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Best DIY *responsive* "Photography Portfolio" website platform?  (preferably php/mysql)

Posted on 2014-07-29
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Last Modified: 2014-08-01
Hi,

This is a very broad/general question, in hopes that someone with experience/familiarity with a strong/current solution can point me in the right direction --

I need to produce a website for a client that will have essentially many galleries of photos to present.  It's actually products, but they are so photo-centric that I could treat it like a photographer's "gallery/portfolio" website, and ecommerce is NOT needed.

I am most familiar and comfortable with hosting my own php/mysql websites, front and back-end, either manually hand-coded, or wordpress driven, so I'd prefer ideally to install this platform on my own server (so I can customize any change I want), but I'm open to a remote platform if there are enough advantages.

My top priortiies/qualifications for this solution are:

 -- Clean, simple, intuitive, modern front-end user interace

 -- Clear *labeled/titled* presentation of available galleries to choose from,

 -- and then elegant navigation from one enlarged photo to the next

   -- Photos should be IDENTIFIED by a fixed ID number, or filename
   -- Visitor should be able to RETURN to that photo anytime later, by ID or somehow, easily
   
 -- (In addition to these galleries, I should be able to customize a "website" with content and site navigation etc. around this primary photo gallery feature)

 -- The client should have a BACK-END interface for managing photos (removing some, adding new  ones, captioning, sort by various order options, etc...) THAT IS AS IDIOT-PROOF AS POSSIBLE

  -- ie,, it'd be great to have as modern as possible an interface for uploading a new photo, along the lines of how easy facebook and platforms like that have made it)

 -- And finally, since everything is going mobile, I'm looking for a "platform" with a responsive theme that would have a mobile friendly menu for choosing a gallery, and then a mobile-friendly display for enlarged images and prev/next navigation etc...

I guess maybe the answer is just use WordPress, but I'm not sure WordPress has the best/easiest back-end management of albums with 50 photos in each one etc.,,?  Or maybe there's a theme/package/plugin for it that I don't know about?
I of course realize how optimistic this all is, but the point of my EE question, is that I'm assuming there ARE some sort of platforms out there that do at least some pieces of this, and I have no idea what they are.

I've always hand-coded my own solutions, or implemented just the gallery piece etc., but now that everything is moving mobile, and responsive, you almost *have* to "play along" with an existing platform like wordpress, or a 3rd party shopping cart platform, etc...  

So I'm just wondering it there is some primary successful "leader" Platform out there, built around photo, and photo galleries, ie for photographers' websites, that has a responsive modern attractive front-end, as well as a useable client-friendly non-techy-friendly PHOTO MANAGEMENT back-end, and if I can host this myself, or if I have to give up all control entirely to a subscription service, etc...

Can anyone give me any advice about this!

I found "RedFrame" for example, and I like how this one looks OK,
http://redframe.com/preview/?p=1&d=aperture_tabbed

but I don't know what the back-end looks like, or how much I can customize, and I'd prefer a platform with themes like WordPress or OsCommerce etc. that I can totally install and manage on my own php/mysql server....

Thanks in advance for any ideas/thoughts/suggestions!!!
Alan
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Question by:centerforward
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by:Iammontoya
ID: 40227617
well, the quickest in my mind is Joomla with ImageGallery Pro.
You could potentially be up and running within an hour.
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Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 40227624
WordPress has a ton of photo gallery plugins and combining that with all of the themes available probably gets you 90% of the way there without effort and the last 10% is customizing.  To be fair, your requirements are not that uncommon, so not only can WordPress do it, pretty much any CMS can do it (Joomla, Drupal) and you can even consider the fully-hosted solutions (e.g. SquareSpace, Wix, etc) for this.  The self-hosted stuff will be more flexible, the fully-hosted will be more idiot-proof but those are fairly broad-stroke statements and counter-examples will always exist.  Going point-by-point:

-- Clean, simple, intuitive, modern front-end user interface

Pretty much all options will work.

-- Clear *labeled/titled* presentation of available galleries to choose from,

Will depend on which system you end up going with.  I would recommend going with WordPress and installing the NextGEN Gallery.

-- and then elegant navigation from one enlarged photo to the next

NextGEN,
  -- Photos should be IDENTIFIED by a fixed ID number, or filename

Pretty much any system will use a permalink for each photo.

  -- Visitor should be able to RETURN to that photo anytime later, by ID or somehow, easily

See above.
   
-- (In addition to these galleries, I should be able to customize a "website" with content and site navigation etc. around this primary photo gallery feature)

That's the role of the base CMS.  Any will work.

-- The client should have a BACK-END interface for managing photos (removing some, adding new  ones, captioning, sort by various order options, etc...) THAT IS AS IDIOT-PROOF AS POSSIBLE

Again, all of them will have this but as soon as you think it is idiot-proof, nature will evolve a better idiot.

 -- ie,, it'd be great to have as modern as possible an interface for uploading a new photo, along the lines of how easy facebook and platforms like that have made it)

WordPress is typically drag-n-drop but some plugins may still be file-dialog based.  There are so many out there I honestly don't know which is which.

-- And finally, since everything is going mobile, I'm looking for a "platform" with a responsive theme that would have a mobile friendly menu for choosing a gallery, and then a mobile-friendly display for enlarged images and prev/next navigation etc...

So that's the theme/template level decision.  Since I'm a WordPress guy and I've already invested in it I would tend to use a Genesis Child Theme for this:

http://my.studiopress.com/themes/ambiance/
http://my.studiopress.com/themes/modern-portfolio/

are two examples.  But there are thousands and thousands of mobile responsive themes out there.
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by:oliverpolden
ID: 40227928
That's a pretty comprehensive answer by Jason.

Wordpress could be a good choice but I'm biased and would say you can do all of this easily with Drupal.

I was recently looking to do my own photography site and came across the Fullscreen theme by Symphony themes: http://www.symphonythemes.com/drupal-theme/fullscreen

While it's not free, it is a great starting point and probably cheaper if you value your time.

I'm currently starting off a Drupal site with quick video tutorials so would be happy to help this way if you were interested in doing it with Drupal.

Oliver
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40227949
Wordpress could be a good choice but I'm biased and would say you can do all of this easily with Drupal.

There is only one way to settle this.

Pistols.  Dawn.

:)
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by:Iammontoya
ID: 40228118
I think it's awesome that we have all schools represented here. I Can only agree with everyone's answer. Any of the above will work! Wordpress is probably the fastest, the cms solutions perhaps the most robust
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Author Comment

by:centerforward
ID: 40234963
Wow,  thanks so much for all the awesome responses everyone ---

It of course occured to me after posting to google "photo album plugins" for WordPress, and NextGen seemed like the best bet, so it's very reassuring to see that echoed here ... and I really wanted to be sure there wasn't some other obvious solution that I was missing, but I feel good about the WP+NextGen approach,  thanks again so much and Jason for being so thorough ...

And the joomla/drupal/etc fight sounds fun but php/mysql/WP is what I'm familiar with so , just stayin out of that one : )
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40234983
but php/mysql/WP is what I'm familiar with

Thanks for the points.  These fights can be fun but ultimately just frustrate me because of two things:

1) There is no way to have an objective winner
2) Everyone believes their preferred CMS won.

In my mind, the real fight is the FOSS (free and open-source software) vs. paid/proprietary solutions.  At the end of the day, I don't care if someone prefers WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or Concrete5 or whatever so long as they use something in the FOSS arena when appropriate.
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