I am thinking of writing a Gallery mod of WordPress. Here are some thoughts as I mull over them. I have kept in mind my own programming prowess, time limitations, limited modification of the WordPress source code. This is more of a functional specification.
1) Upload of files has to be streamlined and simplified somehow. I am thinking of using the method used by Gallery. In other words, you create a folder called albums in your root directory, create a folder for an album, and upload all your pictures to that folder using FTP. The upload interface inside the admin will also allow individual uploads but only for a limited number of files. FTP is preferred.
2) An “album”, in my opinion, could be just a category. That keeps things simple and within the WP framework. That way, the default display would show the latest posted category, which is a nicely formatted list of thumbnails from within that “album”. Outside the default display, photographs could be browsed singly. Each photograph is a single entry into the structure. The category or album display would show the excerpts for the posts instead of the full content when listing the items in that category.
3) The excerpts would contain the markup for the thumbnails. The body of the post would contain one custom meta field which would have the EXIF information extracted from the picture. The body itself would contain the markup for the resized image and the link to the original image. The title of each post would contain the topic/description of each photograph.
4) The “Write” part of the admin will be modified. Once the pictures have been uploaded (either through the admin or through FTP and the pictures are loaded into WP, single button click) the pictures are presented in a single page for addition of description. This single page is going to be tricky to come up with because of the multiple posts. If someone has a better idea, please leave a comment. Once all the pictures have been modified, they are finally posted to the database. I believe that there should be enough memory in a default PHP install to do this effectively, but I might be wrong. I have to test it out.
5) So in the end, we have a photo gallery. The default display shows either a list of the categories or the albums, or shows the latest album in all its glory. In the category display, only the excerpt is shown, thus only clickable thumbnails are displayed. Once you either click on the topic of a category, you get permalinked posts in all their glory.