Having a great looking website (portfolio) is absolutely important, but there are features and add-ons that you may need to complement this great design through the use of professional plugins.
It’s imperative that whatever plugin that you use on your WordPress website won’t significantly increase the loading time of your site. As you know, visitors hate to wait long for a website to load, quickly get impatient and move on.
WordPress has some great plugins that are often at low cost or even free which provide good function. These amazing premium plugins listed have a fusion of creativity and functionality which barely intrude on the loading of your website. These listed plugins are not free, but the distinct advantage over free alternatives is that you’ll receive support and updates all wrapped up in the cost. Updates are seriously important not only for better improved function, but also for security! Check out these plugins that are used web-wide and have a number of positive feedback with great ratings.
For fast site, hosting is important as well, we recommend to test this one for free: WPEngine.
WordPress Photo/Video Plugins
Sliders are very important because on most pages they serve for a visitor’s first impression. This is why it is very important for a website to load fast as well as to be ‘clean’ and neat with attractive content and easy-to-navigate features. We made list of couple sliders that do just that and more.
Slider gallery shortcode is very simple slider that can, if filled with right content, make powerful message that will draw attention of your visitors. Adding this slider to any post you like as it is powerful ‘attention getter’. But don’t get carried away — not every post needs one ;)
I like: Simplicity. Different (modern) buttons for changing slides. Easy to use. You can put sliders in posts — that is pretty cool. Slider that shows gallery. Option to put multi sliders in one post, showing different images.
I dislike: Thumbnails are not implemented in slider right now. But we can expect them in some of the new updates.
Best use: Any website could use one of these.[spoiler title=”List of Features – Slider gallery shortcode”]
- add controls to go back and forward through each slide
- select an specific transition between images (fade, zoom, scroll, curtains, grow, toss and many more)
- show the image title
- set the size of the images displayed in the slider
- wrap the image with a link to the image file
- adjust the transition speed
- set the pause between transitions
- set the initial delay before the first transition
- exclude some selected images.
There are so many options. Among best sliders there is. Great for making presentation of your product, no matter what your product is. You can slide in images, videos, text, making presentation, …
There is jquery version of this slider as well.
I like: More advanced slider, with multi-slider options.
I dislike: There is no global setting for some features, but developers announced it on next update. Could get hard on your load time and stutter a bit. It is not for displaying galleries and each slide needs your attention.
Best use: Any site that has products, even if the products are the actual images or videos.[spoiler title=”List of Features – Slider Revolution”]
- Image and Thumbs fully re-sizable
- Using CSS Animation with FallBack to jQuery
- Unlimited Caption Layers
- Unlimited Slides
- iPhone & Android Swipe Touch enabled
- jQuery Conflict free plugin
- Customizable 100% via Plugin Backend
- Easy installation in your Website
- Special Easing
- Vimeo & Youtube Supported
- Stop AutoPlay during Video Playback
- Duplicate, Slider, slide, captions Function
- Drag and Drop Captions in the Editor
- Fullwidth, Responsive and Normal Modes
- Countless Art of Transitions
- Optional Shadows included
LayerSlider was the first parallax slider and “…we offer the most feature-rich plugin in this category” (said by developers) — I believe it. I believe if it’s setup properly, this can be the best slider there is on internet. Many users bought this one, and gave it 5 stars rating. One of the, if not the best slider there is.
Features and look of multi-layer slider are infinitive and amazing. Make your site dynamic in seconds.
I like: Layers, that is biggest advantage. Amazing features, even images look like video. Full screen layout.
I dislike: Buttons, they could make more variations that would fit more website designs.
Best use: Any site that wants more attention to their multimedia content.[spoiler title=”List of Features – LayerSlider”]
- 4 displaying modes (normal, responsive, full-width & full width + responsive) Smart resizing and repositioning image, video and also text sublayers in responsive mode including font-sizes, line heigts, etc.)
- Unlimited types of usage (image slider, image slider with text, content slider, video gallery slider, mixed content slider, etc.)
