Themes That Make the Most of Pictures

Some sites are all about pictures and little else. For example, you might create a
photoblog to showcase your nature photography. You could use the techniques
you learned above to add galleries and slideshows, but the results won’t be ideal.
Standard WordPress themes split up your pictures, making it impossible for visitors
to browse your portfolio from beginning to end. And, worse, ordinary WordPress
themes deemphasize pictures, hiding them deep in your site, behind a wall of posts.
The solution is to find a picture-centric theme, one that puts the focus on your
pictures, without letting text, menus, and needless clicking get in the way. Happily,
you can build specialized, picture-heavy sites like this in WordPress. All you need is
a photoblog or portfolio theme.
There are several good options in the WordPress.com theme gallery, and many
more in the much larger theme collection for self-hosted sites. Either way, you can
dig up good candidates by searching for words like “photo,” “photoblog,” “picture,”
and “portfolio.”

Comparing Photoblogs and Portfolios

Photoblogs and portfolios both feature pictures. What’s the
difference?
There’s a considerable overlap between photoblogs and
portfolio sites, and it’s worth checking out both options if you
want to build a site that emphasizes images. That said, there’s
a subtle distinction between these two theme types.
Usually, photoblogs show off your photography skills and the
snapshots you took. Like ordinary blogs, photoblogs arrange
posts in a chronological sequence to tell a story. For example,
your photoblog might show the pictures from your recent trip,
the sights you saw on a morning stroll, or the food you ate at
a favorite restaurant.
By comparison, portfolio sites are subject-based. That subject
could be portraits, architecture, fashion, or something entirely
different. Often, portfolio sites are intended to showcase something,
like the works you’ve created or the products you sell.
Dates are optional and sometimes unimportant.

Every photoblog and portfolio theme works a bit differently, but most share some
key features. First, the home page likely displays the pictures in your posts rather
than the posts themselves.

The Foto theme requires that you set a featured image for each of your posts (page
190). If you don’t, that post’s home-page tile will be blank. Many photoblog and
portfolio themes work this way, so if you don’t see the pictures you expect after
you switch themes, you most likely haven’t specified featured images for your posts.

,feOther themes aren’t as picky, and grab the first picture in a post, no matter what it is.
One example is the self-hosted theme PinBlack. Like Foto, PinBlack creates a home
page of tiled pictures. Unlike Foto, PinBlack uses any post picture it can get. If you
try out PinBlack, you’ll notice other, more subtle differences as well. For example,
its home page feels a bit more serious and businesslike, with a sleek gray-and-black
color scheme with lime accents. (PinBlack is the starting point for the custom theme
that powers the furniture store example developed in Chapter 14.)

Often, photoblog and portfolio themes assume that, for each of your posts, you’ll
include just a single picture. They give special attention to this picture (which may
be the featured image or just the first image in the post) by making it larger than
normal and placing it at the top of the post.

Photoblog and portfolio themes often include Back and Forward buttons that let
readers move from one post to another, without making an interim stop at the
home page and selecting from the full list of posts. This way, readers can browse
your pictures and posts just as though they were scanning an image gallery, even
if the pics appear in separate posts. Figure 10-14 shows how the back and forward
buttons work with the Foto theme.

NOTE When a picture appears in a lightbox, it floats over the web page, with the content behind it dimmed.
This is the same effect you get when you view one of the pictures in a photo carousel, as described earlier. To
douse the lightbox, click the X in the top-right corner of the picture box.

NOTE At first glance, Twenty Fourteen can be mistaken for a photoblog, especially if you use the grid of
pictures on the home page. However, there are clear differences. Once you scroll past the picture grid or slider,
you find an ordinary list of posts, just as you do on all the standard year themes. And Twenty Fourteen doesn’t
provide arrows to let you step from post to post, which are a hallmark of many photoblogs.

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Themes That Make the Most of Pictures

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