If you are a creative person, you’ll need a forum to express yourself. The internet serves as a forum for many freelancers to showcase their folio of creative work. WordPress, being an extensible and customizable platform is a great fit for a content management system to showcase a portfolio.

While WordPress is an ideal platform to display a portfolio, you would need a theme to handle the design and appearance of your website. A theme changes the way your website appears in a visitor’s browser, and so you see why choosing an appropriate theme is important.

When it comes to a portfolio website, the focus is always on images. Since it is a theme that governs the way in which your website appears, selecting the correct theme is that much more important when it comes to a portfolio website. Here are the features that you should look for in a WordPress Theme for your portfolio based website:

  • The layout is very important for a portfolio site. Your theme should allow you great flexibility in choosing the layout that displays your portfolio in a most attractive manner.
  • Customization is yet another feature you should look for while choosing a portfolio theme. You may need to modify and alter the layout, and control what goes where on the website, and the theme should support you in achieving the display. A wide variety of colors, fonts and design elements should be available.
  • Grids are highly desirable in a portfolio theme. You should check for pre-made grid formats, as well as the freedom to alter these grids or design any kind of grid that you like. Post formats with different grid layouts can also help you decide the layout that you want. Or they can serve as a basic template which you can alter to get the layout you want.
  • Minimalist is the trend for websites in general and for portfolio websites in particular. This kind of design helps to focus attention on the contents of the website rather than distracting the viewer with fancy design elements. Fanciful elements in a theme can increase a website’s visual appeal. But they must be balanced with the need to retain the focus on the content of the website rather than the design.
  • The images of the website must be displayed in the best possible manner. And so, the theme must support sharp images and graphics. The theme must be responsive and retina ready. The lightbox feature will also help to highlight individual portfolio items. Sliders are a welcome addition to the list of features for a portfolio theme, as they help to focus attention on content that you wish to highlight.
  • Another feature that you may want is a filtering option. This way a reader can sort the portfolio and navigate the portfolio items easily. It enhances user experience on the website.

In this post, we’ve collected 10 portfolio themes that are designed to meet the demand of creative professionals including photographers, illustrators, designers, artists and the like. For a more exhaustive list, you can check out this list of premium portfolio themes. Or, if it’s free themes you’re looking for, you’ll find that too in this list.

Shapely

Shapely is a pixel perfect theme from Colorlib that can be used to add a portfolio to your website. It packs in great functionality, and helps you to showcase your entire portfolio in a single page. You can add depth to your portfolio pages by adding parallax sections. To highlight any single item of your portfolio, all you need to do is place it on the hero slider.

The theme comes with WordPress Customizer support, which means you can rely on a number of options to customize it. The homepage supports a number of widgets, which can be used to add a portfolio. Moreover, the theme adopts a mobile first approach, so your portfolio will look great even on smaller devices.

And if you want to put up any item from your portfolio for sale, you’re covered. Shapely supports WooCommerce, so you can choose to add a shop functionality to your portfolio website.

Dazzling

With a flat design and a full featured slider, you can adapt Dazzling to suit any portfolio based website. Dazzling supports sharp text, vibrant colors, great graphics and beautiful icons that add verve to your portfolio display. With infinite scroll feature supported by the Jetpack plugin, browsing the portfolio is easy at the frontend. Dazzling comes with WooCommerce integration, so you can opt for selling portfolio items as well.

The theme is highly customizable, offering a wide range of color options. The color of each element in the theme can be changed using a one click color picker. It supports popular plugins like Jetpack and Contact Form 7.

Not only is the theme available for free download, you can also access free support for the theme by leaving a message on the theme’s support forum.

Pinbin

Web designers, graphic designers, artists, painters, photographers and anyone else for whom images are the most important part of their website, will find Pinbin a great delight to work with. It is a minimalist theme which allows the content to take over the design. The coding is light, allowing the website to load real fast.

The theme draws its inspiration from Pinterest, the social platform that’s designed for showcasing images. At the same time, it relies on WordPress’ native built-in featured images functionality.

Moreover, the theme is integrated with the WordPress Media Manager which make it easy to add or change logos as you please. Pinbin will help you get your portfolio based website online up and running in no time at all, with no coding and little effort on your part.

Kira Lite

Kira Lite is a multi purpose theme that’s packed with features. At the same time, it allows you to customize each element. The theme is light, responsive and optimized for search engines.

