In today’s market every chump on the internet that has a instagram account and some kind of DSLR thinks he can do photography professionally, well this is far from the truth and everyone knows that a well respected professional photographer needs to have a online following for bookings and most importantly, his portfolio where he can show off his works.
Today we will look at Exposure, a elegant and minimalistic photography theme made by themefuse. As usual, we will look somewhat “under the hood” on performance and responsive design. Also I want to review the Unyson backend that the guys at themefuse made and see what it brings to the table.
Some of the things we will also review are the theme features, pricing, design, bugs that are visible and support and install capabilities.
One major selling point in every theme on the internet are the features. The things that make the design unique and practical for the end user.
For example some developers integrate woocommerce in their builds so you can have a shop, some place event managers and calendars (you will see one in Exposure) some deal with page builders and you will be able to manage everything from the frontend without ever going in the dashboard if you like and much more.
The first thing that you see when you visit the site, is a beautiful slider with a hero vibe to it. The authors implemented multiple slider options for you to choose from, one is the default hero slider with text, and the second is a nice text with video option slider. Take your pick!
On the first slider, let’s say that you want to showcase your work portfolio with creative and inspiring photographs but if you are more practical and want to impress your visitors with some camera action simply choose the second slider that has video capabilities.
Many themes on the web have the ability to change colors on the fly with unlimited color option pickers. To be honest I’m not a big fan of it, and that is because photographers are not designers. Picking colors and most importantly matching colors is my job as a designer so that it looks cool and warming to the eye when you enter the page.
Keep in mind that what you consider nice, others can think of as crap so pick your colors carefully.
Themefuse also incorporates unlimited color options in their backend but if you don’t have a clear pallet in mind it’s best to check out some online resource for choosing the perfect stack. Here is a nice article that details color choice on the web.
Or, if you don’t like spending time digesting what some old crazy dude wrote on a site, just head on to kuler and take your pick.
This is where simplicity meets complexity in a wordpress theme. You can change your theme 360 degrees with with shortcodes. So for simplicity’s sake let’s find out what are shortcodes
“Since Version 2.5 WordPress supports so called Shortcodes. They have been introduced for creating macros to be used in a post’s content.”
So basically a shortcode is a piece of text that when placed inside a post it changes functionality, like adding galleries, or rating stars or even contact forms.
Exposure is no different and has a nice collection of useful shortcodes ranging from buttons and lists to quotes and team members. You can find the whole list on the theme’s demo page in the menu.
One thing I like is that you can use the shortcodes with the drag and drop builder (which we will talk about in a short bit) so this makes things much easier for you to edit, change and customize your build.
Another nice feature of the Exposure theme is the integration with WooCommerce. This allows you to set up your very own shop solution without much hassle and configurations.
The shop page looks crisp and clean and it has all of the things you need like ratings and reviews and I like the fact that the devs kept it simple and it’s not that cluttered.
The responsive view of the product page is also on point, although I would love to see a CTA (call to action) in the above the fold area of the page, so maybe reduce the header banner image a notch or make the hero product image a little smaller so that when the page is visited by a user, the price and buy buttons are in view first thing.
Another cool feature, especially for wedding photographers is the booking calendar widget. You can list off your future and past bookings on the fly and with the page builder, you can place the calendar on any page you like.
A cool feature would be the possibility to book your event right on the calendar. This integration would be a blast and would make bookings much more easier. Right now, the booking is on the contact form so this could be a future version for themefuse 🙂
The layout opting is really straightforward on Exposure. The options can be managed from the visual drag & drop builder and you can change the layout literally in seconds with it. It is fully controllable from the backend and has a bunch of built in page layouts that you can choose from.
Fonts are controlled beautifully with the help of Google web fonts service. The stack currently has around 500+ families. Although you won’t be using all of them, the best thing is to use variations for the same family, like using Roboto bold for headings, regular for the body copy and italics for quotes and special copy items.
The next thing I want to talk about is the Unyson framework that the guys at themefuse developed, a powerful backend system for wordpress that can handle SEO, grids, pagebuilder, megamenu, and more.
Here is a nice walkthrough on what are the features of the Unyson Framework.
I want to talk about some of the features that Unyson brings to the table in detail. Let’s begin with the Page Builder. The Unyson PB let’s you create complex pages with minimal effort on the fly. The powerful shortcodes that it has lets you change options on the fly.
Content demo installation
This feature is one of my favourite and I love it. It allows you to import the content right as the authors have designed it to work with the theme.
In my opinion it’s easier to edit a complete theme rather than setting it up from scratch. Exposure already has it’s own theme content demo set up so you can import it and have your site look like the demos in no time. It’s easy, fast and you don’t have to worry about setting anything at all rather than your logo and copy.
There are many features that Unyson brings to the table and we won’t go into further detail but you can check them out at unyson.io. A killer backend for any wordpress professional.
Performance and responsive design
The thing that I want to do next, is look at the performance of the app and it’s overall responsive design to see if it really is crisp like the authors say it is so let’s dive in.
First, let’s look at the Google PageSpeed metrics to have a look at what the app scores based on performance and optimization. We will measure only the homepage because it acts like a startnode for the entire app.
The other thing is server response time, that isn’t concerning because choosing a good host will prevent this from happening.
Ow, yeah I would love to see this in action because on the desktop the app is very responsive. So let’s take a look on an actual device. I’m using a Nexus 5 with chrome emulation so, for the majority of the scroll, here is little to no jank.
The frames are between 20 to 60 fps on scrolling so I should consider this a well balanced app. Let’s take a look at a chrome timeline rendering so we can see how can we optimize the app further.
I want to look at the mail carousel fade animation and the menu opening sequence.
For the menu, things were a little bit better but still kind of bad. There are large composite frames that take too much to paint and render so it looks jagged on mobile. I recommend taking some time to fixing these issues and release a new version, more optimized.
One of the first things I noticed, is that when the page loads, if you open the menu it shows you the active page submenu directly. I don’t really like this and nor is it a nice UX. All of the pages must be available at page load. This can be fixed easily by simply not having any subpages under homepage.
On the portfolio page, some bugs are visible and should be fixed in the next update. Nothing to special but not that crisp and clean. Also, the heading banner/title is being overlapped by the sticky menu so a spacing there will be nice also.
The Blog page looks crisp also and for some small bugs it looks perfect. I would love to see some more attention to detail for the spacing and overall leading of the pages but other than that it looks like the devs did a good job on the responsive part of the app.
Support & Pricing
For the support, the guys at themefuse are bringing their A game and are even prepared to install a custom theme for you to test it beforehand. This is a cool feature that I don’t see very often.
They provide unlimited support free of charge for life and even has a 30 day money back guarantee, although I don’t think you will opt for that anytime since the app is good.
Also, if you have any issues head over to themefuse’s support forums where there are a lot of professionals that can answer your questions.
The pricing is good also, for the entry price you get everything but the PSD files for only 55 bucks. If you want to get it all, even a bonus theme, you are better of with the developer version for 95$. And if you want to go all the way, choose the premium plan where you have access to all of Themefuse’s apps for 195$.
Exposure is a well rounded, awesome theme that gives you the possibility to achieve the next level in your photography career. I give it a score of 93/100.