WordPress Tutorial

How to Create a Stunning WordPress Gallery (In 3 Steps)

WordPress picture gallery

Image galleries are everywhere on the web. In fact, most of the sites you frequent probably feature at least one gallery somewhere, and for good reason. Fortunately, creating your own WordPress gallery is simpler than you might imagine. In fact, you’ll probably spend more time choosing which images to use than you will putting them all together.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to create a WordPress gallery in three steps:

  1. Upload the images you want to include in your WordPress gallery.
  2. Add the images to your gallery.
  3. Place your gallery anywhere you want on your website.

On top of that, we’ll also introduce you to seven of our favorite WordPress gallery plugins, so you can take advantage of features the platform doesn’t offer out of the box. Let’s get to work!

Step #1: Upload the Images You Want to Include in Your WordPress Gallery

The first thing you’ll need to set up a WordPress gallery are some images. For this tutorial, we’re going to use stock pictures of puppies, to liven up the proceedings.

First, log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to your Media > Library tab. Once you’re there, click on the Add New button at the top of the screen:

Adding new images to your library.

Next, click on the Select Files button, which will open up your local file explorer:

Selecting which files to upload.

To speed things up, we recommend that you upload all the images you want to place within your gallery at the same time. To that end, we set up a folder called puppies on own computer:

Your puppies folder.

When you select multiple pictures to upload at once, WordPress will show you the progress of each one individually:

Uploading multiple images at once.

Give the platform a few moments to work, until all your uploads are done. The time this takes will depend on your internet speed and the size (and number) of the images you’re uploading.

If you find that the upload process is taking too long, you might want to cancel it and optimize your gallery images before putting them up on your website. Keep in mind that high-resolution graphics tend to look better, but they’re often far too ‘heavy’. In most cases, you should be able to compress them a bit without affecting their quality – a process called ‘image optimization’.

There are a lot of WordPress plugins you can use to optimize your images automatically, as well as simple browser-based services such as TinyPNG:

The TinyPNG homepage.

Either way, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step once all your images are up and ready.

Step #2: Add the Images to Your WordPress Gallery

Now that all your images are ready, find the page where you want to place the gallery and open it using the WordPress editor (or simply create a new page).

Adding the gallery to the page is very simple. All you have do is locate your cursor where you want to place the gallery within the editor, and then click on the Add Media button at the top:

Adding new media to one of your posts.

A new screen will pop up, with options to place images from your media library, set up a gallery, or create a media playlist. Go with the Create Gallery option, and select the Media Library tab to its right:

Creating a WordPress gallery.

Next, click on all the images you want your gallery to include. When you’ve selected them all, choose the Create a new gallery button at the bottom right of the screen, and you’re good to go! Let’s move on to the last step, where we’ll show you how to place your gallery.

Step #3: Add Your WordPress Gallery to Your Website

At this stage, you should be seeing a screen labeled Edit Gallery, showing you all the images you added during step number two. Within this screen, you can choose how many columns your gallery will include, the size of its thumbnails, and the order of the images:

Editing your WordPress gallery.

You can also add individual captions to each image, and decide if they should link to anything. By default, WordPress will lead visitors to the file attachment page when they click on each image, which will look like this:

A WordPress media attachment image.

Once you’re done, click on the Insert Gallery button, and your gallery will show up within the WordPress editor:

Inserting a gallery within your post.

The bad news is that WordPress doesn’t enable you to re-use the same galleries you set up on other pages. If you want to copy a gallery, you’ll have to repeat the process, choosing the same images and settings. However, that shouldn’t take you long, since the images are already up on your website.

Aside from adding images to your posts and pages, you can also use WordPress’ Gallery widget to place them within your sidebar or footer. To do this, go to the Appearance > Widgets tab and look for the Gallery widget:

The WordPress gallery widget.

Now, drag that widget to your sidebar or footer, and place it wherever you want it to appear. Then, the widget will ask you which images you want to include in your gallery:

Adding a gallery widget to your sidebar.

Note that you can also add captions to this widget, and give your gallery a title:

Considering your sidebar gallery widget.

When you’re done, click on the Save button, and you’ll be able to see your gallery on the front end:

Checking out your gallery from the front end.

As you can see, creating a WordPress gallery couldn’t be simpler!

However, the types of galleries you can set up out of the box aren’t exactly rich in features. If you want to level up your WordPress galleries, you’ll need to turn to plugins, which is what we’ll talk about next.

7 Top WordPress Gallery Plugins to Showcase Your Images

There’s nothing wrong with WordPress’ gallery functionality. However, with the right plugins, you can gain access to a lot of cool new features. Let’s introduce you to some of our top picks!

1. Photo Gallery by 10web

The Photo Gallery by 10 Web plugin.

Photo Gallery by 10web completely overhauls the WordPress gallery system. It provides you with several gallery layouts you can use, including slideshows, compact albums, and more. You can also use this plugin to implement lightbox effects, which opens the full-size image when someone clicks on it.

The Photo Gallery by 10Web plugin in action.

Moreover, this WordPress gallery plugin enables you to include both images and video within the same gallery. You also get access to multiple widget options, instead of the single one WordPress offers out of the box. Overall, this plugin is the way to go if you want access to as much gallery-related functionality as possible.

Key Features:

  • Set up WordPress galleries using unique layouts
  • Mix images and videos within the same gallery
  • Get access to lightbox effects for your WordPress gallery
  • Use multiple types of widgets to add galleries

Pricing: The base plugin is free, while there are several premium tiers offering more effects, themes, widgets, and other features.

2. Gallery by Robo

The Gallery by Robo plugin.

