Photography as an art has many aesthetic elements. Photo blogging has many aesthetic elements too.
First, you want your photos to stand out. Hence, it’s best to use neutral backgrounds that will not compete with the colors of the photos. You don’t really want your reader to remember your beautiful web design and not remember your photos.
Second, use minimal graphics in the web design. If you have to use graphics, keep them small.
Third, rounded corners are the current craze. They add even more interest to an already beautiful photo.
When I was still using Adobe CS2, I created the rounded corners with layers. I superimposed a second graphic to my photo to create the rounded corners. Surprisingly, it is much easier to achieve the same effect using GIMP.
Open your file. Crop and resize to your desired proportions. On the menu bar of the open file, click Script-Fu. Choose Decor in the drop-down menu, then click Rounded corners in the sub menu that appears.
A new window will open. Edge radius controls how rounded the corners will be. The default is 15 (pixels). I used a 12-pixel radius to make the rounded corners in the photos on this page.
There is an option to add a drop shadow to the photo in which case you may control width of the shadow horizontally and vertically.
By increasing the Shadow X offset, the shadow to the right of the photo will become larger. By increasing Shadow Y offset, the shadow at the bottom of the photo will become larger.
Note though that the overall size of your graphic will increase with the addition of a drop shadow. You may have to resize the original photo (make it smaller) so that the new graphic (with the drop shadow) will fit into your main panel and does not break your template.