each image but if you try to go back and see them again, it is not there. We worked around this problem by adding a link to the bottom of the page saying that if the buy button is not there to refresh your page.