Gallery by Robo is a fantastic plugin if you want a high degree of control over your galleries’ style and behavior. As with the previous plugin, this one enables you to choose from multiple gallery layouts for your site. However, it also enables you to add slideshow and hover effects, customize your font settings, and even include borders around your images.

The Gallery by Robo plugin in action.

Along with these style options, Gallery by Robo also resizes your images automatically upon upload. This setting enables you to save space, since most sites don’t need gigantic images. Finally, this plugin ensures that all of your galleries are mobile-friendly.

All in all, the high degree of customization makes Gallery by Robo a top option if you want to tweak every aspect of your site’s galleries.

Key Features:

  • Choose from among multiple layouts for your WordPress gallery
  • Add various types of effects to your images
  • Automatically resize images upon upload
  • Set up lazy loading for galleries with a lot of elements
  • Create mobile-friendly galleries without any additional work on your end

Pricing: You can create up to three galleries with the free version, or pay $30 for a premium, unlimited license.

3. GridKit Portfolio Gallery

The GridKit Portfolio Gallery plugin.

Although this plugin includes the word ‘portfolio’ in its name, you can use it to create any type of WordPress gallery you want. Along with images, GridKit Portfolio Gallery also supports videos from multiple sources, and WooCommerce products. Plus, it includes social sharing options so visitors can show your work to their friends and connections.

The GridKit Portfolio Gallery plugin in action.

Just like the other plugins we’ve seen so far, this one enables you to create mobile-friendly galleries. It’s also a fantastic option if you want to showcase client logos, create team member sections, and more. Overall, if you’re looking for a plugin that’s very flexible about the type of galleries it can help you set up, this one is a smart pick.

Key Features:

  • Set up image and video galleries
  • Showcase WooCommerce products using a gallery
  • Create team member sections
  • Choose from multiple types of layouts for your galleries

Pricing: GridKit is a free plugin, although you can get a lot of additional features with one of its pro licenses.

4. Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

The Responsive Lightbox Gallery plugin.

So far, all the plugins we’ve checked out make large changes to the WordPress gallery system. Responsive Lightbox & Gallery, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward. What it does is enable you to create responsive galleries out of the box, and it also includes lightbox functionality.

The Responsive Lightbox Gallery plugin in action.

You can configure your lightboxes’ behavior, choose from among three basic gallery layouts, and even use widgets to place your images where you want. This is one of the most intuitive WordPress gallery plugins we’ve tested, and it’s a useful tool if you’re looking for something straightforward.

Key Features:

  • Set up simple, mobile-friendly galleries
  • Choose from among three layouts for your images
  • Configure your galleries’ lightbox settings

Pricing: This plugin is free from the WordPress Plugin Directory. You can also purchase extensions for it on the developer’s website.

5. Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery

The YouTube Gallery plugin.

There are a lot of plugins that enable you to add videos to your WordPress galleries. However, few of them focus mainly on video galleries, which is why we like this one so much.

The YouTube Gallery plugin in action.

With Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery, you can set up responsive collections of videos. You can link out to several video platforms, including YouTube and Vimeo, add effects to your thumbnails, include lightboxes, and more. Plus, you can place your video galleries anywhere you want on your site, using a simple shortcode system.

Key Features:

  • Pull videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or your site’s files
  • Place your video galleries manually or using shortcodes
  • Choose from several themes and layouts for your galleries

Pricing: This plugin is a completely free option.

6. Photo Gallery

The Ape Gallery plugin.

Although it doesn’t have the most original name, Photo Gallery is still one of our top picks. It features a very all-in-one approach to WordPress galleries, and it includes almost every feature we’ve seen so far in other plugins.

The Ape Gallery plugin in action.

For example, this tool enables you to add hover and transition effects to your gallery images. It also supports image categorization and gallery navigation, which makes looking through massive libraries simpler. On top of that, Photo Gallery includes the option to add videos to your galleries, can lazy load your images, and even comes with social sharing features.

Overall, if you’re all about micromanaging your site’s appearance and behavior, this plugin should be right up your alley. With it, you’ll be able to tweak every aspect of your galleries.

Key Features:

  • Add multiple hover and transition effects to your galleries
  • Categorize your images and enable navigation within your WordPress gallery
  • Add videos and social sharing buttons to your WordPress galleries
  • Enable lazy loading

Pricing: With the free version of this plugin, you can create up to two galleries and place them on posts or pages. The premium tiers enable you to create unlimited galleries and place them in more locations, along with offering some handy extras.

7. Envira Gallery

The Envira Gallery plugin.

Finally, the Envira Gallery plugin features one of the most user-friendly experiences we’ve found so far. For example, it includes a gallery-building wizard, which makes creating galleries a pleasure.

The Envira Gallery plugin in action.

Envira Gallery’s goal is to enable you to create multiple galleries and configure them easily. To that end, it includes multiple WordPress gallery templates, slideshow functionality, and social media sharing features. If you’re looking for a sleek WordPress gallery plugin that’s also easy to use, Envira Gallery should be one of your first picks.

Key Features:

  • Create WordPress galleries using a built-in wizard
  • Choose from multiple gallery templates
  • Set up image slideshows
  • Add social media sharing features to your galleries
  • Extend the plugin’s functionality using add-ons

Pricing: You can opt for the free base version of the plugin, or purchase a pro version for additional features, support, and even the option to include custom CSS.

Conclusion

WordPress galleries are simple yet useful elements. The process of setting up a WordPress photo gallery is easy, although you may want to spend a little while handpicking which images to include. Once your gallery is ready, it’s just a matter of placing it wherever you want on your site. Of course, you can also use dedicated a WordPress gallery plugin to get more customization options.

Do you have any questions about how to create a WordPress image gallery? Ask away in the comments section below!

About the author

Will Morris

Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy. When he's not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.

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