As a professional photographer, your website is invaluable. Having a strong online presence is the easiest way to display, promote, and sell your work. However, you’ll need the right WordPress theme and plugins to make the most of it.
Whether you shoot portraits, events, fine art, or all of the above, NextGEN Gallery is an all-in-one photography site solution. Instead of juggling multiple plugins for image galleries, social sharing, and e-commerce, you can simplify and enhance your site’s functionality.
In this review, we’ll introduce you to NextGEN Gallery and its premium upgrades. Then we’ll discuss some of its key features and how they can improve your site. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to NextGEN Gallery
This plugin has an impressive list of accomplishments. With over 900,000 active installations, the free version is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin in the Plugin Directory. It also has an average rating of 4.75 stars, which it’s maintained for the past two years.
For no charge, NextGEN Gallery provides five high-quality layouts for displaying your images, including thumbnail galleries:
For more diverse options, you can upgrade to NextGEN Plus, which provides a dozen additional layouts. It also offers watermarking for copyright protection, and fullscreen lightboxes with comments and social sharing for each image:
Finally, NextGEN Pro incorporates all these features and tops them off with advanced e-commerce capabilities. It integrates with the popular payment gateways PayPal and Stripe. Plus, you can automatically tack on sales tax and fulfill print orders without lifting a finger.
Licenses provide lifetime usage of the plugin, plus one year of updates and support which you can renew annually. NextGEN Plus costs $99 for use on a single site, while NextGEN Pro runs for $149 and can be installed on up to three sites.
Enhancing Your Professional Photography Site With NextGEN Gallery (3 Key Features)
As you can see, NextGEN Gallery and its extensions can be quite valuable. However, the best way to understand how this plugin can enhance your photography site is to see it in action. We’ve tried out three top features below so that you can do just that.
1. Choose the Best Galleries for Displaying Your Images
Between NextGEN Gallery and NextGEN Plus, there are 12 galleries and albums you can use to display images on your photography site. This can prove to be extremely beneficial, as different layouts are ideal for different purposes. For example, a slideshow is an easy way to present several images without taking up a lot of real estate on your site:
Masonry tiles, on the other hand, make it easy for visitors to browse several photos quickly:
For photographers who wish to separate images by event or type, albums enable you to categorize and navigate through large volumes of photos:
It may be that a single gallery layout can accomplish all your needs. However, when it comes to professional photography sites, it’s convenient to be able to organize and display your images for a variety of situations and clients.
2. Enable Social Sharing to Promote Your Work
There are many ways to make a career in photography. You might take school portraits, capture weddings and other events, or even showcase and sell your prints in galleries. However, all professional photographers have a common need: exposure.
In order to land clients to get the attention of gallery directors, you’ll need to self-promote. Social media is one way of accomplishing that, and enabling visitors to your site to share your images can let them to do the hard work for you.
With NextGEN Plus, you can create fullscreen lightbox displays that include comments and social sharing for each individual photo:
It also incorporates Twitter cards so that your images will be visible in your visitors’ tweets. While you’ll certainly still have to put in some work to market your work yourself, making it easy for others to help you can drive traffic to your site and help you build a following.
3. Use Automated Print Order Fulfillment to Easily Sell Photos
Particularly if you’re doing portraits or event photography, your clients will likely want to purchase prints from you. There are a variety of e-commerce plugins you might consider for providing this service.
However, most of them require you to manually figure out how to get your photos printed and shipped to your customers on your own. With NextGEN Pro, you can set up automated print order fulfillment so that all the steps needed to get photos into your clients’ hands happen without extra attention from you.
Once you configure the plugin’s e-commerce settings, your visitors will be able to easily add photos to their cart and choose from a variety of print options:
The customer will then submit their payment and shipping information. NextGEN Pro handles the following details for you:
- Calculates sales tax via Tax Jar and adds it to customers’ totals
- Converts foreign currencies for easy and accurate purchasing
- Sends orders to White House Custom Color, one of the best U.S. print labs, for printing
- Ships orders to your customers in a white-labeled package
It’s important to note that at the moment, shipping is only available in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, you’ll be charged for the printing and shipping of each order and will need to keep a credit card on file for these expenses.
Photography sites require several unique features in order to successfully promote your work. While you can incorporate key functionalities by mixing and matching several tools, a true WordPress gallery plugin with e-commerce capabilities is a superior method for achieving a professional site.
In this review, we showed you three key features NextGEN Gallery and its extensions provide for creating professional photography sites:
- Choose the best galleries for displaying your images.
- Enable social sharing to promote your brand.
- Use automated print order fulfillment for selling photos with NextGEN Pro.
Do you have any questions about NextGEN Gallery? Ask away in the comments section below!