- Sliding from / to 4 directions or fading in / out (sublayers only) with unlimited variations of animations (and sublayers can now slide or fade out before other sublayers appear)
- Use with ANY HTML content (including images, embedded videos, text, forms, flash content and anything you need)
- WYSIWYG editor with preview feature (test your slider immediately) and with export / import and duplicating / disabling sliders, layers and sublayers features
- Sample sliders included (to practice and to learn the features and usage)
- Keyboard navigation and touch-control for mobile devices
- Built-in powerful API
- Tons of other (mostly unique) features (auto-play and auto-preview images for YoutTube and Vimeo videos, auto-pause slideshow if videos are playing, pause on hover, image preload, loops, linking sublayers to another layer or to any url, yourLogo feature with link, deep-linking, random star, etc.)
- Supports all major browsers (including IE7, for using the LayerSlider admin we recommend Chrome, Safari or Firefox)
- Very detailed documentation
- Multiple sliders on one page
- Skin support
- SEO friendly
- Layered skin files included in .PSD format
- Free future updates
- Non-WordPress version of script is included free!
I believe this is most famous WordPress slider there which is sold over 5,000 times, rated with 5 stars over 500 ratings. RoyalSlider is tested on Mac, PC, iPad 2, iPhone 4, HTC Desire, Blackberry PlayBook and even on Kindle Keyboard. RoyalSlider is announcing new updates and features, it is well worth to try one.
I like: Slider as presentation or gallery. Custom animation effects. Announced: Flickr, 500px integration. Option to grab content automatically from post.
I dislike: I’m not sure if there is option for layers and slide out effect, etc. With price above Slider Revolution and LayerSlider 3 this plugin could come as a third or even as a fourth choice.
Best use: Anything you can dream off: presentation, animation and product showcase.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Royal Slider”]
- Touch navigation for mobile and desktop
- Hardware-accelerated CSS3 transitions for supported touch devices.
- Multiple sliders per page is allowed, even with different skins.
- HTML blocks with custom effects (fade, move top, move right… or none).
- Image and/or HTML content for each slide (video isn’t supported).
- Smart lazy-loading — preloads nearby images after current (optional).
- Move or fade transition for slides.
- Slides with a speed of swipe.
- SEO — each block can contain any HTML tags (h2, p, img, ul).
- Thumbnails or bullets for navigation.
- Responsive layout down to mobile, can be enabled in a few clicks. View responsive demo. Animated blocks don’t scale with layout by default, but you can position them how you need via media queries or relative properties.
- Three unique skins that can easily be editable using CSS . Photoshop files included.
- Slider files are included only to WordPress pages where it is (if shortcode is used).
- Autoplay support, interval times can be set in the settings panel.
- Customizable slides transition — set custom duration and easing for animation.
- Optional keyboard navigation and much more…
Through WordPress gallery plugins you’ll be able to showcase your creative portfolio in an elegant and organized way without the need for complicated coding. Furthermore, there are several built in tweaks and features that you can utilize depending on the design of the plugin. Add photos, videos, graphics, audio and links in your gallery in the way that you want.
Very simple looking but great video player (gallery).
I like: It is simple, fast and responsive. You can use it in widget form as well.
I dislike: Nothing to dislike — has everything you need.
Best use: Showing your video content on main part of page or in widget form.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Video Gallery”]
- easy install – purchase, download the zip, access your WordPress Admin Menu > Plugins > Add New > Upload zip and that’s all! Go to Settings > Zoom Video Gallery and start adding videos.
- two skins + skin generator – choose from Complete or Light skin for every gallery you setup
- iPhone/iPad compatible – this plugin generates html5 videos if the visitor is on an iToy
- full of choices – set up the gallery just by inputing your YouTube user/playlist in the ‘feed’ tag of the xml file. all descriptions/titles/thumbs/videos will be feeded directly from YouTube so you won’t need to write anything other then that
- hybrid – it can be a video player / example in the preview
- extensive admin panel – admin panel with lots of options to make the gallery as customizable as possible, yet easy to use. Comes with a drag & drop html5 uploader too! And awesome functionality like drag & drop for items, duplicate galleries etc. to make your life easier while editing the gallery. You can setup unlimited number of galleries in the admin as well as put them in the content.
