These days, marketing for a photographers stretches out past the traditional methods of mailers, postcards, portfolio books, and even word of mouth. A website these days is essential for just about any business model, and photographers are no exception.
Moreover, blogging and social networking of one's work is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing and exposure of countless photographers.
For photographers, blog-portfolio hybrid websites are a killer way to connect with clients, dominate search results, and connect with new audiences. With Graph Paper Press and WordPress, achieving a great looking website has never been easier.
For the precocious readers out there who want to cut to the case, sign up for Graph Paper Press for 25% off – on me – with this code: 4E7AAA3F34
Powered By WordPress
First, a word about WordPress. You may have heard of it, but you've definitely seen it. WordPress is a publishing platform that powers millions of websites worldwide, including CNN, eBay, and many more.
While it started out as a content management system primarily for bloggers, WordPress has grown to serve up the content of everything from online magazines to artist portfolios, thanks to its ease of use and flexibility.
One of the beautiful aspects of the WordPress platform is that it's easy to create templates. These design templates, or “themes,” are readymade designs that help format and showcase your content, whether its written article, an embedded YouTube video, or a photo essay hosted by PhotoShelter or Flickr.
Perfected By Graph Paper Press
Graph Paper Press is a design company founded by Thad Allender in 2007, and they've been making bang up WordPress themes from the start. While WordPress sets the stage, the real star here is Graph Paper Press and their nearly two-dozen fully customizable themes.
WordPress Themes For Photographers
What sets GPP themes apart from the competition is their focus on the needs of photographers and visual artists. With integrated slideshows, gallery options, and designs tailored to showcase images, these themes are the perfect fit for photographers and make using the WordPress platform a breeze to use.
All of GPP's themes offer easy theme options that let users upload custom logos, change color options, layout, and more without touching a line of code.
GPP Themes For Photographers
Graph Paper Press features tons of great themes for photographers and designers in their library. Just like any WordPress theme, the GPP themes are fully customizable if you know a little HTML and CSS – but if you don't, the themes feature built-in options for customizing the look of your site without knowing a line of code.
While Graph Paper Press features tons of themes, the below are some of my favorites.
Sidewinder is a new portfolio theme that features a slick horizontal slider. For anyone familiar with the Flash-based image app Autoviewer, the image slider in Sidewinder is very similar, but has the benefit of being a jQuery app, so no Flash is required. This is good for SEO and iPhones alike.
One of the things I love about Sidewinder is that it's a full-width design, so the slideshows fill the screen beautifully. Whether you're shooting panoramic landscapes, concert photography, or weddings, the images simply look great.
In addition, Sidewinder is built on GPP's new Base theme framework, which gives users access to an extremely flexible platform using GPP's custom shortcodes, gallery plugins, custom fonts, and layout options.
One very cool feature to Sidewinder and the other Base themes is the ability to use any font in the Google font directory for a more customized look.
Example – Samantha-Murphy.com
The Widescreen theme offers a bold, full-screen slideshow for high impact. Beyond the homepage, Widescreen offers a vertical menu system with cascading fly-out submenus, easy integration of a blog and portfolio galleries, and more.
What I love about Widescreen is that you have an extremely high-impact presentation from the moment a visitor hits your homepage. Users can customize the homepage in a variety of ways, but the most compelling option is for a slideshow of full-screen images that can act as a mini-portfolio.
In addition, Widescreen offers a full blogging platform, gallery integration, and more.
Example – GavinGough.com
On Assignment is a theme that creates a hybrid website that blends a traditional portfolio with the ability so showcase the depth of one's work through assignment case studies and blog features.
What I love about On Assignment is the richness of information you can present, whether it's fresh assignments and new work, or utilizing the extensive footer and sidebar to build in additional features.
Example – Cohabitaire.com
The F8 is a beautiful grid-based theme that takes cues from Swiss design and offers photographers an extremely customizable base for creating a photography blog and portfolio.
Similarly to On Assignment, F8 features a rich homepage that gives users the ability to feature different categories of work, whether these are presented as case studies or less informal blog posts.
