The Art of Composition: Choosing a Layout for Your Online Portfolio
“All beautiful layouts are alike; each unique layout is useful in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy may have never said that, but it’s true. While you can be sure that the Wix Pro Gallery will present your photos in the most stunning way possible, some of the layouts will compliment your work better than others. Why? It’s not that one layout is better than another; simply because different photography styles, genres and portfolio designs require a different approach.
This is a crucial step in creating your photography website: choosing the wrong layout may ruin the impression you make on your website’s visitors (and potential clients, too). That’s where a nature photographer might make a completely different choice than his friend the interior photographer. So before you press the shutter button -o, we mean: the publish button -, make sure you’re making the right choice for your type of photography.
Don’t know which layout works better for you? These expert tips will come in handy:
A propos Wix Pro Gallery
If you’ve already created a photography website with Wix, you’ve probably got to play around with the Wix Pro Gallery. And if you haven’t – now is the time! Designed to cover all photographers’ needs, the Wix Pro Gallery gives you full control over your images. Starting with advanced image quality and sharpness settings, and ending with shareability preferences and right-click protection – you decide how your photos are displayed online, and who can share or download them. Whichever settings you choose, you can be sure they’ll look great on any device, desktop or mobile. With amazing multimedia options – like combining video on autoplay and adding beautiful text boxes, your photos will be sure to draw the attention they deserve.
To add the Wix Pro Gallery, simply go the editor and click Add > Pro Gallery. Even faster: you can click here to add the Pro Gallery to your site.
Added? Great. Now you’re ready to go to Settings > Layout, choose one of the nine impressive layouts and customize it according to your specific needs.
Mix & Match: Grid-based layouts
Inspired by Pinterest and Instagram, grid-based layouts are great for showcasing a large-to-endless amount of photos. Use it if you want to show your visitors a vast collection of your works, both in portrait and landscape format. As they keep scrolling, users will enjoy the compilation, rather than focusing on a single image. This layout is great for showcasing your entire portfolio. Photographers specializing in weddings, events and the like will benefit from these galleries the most.
There are 3 layouts in this category: Collage, Masonry and Grid. While Collage is more on the “wild” side with a compilation of images of different sizes, Masonry and Grid are visually ‘cleaner’. Grid is the most organized of the three – feel free to use it for any type of photography portfolio, but for example an architectural or interior photographer might prefer it over others. Another difference is that with the Grid option you can crop your images or fit to original size, while Collage and Masonry will present them fully.
You can set the scroll direction to be vertical or horizontal – it’s up to you, but keep in mind that being true mobile addicts, most Internet users are used to scroll down rather than side to side.
Bonus: Add Text and Video
To spice things up a little, Wix Pro Gallery enables you to put videos and text boxes along with your stills. Although available on all layouts, this feature works best with the grid-based ones. To add these go to the Media Manager, click “Add Media” and instead of uploading an image, choose Text or Video. A nice way to use text boxes is by adding inspirational quotes or linking them to other pages or galleries – both on your website and outside of it.
If you have videos that you’re proud of, throw them inside the gallery to create a “wow” effect. You can set a video to autoplay by default or with a hover effect – be sure that both ways will make your gallery stand out. By the way, did you know you can add videos just by posting a link to Youtube, Vimeo or even Facebook? If not, you have to check out Wix Video – the best tool to showcase your videos online.
Other settings worth playing with are: thumbnail size, spacing (between images), and the “Load more” button. There are no strict rules here – try out the different options and decide what looks best in your opinion.
To sum it up, grid-based layouts:
Look good for a large amount of photos, for example – a portfolio as a whole.
Work for both landscape and portrait formats.
Show a combination of images, ideal to create an overall visual atmosphere on your site.
Perfectly incorporates both text and videos to spice things up.
One image to rule them all: Slider-based layouts
There are 3 layouts that operate as sliders: Thumbnails, Slider & Slideshow. All three put a strong emphasis on a single image that is replaced automatically after a few seconds, or following a mouse click. One thing you should keep in mind: it’s best to use the least amount of photos possible here – otherwise, your users will find it hard to navigate and scroll. Choose these layouts to showcase selected images from a single project you worked on, rather than for a portfolio as a whole. They work best with Nature, Landscape, Art, and any other type of stand-alone images that tell a story on their own. Landscape images would be the primary choice for the panoramic format.
Now let’s see what are the differences between the three layouts:
Thumbnails gives you the option to preview other photos in a small thumbnail below the central image – your users get a better understanding of how many photos there are in total.
Slider displays images in a “taste for more” format, where each photo appears next to a fragment of the next and the previous ones.
Slideshow presents a single image at a time, without any previews or indication of other images. If you add a textual description, it will appear below the image.
To sum it up, slider-based layouts:
Look good for a small amount of photos, for example – a single project.
Work best in landscape format.
Puts the focus on the images of your choice.
Tease your visitors with progressive unveiling.
Tell your story: Sliced layouts
This last category houses two layouts, namely Panorama and Column. A longtime favorite for wedding photographers, the Panorama layout shows large images one after the other in full-width format. Many choose it to tell a love story, or any type of story actually, assuming the users are patient enough to keep scrolling till the end.
Unlike the Panorama layout, the Column shows your photos in narrow vertical fragments, making it suitable for vertical images only. Choose it to display photos from a creative project or even better – for video.
Panorama has an option to add a “Load more” button, and both layouts have Spacing setup – it’s up to you to decide what would look best for your website visitors.
To sum it up, the sliced layouts:
Tell your story, through pictures smoothly succeeding one another.
Panorama is ready to house a large amount of photos, preferably in landscape format.
Column works best with not as many photos, and will look at its best with portrait images.
Surprise yourself: The magic layout
Not sure which layout will suit you? Let the Wix Pro Gallery do its magic and choose a layout for you! The magic wand will display your photos in a randomly created layout, picked out of thousands of possibilities. This way, you can be sure your layout is really unique. All that’s left for you is to get inspired and choose the one that presents your images in the best way possible.
By Julia Ronen
Creative Content Developer for Wix Expert Communities