An exercise in using Blogger to create an art portfolio site

[11 Jul 2008 | By | 13 Comment(s) | 12,094 views ]

If you’re looking to create an art or photography portfolio using Blogger, or other free blog software, you’ve come to the right place!
This is the first post about what I did.
You’ll also find these useful:

I’ve been researching this for a while, and I’m glad to share what I’ve learned/collected with you. If this is useful to you, I’d adore some link-love back to!

One of my goals for my sabbatical was to create a new art portfolio site. A photographer friend and I were discussing how it’s such a pain to keep portfolio sites updated, and I was thinking it would be really cool to see whether I could create one using Blogger, that would look like an art site, not a blog–but be as easy to update as a blog. I figured this had to have already been done, but I wasn’t having much luck with my google-fu finding anything like what I was looking for. There seems to be no standard art or photography portfolio template out there. So I decided to do it myself. (Note that I have very limited development skills, having never really messed around with xml or css or any kind of blog template, other than tweaking the dabbled one) It’s not finished yet, (I still can’t figure out how to make the right column start at the top of the page, not under the header), but I think it’s pretty decent for an artist or photographer portfolio site totally done in Blogger.

Since it took me 3 days of trial and error (and one episode of messing up the template by accident) I would love some feedback on the layout/usability etc. Not really looking for feedback on the art (unless you want to tell me which ones should stay and which should go), more on the website itself. Like should each picture be in an individual post rather than scrolling down to see a collection? Is it annoying to link things back to flickr? Does the flash on the main page work/look good? Are the categories good?

And if anyone would like information or instructions on how to do this, I can write something up..
edit: here’s some of the instructions. I’m sure i’ve forgotten alot, so ask questions..

Mar09 Edit: You may also want to check out my new version of a portfolio site using Tumblr instead of Blogger.

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13 Comment(s) »

  • samae [] :

    I think it looks good. I don’t like that the top thumbnails are covered up by the pictures, or that I only figured out they were there by chance. And the scrolling down to see the collection didn’t bother me until I realized I had to scroll all the way back up to change the category. On one collection page there is a “More” but only that one.

    Really – I like it a lot. Good job!


  • SisterDG [] :

    It’s beautiful, and I’m so impressed – you’d never know it was a Blogger blog.

    I see only one thing: on my 19″ monitor, all the elements seem to be anchored to the edges of the template. This means that I see an expanse of blank black screen in the middle of your site. Of course, when I reduce the size of the browser window, everything comes back together to fill it. So maybe not any big deal at all.

    Congrats on finishing, and great work!

  • Dot [] :

    good points, thanks! I’ll do some more tweaking. Then I’ll actually have to figure out what art to put out there :)

  • Bella Sinclair [] :

    Wow, this is a “blog”??? Quite impressive! I like the big slideshow on the homepage. The mini-slideshow that appears when my cursor goes toward the navigation menu was a little confusing at first, because I didn’t realize my cursor was controlling it. But I got the hang of it quickly. The mini-slideshow partially obscures the big slideshow. Is there anyway to create more space so they don’t overlap? And finally, I liked being able to scroll down your artwork, rather than click for each individual page. It would be convenient if there were a button to bring me immediately back to the category page, but this is probably not easy to do on a blog. Honestly, Dot, this is a marvelous portfolio! Overall, easy to navigate and a pleasure to browse through! Wow!

  • Viaje [] :

    Very interesting – I’d love to hear more about how you actually built it.

    I think it works well by the way.

  • Dot [] :

    ok, i’ll see if i can write something up. There was alot of trial and error involved!

  • Xina54 [] :

    Very impressive, I love the slideshow
    but the type is too small for my aging eyes.
    I notice you put your email address without the now customary ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to replace the symbols. I have a concern that you may be inundated by spam as there are programs designed to trawl for email addresses.
    I’d also like to hear more about how you actually built it.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Dot [] :

    thx for the feedback, keep it coming! :)

    here’s a post which outlines some of how i made the site.

  • Dot [] :

    hmm, here’s a tinyurl:

  • Anonymous [] :

    Thanks Dot – those tips sound good. I’ll be giving it a go very soon.


  • Sarah Moore [] :

    Cool idea on the blog portfolio. I found an app that provides easy way to make a gallery on your site if anyone is interested. enjoy!

  • David Haas [] :

    I have a question about your blog, could you email me?

  • Ramandeep Singh [] :

    nice tips