Updated on Sep 19, 2019
Do you want to create your own gallery for your WordPress site? An image gallery will let you add pictures and photos in rows and columns, which allows you to include more pictures in less space. At the same time, you are making it much easier for users to browse those images.
This post is to show you how easy it is to create an appealing WordPress image gallery. We will walk you through the necessary steps. So, let’s start, shall we?
We will show you both manual methods to make an appealing WordPress gallery. The post will cover:
When it comes to adding images to your blog posts and pages, WordPress makes it easy as pie. All you have to do is add the image block in Gutenberg and upload your image.
With that said, if you are adding several images, all of them would appear one after another, which does not look great. In such a case, your visitors will need to scroll a lot to view each image.
When creating a gallery, you may display images in a grid layout with rows and columns. You can put on thumbnails for your images, which are there for your visitors - they can click on the thumbnails and see the particular image in full resolution. All of this helps you show more images in less space, in addition to making you look more professional.
With WordPress 5.0 came the Gutenberg block editor, and with it - the Gallery Block. This block lets you make your gallery via simple clicks. Additionally, you can use some helpful gallery plugins to create even better looking, feature-rich galleries.
As we already mentioned, WordPress 5.0 comes with a built-in feature for creating galleries. The functionality is basic and does not offer a lot of options, but it will help you get the job done.
Here is how you create an image gallery in WordPress without any plugins:
The two gallery styles you can implement in Gutenberg are the Grid-style and the Masonry-style. Choosing one of those is a manner of personal taste. Of course, we will shed some light on how to do both styles.
If you want a simple grid-style gallery that has 2 - 4 images per row, you need to select all images that you wish to include and do that in a single go.
Your images should be arranged in 3 columns, as well as being appropriately cropped to fit your grid.
If you choose 7 images, for example, one of them could be alone on its row. That is rarely a problem since the design is responsive, and everything should be neatly arranged. That’s also why we mentioned it’s good to add all images together at once.
Feel free to make some changes to your default gallery layout. Let’s try a 2-column layout, rearrange the order of the images, as well as disable the cropping.
For all that, follow the steps below:
Do you have images that are different sizes and can’t be appropriately arranged in a grid-style? If that’s the case, you can try the Masonry-style image gallery, which can be much more pleasing for you and more appealing for your visitors.
The method we will share is not perfect, but it works. Since currently there aren’t a lot of functionalities when it comes to image galleries in Gutenberg, we need to include some do-it-yourself work.
Before starting with the masonry-style image gallery, you have to decide what you want your exact layout to be.
For this example, we will use 2 images in the first row, 1 in the second, and then 2 rows with 2 images on each of them.
Here is how you do that:
Depending on your theme, there might be larger than expected gaps between the two galleries. That’s why this is not a perfect method.
However, you can get a bit creative and add some text between the two galleries, making gaps look natural.
Since WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, there are some things we can do with galleries, which were not possible before.
Here are some creative things that you can do and make the most of your image galleries.
Keep in mind that the wide width image gallery will work only on some of the WordPress themes that don’t support the Wide Width feature. The good thing here is that if your theme doesn’t support the feature at all, it will not be selectable. So, you don’t have to test your theme manually.
Selecting your gallery block and clicking on the wide width icon will make the image gallery wider than the main content area.
In the same way, you can use wide width, you can choose the full width layout, making your gallery go all the way to your page edges. Again, your theme needs to support that option for it to be available.
This layout style works best when you have 3- or 4-column image galleries. That’s because otherwise, the images can get a little bigger than you want them.
When using the full width layout, it’s best to use only high-quality images. Otherwise, there is the risk of them get pixelated on larger desktop monitors.
Set your gallery to full width by just selecting your gallery block and then clicking on the Full Width button located next to the Wide Width button.
Make your images not only appealing but functional too. When visitors are browsing your beautiful new image gallery, chances are they will want to click on images to see them a bit closer.
For this guide, let’s install PhotoSwipe. It’s free and looks neat and professional. PhotoSwipe can be navigated via mouse clicks, keyboard arrows, and for mobile devices - swiping. So, it will serve you well.
Here’s what you do to add a lightbox to your Gutenberg Image Gallery:
All done! Now you have galleries with clickable images to enter full-screen mode.
If you often have to create image galleries, you will notice that the manual method lacks some essential features:
If you wish to add better and more professional looking image galleries on your WordPress site, you need to use an image gallery plugin.
The built-in gallery feature, as we mentioned, lacks the functionality that most users desire. When you go on the hunt for the right Image Gallery Plugin, and if you want the best experience, there are some essential factors to consider.
While most image gallery plugins have free (lite) versions, the best of them are premium plugins. With that said, they would rarely break the bank. So, if you want good looking, fully-functional image galleries, an image gallery plugin is the way to go.
