WordPress is the perfect solution for setting up your photography website. But to actually get the most out of your photography site, you’ll need the proper lineup of WordPress plugins.
In this post, I’ll go into the best WordPress plugins for photographers. I’ll try to focus on only photography specific plugins. While basic SEO and speed optimization plugins are certainly important for photographers, those plugins are important for literally any WordPress site, so I will shunt them into a short “further reading” section at the end of this list.
With that explainer out of the way, here are my picks for the WordPress plugins that all photographers should consider…
Image Gallery and Slider Plugins for Photographers
One of the most important elements of a photography website is…a way to actually display your photography. You want your work to be front and center and the right gallery or slider plugin will help you do just that.
Modula – The user-friendly WordPress gallery plugin.
With Modula’s unique custom grid functionality you can actually freely resize images within your gallery which means that you can control image heights, widths and aspect ratio. And, all you need to do is switch a gallery from ‘creative gallery’ to ‘custom grid’ and start resizing by clicking and dragging from the bottom right-hand corners of the images in your gallery (as shown below).
Notable Modula features:
- Ability to design custom grids (you can freely resize images within the gallery container)
- Choose from a range of 6 different included lightbox styles
- Choose from 12 built-in hover effects
- Add image-entry animations (such as sliding and rotation)
- Ability to further customize your gallery by using custom CSS.
- Easily add videos to your galleries (even from external sources like YouTube and Vimeo)
- Easily add social sharing icons to galleries to encourage visitors to share your images.
The Modula WordPress gallery plugin is freely available on the WordPress.org plugin repository here, however, for those of you who are more serious about their gallery creation, want to add as many photos as their heart desires, sort images with filters, use 12 hover effects, and 6 lightbox styles- Modula’s plans start at $29/year
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Envira Gallery – Gallery Plugin
Envira Gallery lets you create responsive galleries for all of your photos.
Its drag and drop gallery builder is user-friendly so that you can create gorgeous photo galleries without needing to be a coding wizard.
It also lets you organize your photography with tags or albums so that visitors can easily browse all of your work.
And if you want to protect your work, it also includes a built-in watermarking feature.
Envira Gallery licenses start at just $19.
Soliloquy – Slider Plugin
If you’d like to create an image slider instead of just a gallery, Soliloquy is another plugin from the same parent company as Envira Gallery which can help you do just that.
Soliloquy lets you create responsive WordPress sliders using a simple drag and drop interface. You can even use it to create dynamic sliders from your Instagram if you share your photography on social media.
Check out our Soliloquy review for even more information.
Image Compression Plugins for Photographers
I would never recommend lossily compressing your photos, but losslessly compressing them is a good way to speed up your WordPress site. Because photography sites are usually image heavy, you need to be very aware of file sizes. These image compression plugins can help you shrink down your photo files without losing quality.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization
Smush is the highest-rated image compression plugin at the wordpress.org plugin directory. It’s free and can losslessly compress JPEG, GIF, and PNG images.
What’s better, it can automatically resize images according to a maximum height/width.
The only thing to note is that the free version of the plugin only compresses images up to 1MB. If your photos are larger, which may well be the case, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version. That version supports images up to 32MB, which is much more generous.
WP Smush Pro is part of the $49 per month WPMU DEV Membership. But again, if your photos are under 1MB, you don’t need the pro version.
EWWW Image Optimizer
If the potential $49 per month membership sounds scary, EWWW Image Optimizer is another compression option. The free version lets you compress GIF, JPEG, and PNG images.
It runs on your own server, rather than using an external service, which can make it faster than some other image compression plugins (as long as you have a decent server).
Image Watermarking Plugins for Photographers
If you’re not adding a watermark to your photos before uploading them, these watermark plugins can help you prevent unscrupulous visitors from stealing your work. As I mentioned, Envira Gallery includes built-in watermarking, but if you go with a different gallery plugin, you’ll need a standalone WordPress watermark plugin.
Easy Watermark is 100% free and lets you add unobtrusive watermarks to any quadrant of your photos. You can easily set it up to create semi-transparent watermarks automatically.
Image Watermark is another free watermark plugin that I think is slightly more intuitive. There are no major differences between Easy Watermark, but it’s a good second option.
Image Sharing Plugins for Photographers
If you’re posting your photos publicly, you probably want people to see them. These plugins will help you get your images shared more on social media networks like Facebook, Pinterest, and others.
Easy Social Share Buttons
Easy Social Share Buttons is an affordable plugin that lets you add all types of social sharing buttons to your website. Part of this is a customizable list of social networks that you can add to any image on your site. This lets your visitors easily share your photographers to any social network.
It costs $19 at Code Canyon.
Photo Sales Plugins for Photographers
If you want to actually sell your photography on WordPress, you need an easy way to handle checkouts and payments. Whether you’re selling physical prints or digital downloads, these plugins will help you sell your photography.
It lets you import photos directly from Lightbox or Aperture and you can even use it to create image galleries and password protect galleries when needed.
You can assign different prices to each photo or apply a default price to all photos in a collection.
You’ll be able to accept both PayPal and Skype payments as well as view all types of sales reports to see how your sales are going.
If you’re looking to sell your photography with WordPress, Sell Media is one of the best options out there. There’s a limited free version. After that, prices start at $12 per month.
You can bulk upload your photos and quickly assign them prices and collections. Customers can easily view all of your collections and browse through your photos.
Because it’s built on WooCommerce, you also get access to all of the other WooCommerce features and potential extensions.
The WooCommerce Photography extension costs $79. WooCommerce itself is free.
You can add plugins to extend the functionality of WooCommerce. Using the WooCommerce Password Protected Categories plugin, for example, you can set up your website so that only specific clients can view specific photos.
This kind of solution is great for wedding or event photographers, or any situation where your deliverable photos are private. For more info you can read this Guide to WooCommerce Photographer plugins, which offers practical advice on optimizing your WooCommerce Photography store.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is a free plugin designed to create all types of digital eCommerce stores. Because it’s already focused on digital products, it’s a great option to create a store selling digital photos.
The Photostore EDD theme can help you get started even easier.
Other Beneficial Plugins for Photographers
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are definitely some all-purpose plugins that every site, including photography sites, needs. Rather than listing them all, I’ll direct you to some further reading:
- Top WordPress SEO Plugins – Good for ranking your photography site in Google search.
- Best WordPress Security Plugins – Important for protecting your site from hackers.
- Quality WordPress Contact Form Plugins – Essential for providing your readers with a way to contact you.
These plugins should get you well on your way to creating an awesome photography website with WordPress. Of course, plugins aren’t the only piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need a good photography focused WordPress theme.
And of course, you may need some additional plugins to achieve the exact functionality you want for your site. So if you find a great plugin in that pursuit that’s not on this list, I’d love if you let me know about it in the comments!