It was a project which we took on quite some time ago now but stuck in the memory. We have worked on heaps of WordPress websites, themes and plugins and we had some real basic knowledge of ProPhoto having looked at a website previously. Gabi from The Fine Flowers Company approached us as she already had a website built on ProPhoto but wanted to upgrade to the latest version. Gabi wasn’t a current client of ours and the current developers had modified ProPhoto in some manner meaning that an upgrade was not easily possible. For this reason, a new theme was to be purchased and integrated to work with the latest version of ProPhoto.
What is ProPhoto?
We should probably explain what ProPhoto is before continuing with our experience. ProPhoto is a WordPress extension aimed at creatives to allow them to create visually compelling websites. It comes with a host of features to manage your website, this is not like some over extensions such as Visual Composer or WooCommerce which can be used with other themes. ProPhoto only works with themes created to work with ProPhoto and comes with a price tag of $249. You do receive a discount if you have purchased an earlier version.
Building the new website with ProPhoto6
It is quite an odd experience building a website using ProPhoto, even though it is a WordPress extension it works unlike any other extension we have encountered. We often work with new clients on an ad hoc basis, using a premium theme we have yet to work with, or quite commonly they are using Divi. ProPhoto almost works as a CMS within WordPress which I find super peculiar.
WordPress has all the features you need to manage a website and with the integration of a number of premium plugins, the possibilities are limitless. ProPhoto takes away the need for doing that and gives you its own menu option in the WordPress Dashboard to build and manage your website.
So how does it work?
By selecting the ProPhoto extension in the WordPress menu, you can select ‘Customiser’ and this is where you manage your website. This infact becomes the CMS pretty much. Within the ‘Customiser’ option, you then have two options, to either work with ‘Template’ or work with ‘Design’. Within ‘Design’ you can pretty much manage all design aspects of the website, menus, fonts, call to actions etc. One of the most important options is ‘Tiles’. From here you can customise building blocks for your website which can then be used when creating a template.
Within the ‘Template’ menu item, you can then build a layout with the limited page builder and insert any of the tiles you previously built. It is a real odd way to work with WordPress and having started to build the website, I began to realise how tricky it was to become.
ProPhoto: What is the point?
So, this bring me to my conclusion. When taking on the project, our client told us how great ProPhoto is for photography. I think there was a misconception that the extension manages photography in a different manner however I think ProPhoto just create themes for creative types with a heavy focus on photography. The client’s website had and still does have a good rank on Google. One belief was that this was also related to using ProPhoto because of their integration of galleries.
So….what is the point of ProPhoto? To be honest, I can’t really see any point in using this whatsoever. The website could have been built to look very similar as the Premium ProPhoto theme but built with a common page builder such as Visual Composer. I think the benefits make it a no brainer:
- Could have built the website quicker and would have been easier to manage
- Easier to update and to find someone in the future to provide support. To find a ProPhoto expert is harder and likely to be more expensive because of this
- If you choose to move away from ProPhoto it is going to be harder to migrate your content rather than if it was a normal WordPress set up