Five Image Related Plugins for your WordPress Site

May 23rd, 2009

Our next “Five” entry is for plugins that you can use to highlight images on your website.  As always we look forward to your comments (51 responses on the last “five” entry – thanks!).

With the advent of high speed Internet for so many in the world now images are an even bigger part of the presentation of your webpage.  WordPress is no exception with 285 image related plugins at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Lets take a look at five of these plugins and see what they can do for your WordPress based website:

Dynamic Headers: This plugin was just made public in late April of this year and it is extremely popular having been downloaded 3,770 times in the last three weeks.  The Dynamic Headers plugin allows you to manage what media is shown in your header on each page and/or post.  This plugin allows the use of any image file and also Flash (.swf) files so it is up to your imagination on what you can do.  The possibilities are quite endless.

flickr Gallery: Another very popular plugin with 18,383 total downloads to date.  This plugin integrates your flickr account with your WordPress website by utilizing shortcodes in WordPress version 2.5 and above. There are several ways to display your photosets and/or individual groups of photos and is very flexible to your design and layout. You will need a flickr API key to use this plugin and you can start that from the settings page of the plugin.


Shashin: A plugin for displaying Picasa photos.  This plugin is so extensive and configurable that it has its own documentation site as well. This one has been in development for a while and currently has accumulated 11,328 downloads.  Some of the features include the ability to embed Picasa albums, show your photos and videos in a Highslide slideshow (bundled but only free for personal use); pick photos and videos individually for display and many other customization options. Here is an example of the plugin on the authors homepage to show the integration and display options. There are also widgets as part of the download to integrate with your sidebar.


PhotoSmash Galleries: Websites are about community right – or at least they can be.  Well this plugin (7,546 downloads) allows your visitors to upload pictures to photo galleries on your website.  Lets say your doing a post about pets and you ask everyone to upload a picture of their pet – well this plugin will let you do that! There are moderation features and an email to let you know a picture has been uploaded for you to OK for the site.


NextGEN Gallery: If I told you this plugin has been downloaded 719,095 times total – 11,392 last week – 1,371 just today so far – would you need any further convincing that this is worth a look?  As the author describes the plugin and its development: “NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a Flash slideshow option. Before I start writing the plugin I study all photo and picture plugins for WordPress, I figure out that some of them are really good and well designed, but I missed a simple and easy administration back end to handle multiple photos, galleries and albums.”


So what makes your graphics tick on your website?  Looking forward to hearing from everyone once again on these and other plugins in the realm of images.




  1. DouglasVB (9 comments.) says:

    I tried the NextGen Gallery, WPG2 (a plugin to link Gallery 2 into WordPress), various Picasa plugins, and the like. Each time I keep coming back to the same conclusion. I prefer using the built-in media capabilities of WordPress. They might not be as extensible as some of the other alternatives but so far they’ve been the most robust and future-proof for my needs.

    • George Serradinho (107 comments.) says:

      I seem to agree with DouglasVB. I have tried a lot of plugins and they either seem to work well, brake something else or slow down my site.

    • noname (1 comments.) says:

      It is because you are trying it now. Few months ago there were no media capabilities of WordPress. I fell in love in NG more then year ago, i have used it on about 100 of my WordPress projects, so i quite get used in it ;) But I agree, that now i do not have to use it in 99 % of the projects, but i have it allready in my WP installation, so why not

  2. Fredelig (5 comments.) says:

    Does anyone know if the “Dynamic Headers”-plugin also can be triggered by category and not “only” by post/page? So posts within category x get one header and category y another. (Yes, I assign only one category to my posts… :) )

  3. Byron (20 comments.) says:

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the PhotoSmash mention! There’re some great photo galleries out there (NextGen come to mind ;-) ), I just hope PhotoSmash fills a niche that’s been overlooked to date.

    You guys are on my daily read list, and it’s a great surprise to see PS show up here!


  4. Victor (1 comments.) says:

    I’m trying to use The Dynamic Headers plugin with wordpress-MU and keep getting “Error! Options page not found”, its looking in http://blog.pattayacitythailan.....ptions.php

  5. Jiri Sitina (1 comments.) says:

    As for Picassa galleries I keep on using photoXhibit ( – it gives me a plenty of freedom and there are generally no issues with it so I can really recommend it!

    Jiri Sitina

  6. Steve Taylor (8 comments.) says:

    Simple Image Link definitely deserves a mention. Very flexible widget for placing linked images in sidebars.

  7. Christopher (18 comments.) says:

    I’m still looking for a plugin that will let me have galleries inside galleries and be able to add the top level to a page.
    I also need to be able to link to posts or externally instead of just a larger view.

