Case Study: How Creatives Use WordPress

WordPress has made a major dent in the creative landscape. As more and more photographers, artists and publishers discover WordPress and Graph Paper Press themes, we thought it would be interesting to delve into the various ways people create and publish their work. We spoke with a variety of creatives about their workflow and how WordPress fits into their day-to-day lives. Here’s what they said, along with examples of their fantastic work.

DANIELLE TUNSTALL – Portrait Photographer

Daniell Tunstall

About: I’m 32 and a full time mum of two, due to this I have to do all my work at night (and do shoots on weekends). I’m a portrait photographer and I have a love for horror and graphic design so this influences my portraits a lot. My photos aren’t candid, the complete opposite, every one is completely set up almost to tell a story or part of one. I do book covers / CD covers and have just started doing some poster work for films.

Walk us through a typical project for you: Computer-wise my main tool is Photoshop CS5 and dropbox to send large amounts of files to clients. For presentation and promotion of all my work I use several services and websites such as Slideshow Pro Director, WordPress.org, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Behance. Processing time on Photoshop varies from 10 mins up to 9 hours for one picture I would say on average 3 hours.

Portrait by Daniell Tunstall

How does WordPress fit into your workflow? WordPress makes the process of posting new photos and information on my website and keeping pages up to date much easier. It features a ton of amazing plugins and themes that can be easily modified, and they make my website even better and more accessible.

Her gear: I use a Canon EOS 500D with Sigma EX Lens- 50 mm-F/1.4. If doing a self portrait I use a Slik tripod and a remote shutter release, and when processing I use a bamboo Wacom tablet.

Whose work are you most inspired by at the moment? I dont take other artists’ work for inspiration as I have too much stuff going on in my head to even have time to do all my ideas. When I meet new people to photograph that is inspiration enough.

DAN KITWOOD – Photographer

About: I am a staff photographer at Getty Images, based in London, where I cover news and features in and around the capital, and beyond. Being a press photographer in London can be incredibly hard work and very frustrating. The competition can be fairly fierce at times, so how you approach the job can make all the difference. For me it’s important to try and inject a bit of my personality into what I do, look the other way from the pack, inject a bit of wit, capture a moment.

Walk us through a typical project for you: Every day I am assigned or will assign myself several or perhaps only one job. This could be anything from standing on Downing street on a stepladder waiting for the Prime Minister to street photography in Brixton, or photographing horses having operations in Newmarket. It is completely varied and every day is different. That’s what I love about the job and one of the reasons why I wanted to get a website up and running and start telling people about what myself and working press photographers do. The site is essentially a shop window. It’s a great way for my friends, family and other photographers and professional people to see what I have been doing. I update my blog fairly regularly letting people know what I may have been doing, publications I may have had or simply to share something interesting I have found on the web.

Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Dan Kitwood and Getty Images

How does WordPress fit into your workflow? WordPress IS my workflow. It is as simple or as complicated as you need it to be which is useful for me leaning toward the simpler. I use several plugins that can be downloaded and added to monitor or administer my site. I try and keep it very simple. I have been experimenting with audio slideshows which can add a new layer of interest to any set of pictures. I am currently looking at adding video and so far have managed to get one short piece up which I uploaded to Vimeo and embedded.

His gear: PC/ Power MAC, Blackberry

Cameras: 5DMKII, 1DMKIV
24mm f1.4
50mm f1.2
135mm f2
70-200MKII f2.8
300 f2.8
500 f4

Whose work are you most inspired by at the moment? I am inspired by most hardworking photographers. I love some of the National Geographic photographers: William Albert Allard, Steve McCurry, David Doubilet, Ed Kashi. Magnum photographers: Elliott Erwitt, Philip Jones Griffiths, Bresson, Larry Burrows. Ed Ou, Brent Stirton, Daniel Berehulak, Emilio Morenatti to name but a few.

MIKE GIEPERT – Art Director

Mike Giepert

About: I’m an Art Director at Wieden + Kennedy. It’s an ambiguous term, but the easiest way to put it is to say that I make communication—TV commercials, print ads, websites, billboards, posters, whatever—look the way it does. I currently work on brands like Dodge and Laika, a Portland animation company. I’m sort of a constant thinker, designer, writer, with far too many interests to list, but advertising has taken up my most recent years. Who knows how long it will keep my interest. It’s the longest job I’ve had by a long shot and I love it. I also like taking long walks with my camera and writing in my notebook.

Walk us through a typical project for you: When I get briefed on a project, I begin to concept with a writing partner. This typically involves a lot of sitting in a room throwing ideas back and forth, sometimes over lunch, often over beers. The idea always comes first, long before any programs are involved. Once we settle on something we like, I’ll usually throw that idea—whether it be a TV spot, or a digital campaign—into a really rough In-Design document, just enough to get the idea across. If a general idea is approved, I begin to set the look and feel for a campaign. This involves tons of searching for design inspiration, photographers or directors, depending on the medium in which the campaign will be experienced. Most of this happens by looking at books, watching films and some online image searching. I try to keep the latter to a minimum, though. I’m constantly collecting reference material, so I often refer to my collection. I use these references to make recommendations for photographers, directors, film treatments, editors, etc. Once a direction is decided upon, we move into production on the campaign.

