A Little Facelift


ISLY just got a face lift(!!) and I’m really excited about the changes.

Back in October I blogged about some design work that I did forĀ Florida-based photographer, Jemma. It was in that post that I mentioned that it was an absolute dream installing the graphics with the theme she purchased. In fact, I was jealous of how easy it was to implement graphics & customization. It wasn’t that long before that, that I had launched a new theme & design on my own blog; a redesign that took nearly 3 months to “perfect”.

Last month in an evening of frustration over how my blog looked, I contacted ProPhoto to see if they’d let me review their theme. I squealed when they sent it to me in exchange for this review & I am here to tell you that I am in love with it. It is, hands down, the best theme I’ve ever worked with. I’m no wordpress themeĀ aficionado, but I have worked with the popular Thesis & Canvas themes (you know, the ones that cost monies). Lemme tell you, ProPhoto is leagues better than both of those.

Here’s why. . .

1. Prophoto is one of those click-of-a-button themes. It doesn’t just allow you to put in a drop shadow here & a repeat image there. Oh no. It allows you to adjust pixels, kerning, leading, text case, drop shadows, direction & distance of drop shadows, background images for the menu, comments, background, etc. Really, it’s super easy.

In fact, I didn’t even start this current redesign until about a week & a half ago. I designed as I went along & the process for adding & manipulating graphics was so slick I had most of the site fleshed out in a matter of an hour or two. Most of my time was spent deciding how I wanted to design the whole thing. It’s so hard to design for yourself.

2. Prophoto is clean. The back-end is easy to navigate & the different stock designs are clean. No crappy clutter of 6 different fonts blaring at you, making your eyes bleed.

3. Prophoto has a community. Once I installed the theme, there was a step by step tutorial taking me through the features of the theme. PLUS there’s a little button at the top right of every element that takes you to specific articles & tutorials on how to best customize that area. If that’s not enough? You can post your questions to the forum where expert contributors can help you figure things out. I had a question that was answered within an hour of posting to the forum. Super sweet.

While redesigning I had a list of the features that I would like in any updates of the theme, and as I got closer to finishing the layout, I crossed off practically everything on my list. They have thought of everything from Prophoto-specific widgets (like regular wordpress widgets, just on acid) to slick slideshows. The only thing I see missing is the fact that there are no settings for viewing on a mobile device. I’d LOVE to see that in any future updates.

This theme isn’t cheap. It’s $199. If you’re serious about low-maintenance themes & want a one that’s beautiful, easy to use & manipulate this is it. It’s so good, even a cheapskate like me would invest the money to buy it.

Do you blog? Do you use wordpress? I’d love to hear what kind of theme you’re using & what you think about it.

A big Thank you to Prophoto 3 for providing me with this theme. I’m in love.

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    1. OMG I love Prophoto! How nice of them to send you their package!! I am still tweaking mine – debating whether or not to add a sidebar even though I want BIG images. ;)

      I love your flag theme, it’s so pretty and clean. Just thought I’d chime in with my $0.02.

    2. Nelle says:

      Wow, I love the new design! And thanks for the info, I’m always getting frustrated with WordPress themes, convinced the next one will be just perfect. I just can’t get over how you have the time and energy to do all the wonderful stuff you do with two adorable babes in tow, amazing!

    3. Melissa says:

      Nelle, Thanks so much!!

      I’m not sure where the energy comes from, but the time, well. . . I didn’t go to bed before 3 am pretty much every night last week. I paid for that dearly when I got sick on Sunday!

    4. natalie says:

      it looks awesome. i love the arrows! i wish i knew more about blog design as i’m trying to update mine and it’s all trial and error.

    5. Caiti says:

      it looks awesome! i love the colors!!


    6. Madeline says:

      It’s freaking fantastic… I am head over heels for it!

    7. Polly Scott says:

      Looks great! I love how simple it is! I still love ISLY!!

    8. Padgett says:

      It looks so great! I am jealous of how simple clean and sleek it is, but still has such character… love it!

    9. I love the new look, especially the new header you made! Your flickr and fashion icons on the flags on your sidebar are flip-flopped though! :)

    10. Nice! Your background pattern is great, that is something I really have a hard time with in my design work (creating patterns that look like I imagine in my head but work at the right scale for websites).

      For almost all my WordPress work, I use a theme called Atahualpa (http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/atahualpa). It is totally customizable as well, although it has a ton of settings which could be overwhelming I suppose. It’s of course great for blogs but I find it particularly useful for creating less traditional layouts such as when using WordPress as a CMS.

    11. AshleyAnn says:

      I am a big ProPhoto fan…have been for a few years. I love what you have done with the template. Maybe one of these days I could convince them to let me do a review for a free upgrade….oh yea, I’ve already done that too many times for free. Bummer for me!

      Wait I have a better idea…want to fix up my blog and I’ll do a review for you?! :)

      …your camera strap photos (previous post) are so cute!

    12. Renata says:

      OMG -Love love love the face lift. I want my own prophoto custom blog. I just got a new sewing machine & serger, don’t think I’m aloud to spend any more cash. But I’m going after Tea Thyme, when I start my sewing blog after graduation. Thanks for sharing and being so creative. Have a great day.

    13. Kathleen says:

      It’s beautiful! I love how clean it looks (not like your other design wasn’t).

      The only weird thing (and it’s probably just me) is that it seems pretty wedged up to the top. I keep thinking I need to scroll up more when I hit the top of the page, if that makes sense. It might just be Firefox too.

    14. Hi Melissa! I use it too! A few months back I decided to get rid of all my multiple sites and blogs and just go down to one site for everything. I found Prophoto from your last post about it and it was just the answer I needed! It’s so great to just get to design & implement and not have to stress about the programming. Love it. Also, their customer service is top notch!

    15. shannon says:

      Quick question, Melissa. Can you still set up & design static pages with ProPhoto?

    16. Another question. How does it work with additional widgets?

    17. Melissa says:

      It does! I’ve got a bunch of other widgets that work with it just fine. P3 also has built-in widgets that are like the stock wordpress widgets, but awesomer.

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