- backup database / import, export feature – keep your database safe and do regular backups via the Export Database feature included with this plugin.
- easy to install – install and get this plugin ready in less then three minutes. Add it to your content via a simple shortcode – [videogallery id=”theidyousetintheadmin”] .
- auxiliary shortcodes – want to get a single video in your post without having to go through the admin ? The , and shortcodes are built just for that. You just have to set the id for the youtube or vimeo shortcode, or the location for the video shortcode.
Simple to use, Fancy Gallery lets you create and manage unlimited number of galleries and every gallery can hold unlimited of albums. You can add different type of media: image, video and links. Feature that divides Fancy Gallery from other WordPress Galleries is Generator for exporting your galleries to any web site.
I like: Look and feel. Generator for external pages.
I dislike: Not responsive.
Best use: Any page that wants to show their work of art.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Fancy Gallery”]]
- New Hover Effects with Timthumb like Grayscale and other image fiters
- New easier AJAX admin interface
- Gallery and album titles editable
- Move an album from a gallery into another gallery via Drag&Drop
- German Translation
- Display a single album from a gallery in a page or post
- Duplicate options for other galleries
- Multisite enabled
- A lot of new Options
- Decide between Fancybox and Lightbox
- Secure Upload with Nonce.
- Custom capability, which can be assigend to different roles.
- The like and tweet buttons are now visible, which allows to share a single image on facebook or twitter, when deeplinking is enabled
- You can use HTML tags in the description
- Inverse the hover effect, so all images are clear (no opacity) and then by hover, it gets the thumb opacity
- and much more…
Media Grid allows you to create unlimited responsive and filterable portfolios with ease. The plugin uses the latest CSS3 and jQuery technologies to adapt each portfolio to its container. No matter if is wide or short, the grid will be always displayed correctly. You can set it up as gallery or anything you imagine. Media Grid is indeed powerful tool.
Also in responsive themes, you can choose if use the automatic resizing system or set a relative width to keep the grid items always on the same size, they will be placed in the best way possible to ensure the best layout.
Media Grid is one of the best plugins for photographers and videographers there is.
I like: Advanced features. Output is amazing.
I dislike: Nothing to dislike.
Best Use: Any domain (niche) could use Media Grid. It is fascinating what you can achieve with this plugin.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Media Grid”]
- AJAX support – The main feature of Media Grid is “display it where you want and as you want”, from this version you can also use AJAX calls to reach your goals
- Slider captions – one of the most requested features has been added to Media Grid. Set the images descriptions and decide if show them on captions. Simple and fast
- Improved media selector – Items per page have been added, making the image and tracks selection easier than ever.
- Full-size image max-height control – You have vertical images that are rendering badly in the Media Grid lightbox? No problem, now you can set the maximum height and the resizing method. Your images will always be precise and clean.
- Custom Content item type – Display only what you want in the Media Grid lightbox. With this item type you are free insert whatever in it, without being obliged to display an image or a video.
- Spacer item type – Create spaces between the items in the grid. More flexibility, more grid design possibilities
- Socials – As requested ba many users, now you can also use facebook and twitter share buttons. Finally, each button has been designed specifically to fit the Media Grid lightbox layout
- 1 click fast setup – You are not familiar with web sizes, margins or colours? No problem, now you can go in Media Grid settings and apply one of the 8 predefined styles at your grids. You have only to choose the style you like from the wizard and let Media grid do the rest. Once you’ve setted the style you can of course customize it: maximum semplicity and flexibility.
