WordPress has gallery functionality built right into it so you can upload images using the Media uploader and embed them in posts. Unfortunately the handling is dependent on the theme and won’t always have the right look or extra functionality that you might require. If you run a website which makes use of a lot of images, such as a portfolio website for a designer, photographer or artist then you might want to spruce up your galleries a bit, which where this post will be useful to you.

How To Create Your Own WordPress Gallery

Adding image galleries in WordPress is possible without the use of a plugin. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1 – Where Do You Want It To Go?

You have the freedom to choose where you want to post the gallery, whether on a blank area of a post or within existing text. Simply place your cursor where you think the gallery would be perfect.

Step 2 – Upload Your Images

Edit the blog post then tap on the “Add Media” link. You’ll be introduced to a new window to insert the media you want. Find the “Create Gallery” button located on the left-side column, then tap “Create New Gallery” to start uploading.

Create a Gallery

You can do this in two distinct ways. You can choose the photos stored on your computer, or choose the ones that already exist in your media library. Click on “Select Files”, or do the drag-and-drop maneuver to put your perfect photos up the media library.

Rename your images however you wish. Organizing each file name as you upload is as easy as 1-2-3. Just point, click and then add the title. You can also add alt texts, captions, and descriptions to each one.

Step 3 – How Do You Want It To Look?

The WordPress uploader shows the images within the gallery settings. You can now choose some options for displaying it.

Gallery Options

On the Edit Gallery screen, you’ll be presented with a wealth of editing options. Here they are:

  • Size. These come in four options- Small, Medium, Thumbnail and Full Size.
  • Random Order. Feeling adventurous? Set up a gallery with pictures set in a random order.
  • Columns. Choose how many columns you want. Three is the default.
  • Link To. These come in three options- Media File, Attachment Page or None.

Step 4 – Insert Gallery Into Your Post

When you’re happy with your work, you can click the “Insert Gallery” link. The media uploader will close and the image gallery comes into focus in your post editor. Don’t fret if you forgot something, because you can always edit your galleries by clicking on the thumbnails.

Save your post for later or publish it now. At this point you can add more image galleries or pages using shortcode commands. Now, check your website and play around with the newly-created galleries!

Wasn’t that quick and easy?

When you’re accustomed adding a gallery though, you’ll start to notice some useful functions are missing. For example, an image usually opens at the attachment page. This isn’t always where you need to be, which warrants a click of the back button to get back to the gallery view. The WordPress gallery is also not optimized for the mobile, which could be slow to load on these devices. The appearance will depend on the theme you set, which comes off as generic and bland. Furthermore, the galleries lack added customization options such as tagging, organizing into albums, etc.

Enter plugins that complete the look of your WordPress galleries. Here, you can add professional-looking images on your site with just a few mouse clicks. Read the next point to learn how.

Supercharge Your Image Gallery

Here’s where it gets even more exciting. Activate Jetpack’s Carousel Mode, then head straight to your gallery. You’ll see your images encased in an elegant lightbox! If you choose not to use Jetpack, that’s fine- you can opt for a standalone plugin within the WordPress platform. Search Gallery Carousel Without Jetpack, then click Install.

Once installed, get to your Settings and tap on Media to choose various carousel options. You can click on any image and refresh your gallery post instantly. Did we mention that your galleries are now in a gorgeous lightbox?

Jetpack Carousel

Learn all of these and you’ll start making great-looking galleries. Check out various other gallery plugins to add to your repertoire. Enrich your WordPress experience and enjoy what it can offer you and your website!

Best WordPress Gallery Plugins

We have put together one of the most comprehensive lists of WordPress Gallery Plugins available, we have hand-picked over 60 different plugins for you to choose from so you will be sure to find the perfect one for your needs. We have started off with commercial plugins, these will typically have more features and will include support if you get stuck using it. Next we have also listed a number of free gallery plugins, all from the official directory so you can be assured they have been checked for code and functionality.

