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The Media Manager that ships with WordPress is pretty basic and more often than not your website projects will require a higher level of graphic organisation such as grouping images into galleries.

Let’s look at a round-up of the most popular photo and video gallery plugins for WordPress.

NexGen Gallery

NextGen gallery is the most used and extended gallery plugin available for WordPress at this time.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nextgen-gallery/

This free plugin allows images to be grouped into galleries and albums and comes with plenty of management options such as thumbnail size and auto cropping.

Images can be displayed and opened in multiple configurations so the overall package is very flexible for use with any website project.

The drag and drop sorting of images within a gallery is a great feature and is so quick and easy to use.

There is also support for fancybox and other image pop-up/overlays.

Adding galleries and albums can be done via an editor button or by entering the required shortcode and parameters.

There are of course lots of other gallery plugins available for WordPress but none have the support and extensions that NexGEN gallery offer at the moment.

A quick search for “NextGen” in the WordPress plugin repository shows multiple pages of results such as jQuery scrollers, shopping cart integration, image voting making this plugin extremely flexible.
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/search.php?q=nextgen

NextGen is also compatible with WP multi-site.

WP Easy Gallery / WP Easy Gallery Pro

Look no further if all you need is an easy way to put a gallery of images up on a page or post.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-easy-gallery/

The plugin comes with it’s own image loader allowing you to bypass the WP Media Manager and do everything inside the plugin.

Features are minimal but that’s how it’s marketed – easy and simple.

Images can be sorted and displayed in different ways such as by date or A-Z etc.  All you need to do is copy the generated shortcode to your page or post.

A thumbnail image can be uploaded and associated with the gallery and of course there is a lightbox overlay for all images.

The “Pro” version is commercial i.e. you pay for it – normally USD $19.95 but usually discounted.

It comes with a few additional features such as multiple image uploading, global thumbnails, auto thumbnail from 1st gallery image and a slightly better admin interface.

The plugin is very light which developers will like and doesn’t use TimThumb for thumbail generation.  A bonus point in helping to avoid security issues.

Lazyest Gallery

“The easiest photo gallery plugin for WordPress” is the trademarked claim for this plugin.

We’ll leave that up to you to decide but we think it’s pretty close the to mark.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/lazyest-gallery/

You can either ftp your images up to a folder on the server or use the WordPress uploader.  FTPing is way faster but not everyone knows how to use it.

Lazyest Gallery is easy to setup requiring only the image folder on the server and the page you want the gallery to be displayed on.

There are of course other features such as auto-indexing, cropping, sorting and support for lightbox effects.

Captions can be added to images and folders can be nested within folders.  The auto-index will find and display your images.

Well worth a download to play around.

Awesome Flickr Gallery

We couldn’t resist having a look at this one with such a great title.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/awesome-flickr-gallery-plugin/

The plugin is ideal for those users who already have a great collection of photos built on on the share site Flickr.

Your Flickr photos can be displayed on your website really quickly and you don’t have to upload any additional images.  Just keep on using Flickr the way you do.

The plugin has a great bunch of features including caching to download and display your photos faster.

Photos can be selected from your Flickr Photostream, a Photoset, a Gallery, a Group or a set of tags.  Very flexible.

Developers will like this plugin too as pretty much everything can be tweaked using CSS.

It also comes with a built-in slideshow.  Awesome.

Cool Video Gallery

Photos aren’t the only things that can be grouped into galleries and with video becoming more and more accessible, this neat plugin helps you organise them.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/cool-video-gallery/

WordPress Video Gallery

If you are looking for something flashier with more options on how to display your video content, perhaps consider this premium plugin.

http://www.apptha.com/category/extension/Wordpress/Video-Gallery

Supported formats are FLV & H.264 encoded video including MP4, M4V, M4A, MOV, Mp4v, F4V.

The plugin has a built-in player that allows you to easily display, select and play videos as well as social media integration for sharing.
Recent, Popular and Featured Videos widgets are included to help keep your audiences engaged.

As you would expect with a commercial plugin, you receive free updates and access to support for USD $99 (single domain).

Any Others?

Yes, there are loads of different options out there.  This is just a round-up of of those we’ve used in customer projects.

Tell us about the gallery plugins you like.