I built my first photography website back in 2008 based on Realmac’s Software, Rapidweaver. In 2012 I switched to WordPress and since 2014, the website has been based on a theme from Cr3ativ. Apart from their beautiful and clean designs, all Cr3ativ themes follow the principle that content and functionality should be separated from the look-and-feel of the theme, enabling a straightforward migration path from one theme to another. I had been quite pleased with the functionality and look of my previous website and certainly two years is not such a long time in terms of the need to change the look-and-feel of it.
Then why did I switch theme? My main intention with my presence on the web has always been to display my images in an environment which is as least distracting as possible form the main content of the site, which of course are the photographs themselves. A couple of months ago the Cr3ativ guys came up with a new theme (called Gutenberg2) that looked to me like the perfect vehicle to carry my landscape images. A website build with Gutenberg2 is simple to navigate as there are only a few choices of buttons and links to click on each and every page. Taking this idea to the extreme, the homepage is made up of a single image and the menu. That’s all. No footer, no additional explanatory texts, no buttons. The theme invites the visitor to explore the inner pages instead of presenting all that the website has to offer in the homepage. It’s like saying to the visitor: “This website is clearly about photography; now, head to the internal pages to find more about it”. An interesting idea that I very much wanted to explore.
So, here we are with the new website. It took me a couple of weeks, part-time work, to tranfer all my content to the new template including the switch to a new for me, gallery plugin. Very pleased with the minimal amount of work it needed and more than pleased with the new look!
For anyone interested, here are the main building blocks of my new website:
- First and foremost, the Gutenberg2 theme by the Cr3ativ team. My experience with Cr3ativ has been very positive so far. Clean code, beautiful themes and great support. Something important for me was how they stand behind their themes a long time after they are released. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Cr3ativ, however, I believe that good work should be recognized!
- The great “Media Library Assistant” (MLA) plugin which together with “Image Metadata Cruncher” do all the heavy lifting of ingesting all the Adobe Lightroom keywords associated with each image (a subject for a future post) and automatically filling all the Title, alt, Caption, etc. fields with the relevant terms. Unfortunately, Image Metadata Cruncher has recently been found to be associated with a major security vulnerability and has not been updated for a long time, therefore its use is not recommended at this point.
- The very popular gallery plugin “Justified Image Grid“. JIG creates elegant galleries with a variety of styles and can display images with the correct aspect ratios (i.e not cropped). Works well with the MLA plugin and includes support for many popular lightboxes including Jetpack’s Carousel.
What next? I’m currently working on resolving some niggling issues with the speed of loading (size of the images or perhaps speed of my host). I also need to find an alternative for Image Metadata Cruncher. Perhaps this might be a suitable solution?
Oh, I almost forgot: there are several new(ish) images across the galleries.
Leave a comment in the Comment box below to let me know what you think about this transition.