New site: bye bye black, hello white

In spring of 2010, I published the first version of this photography portfolio website. That first version had a black background with dark grey highlight areas. Initially I thought it looked great and images really did pop out. Over time I couldn’t get used to reading text on a dark background however and I also felt that some images really looked over-saturated and unnatural. As you can see, I have now left the dark side!

PhotoShelter just featured this website on the PhotoShelter blog:

I worked on this new version of the site during the last few months of 2010 and managed to get it live just before X-Mas. I tweaked it a bit in the past few weeks and it’s finished now. The site is still based on WordPress (to facilitate publishing blog articles) and PhotoShelter (image archiving and e-commerce). I used the Modularity WordPress theme of Graph Paper Press (GPP) as a starting point for structuring the site. It is hardly recognizable by now however ☺

It wasn’t easy to come up with something that I really liked better than my previous site. I found out that it is much harder to design a site with a white background then designing with a black background, so I went around in circles for quite a while. Sticking to a couple of aesthetic starting points, helped me a lot though. I defined the following before I started:

  • I want a white background.
  • I want a maximum of negative space around everything.
  • Content is king and I will not include anything that distracts from the photographs.
  • I want it to be as minimalistic, simple and clean as possible.
  • I want to achieve a better balance between blogging and showcasing images.
  • It should be easy to navigate.
  • I want the look and feel to be consistent across the whole site, including the PhotoShelter part.

Along the way, I customized the blog archive pages (see: archive page example), introduced new post formats to showcase images better (see: wide post example), created a featured gallery page (see: featured galleries page) and a what’s new page (see: What’s new). I also put quite some effort in customizing how images are displayed (see: image display example).

Old look:

Screen capture of the new site of NiO Photography

New look:

Personally I am really happy with the end result. I feel my alpine nature and landscape images look much more natural on white and I think I found a good balance between blogging and showcasing images. The site looks and feels much cleaner in general.

I can now focus on catching up with my post-processing backlog and I hope to be posting and sharing a lot of new images in the first months of the new year! I’ll also be writing a new post on my experiences with PhotoShelter, WordPress and Graph Paper Press, as a follow up on my previous review (see here).

Anyway, hope you like the new site too!!! Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think! Best wishes for 2011!

30 Responses to “New site: bye bye black, hello white”

  1. I think the new site is fantastic!!! Very clean and very organized!!!

  2. ziet er strak uit met een aantal erg mooie shots. Publiceer je ook op sites als istock of shutterstock?

  3. Tnx, Kat, Glenn and Frank,
    @Frank: not yet, maybe in the future

  4. Mooie website, en natuurlijk zijn de foto’s ook mooi.

  5. Great write up Johan, and well deserved recognition.

  6. Looks impressive Johan-On your way to fame and fortune! Have a great holiday. Congrats on the write up on PS Johan!

  7. Awesome!
    I ♥ that macro of fountain grass. All of the variations are great but the original is so subtle and lovely.

  8. Goed man!!! ziet er zeer pro uit!! Zal verder kijken na 11en in m’n ‘freezone’.

  9. You really modified the GPP Modularity template a lot. Good work!

  10. Love the new design! Very clean and easy to use. You ought to sell the template to Photoshelter – it is much better than their built-in templates.

  11. Alexandra Verlaan (via Facebook) says:

    Mooie foto’s!

  12. Congrats – you deserved it! Love, love, love the new site…

  13. Hi Johan,

    Wow, you really put in some hard work behind the scenes in customizing both sites. Serious technical functionality cloaked in deceptively simple clothing.

    I like the clean new look and agree that it lends itself to your work quite well.


  14. Danna says:

    Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

  15. Nellie says:

    Het ziet er goed uit ga zo door succes

  16. Good read i think your website is fantastic with superb content which i like to add to my bookmarks.

  17. Thanks for this interesting post. I will be sure to get the word out about this site :) Excellent post. Can’t wait to see the next blog post.

  18. Great article. Waiting for more.

  19. Usually I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this article really forced me to do so! Thanks, really nice article.

  20. Mike O'Conner says:

    I really like the colors right here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to an expert?

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