Mike Giepert
Mike Giepert

How does WordPress fit into your workflow? I use WordPress to document my work and my travels. At the end of a campaign, or a trip, I try and gather everything into a single post. It’s a good way for me to reflect on the work I’ve done and the places I’ve been. WordPress lets me easily organize and post. I like that my site blurs the line between work and life. It’s pretty true to reality in that sense.

His gear: I use a MacBook Pro, an iPhone, an iPad, and I shoot with a Lumix DMC-LX3. I always keep a little Moleskine and a pen on me. The camera and the notebook are the most important to my process

Whose work are you most inspired by at the moment? diCorcia and Todd Hido keep showing up in my reference material. Old car design and typography. Darren Aronofsky. Roman and Williams. Charlie Harper. I can’t stop listening to Clinic.

Anything Else? It’s something that I always need to remind myself of, so I’ll pass it along: get your inspiration from unexpected places. If you look at the same things that everyone else does, your work will end up looking the same as everyone else’s. They say you are only as good as your reference material, so indulge your weird interests. It can be one of your greatest assets.

MAX ROPER – Photographer

Max Roper

About: I primarily take concert photos, but also travel a ton so taking photos on the road is a must. I haven’t taken any photography classes, no instruction, just my first Nikon D80’s manual. I snuck my camera into a concert back in 2009 and took some photos for a (now) good buddy named Tyrone Wells. I had no idea what I was doing but got some decent shots and sent them over to him and he wanted some more. So I went to a few more of his concerts and basically worked my way up to larger shows. A few months into shooting I got a pass for a band called Mute Math. They put on one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen and I got a shot of the drummer doing a backdive into the crowd. A two page spread in Spin and quarter of a million hits on that photo later, it became a bit easier to get passes. Photography is purely a hobby for me. I don’t want to get paid because I don’t like to compete. I love taking photos for free and selling prints at the bare minimum and just donating the profits. A lot of the pros hate that…but hopefully I can just force them to be better than me to up their game.

Walk us through a typical project for you: Well, a lot hinges on getting the pass for me. I don’t work for a publication, probably never will, and all I have is my website. I have met a lot of people at this point and have a lot of very good contacts but in the beginning it was a bit rough. Once the concert is shot, I use Adobe Lightroom for everything. I have spent a long time making presets that I can just apply and it does most of the work at this point. I don’t use any program other than Lightroom. Sometimes I edit my photos a good amount to make it look the way I want, and I feel that Photoshop just has a negative connotation in the sense that if you use it, your photos aren’t “good”. So I just stay away and stick with the basics. After I am done going through the photos, I export them full res over to Smugmug. I use Smugmug to hold the full res shots, print services, and host the photos on my site. Once they are uploaded I use a plugin that will put the photos from Smugmug into my WordPress site.

Max Roper
Photo by Max Roper

How does WordPress fit into your workflow? Where to even start. WordPress is so key to my process. Like I said, I don’t work at a publication so all I really have is my website to showcase my work. I found WordPress right when I started and Graph Paper Press shortly after that. I fell in love and now there is no turning back. I’ve switched hosting companies, themes, etc. But WordPress and GPP should always be a part of my workflow.

His gear:
I use only the Nikon D700. I like only having one camera. I use the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 for about 90% of my shots, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 for 8%, and the other 2% is split between the Nikon 50mm 1.4 and the 10.5mm Fisheye.

Whose work are you most inspired by at the moment? To be honest I don’t really search around for concert photographers really. I got my boy Todd Owyoung who is doin some good stuff. Danny North also has some solid shots. But I am most inspired by the Boston Globes Big Picture site. Most of the time when I go through those photos, I just want to stop all together.

Anything Else? Don’t copy, innovate. I despise wedding photography for that reason. I couldn’t imagine a couple trying to find a wedding photographer because every single website, shot, angle, etc. is the exact same. I try and be different and it has worked so far. Make mistakes, put yourself out there, and don’t be scared of hearing no.

That’s all folks! Now it’s your turn.

How and why do you use WordPress? What is your workflow? Please follow up in the comments below.

5 responses to “Case Study: How Creatives Use WordPress”

  1. 圣女 Avatar


  2. Giulio Sciorio Avatar

    Would love to know more about the design process of their sites. Good post!

  3. James Avatar

    Couldn’t disagree with max roper more. If he thinks wedding photographers are all the same he really isn’t looking anywhere.

  4. Jskeeler Avatar

    Well, about to create website for baby photos.  Any suggestions?

  5. Welkyn Winwillow Avatar

    I just wanted to thank you for the WONDERFUL Modularity theme.  It fit my page so perfectly!  Good work, guys!

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