Wordpress & Web Development

Build A Cool Photo Gallery Website from WordPress

Jeffry Thurana 11-10-2009

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 How To Setup A Self-hosted WordPress Blog for Free Read More . 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.


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.)



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.


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

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


Then activate it.

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


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


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.

Related topics: Photo Sharing, Wordpress.

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  1. Pasyuk
    February 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Hey! There is cool flash gallery plugin for wordpress to make your theme realy nice. Named GRAND Flash Album Gallery – multi category flash skin based photo gallery with powerful admin. Thanks!

  2. Daniel H
    October 28, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I have been working with PhotoQ which allows batch uploading and automatic resizing of images.

    There are several themes that it supports out of the box, but it is customizable to any theme.

  3. PhillDoc
    October 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Cool article you got here. It would be great to read something more about that matter.

  4. Andy Fitzpatrick
    October 23, 2009 at 9:47 am

    This is brilliant just what I was looking for to showcase my angling photos. Hadn't thought of using something like wordpress was going to design from scratch. This will save me loads of time.

  5. Linux And Friends
    October 14, 2009 at 8:34 am

    A very good introduction to building a photo gallery in wordpress. However, I wonder how easy it would be to integrate a full fledged photo software with wordpress instead of using a plugin. For example, there is the "Gallery" open source project which allows you to build a photo gallery and comes with lots of features.

  6. Christian Aubry
    October 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing. How, however, do you deal with the image size? Your family won't get great printing results if they right-clik and download low-resolution images that fit in the blog layout. They would have to access the high, original resolution to get better results but how will they do that with WordPress? With a link to the original size file, maybe? Aaaaaaaah I see ;)

    And, by the way, in the "Build a blog" link you suggest as a demo of this setup you are hosting your photos on Picasa, not on your WordPress blog. It looks like your idea is not so great though and that I should stick to my Flickr account that offers many more impressive features.

    If what you need is just a photo album, why not using Flickr or Picasa, uh ?

    The only problem is that you will upload a "one size fits all" image

  7. Susan
    October 13, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    A very nice walk through for newbies of WordPress :)

  8. Youngistaan
    October 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Ohh good but i was thinking here is some thing css and php. Which can allow me to add a photo gallery.

  9. Christine
    October 13, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the article - it's really clear and helpful. I've just created a photo blog (www.eyelives) with Autofocus theme. I had to do a bit of tweaking to the code to eliminate some functions (eg. ExiF data) but it has worked out nicely. A good resource are the forums on WordPress.org - there are answers there to almost all questions. And, the developer of Autofocus, Allan Cole, also helps iron out any bugs in his comments section. Best, Christine

    • delaorden9
      October 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

      great Christine, I like it !

  10. Aibek
    October 12, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Jeffry, the test blog turned out great

  11. redesignyourbiz
    October 12, 2009 at 7:07 am

    this looks interesting..... i need to give it a try

  12. Dacker
    October 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I've had the devil-of-a-time trying to get my stitched panoramic photos on my free WordPress pages to reproduce color/brightness/contrast correctly. I have also been unable to display them bigger than 3-4 inches wide. It really sucks that I've got some gorgeous shots of places like Crater Lake and I cannot share them there.

  13. Ankit
    October 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Damn good post man!! Its really nice tute. I am trying this on my test blog..thanks again

  14. Dian
    October 11, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Awesome!! Salam kenal gan! :D

    • Jeffry Thurana
      October 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

      Yes, Salam kenal juga!:)

  15. Dan
    October 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I know that these alternatives do cost, but I recommend Zenfolio or Smugmug for this purpose. They have many advantages over a photo blog. The greatest advantage is giving relatives and friends the opportunity to obtain prints of the photos on the site without any work on you part. They just indicate which photos they want. The photos are sent to an offsite printer like Mpix, and voila, they receive the prints.