Take a look below and find the perfect plugin to create your gallery of images.

Envira Gallery

What this plugin offers its users is just as unique as its name. With Envira, you’ll have the power to create a modern, responsive and attractive image gallery within the WordPress platform. Don’t worry about the optimization, because it runs fast on server and web tests.

The Envira plugin comes in a drag-and-drop functionality and a host of helpful features such as gallery templates, image navigation and a lightbox pop-up. You can password protect your files, create slideshows, put up an album cover for your galleries, add watermarks and create video galleries as well. CSS users can customize even further.

It’s mobile friendly and intuitive. You can tap on one photo to enlarge, or swipe to move on the next photo.

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 Galleries by Angie

Galleries by Angie works like an extension that adds functionality to your original WordPress galleries. Some of the notable additions include turning your galleries to show slider, carousel or masonry galleries. Furthermore, you can now select to open images in new tabs, add custom links, get 15 new pop-up sizes, 8 display themes, 6 caption types and 5 caption options. Hide gallery controls for a more sleek interface.

Galleries by Angie

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Imagely NextGEN Gallery

Arguably the most popular gallery plugin for WordPress, this plugin has been making the rounds since it came to be in 2007. Visit the page and you’ll see thousands of positive reviews which accentuate the millions of download it gets every year.

And why not? NextGEN provides a myriad of excellent options for each step of the gallery process. From uploading, editing and publishing your images, NextGEN is way ahead of you. Beginners can take to the Intuitive Gallery Wizard, a step-by-step process to creating your very first WordPress gallery.

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Dynamic Grid

This plugin uses the “Dynamic Grid” engine. Thanks to that, you have the power to create exactly the layout you need. And if you don’t know what you need, the plugin comes with rock-solid default settings that create a beautiful and random layout on every page load! If you want to tackle the settings a bit you can create anything – horizontal 1-row scroller, vertical 1-column scroller, grid with square cells, grid with random number of cells, or even – a grid with random number of cells and every cell with a random height! You get the idea.

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Timeline Photo Gallery

This plugin allows you to organize your photos, create various photo albums and display them in timeline-based photo gallery. Moreover, the timeline is easy to customize. You can choose either monthly or yearly timeline mode. You are also able to modify your timeline’s tyle by choosing any color you want.

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Instagram feed

This plugin allows you to display any Instagram media on you website in a highly customizable galleries. User friendly, flexible, customizable – it’s an essential plugin to show your website visitors your life stream, portfolio, travel pictures or anything else you can imagine.

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Justified Image Grid

Justified Image Grid is a powerful and responsive WordPress gallery plugin, expertly designed to showcase your images in the most beautiful and authentic way. Whether you specialize in capturing magical wedding days, creative designs and innovations, expressive portraits, extraordinary architecture, or a journalistic exploration, your photos tell a unique story and deserve to be presented in their full glory.

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Jigowatt Gallery

The Jigowatt Gallery for WordPress allows you to create customisable galleries and insert them into posts and pages. Its built upon WordPress 3.0’s Custom Post Types and Taxonomies making it easy to use and extend if you want to.

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Fast Gallery

Fast Gallery, with this awesome plugin you can build your gallery in 1 minute. You have available 5 types of gallery (Prettyphoto, Photobox, Magnificer Popup, Fotorama, Custom URL) using masonry, grid with responsive or fluid layout and more features.

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Stretch Gallery

Stretch Gallery WordPress plugin is a HTML5 slider gallery that allows you to create a nice portfolio gallery with some nice effects and customization settings.

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Vox Carousel Gallery

Vox Carousel Gallery is a flexible plugin for WordPress, with many customization options. Some features: Responsive, unlimited galleries, image, video, headline text, Google fonts, embed code, deep linking, social share, custom css and javascript and much more!

