Build A Cool Photo Gallery Website from WordPress

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00 Little Photo Gallery.jpgIt’s the day after D-Day. The bride and groom have left for their honeymoon, everybody has gone back to their respective hometowns, the noise and cheers have turned into silence, the trash have been thrown out, and the living room has been redecorated back to what it was before.

You – the house photographer – sits alone in front of your computer. All the images that you shot at the event have been edited and saved inside the hard disk. All you have to do now is share copies with your relatives. You still remember the horrible smiles that the uncles and aunts gave you while saying “send us copies…or else!” Your body trembles at the thought of failing to fulfil their request.

The Cool DIY Way Of Sharing Images

Considering the huge number of family members and the many parts of the world in which they live in, printing the photos and sending the copies to them is not the perfect answer. You don’t have the time, the energy or the funds. Burning the images onto CDs will still cost you your spare time, the blank disks and the postage.

You think about uploading the images to the web and then start looking for an online photo sharing service. But then it struck you. You remember that you have an idle WordPress blog. Instead of leaving it untouched, why not build a photo gallery web site?

build a photo gallery web site

The whole process will not cost you a thing. It will still require your time, but spending the time to build a photo gallery web site is much better than licking envelopes and stamps.

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Finding & Installing The Themes (& The Plugins)

Assuming that you already have your self-hosted WordPress blog ready, you just need to add a few more ingredients: a photo-gallery theme and plugins.

In the past, you needed both the correct theme and plugins to build a photo gallery site. It’s a little bit different today. While you could still enhance the photo gallery functionality of your WordPress blog by adding plugins, I found out that it’s not necessary anymore. With the advanced development of WordPress themes today, you could build a cool photo gallery site just by using the right theme.

So our first objective is to find the theme. Stop by the WordPress site and click on the “Extend” tab to find the Plugins and Themes directory.

build a photo gallery web site

Go to the Themes directory to find one that’s fit to be used in a photo gallery site. Use the search feature to help you. I found several nice candidates such as Monotone, Shoot It, Page Photo, Hope, Lunated, and AutoFocus.

how to build a photo gallery web site

But don’t limit yourself to my examples. Go out there into the wild wild web and search for more photo gallery WordPress themes. You could install and experiment with all of them.

You can do the same with plugins. Different from themes, which can only be activated one at a time, many plugins can be turned on simultaneously. Nevertheless, I suggest that you don’t activate too many plugins at once with the same function to avoid conflicts.

Next, log in to your WordPress dashboard (http://your.blog.address/wp-admin/) and click “Appearance” from the sidebar to manage your themes.

wordpress photo gallery

If you use the latest version of WordPress (v 2.7 and above), you could do the “searching and installing themes” process directly from within your WordPress admin area. Just choose the “Add New Themes” sub-menu under the “Appearance” tab (if you still use an older version of WordPress, now is the perfect time for you to upgrade.)

04_Add_New_Themes.jpg

You could search and limit the results to specific features – color, column, width, features, subject – using the Feature Filter. Tick the ones according to your preferences. Don’t forget to include the “photoblogging” option under the “Subject” filter.

04b_Searching_Photo_Gallery_theme.jpg

There are several things you can do with the search results: Install, Preview and find out more Details about each theme.
04c_Search_result_options

If you like the theme, click “Install” and then “Install Now

04d_Install_Theme.jpg

Then activate it.
04e_Activate_the_theme

If your theme supports widgets, you are advised to visit the Widget Setting page to activate them.

04f_Widget.jpg

Just drag and drop the ones that you like to the sidebar.

05_Activating_Widgets.jpg

Building The Blog

Now that everything is set, you could start writing your post, upload the pictures, and watch your private photo gallery takes its shape.

All that is left for you to do is email the address of your blog to those ‘meany’ aunts and uncles and let them know that they can download any pictures they like by right clicking on them. Add a little note at the end of the email that they could also add comments to the posts to share their thoughts and opinions – an extra bonus that won’t come with the hard copies.

If you’d like to see the results of this little experiment, you could visit Build A Blog. I finally decided to use only the AutoFocus theme without any additional plugins.

Have you built an online photo gallery using WordPress? Do you know any tips, plugins, or alternative themes to make the photo gallery even more cool? Please share using the comments below.

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