There was a run on photo gallery plugins as sharing photos became a more common occurrence, however many of them quickly were abandoned, which means that you need to make sure that your gallery plugin is not only effective, but will continue to improve. While there are a number of premium gallery plugins which can offer pretty much everything, most people simply don’t want their first investment to be on a plugin that serves only one primary purpose. Fortunately, there are several very high quality free photo gallery plugins available. Here is a quick look at the top 3 photo gallery WordPress plugins that are not only well supported, but also extremely easy to use.
1. SEO Image Galleries
The SEO Image Galleries plugin was designed with the sole goal of providing an enhanced image gallery that uses no flash. It relies jQuery, HTML, and CSS only. Plus it offers customizable ALT attributes. You can create multiple galleries by setting up a separate category for each one. You can then use shortcodes to insert your gallery onto multiple posts and pages. Currently, it is still in beta mode, however this is largely because the default skin will sometimes not play nicely with your theme. Fortunately, with a few CSS tweaks, there shouldn’t be any problems.
2. LightBox Gallery
LightBox Gallery is a fairly straightforward photo gallery plugin. The options page provides a large number of settings that make it very easy to modify. Plus, the supporting documentation provides you with the information that you need to make any additional changes, even if you are new to coding. You can even set it up so that your regular images also pop up in light-box as well. This prevents you from needing any other plugin to manage your images. All of the normal captions will be displayed as tooltips and the descriptions will be displayed whenever the light-box pops up.
3. NextGEN Gallery
When it comes to photo gallery plugins, there might not be one that is more well known than NextGEN Gallery. It was immediately well received because it seemed to use all of the best features of the other gallery plugins while improving on all of the normal flaws. It is exceptionally easy to use and manage both in the admin area and front end. In terms of features, it has pretty much everything you could ask for. In fact, it may have more features than most of the lower-end premium plugins. You can create custom templates, create a media RSS feed, add watermarks, use a variety of image effects, and much more. In short, it can pretty much do it all. Plus, the coding is very organized and easy to understand so if you need to make any changes, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find what you need.
With so many photo gallery plugins available, both free and premium, it is important that you choose one that best fits your needs as well as stays current with WordPress. If you are looking for a free plugin, then these three should definitely be at the top of your list.