Galleries are an essential part of many websites. They are a sticky area where site visitors tend to linger a bit more and learn more about you or your services.
Although WordPress has a built-in photo gallery, its functionality is very limited. It allows you to insert a batch of images into a post or page and adjust the image sizes and the number of columns – but not much more than that.
For a proper gallery solution, we have to look at third-party plugins. Thankfully there are quite a number of excellent ones to choose from.
Modula is a user-friendly WordPress plugin to display images in galleries. It has a wide range of customization options with which you can easily resize images by controlling their heights, widths, and aspect ratios.
This plugin was designed to cater to any level of WordPress user with no coding required. The free version includes a custom grid layout, while the Pro version gives you access to lightbox styles, image hover effects, filterable galleries and an unlimited number of photos.
With over 800,000 active installations, NextGEN Gallery is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin. The plugin was developed by Imagely (self-acclaimed WordPress photography experts) and is therefore especially popular among photographers.
The plugin comes in a free and premium version. The free version provides users with a Thumbnail, Slideshow, and Imagebrowser Gallery, as well as a Compact and Basic List Album. The plugin comes with a wide array of options for controlling size of images, style, timing, transitions, controls, and more. The Pro version gives users a wider range of gallery styles, as well as lightboxes, eCommerce, proofing, and PRO support.
NextGEN Gallery provides a powerful engine for uploading and managing galleries of images, with the ability to batch upload, import metadata, add/delete/rearrange/sort images, edit thumbnails, group galleries into albums, and more.
It consists of a number of features and can be considered a plugin full of plugins, but in this case, what interests us are two items:
With Carousel active, any standard WordPress galleries you have embedded in posts or pages will launch a gorgeous full-screen photo browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata.
The Tiled Gallery feature in Jetpack allows you to display your image galleries in three new styles: a rectangular mosaic, a square mosaic, and a circular grid. The rectangular and square tiled layouts also have hover-over captions to save space while making captions accessible.
The Envira Gallery is one of the best options for displaying images in a gallery on your WordPress website. The plugin allows you to create stylish galleries to display your images anywhere on your website.
The plugin comes in both free and premium versions. Some of its key features include a drag-and-drop builder, customizable albums, and automatic or manual slideshows. You can easily share your photos on social media platforms, increasing your audience. Additionally, you can also include watermarks on your photos, image proofing, and password protection.
Spotlight is a WordPress Instagram plugin that lets you display your Instagram feed in a beautiful, clean gallery layout. With Instagram becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, it makes sense to incorporate your feed into your WordPress website.
The user-friendly plugin lets you freely adjust the number of photos to be displayed, their size, the number of columns, and spacing. You can also display your images within a pop-up or lightbox.
With the Spotlight live interactive preview, all your changes will be instantly shown right in your WordPress dashboard. This makes designing and editing way easier than ever before.
Spotlight was developed to enable any WordPress user to easily make adjustments to the look of their gallery without any coding required. This plugin is fully responsive and also gives you the ability to design different layouts for each device – be it desktop, tablet or phone.
With Spotlight, you can easily resize your feed to seamlessly integrate it within your posts, pages or even your sidebar or footer.
One of the great things about this plugin is that it lets you connect to multiple accounts and create unlimited feeds.
Furthermore, the PRO version includes many more features. If you’re interested in filtering and moderation, displaying Instagram stories, as well as additional layout options such as Masonry, Highlight, and Carousel, then we recommend upgrading to Spotlight Pro.
What’s the best WordPress gallery plugin for you?
If you’re wondering which plugin is the best for you, you’re most likely to fall within one of two groups:
The Photographer/Power user
- You’re looking to display your high-quality images on your WordPress website with the possibility of selling them.
- You work with clients who require access to albums and pro features.
- You need an image management system that can handle your image-based business.
The Regular user/Blog owner
- You want to display your images in a sleek gallery layout.
- You don’t need extra features such as albums.
- You need a user-friendly plugin without the need for any coding knowledge.
Sound like you? Then opt for Modula and I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
For those of you who want to get more creations, you may also want to check out our guide on how to create interactive images in WordPress!
Do you know of any other great WordPress gallery plugins for WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below.