Example – OitavoEstudio.com.br
If you're a regular reader to ishootshows.com, then you're already familiar with Modularity, because it's the Graph Paper Press theme that powers this site.
I love modularity for its clean design and supreme flexibility. Just like F8, there are tons of options to customize the homepage, whether you want to emphasize individual blog posts or direct people to specific pages.
Beyond the homepage, Modularity offers a framework that is perfect for presenting photography. One feature that I especially like is the category columns at the bottom of the homepage, which does a fantastic job pulling up older and related content that engages viewers beyond the first blush.
Example – JesseSpeer.com
Benefits of Graph Paper Press
Aside from the badass themes they design, there are a lot of reasons I went with Graph Paper Press to power my photography site over the hoards of other free and premium WordPress themes.
Graph Paper Press has partnered with PhotoShelter, the premier professional photo service for professional photographers to seamlessly integrate your blog and portfolio site with PhotoShelter's robust photo archiving, licensing, and print sale services.
Since I use PhotoShelter, using GPP was a no-brainer. I love that clients can switch between my blog site and my archive without interruption, seamlessly. GPP and PhotoShelter's tight integration make this possible.
Currently, PhotoShelter supports automated integration with the following themes:
However, you can customize your PS archive to match the design of just about any website, including those of GPP's complete library of themes.
Dedicated Forum Support
A huge advantage to Graph Paper Press is their team of web experts dedicated to answering CSS questions, troubleshooting, and generally getting your site up and running smoothly.
Quarterly and Annual subscriptions include free forum support, which makes customizing your site a breeze.
One Price, Unlimited Options
Like more than one of the themes offered by Graph Paper Press and aren't quite sure which one is right for you? You're in luck. With Graph Paper Press, there's a single fee for all the themes. For one price, you get access to all of Graph Paper Press's themes. Download one or download them all – the cost is the same.
Graph Paper Press offers different subscription levels based on user needs. The most popular options for photographers are the Quarterly and Annual subscriptions. As their names imply, these levels give you access to the newest updates and support for 3-month and 12-month periods, respectively.
GPP update their themes multiple times throughout the year (and several times a month for some themes), so the subscription term that's right for you depends on how much support you want and whether having the latest updates is important.
Even at the annual subscription fee of $99, using themes developed by Graph Paper Press comes in at a mere fraction of the price of a custom site with so much customization that you can make your site your own.
If you choose not to renew your subscription, the themes are yours to use and keep for as long as you want.
Still not convinced? Looking for inspiration? Take a look at Graph Paper Press's extensive showcase of photographers, designers, and illustrators using their themes:
Better Living Through Design
In summary, the reason I love Graph Paper Press and their themes is because they make themes that make it effortless to showcase photography and visual art. Whether you're a live music photographer, an illustrator, or a graphic designer, GPP's minimal, well-built themes are uniquely suited to let your work speak for itself. Not only that, but GPP's themes allow users to seamlessly layer in the richness of a blog with the definitive encapsulation of a dedicated portfolio.
If you're looking for a smarter website to showcase your work, Graph Paper Press has got you covered.
With nearly two-dozen themes to choose from, frequent updates, custom plugins, built-in SEO optimization, and myriad other features, you'll love Graph Paper Press. I certainly do.
But wait, there's more.
25% Off Annual Subscriptions On Me
Who wants to pay full price? We all love discounts, so I want to hook you up. Use this code when you sign up for Graph Paper Press and get 25% off annual subscriptions:
- Copy the coupon code “4E7AAA3F34” to your clipboard.
- Click on this link to go through to the Graph Paper Press site.
- Click on the “Pricing” page.
- Choose the Annual Subscription
- Fill out your contact info, etc.
- Enter the coupon at the bottom of the page (just paste that sucka!) – see step 1.
- Sit back and crack open a beer – or a soda pop – you just saved 25%.
Simply clicking through either B&H or Amazon.com here for your purchases helps me bring you free content like these 6-tips for the new concert photographer, and naturally it doesn't cost you a cent more. If you do grab some gear, drop me a line! I’d love to hear about what you picked up.