Building an online portfolio has never been easier. With the tools available it has now become something anyone can do.
In the past, in order to create something that looked great and allowed you to display artwork in a stylish manner, you had to hire a developer. Hiring someone to build you a custom website can be very expensive and may not be an option available to everyone.
Fortunately for those artists on a budget, WordPress has grown over the last ten years. It is no longer something that is used to simply build blogs for writers to showcase their work. With a few plugins or a specifically designed theme, WordPress can easily be transformed into a stunning online portfolio for any visual artist.
Media management has become a large component of the newer versions of WordPress. Developers and designers are taking advantage of these advancements to create some spectacular themes and plugins that artists can make use of.
Let’s take a look at a few of those creations that you can use to build your own beautiful portfolio website.
We have already curated a whole section of themes that showcase portfolio style websites for you to browse through. We’ve managed to find a huge number of them, so let’s take a look at a few of my favorite themes from those we’ve already found.
Photocrati has been created specifically for photographers to showcase their work.
Rather than being a simple theme, Photocrati is a framework that allows you to make use of 60 built-in styles in order to create a site that looks exactly how you want it to. The framework not only includes powerful gallery management it also has an eCommerce system built in so that you can sell your work directly from your site.
With access to a community of over 17,000 photographers this premium theme is a bargain at $89.
Total WordPress Theme
With tons of demos to choose from and built-in options you can’t go wrong with the Total WordPress theme. It’s a multi-purpose theme with built-in support for drag&drop page creation, WooCommerce integration for creating a shop, support for the popular Events Calendar plugin to display events and tons of useful Customization settings to make the theme look best for your needs.
Illustrate is a great premium portfolio theme created by the team here at WPExplorer with design help from Blaz at Blazrobar.com.
The theme is clean, simple and built with the intention of allowing you to easily share your work online. The theme allows you to create unlimited categories and tags to organize your portfolio. It comes with a unique portfolio color overlay and image color palette feature to add a little more style and information to your portfolio pieces.
If you already have a WordPress website with a theme you like then changing it may not be your best option. Instead of redesigning the whole site around a new theme, you should make use of one of the many portfolio plugins out there.
With these plugins you can transform a section of your site into a fantastic portfolio that integrates easily with your current site design. Let’s take a look at a selection of plugins that are available for you to use.
Awesome Filterable Portfolio
Not only does this plugin have a great name, it delivers exactly what it says. This plugin allows you to create a clean and powerful portfolio on your website.
Awesome Filterable Portfolio lets you create multiple categories for your portfolio items and then filter the portfolio page using these categories. The filtering process happens with a very smooth and professional animation and has a great image hover effect that really makes each item stand out.
This is a fantastic plugin that will be exactly what the vast majority of artists are looking for. It is free and available from the WordPress plugin repository.
Media Grid is a premium plugin that allows you to create unlimited portfolio grids. These grids automatically change each item’s display size in order to fit into any grid size you set. This means that as you add more items to each grid the display changes to accommodate them.
The plugin comes with a visual grid builder to allow you to customize the look of each grid manually. Each grid can then be added to pages using the short code wizard built into the plugin. There are multiple customization options for each grid, including adding items into categories for filtering and adding multiple overlay colors for grid items allowing you to make the grid display exactly as you want it to.
ZoomFolio is a very elegant portfolio plugin. As with the others it allows you to categorize each item and then filter those items on the page. What separates ZoomFolio is the manner in which it allows you to customize the page design.
With your created portfolio page there is a Quick Config menu that allows you to change the background, text links color, and hover color on the fly. This config menu also allows you to change the grid style and default item width live on the page.
Each item in the portfolio is shown in a lightbox when clicked and can then be further expanded into a full screen image. This is a great way to show higher resolution versions of you work. The plugin also has social sharing built into each portfolio item.
The OnePage Portfolio plugin is a very simple plugin for creating portfolio pages. The plugin enables you to add all of your portfolio pieces into a single category and then filter the items on the page with the use of tags.
The plugin displays your portfolio items in a Pinterest like style that is very clean. Each portfolio item can display a description when clicked on. Items are added to the group by creating a new post and assigning it to the portfolio category you have chosen.
It is a very simple, minimalistic plugin that will appeal to those who don’t want to make their pages look too complicated. It is free to download from the WordPress Repository.
Do You Have an Online Portfolio?
As you can see there are a vast number of options out there to help you build a stunning portfolio. I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available for you to use to create your own portfolio website.
Developers and designers are adding excellent new themes and plugins to the market every day with photographers and other visual artists in mind. If the ones I’ve talked about here don’t suit your needs I can guarantee there will be a theme or plugin out there for you.
Do you have any suggestions for themes or plugins to create stunning portfolios? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.