My personal photography website was easy to design and develop because I had full control, but it demonstrates an alternative to the common full screen image layout.
I instead decided to rely on minimalist design and muted tones to help the photographs jump off the page. This also reduces loading time for thumbnails on top of full sized images so the site runs faster and images are viewable straight away.
A nice, simple gallery filter uses jQuery to show and hide different types of images, to reduce scrolling down the page. A very clean, responsive and and minimalist design with the main focus on the portfolio of photographs.