I'm thinking about starting photography blog soon. The idea is to start presenting portfolio in chronological order and simply share those precious moments capture on the pictures.
I was wondering which of available services can you recommend. What I require is ease of use, ability to define or purchase good looking layouts. It does not have to be free of charge, I'm ready to pay a fee for a good service.
Please, bear in mind that I'm not looking for online gallery (photo sharing) like PicasaWeb or Flickr.
Wordpress is probably going to be the standard blogging service that is the most widely recommended. It is very scalable and gives options specific to photos if that is what you are interested in. You have two basic options when you choose Wordpress, one is to have wordpress.com host your website and content, another is two download it from wordpress.org and host it on any web server(your own or another companies). If you host it on your own, you are basically free to do anything you can imagine to make it yours.
My own blog is based on wordpress but I self host it through 1&1.com. Unfortunately the issue with photo blogs is actually finding the time to update them! But either way here is my photo blog which you may find as a useful example: http:/www.dpollit.net
Another option would be Google's own Blogger service. It is very much like Wordpress's own hosted service, but I would rate it as less able to customize.
I recommend Tumblr. It isn't limited to posting only photos, and you can purchase additional themes (there are also free ones). It's also possible to link your own domain to it (like www.myphotography.com) instead of the standard name.tumblr.com.
The Tumblr hosting is free, and it's very easy to use, but it doesn't include space for your photos. You'll need to store these at Flickr for example, which is how I do it.
http://500px.com/ - Is a newer, more professional oriented photo site (similar in some ways to flickr). It has a blogging and networking component to it. The blog posts allow to upload photos to the posts as well as tags and geo-tags.
I was quite pleased with it, as well as the quality of photographers frequenting the site.
It also gives you a unique, but friendly URL to send people to 500px.com/YOURNAME/blog.
Are you looking into service provider or to roll-out your own?
I do not know much about the former, but for the latter, many photographers purchase their own domain and get a hosting service with Wordpress. Getting your own domain helps you with branding and recognition.
Then you would get a Photography Layout for WordPress. You can check Photocrati which is run by a friend. There are interactive demos for each theme and, personally, I find many of them look really slick.
Have you considered something like Blogger by Google? Not really a dedicated photo blog but it could work pretty well. You can link to your photos in Picasa or Flickr. Easy setup, customizable templates: http://www.blogger.com/home