- Live visual items resize – In the first Media Grid release you were tied to the items size and you can only sort them in the grid builder. Starting from now you can assign live any size you want in the grid builder and see the effects directly. Each item could have unlimited combination of sizesin every grid.
- Items Media Manager – one of the weakness on the first version was the duty of going in the WordPress media library each time you had to add new images for the galleries or tracks. From the v1.1 you will be able to manage media directly from the item page. Once you’ve finished, just close the popup and all will be updated in the media selector wizard.
- Media Grid satisfy all your needs letting you create different types of portfolio. Each item can be
– A simple static image
– An image
– An image gallery
– A video (from Youtube or Vimeo)
– An mp3 player with one or more mp3 tracks
– A link
- The plugin integrates with Pinterest, the new popular social network. Each grid item has its own pinterest button to allow an easy and efficient sharing.
- With Media Grid you could create unlimited options for each item type, sort them and use only the ones needed.
- Once you’ve created you’re grids, you can use them in your website simply using the Media Grid shortcode wizard on top of each page or post editor.
- Create unique grids using the sizing system: you can choose between a wide variety of sizes to apply to your items. They will be always calculated on the container width, so the aspect ratio of each grid item will be always the same
- You can customize almost everything in the grid design: colors, patterns, margins, border and shadows.
This responsive WordPress gallery plugin aligns your thumbnails into a justified grid using jQuery. Flickr and Google+ both featured images like this. Let WordPress present your galleries in an eye-catching unique new way! It can replace the standard WP galleries to Justified Image Grid with lots of new features and options.
I like: Many layouts and options. Use with lightbox/colorbox.
I dislike: No dislikes. This plugin does what it says exactly as it says.
Best use: Mostly for photographers. Making portfolio pages. It can be used for product galleries, product showcase, etc.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Justified Image Grid”]
- Automatically align images to a justified gallery
- Responsive: adapts to the resolution of any device, provided your theme is also responsive. Try resizing the browser window! It’ll adjust as you stop dragging.
- Uses the WordPress native way of creating galleries, you can use your pre-existing galleries
- Load albums from Facebook! Use the Facebook authorization manager tool and the shortcode editor to visually select your album to load (page and user albums as well), image list caching is supported
- Flickr compatibility: load photos from a user’s Photostream, Favorites, Group pools, Photosets, Galleries! Includes a user manager tool. No authentication required. Image list caching is supported.
- Nextgen integration, full support for nested albums and galleries, permalinks, custom links, limit, hidden limit is used instead of pagination.
Recent posts: Create a homepage ‘slider’ of the recent posts using their featured images, filter by categories, display categories/tags in the caption, or show an automatic excerpt trimmed to x words as well as your manual exceprt…
- Limit image count or maximum rows
- Hidden limit – limit the number of thumbs but cycle all gallery images in the lightbox
- Flexible, dynamic row height
- On the fly desaturation: cross-browser grayscale effect
- Admin area 1: Main settings page with clean and logical sections
- Admin area 2: Shortcode editor for the attributes with the ability to edit existing shortcodes
- Both admin areas feature contextual help
- 50+ settings and shortcode attributes you can change for each gallery
- Multiple free lightbox options bundled: prettyPhoto, ColorBox, PhotoSwipe – which is optimized for mobiles and features a touch swipe navigation between the images. It’s possible to use a different lightbox for mobile devices and for desktops. Also to disable the lightbox or to turn links off.
- Custom link URL on images with link target (_self/_blank)
- Collaboration with premium lightboxes (WordPress plugins). These are the brand-new FooBox which is social and responsive + the Social Gallery that allows Facebook/Disqus comments for the pictures. These are purchased separately.
