The WordPress Photo Gallery (and How to Nail It)
Photo galleries are an incredibly useful and versatile tool for WordPress websites.
There’s the standard mosaic gallery:
The masonry board gallery:
The space-saving slider or carousel gallery:
The multi-view product gallery:
And even the company profile gallery:
In today’s quick and dirty overview of the WordPress photo gallery, I’d like to talk about why you need them, how best to use them, and the WordPress tools you need to ensure they’re correctly integrated into your website.
The WordPress Photo Gallery: Intro, Best Practices, and Tools
Photo galleries aren’t just for photographers. If you have high-quality and engaging photos to show off, you should display them on your WordPress website.
Here are some other popular ways to use photo galleries on company websites:
- Create a digital portfolio and demonstrate your quality of work and breadth of expertise.
- Showcase photos from a company-hosted or -attended event and let visitors see your “human” side.
- Make money by selling your photos or collections of photos.
- Provide quick snapshots of all your products and let the photos sell themselves.
- Display various views of your products or close-ups on the intricacies of those products.
- Compile large quantities of profiles (like team member bios, partner logos, or case studies) to demonstrate your company’s expansive support network, reach, etc.
If you can get creative and find other uses for large quantities of photographs, do it! While content will always be “king,” photos still play an important role in the minds and visual appetites of your visitors.
WordPress Photo Gallery Best Practices
Keep in mind that photos tend to be heavy (as in taking-up-over-half-of-your-site’s-size heavy), so be careful when adding them to your website. There are other tips and best practices you should be aware of before adding photo galleries to your site, too. Let’s cover those and then take a look at the WordPress tools to help you do this the right way.
- Use JPEG format.
- Give photos a memorable name so you can find them easier later (if you even need to find them).
- Size and scale your photos consistently. Even if you’re not using a mosaic or slider gallery layout, these sizing consistencies will help photos transition well.
- Avoid using heavily altered photos. Many people are skeptical of photo authenticity.
- Don’t overdo it. Not only are images space-hogs, but too many photos may be overwhelming for visitors. Use the ones that will make the biggest impact.
- If they don’t look good, don’t include them. 38% of users will abandon a site if the aesthetics aren’t executed well. So always use high-quality, high-resolution photos.
- Use relevant photos. If you’re a wedding photographer, don’t confuse visitors by including travel or pet photos (unless it’s a destination wedding or the dog served as best man).
- Make sure your photos jive with your company’s branding and personality.
- Review photos for mobile compatibility. Orientation, size, and gallery layouts may affect their presentation on smaller screens.
- If you can, tell a (logical) story with your photos.
- Don’t forget about white space. White space within photos is key to drawing attention to the subject. White space surrounding your gallery is just as important. You don’t want an overabundance of text distracting visitors from your hard work.
- Only include necessary gallery elements so as not to give visitors too many options or distractions. Determine if you need: arrows, slide indicators, captions, calls-to-action, auto-transitions, and so on.
- When showing off a product with a gallery of photos, consider including unusual options like 360-degree viewing and zooming.
- Update all your photos’ metadata to include the name of the photographer (or your company name), your URL, and the date for copyright purposes.
- Add a watermark to all photos (if they’re your own work), so people can’t steal and use them without giving you credit.
- Disable right-clicking. It may not prevent people from stealing your work (also known as hotlinking), but it’ll be more difficult for them to overload your server when they steal the link to your image for their own purposes.
WordPress Tools for Photo Galleries
- Start with a responsive and retina ready WordPress theme meant to handle large quantities of photographs. ePix, Oshine, Kameron, and Divi are among the most commonly recommended photography themes.
- If you’re using image galleries to showcase products, take a look at the WooCommerce-compatible themes here. Many of them come with portfolio and gallery options, image zooming, hover effects, and more.
- Use Instagram to create and display your image gallery with the Instagram Feed plugin.
- Optimize your website for speed so that hefty quantities of photos don’t weigh it down. Try the WP Super Cache plugin.
- Compress and optimize your images to help them shed some extra weight. Try the Smush plugin.
- Edit and manage your photos’ names and metadata for better search optimization (and copyright protection). Try the WP Meta SEO plugin.
- Disable hotlinking of your photos (and protect your website better in the process). Try the All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin.
- For larger photo galleries and less real estate to work with, use a responsive slider or carousel gallery. Try the Huge-IT Slider plugin.
- Use a plugin that will allow you to create any style of gallery you want and to change your mind later. Try the Gallery plugin for fully responsive and versatile layouts (e.g. mosaic, thumbnails, masonry, slider, and more).
The WordPress Photo Gallery: What’s the Point?
The point is this: WordPress websites are capable of doing a lot more than just publishing a blog post or providing background information on your company and services. With the support of WordPress themes and plugins, you can add impressive photo galleries on your website without much effort at all.
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