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Image Contest Gallery

Features: WordPress Image Contest Plugin System. Allow users to submit images to your site that are automatically entered into an image contest in which others can vote on the images. Create unlimited contests. Ajax driven navigation. Gallery lightbox with voting button integrated. Masonry layout with responsiveness. Frontend visual user image upload management page. Admin quick contest image management in the backend. Shortcode maker for easy page creation. Backend user demo on demo site

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Awesome Gallery

Awesome Gallery was built to help you building nice looking galleries using images pulled from various sources, like posts, attachments, pages, custom post types including WooCommerce products, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, 500px albums, NEXTGEN Gallery, and even RSS feeds.

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Creative Image Gallery

Creative Image Gallery is a Visual Composer Add-on from the creators of Colors Creative WordPress theme that will give you the best looking galleries on the planet! Horizontal low, Horizontal medium, Square, Vertical medium and Vertical high – select any of them to adjust your layout. Devices mock-ups Truly unique feature: show your images within devices mock-ups. Note: this feature works only if you activate the Creative Devices Mock-ups plugin (sold separately).

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Lightbox Gallery Manager

Lightbox Gallery Manager is a WordPress plugin that offers an easy way to embed unlimited lightbox galleries on your WordPress site. You can organize your images by category and add single sets or whole categories with a simple shortcode.

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TZ Plus Gallery

TZ Plus Gallery display all your albums from social source Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google+ on your site. You can post your photos every where, every time from your mobile device to Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Google+. it will auto added on your website.

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Gridzy Image Gallery

Gridzy Image Gallery Plugin arranges your images in a beautiful, accurate grid. The performance is extraordinarily excellent also on mobile devices. The image grid is fully responsive and will be rearranged immediately after the device is rotated or after the browser window is resized.

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jQuery Facebook Gallery

The jQuery Facebook Gallery WP plugin allows you to show all your Facebook albums (images) on your website. Please note that this script will only work with Facebook pages that belong to businesses or organization or pages that are registered as fan pages. It will NOT work with personal Facebook profiles or group pages. Also, please make sure that the Facebook page you want to use has no active age restrictions since these restrictions require authentication and access tokens for each user.

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Instagram Gallery

This wordpress plugin will enable you to display your snaps and videos you or another account have uploaded to Instagram. This includes variety of configuration to have control over the gallery made available via shortcode or widgets.

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Post Gallery Pro

Post Gallery Pro is a WordPress plugin powerful and very pleasant photo gallery plugin to work with images in WordPress.

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Pronto Gallery

Pronto Gallery is a plugin for WordPress. It provides an easy way to create user friendly, sortable lightbox galleries consisting of images and videos. The galleries can be attached to any content type (post, page, custom content types) and also can be placed anywhere in the post using a shortcode.

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Isotope Gallery

Isotope Gallery is an interactive WordPress photo gallery plugin, best fit for creative and corporate portfolio websites, that lets you create beautifully animated galleries with a modern look and smooth animations.

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Nova Gallery

Nova Gallery WP makes it easy to embed the Nova Gallery – Responsive HTML5 Multimedia Gallery, in your WordPress theme. It is a HTML5 multimedia gallery enabling you to showcase your photos/audio/video in a beautiful and sleek interface. You have the option of presenting your items in two different modes, which are a Thumbnail Grid and Full-width view, and you also have the option of switching between the two modes. You can have multiple sets/albums of items and can filter the gallery items based on file type or based on custom categories. The gallery allows you to showcase your Youtube/Vimeo videos and Flickr/Picasa photos from groups/sets/albums/collections.

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Reflektor Gallery

The Reflektor Gallery harnesses the power of WordPress, Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3 to take everything you throw at it – images, videos, animations, image effects, text, urls and more – and automatically shape them into a custom gallery unique to you. As your needs grow, it evolves with you, effortlessly adapting to your needs. Want to add custom post types? Instagram hashtags feeds? Pinterest users? Beautiful Flickr images? A different layout? The Reflektor Gallery just takes care of it. It was never so simple generate gallery to display your blog, portfolio, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest or any custom post types.