Kira Lite is translation ready, and fast loading. It is WooCommerce ready, and so you can commence selling your creative work easily. Although it is designed with portfolio websites in mind, you can pretty much modify it to suit corporates, personal, photography and the like.

It comes with a secure and clean code and can display any portfolio to great advantage. It is responsive, retina ready and built with HTML5 and CSS3.

Custom-Community

Custom Community is a professionally designed WordPress theme that you can use for building different kinds of websites, including portfolio websites. It comes from the folks at MachoThemes. After activating the theme, you can customize every aspect of it until you are satisfied with the end result. And you can do all this without having to do any coding.

For a free theme, it sure packs in a load of features. It comes with an easy to use jQuery slideshow and multiple widget areas. It also allows you a choice of two custom header menus. You get to choose from three predefined color schemes – white, dark and natural.

The theme works fine with the latest version of WordPress, BuddyPress, WooCommerce and many of the popular WordPress plugins. It keeps up with the most modern trends in website design and allows you 140+ theme options to choose from.

Brilliance

An elegant design and smooth transition effects are the highlight of Brilliance, a multipurpose WordPress theme. You can use these features to maximum advantage on your portfolio website. You have total control over the layout of the pages and can customize each element in the theme. The color palette offers a wide range of colors and the typography can complement the images neatly.

Brilliance supports both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, so selling your portfolio items is quite easy. Powerful custom shortcodes are included with the theme and they allow you to add interactive elements to your website to create an overall engaging user experience.

While the basic version of the theme is free, you can choose the Premium version at $59 and get premium support and updates. Or you can simply opt for an annual membership at $119.

Affluent

Affluent is a professional WordPress theme that is ideal for corporate and business websites. It includes pages for the portfolio as well and you can use these pages to showcase almost anything you want.

The theme supports many different kinds of content on the homepage. The homepage also features a slider that you can use to place your most important portfolio items. Use feature blocks to add important details about the individual portfolio items.

The theme is responsive and sizes down perfectly to smaller devices. With WooCommerce compatibility, you can convert your portfolio based website into a store straightaway. For premium support and updates, you can choose to go pro at $59 or choose to become an annual subscriber at $119.

Transcend

For a home page that’s full of dynamic elements, you should pick Transcend. A free WordPress theme that focuses on business, it also offers complete support for portfolio pages. The theme includes options for categories and tags, so you can arrange your portfolio items with complete freedom and yet allow users to navigate easily.

Transcend Free WordPress Theme

The theme allows you to showcase all types of media – images, galleries, slideshows and even videos. It is highly responsive and gives complete layout control, even to a person with no coding knowledge. In addition, the multiple color options, custom typography, and the powerful custom shortcodes give you great customization options.

The pro version bundles premium support and updates at $59, while the annual subscription at $119 entitles you to access to every theme in the Cpo Themes collection.

Enclosed

Enclosed supports a full-screen slideshow on the homepage and this can get any portfolio based website off to a flying start. Not only that, with a little bit of configuration, you can have almost any background you choose on the slider as well as many different layouts. And if you want to add a description, you can do so using small blocks of text.

Enclosed Free WordPress Theme

Moving beyond the slider, you’ll find a complete portfolio with categories and slideshows for each item. You can showcase your best work with full-size images. The many pre-made pages included with Enclosed eliminates the need to search for plugins that handle different functions.

All these features come in combination with the regular responsive and retina ready features, so crucial for a image heavy website. For premium support, opt for the pro version at $59 or subscribe to be an annual subscriber at $119.

Illustrious

Illustrious is a WordPress theme that comes pre-loaded with a host of features designed to build a portfolio based website. If affords total header to footer layout control, allowing you to choose from 5 different sidebar options. You can also totally remove the header or footer and have custom layouts for individual pages.

If you’re looking to sell any portfolio item, you’ll be glad of the support for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Download plugins. Limitless colors and custom typography are handy features to customize your website. If you want your website to be interactive, you can use the many powerful custom shortcodes that come bundled with the theme. They add all kinds of interactive design elements like¬†buttons, accordions, pricing tables, and more.

While the free version is more than sufficient for a basic portfolio website, you may want to choose the premium version for updates and support. The premium theme will set you back at $59. For access to all the themes, choose the annual subscription at $119.

And Finally

While the design is important, there’s a lot that’s happening behind the screen that’s important too. Code quality, site speed, SEO and more are also relevant factors while choosing your theme. The themes in this list pretty much take care of all aspects. Moreover, they are free and you can try them out with confidence.

Do let us know how the these WordPress Portfolio themes worked for you.