Let’s compare WordPress vs Adobe Portfolio for photographers and photography websites. I’ll offer advice based on my own experience after using both platforms for this website, BurnImage, which launched in 2018. Choosing the most appropriate platform depends on what you want to achieve. There are no right or wrong answers. But there are choices to be made. To help you make the right choice for your own website we will:
- Look at the history of this website and how it evolved.
- Understand why I’ve tried both platforms.
- Explain what I settled on and why.
- Conclude with some recommendations.
- November 2018: Domain name registered – burnimage.co.uk
- December 2018: Website launched using Adobe Portfolio
- December 2019: WordPress blog added on a subdomain alongside Adobe Portfolio.
- February 2020: Entire website moved to WordPress.
- March to December 2020: New content added and website design tweaked.
- January 2021: Major redesign of website navigational structure.
Let’s work through the timeline for this website and explain it:
November 2018: Why a Photography Website?
Why did I register a domain name and launch a photography website in the first place? I’d returned to photography in 2018 after a hiatus and wanted to create an online presence to showcase my work. You can read more about my photographic journey here if you’re interested.
BurnImage · Ray Burn Photography
Why did I choose BurnImage as the domain name for Ray Burn Photography?
- Short and memorable domain names are a good thing.
- It’s a play on my surname and photographic images.
- It also acts as a brand name for my photography.
- It was available!
December 2018: Adobe Portfolio
So, how did I proceed? I’d been using Adobe Lightroom since version 1.0 back in 2007. It used to be an outright purchase but had evolved into a monthly subscription plan called Creative Cloud Photography. After my return to photography in 2018 I decided to take up the subscription plan, providing me with the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop at all times. The plan also includes Adobe Portfolio, providing a means of creating a photography website at no extra cost. So that’s what I did. BurnImage was born using Adobe Portfolio in December 2018.
December 2019: WordPress and Adobe Portfolio
So, why did I add WordPress alongside Adobe Portfolio in December 2019? The answer is simple. I needed a blog! I’m a prolific photographer. But I’m also a keen writer. As a reportage and documentary photographer writing is an integral part of my craft. Adobe Portfolio shines as a showcase gallery for your images. But it’s not so great for a writer. It certainly doesn’t have a blogging platform. So, this blog was born using WordPress. However, my galleries were still on Adobe Portfolio. Which meant WordPress had to reside on a subdomain. It worked. But it wasn’t the most elegant or user friendly solution.
February 2020: Exclusively WordPress
So, why did I then make the decision to move BurnImage exclusively to WordPress in February 2020? There are two main reasons for that decision:
Firstly, as already mentioned, having my galleries on the root domain (burnimage) and my blog on a subdomain (blog.burnimage) wasn’t the most elegant solution.
Secondly, as a writer, I wanted to provide a written narrative or editorial with each photo gallery. That’s not really possible with Adobe Portfolio. To be fair, it isn’t designed for that. However, by using WordPress I could achieve my requirements.
Upon reflection, WordPress is the more elegant solution for my style as a photographer and writer. It enabled me to combine my photo galleries and blog seamlessly into one website.
Remainder of 2020: Adding Content
After that migration to WordPress I spent the remainder of 2020 adding content and galleries to BurnImage. I also tweaked the visual design along the way. I’ve settled on a deliberately simple black on white website design. But there are tons of WordPress themes (design templates) out there to choose from. If you’re interested, this website uses a self customised version of the Enterprise Pro theme by StudioPress. I’d also recommend Imagely themes, they have a great range of choices aimed at photographers.
January 2021: Navigational Structure
In January 2021 I reappraised my website navigational structure. BurnImage had evolved considerably, but over time that also meant the navigation had become illogical. A change was essential. January 2021 was a great time to address these issues. After all, here in the UK we were back in Covid-19 “Lockdown”. That meant I had a lot of time on my hands. WordPress provides countless ways to structure your website and make it easier for visitors to navigate. I did that by making better use of WordPress Categories and Breadcrumb Navigation. You can see the breadcrumbs at the top of each post, above the header image. That means there’s now a logical navigation trail for visitors to follow. For example, the breadcrumb for this post is:
WordPress vs Adobe Portfolio – Best for Photographers?
So, which is best for photographers, WordPress or Adobe Portfolio? The answer is that they are both fantastic platforms. But choosing which one is best for you as a photographer depends on a few things. Let’s summarise the advantages of each platform:
Consider Using Adobe Portfolio if you:
- Already have an Adobe Photography Plan and want to create a website at no extra cost.
- Don’t want to get involved with the technical aspects of website design, hosting and management.
- See the benefit of being able to publish a website in about 30 minutes without any fuss.
- Want beautiful looking photo galleries that you can add to from within Lightroom. Adobe has some magic sauce that does this for you automatically.
- Don’t want to mess about with resizing, exporting and uploading images to your website.
- Have no need for a blog, journal or a place to publish articles.
- Don’t want to provide a written narrative or editorial with your galleries.
- Not looking to sell prints or photographic services on your website.
Consider using WordPress if you:
- Want an infinitely customisable website that you’ll never outgrow.
- Don’t mind the extra cost of website hosting and the like.
- Are happy to get “under the bonnet” and do it yourself (or hire a web designer to do it for you).
- Don’t mind the extra steps of resizing, exporting and uploading images to your website.
- Are comfortable with using gallery plugins to publish your work. I use FooGallery and FooBox Pro.
- Need for a blog, journal or a place to publish articles.
- Want to provide a written narrative or editorial with your galleries.
- Are looking to sell prints or photographic services on your website.
Conclusion for Photographers and Photography Websites
In conclusion for us photographers, I don’t recommend using both Adobe Portfolio and WordPress for your photography website at the same time. Although that’s exactly what I did for a while! But it was never my original intention to do so. It’s simply that my requirements for BurnImage quickly outgrew Adobe Portfolio, which I didn’t envisage at the outset. In other words, try and work out where you want to end up with your website from day one. Then you can pick the most appropriate platform for your needs.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please leave a reply below and I’ll do my best to help you.
More Photography Tips and Tutorials
You might be interested in more of my photography tips and tutorials:
- Dynamic Street Photography and Breaking the Rules
- Street Photography versus Documentary Photography
- Motion Blur Street Photography – Long Exposure Tips