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Mikado Photo Gallery

Time to throw away trivial grid galleries! Mikado is a WordPress image gallery based on random grids with a lot of features. It’s responsive and images will adapt with a nice and smooth animation when the browser is resized. You just need to decide width (also percentage) and height and Mikado will create a random grid inside the rectangle.

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User Gallery

User Gallery is very useful WordPress plugin that allows your users submit photos to your Gallery. Plugin is very sophisticated a gives the website owner 100% control over content and user has full control over own photos. Plugin support unlimited categories, image metadata (exif), comments (WordPress or Disqus). image resizing, e-mail notifications and many others features.

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Flow Gallery

Showcase your photography/audio/video work with ‘Flow Gallery’; the ultimate professionally developed WordPress plugin based HTML5 Multimedia Gallery. Choose from column or row layouts and present your best work in style with this epic gallery plugin. Flow Gallery supports YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion as well as any stock footage and other self-hosted video/audio making it perfect for almost every occasion.

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DV Gallery

DV Gallery is a premium responsive wordpress gallery plugin. There are 3 main gallery style. Blog style, carousel style and grid style. You can use any of them to display your galleries. You can change all colors, font sizes, spacings etc. from powerful plugin settings panel.

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Creative Gallery

Creative Gallery – A must have WordPress Image Gallery is a first of its kind of image gallery, built using jQuery and CSS3. It helps to give your albums a unique animation effect and style.

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Thumbnail Gallery

This Plugin will help you to easily add a thumbnail gallery to your WordPress website or blog. The gallery is completely customizable, resizable and is compatible with all browsers and devices (iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones). You will be able to insert it in any page or post you want with inbuilt short code generator.

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Fancy Gallery

Create your own individual gallery easily in wordpress. The plugin comes with an user-friendly AJAX-driven adiminstration that allows creating galleries easily and quickly. You can display a gallery in a post, page or even in a widget area.

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Final Tiles

Final Tiles Grid gallery is a smart WordPress portfolio plugin that thinks outside the box. Powered by a brand new grid algorithm, Final Tiles offers an easy way to create a WordPress portfolio gallery using personalized images and custom aspect ratios. WordPress gallery plugin with 2 available layouts: Final Tiles (mixed image sizes) and Masonry (same image size). 6 months included support. Now it supports also WordPress albums!

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Album and Image Gallery Plus Lightbox

The most basic Album plugin, but still makes a great impression on any web site! Add images to your Albums directly from your WordPress Media Manager, add the captions you want, drag and drop and display. Use Album grid and slider to create a simple but effective Album gallery to show of your beautiful photographs and other images.

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Smart Grid Gallery

Responsive WordPress grid gallery plugin to create dynamic images grids with lightboxes, CSS3 animations and support for YouTube and Vimeo videos. Turn any WordPress shortcode into dynamic grid gallery with many options. Yes, it is responsive and touch friendly.

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Facebook Gallery

The Facebook Gallery harnesses the power of WordPress, Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3 to take everything you throw at it – images, videos, animations, image effects, text, urls and more – and automatically shape them into a custom gallery unique to you. As your needs grow, it evolves with you, effortlessly adapting to your needs. Want to add Facebook Album(s)? Facebook users albums or timeline feed? Or just a single album photos? A different layout? The Facebook Gallery just takes care of it.

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FAT Image Gallery

FAT Gallery is a premium responsive wordpress gallery plugin. There are 5 main gallery style : Masonry , Justified, Album , Carousel, and Grid . FAT Gallery compatible with Visual Composer . You can change all colors, font sizes, spacings etc. from powerful plugin settings panel.

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WP Gallery Evolved

Extend Worpress Gallery options with WP Gallery Evolved, after installing, some new settings will be added to Gallery Settings allowing you to take responsiveness control over the gallery columns. Just set the breakpoint and how many columns the gallery should break on that breakpoint and it’s done. Two breakpoints are available, covering tablets and mobile devices. Also, with a single click you can add lightbox features for your galleries or change the gallery layout to load as a dynamic gallery (like Pinterest) or rendering as a carousel. For developers, some hooks were added allowing more control over plugin features and even more customization.

