Panoramas are a fascinating and fun way to photograph the world in a unique way. Panoramas allow you to capture more of a scene that you can fit into one frame alone. The most amazing of the panoramas are the spherical ones, where you can interactively navigate around your image in all directions.
PanoTracks is a portfolio site that highlights interactive panoramas. The journey to get this portfolio on the web took more than a year. I use photography in my work, and often share my photos with clients and friends through social media. Soon enough, a lot of folks were telling me I needed to display my photography in a portfolio. Three of my friends, John Couch, Roy Scott and Michele Taunton, finally inspired me to get the portfolio site up and running.
The hard work was just beginning! I checked out a bunch of other photographer’s portfolio sites, and nearly all of them had a display of their best photos, a blog, and posts about the various shoots and things they learned about photography along the way. That’s great, but I just felt I needed something a bit different.
Since I’m a WordPress developer, I set out to find a website framework that would give me a unique take on showing my photography that was unlike anything I’d seen before. It literally took about a year to find the perfect starting point—the perfect framework—for this site.
I checked out and tested a bunch of frameworks and themes from various programmers. Most of the themes let you do the basic stuff like that above, i.e., blog, post photos, etc. What I had in mind was something a bit different, however. Here’s what I was looking for:
Some way to feature and display spherical and interactive panoramas on the Home Page;
A way to show photos and blog about our photo shoots;
A way for visitors to find out more about the locations we shoot;
A way to highlight workshops and tutorials by different instructors.
A long search finally led me to ChurchThemes.net. These guys put together a rock-solid WordPress framework that exactly fit my needs! They have a set of themes designed for churches, but with a little bit of hard-code customizing, it works perfectly for PanoTracks! The guys at ChurchThemes really know their stuff and they have great support, too! Plus, their business is for a great cause, which is to bring A-Plus design and web services to churches for an affordable price. Their framework has proven to be rock-solid and I recommend checking them out.
The next decision was where to host the site. Providers like GoDaddy, BlueHost, Hostmonster, etc. are all great (and I use them for domain registration and ftp site), but they lack in certain areas that I feel are essential for WordPress—security, speed and crash recovery, etc. I signed up for their free trial and moved one of my development sites to WP Engine. I gotta say, wow, this provider rocks! I’m sticking with them. I think visitors to PanoTracks will appreciate the speed and stability that WP Engine has to offer to our site.
Many hours of planning and hard work later, here we are! The perfect combination of a portfolio for BOTH interactive panoramas AND photography. OK, so the site isn’t perfect yet, but I hope to continue improving it over time so that it becomes a valuable resource for my business clients and anyone who wants to know more about panorama photography. I hope you enjoy my work, and be sure to leave a comment on photos you like or if you would like to find out more about panorama photography!