Of course, you have to choose an image gallery plugin that comes with all the features you need. Some plugins come with plenty of features out-of-the-box, while others allow you to expand the core functionalities and work on necessary addons.
In general, before investing in a gallery plugin, you should definitely take a moment to examine the features that it provides. Ask yourself if it can meet your needs, and if not, continue browsing the plugin store.
Having a feature-rich plugin is great and all, but you want to find the WordPress gallery plugin that will adapt to your workflow. A feature-overloaded plugin can make your user interface messy, while an easy-to-use plugin saves a lot of precious time when managing galleries.
Images are responsible for the majority of the downloaded bytes of any site. Whether you are a photographer, an artist, or a publisher that wants to display a photo gallery, you cannot afford to compromise on the speed of your site pages.
Speed is even more crucial for SEO, as Google keeps emphasizing it on its search algorithm in each of their updates. When you are choosing a plugin, make sure that it doesn’t make your site sluggish.
Is your chosen gallery plugin being updated regularly?
Your gallery plugin may have compatibility issues with new releases of WordPress if it is not updated regularly. When choosing a WordPress gallery plugin, you need to make sure it’s maintained and supported by a team you can rely upon.
If you have employees that are also going to work with the gallery plugin, you should gather them and make the choice as a team.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the high-rated plugins on the market.
Envira Gallery is both easy to use and robust. The plugin comes with its set of pre-built templates that will let you customize the look and feel of your gallery with ease.
Unlike other popular WordPress gallery plugins, Envira is lightweight and non-bloated. The plugin comes with the full package of essential features out-of-the-box. You can also easily enhance the core functionalities by installing one of many addons.
Some key Envira Gallery features are:
When it comes to resizing images in your gallery, Modula makes the job a piece of cake. By resizing your images, you can choose which of them to stand out. This plugin lets you instantly preview changes that you have made to your gallery. So, you don’t have to switch back and forth between Preview and WordPress dashboard.
The free Modula version is available from the official WordPress.org directory, but it naturally comes with limited features. The price for the pro version of the plugin starts at $29 for 1 website, being $99 for unlimited sites.
NextGEN Gallery is actually the most popular WordPress gallery plugin with more than a million active installs. It comes in a bundle with all the needed features out of the box. However, if you want a lightweight plugin with minimal features, you might find NextGEN Gallery a bit bloated.
The plugin’s free version offers two main gallery display styles, as well as two album styles. The premium version gives you the premium gallery displays, pro lightbox display with image commenting, in addition to social sharing.
NextGEN Gallery also provides some different ways for image organizing, such as:
NextGen gallery also has eCommerce features, as well as many other powerful features that professional photographers desire.
Similarly to Envira and Modula, FooGallery also has a lite version that can be downloaded from the official WordPress plugin repository.
With FooGallery, you have the opportunity to arrange your images exactly the way you want by using its drag-and-drop reordering function. It also offers gallery templates for you to choose from, so you don’t need to create a gallery from scratch every time.
Is your gallery plugin currently NextGEN? If that’s the case, you should know that you can import and convert all your NextGEN galleries into FooGallery in a few clicks.
FooGallery is a developer-friendly plugin that comes with various hooks and filters to help you quickly customize the plugin per yours or your clients’ needs.
WP Photo Album Plus is a robust photo album plugin. It lets your site visitors rate and comment on images (photos).
The plugin setup is not as straightforward, especially when compared to other WordPress image gallery plugins. Nevertheless, it comes with some extra customization options than most free WordPress gallery plugins.
WP Photo Album Plus gives you full control over the metadata like Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) and the display sizes. It also offers you to upload images from the frontend of your WordPress site and has loads and loads of built-in features such as lightbox overlay system, search functions, and Google Maps.
The uniqueness of WP Photo Album Plus is that it is bundled with 20 different widgets to add to your website, including Featured photos, Photo of the day, Photo rating, etc.
Having a gallery is specific to each site owner. An image gallery displays your style and your vision. No matter what kind of images you are presenting (art, photography, pictures, etc.), your gallery should be set exactly the way you want. This is why it’s not something you just do like a daily chore. This is why you spend some more time until it’s perfect in your eyes. We hope we helped you understand the different ways you can create an image gallery in WordPress. If your site is focused around your galleries, we recommend using a plugin (even if it’s the lite version) for better appeal on your website visitors.
In case you are not currently using WordPress, and you want to try it out, you should know that FastComet offers Fully Managed WordPress Hosting. If you wish, you can check our pricing.
If you already have your WordPress gallery, you probably want to go over it one more time, after reading our article. And if you don’t have one, now you know how easy and fun it is to create it. Create your beautiful, vibrant galleries and share them with everyone.
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