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Global Gallery

Create fully responsive and adaptive galleries fastly and with ease on your website. Global Gallery can handle unlimited image sources and comes with three gallery layouts, nine lightboxes ready to use and is designed to be displayed on each device. Plus it comes with full featured slider and carousel!

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Gallery Factory

It’s the WordPress gallery plugin made with large image galleries in mind. Users with hundreds and thousands of images will find it most useful, yet anyone who wants to take his WordPress website to the next level with professional good looking galleries will enjoy Gallery Factory.

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Unite Gallery

Unite Gallery is the best gallery for WordPress that play both images and video! With it You can create beautiful, fully responsive and mobile friendly gallery for your WordPress website. With 10 gallery layouts, intuitive wordpess gallery admin, zoom and touch lightbox, compatibility with Youtube, Vimeo, HTML5, Wistia videos, and tons of design options you can find everything you need from a gallery for your amazing WordPress website.

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Hybrid Gallery

Hybrid Gallery – 1st WordPress plugin with visual shortcode editor, which allows you to create & edit galleries with one click. With tons of options you can create awesome galleries with unlimited possibilites. You can set gallery, carousel or slider with already defined layouts.

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Full Screen Gallery

WordPress Full Screen Gallery turns your normal and boring built-in gallery of WordPress into a fullscreen gallery with the support for thumbnail, caption! It actually utilize power of short code which is a buil-in feature of WordPress. Normally when we clicked on thumbnail of default gallery we go to attachment page or the picture itself. But after installing this plugin, when a thumbnail is clicked, a full screen gallery to show to vistiors.

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Features: Display all posts – query by category, tag, number of views, number of votes. Dynamically change the sort by dragging items. Sidebar quickview with title, feature image, excerpt content, post gallery, avatar, author name. Optional related scroll – show authors other items. Set post per page. Pagination is ajax loaded – the user does not leave the page when cycling through all the gallery pages.

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SoapBox Gallery

Features: Display all posts – query by category, tag, number of views, number of votes. Dynamically change the sort by dragging items. Sidebar quickview with title, feature image, excerpt content, post gallery, avatar, author name. Optional related scroll – show authors other items. Set post per page. Pagination is ajax loaded – the user does not leave the page when cycling through all the gallery pages.

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Portfolio Manager Pro

One plugin that includes everything you may think of! 35+ ready to use list templates. Select list content, modify layout and style your list to get the content and the look you want – advanced portfolio items selection options, drag&drop content re-arranging, list titles, lightboxes, tons of controls, hovers, backgrounds, borders, delimiters, social icons, paginations, media types and settings, styling and more. Category & Tag Archive Pages are also included.

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The iGallery is an interactive WordPress photo gallery plugin, best fit for creative and corporate portfolio websites, that lets you create beautifully animated galleries with a modern look and smooth animations.

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Free WordPress Gallery Plugins

Contest Gallery

100% responsive mobile optimized photo contest gallery with different options to rate pictures. Generate front-end upload forms! By clicking out of gallery view a new tab opens with the full size image. This allows to see instantly the full resolution image, with highest quality. Switch between total different gallery views without site reloading! If you done a vote in one view you see all vote results in other views. Everything live. All changes you done in one view you see also in other views.

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Gallery Face Groups

This plugin recognizes faces on the pictures of a gallery, and groups pictures by people present on the shot. Saves a lot of time of finding friends and yourself on the pictures of big events.