- Error checking
- Right click theft protection
Download link with browser pop-up to save the image (only in prettyPhoto)
- Ability to use multiple instances on one page
- Option to hide the last row if incomplete or to match previous row’s height for same shaped images
- You can choose any of the WordPress image fields (such as Title, Alternate Text, Caption, Description from Media Libray) to appear at any location as captions and in the lightbox scripts
Localization ready with .po file (includes tinyMCE modal window texts)
- Built-in tool to move images between posts in the Media Library without having to re-upload them
- Crops the images as a last resort
- Full deeplinking and extended social tools support for prettyPhoto: Twitter, G+, Pinterest share the individual images
- Template tag generator in the shortcode editor, sidebar text widget shortcode compatibility
- Features simply the best mouse enter/leave animation solution, hoverFlow for jQuery to solve the animation queue buildup
TimThumb prepares, resizes, caches the thumbnails for minimal bandwidth and resource usage. It’s also made cacheable by CloudFlare!
- Plugin files will only load when needed, not causing slowdown on other pages
- Earn affiliate revenue by enabling a ‘powered by…’ link through your envato username
- Continuous updates have been released and are to be expected as new feature suggestions and customization requests spotlight areas to improve. Also when 3rd party script authors release new versions. Bugs are to be eliminated when found.
- Support is taken seriously, all efforts will be made to make an incompatibility go away. Also I listen to customer opinions and feature suggestions.
Lightbox / Colorbox
I can’t imagine photo or video site without Lightbox today. Lightbox enables you to show any image on your site with advance features, modern design, highlighting your media from your content.
Lightbox Evolution is a tool for displaying images, html content, maps and videos in a “lightbox” style that floats overtop of web page
I like: Simplicity, modern design, speed.
I dislike: No iOS support. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t work on Apple devices, but would be better if it was supported.
Best use: Any site with media should have lightbox/colorbox. I believe lightboxes are now standard for all sites worldwide.
Author didn’t list features, but you can check screenshots and live preview, to get idea how this plugin works.
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.
I like: One plugin that combines lightbox and galleries.
I dislike: As new plugin nothing much wrong, just could use some more features. I believe it will get it in soon updates.
Best use: For users that don’t want to bother with multiple plugins, one plugin that combines Lightbox and Galleries.
Author didn’t publicize list of the features.
Amazing photo plugins that could work on any site, including WordPress, with little knowledge of html coding:
Very cool and neat plugin if you want your users to “walk” over your photos, to check details. Great cause it is made to be supported on Android and iPhones and other tablets and mobiles.
I like: Lots of various features. Simple use.Responsive.
I dislike: No official WordPress plugin. You’ll need some knowledge of code editing, or ask/hire somebody to do it for you.
Best use: For showing image details (quality), maps (marking locations), etc.[spoiler title=”List of Features -Smoot Zoom Pan”]
- Initial Zoom level
- Initial Position
- Maximum zoom level
- Minimum zoom level
- Animation Smoothness
- Animation Speed for Zoom
- Animation Speed for Pan
- Fit or Fill the image
- Enable / Disable Pan buttons
- Enable / Disable Pan Limitation
- Adjustable Button Size, Color, Transparency, Alignment and Margin
- Button Auto Hide and Delay Time
- Mouse Drag / Touch Drag
- Mouse Wheel zoom control
- Mouse Cursor location zoom on mouse wheel
- Mouse Double Click zoom
- Border size, color, transparency
- Full browser size option
- Max width and height (for window resize)
There are tons of free WordPress plugins that you can use on your website. Simply go to your WordPress Admin Panel > Plugins > Add New > Search — type in the specific plugin that you need or use keywords. From there you’ll find the plugins that may suit you. There are some free plugins that we use, but we realize that the premium plugins (that we pay for) have way better support. In fact, most free plugins have no significant support, and you’ll have to deal with matters yourself if issues arise. Furthermore, premium plugins usually have frequent updates, better documentation and in many cases you can receive some additional feature for free from the Developer(s) which works out very well for the long term.
Remember to limit number of plugins to ones that will bring you most pleasure, best functionality and fluent animations (transitions). Enjoy power of these plugins and feel free to comment !
And one more important thing to highlight: for great speed, great hosting is MUST, Canon5Dtips is proud to be hosted on best WordPress hosting there is: WPEngine.