Title pretty much sums it up. I’m happy to be posting this on the newly updated and refreshed elvisrowephotography.com. I’ve made some drastic changes.
I decided to update the site because it was too complex and I wanted something more minimal. The 2-column layout is tried and true, but I felt it was too much. The amount of information in the right column distracted from the photography. The main focus of this site should be the photography, not a calendar showing which days I’ve posted, or an extensive list of archived pages and previous posts. So I started searching for a new WordPress theme.
I did a Google search for “WordPress photoblog theme” and got a huge list of photoblog specific themes for WordPress, but many of the articles were out of date. I searched WordPress.org’s theme repository for “photography” and got much better results. I also refined my Google search by adding “2013” which improved things a bit. After going through several articles and lists I narrowed my choices down to Meeta by WPZoom, Picturesque by Theme Hybrid, Minimatica by One Designs, and Origami by Site Origin.
I pulled down all my blog data and set it up on a thumb drive running Uniform Server, which is a portable WAMP server. Next I installed the four themes listed above and started playing. Each theme had its strength and weaknesses, and ultimately I felt that Origami was the most visually appealing. Unfortunately for me the free version is limited and doesn’t have access to many of the items I’ve used over the past year. I would not be daunted. Looking at the layout I wondered if I could duplicate the look and feel of the Origami theme with my current theme, Suffusion.
Suffusion bills itself as “the best, most versatile and totally free WordPress theme”, and the themes author, Sayontan Sinha, isn’t joking. I started to make modifications to my underlying Suffusion theme to make it match Origami. First was the one-column layout, then the body and background. Next I turned my attention to the top menu, which took the longest to customize. Then I modified my “Follow” icons in the upper right. Finally I added some final tweaks to the social media buttons at the bottom of each post.
Satisfied with the overall look and feel I wanted to change the displayed image. I really love the mouse over effect which allows you to view the image before I process it using Lightroom and Photoshop. One thing I was growing tired of was copying and pasting the EXIF data that is displayed as a caption under each picture. I researched WordPress EXIF plugins and settled on Display Exif. When I make my next post, tomorrow, I will no longer be adding the EXIF data as a caption to the image. Instead when you mouse over a photo you’ll see both the pre-processing image AND the EXIF data displayed at the top. This will help to further reduce clutter. I also plan to start posting a photo’s story before the photo instead of after.
The last thing I need to do is go back and fix all my Tags and Categories. The way I’ve been using Tags and Categories is completely wrong. Now I have the daunting task of going back through all my old posts and updating the Tags and Categories. Might as well change the format of all my posts to match the format I’m starting tomorrow.
And there we have it, all updated and ready to go for tomorrow. I must say I’m really digging the new look and feel of the site. I’m looking forward to posting more and more pictures as I move forward. Of course would love to hear your comments on the new layout. Feel free to leave your opinion below!
Curious if any problems with Display Exif? I see it has not been updated in 2 years.
I haven’t had a single issue with it since I implemented it. I would suggest also using Plugin Organizer so you can disable the plugin on specific pages. For example, I had to disable the Display EXIF plugin on my Archives page because Display EXIF was adding the EXIF data to the thumbnails as well.