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Gallery Slideshow

Turn any WordPress gallery into a simple, robust, lightweight and fluid slideshow. Slideshow captions are taken from each image’s “Caption” field. Upload and use unique versions of any images that are reused elsewhere on your site with different captions. Slideshow widths should automatically adjust to the smaller of: 1) the width of the largest image in the slideshow or 2) the width of its container. Default Display: Height / width of slideshow image area is set by the first image; images appear at full size or are scaled down to fit container; smaller images are horizontally centered; images that above 90% of the width of the slideshow are scaled to 100% width; images are bottom aligned to caption area; some white space may appear at the top of slideshows that contain both horizontally and vertically aligned images.

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Gallery Theme

Using this simple plugin, you can easily change wordpress’s default gallery theme and design your own. There is a simple theme file ‘gallery-theme-default.php’ in the plugin’s ‘themes’ folder (wp-contentpluginsgallery-themethemes). You can use it as a sample to design your own theme files. Just transfer it to your template folder and try to edit it. When you activate this plugin, all of your wordpress galleries will use this simple theme instead of the wordpress’s default internal gallery theme.

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Meow Gallery

Gallery system built for photographers, by photographers. Clean, focused, evolve naturally. Using the Masonry layout by default. Gallery system built for photographers, by photographers. It’s clean, focused, and will evolve naturally. It is responsive, retina and was built for the latest versions of WordPress.

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SM Gallery

Gallery plugin that’s simple because it leans on existing WordPress gallery features. Upload images as you normally would, insert the “gallery” tag as you normally would, with the plugin enabled BAAM! Your gallery is not in a beautiful showcase. Wait, don’t have room on your page for a showcase? No problem, we got you covered! Ad a simple attribute (modal) to the gallery code and define a thumbnail image… now you have a thumbnail that opens an overlay box on the page with your gallery showcase in it. No, it doesn’t navigate away from the current page, its very similar to a lightbox effect.

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Photonic Gallery

Galleries on steroids! A stylish plugin for galleries of your public and private WP, Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, 500px, Zenfolio & Instagram photos. Photonic lets you use the WordPress gallery shortcode and super-charges it with a lot of added functionality. It adds support for several new parameters to enhance the content and look-and-feel of your galleries. It supports Flickr photos, Photosets, Galleries and Collections, along with Picasa / Google photos and albums, SmugMug albums and images, 500px photos and galleries, Zenfolio photos, Photosets and Groups, and Instagram photos and users. You can also enable authentication for your site visitors that will let them see private and protected photos from each provider.

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Gallery Pro

Gallery Pro is an advanced plugin with a list of Features and options for adding and editing multiple images for different views. With Gallery Pro you can Add unlimited images on your blog site. Design various types of image, video, link gallery using this plugin. Gallery Pro provide you light box image preview and two gallery layout with various fonts.

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Gallery Final Tiles Grid

The gallery is fully responsive and it adapts to the browser using a nice and smooth animation, even on mobile devices because it can use the hardware acceleration taking advantage of CSS3 properties. This is a completely new way to build galleries because now you can think of the images like they were the tiles of a puzzle with different sizes, so you can use a bigger size for a cover image, for example.

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Easy Media Gallery

Gallery enables you to create several media such as galleries, photo albums, portfolio and also simple picture to an image slider, image carousel, youtube video, vimeo video and audio playlist. This gallery plugin represents a perfect solution for your website gallery.

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Gallery Bank

Gallery Bank is a WordPress Gallery Plugin designed to create Elegant and Beautiful Photo Gallery Albums along with Images and videos using Grid Albums, List Albums, Individual Albums, Masonry Layouts and Thumbnail Layouts along with Special Effects and Animation Effects. Gallery Bank is the only available WordPress Plugin in the market with extra-ordinary features. It is loaded with 200+ features and creates stunning Photo Galleries on any WordPress site. Gallery Bank provides a powerful engine for uploading and managing photo galleries of images & videos, with the ability to batch upload, delete, rearrange, sort images.

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About The Author

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, an online company which has been working with WordPress since 2009. He has written hundreds of posts about WordPress in that time and founded two theme companies which provide free and paid themes to millions of users.

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