  8. Alex Gallery (1 comments.) says:

    Why only 5 Image Gallery plugins?
    There’re a lot of other plugins, like
    this is a nice image gallery WP plugin with page flip effects

    • WindowsObserver (55 comments.) says:

      Alex – the “Five” is the theme of the posts I do about plugins – I pick five to mention and discuss a bit. The “Five” is not meant to be a definitive list of the best.

      No offense meant to any plugin that does not make the list – they may get on the next one.

      Thanks for commenting though and mentioning the page flip gallery.

      Rich aka WindowsObserver

    • Rob says:

      What a shameless plug! I like it!

  9. Dan Cannon (2 comments.) says:

    Hi All that had questions about Dynamic Headers,

    No at this time it is not possible to set a header image for each category, but this is planned future functionality.

    This plugin is not WPMU compatible at the moment. WPMU requires each of your options to be explicitly registered with WordPress, and this plugin generates options on the fly, so as it is written now it is not possible to use with WPMU.

    The next major release will be WPMU and WP 2.8 compatible.

    Thanks for the support of the plugin and be sure to check back as we continue development.

  10. Laura (1 comments.) says:

    Hi, all, still, I prefer using the built-in media capabilities of WordPress, just like the first commentator, coz that one is simple and rechable.

  11. Martin (20 comments.) says:

    Love NextGEN Gallery. Been using it for a long time now on four different sites.

    Other then that the default WP gallery does a great job for small galleries.

  12. Michael Torbert (1 comments.) says:

    I love NextGEN Gallery. If they charged for it I would buy it. The plugin is that good.

    I actually just started using PhotoSmash the other day on a recent project. It’s a great example of a plugin that doesn’t look pretty, but seems to work just fine. No complaints at all, and serves its purpose very well, doing things that no other plugins do.

  13. Randy (4 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using NextGen Gallery pretty extensive for a few years.

    I hope it’ll be around for a while. It’s popularity gives me a little security. :-)

  14. danar (2 comments.) says:

    thanks alot for the information, its helping me to improve my site

  15. Glenn (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the info. I just recently tried out NextGEN and it definately adds bling to the site. So far, I like it a lot.

  16. Gerjan says:

    Nice plugins, but I like to give credits also to Picasna
    Just paste an Picasa webalbum URL in a post and the plugin does the rest in a very nice way

  17. Mark (1 comments.) says:

    That’s 719,095 people who are wasting their SEO efforts with useless gallery plug in.

  18. streamin (1 comments.) says:

    I’m new to blogging and have been looking for a photo plug-in for my site. I downloaded and tried to upload Coppermine to my WordPress blog, but it doesn’t show up in the plugin list (I followed the WP instructions to the letter). Would NextGen be a better and any easier alternative? Also, do I need a Picasa account and link to it for the images to appear on my blog?

    Thanks for the help.

    Tom, AKA streamin.

  19. website design tampa (1 comments.) says:

    Wow totally fantastic plugins!

    I’m using SEO Friendly Images and SEO Smart Links on all my blogs. Just love them!

    Hope you will come with a new plugin soon.

  20. Anthony Proulx (1 comments.) says:

    Sweet man thanks for the post! Will totally help me out, as i’m in the gallery portion of my site.

  21. Mosey (20 comments.) says:

    I would just like to put in a vote for NextGEN Gallery. I first tried it when it was in its early development stages of 0.x; conceptually it was brilliant, but practically difficult to use for a newbie like myself. Thankfully there were people who were much more far-sighted, and NextGEN has developed into something pretty amazing in the past year, even more so in the last two months as well!

    All credit to the developer, Alex Boelinger :)

  22. Dan Cannon (2 comments.) says:

    Just an update, we just released the latest version of Dynamic Headers which allows you to add links to your header images. This version also fixed several bugs, extended the compatibility of the plugin to include WP 2.3 – 2.7.1, and optimized some of the database queries.

  23. Sunday (5 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the list, I am looking for a gallery facility, however i looked at NewGen, and as a newbie to WordPress it looks as though there is more to it than installing the plugin and uploading your pictures… or am I being over cautious? Is this a real, “point and shoot” type of plugin?

    • Mosey (20 comments.) says:

      I had this doubt initially, which is what put me off really using NextGEN. But now that I’ve installed the most recent version, it really is a matter of doing that.

      All I’ve done this time round is something like this:
      1.Install plugin and setup plugin.
      2.Make a new ‘Gallery’ (essentially a mini-folder – images from ‘Day one’)
      3. Upload photos to new folder using FTP.
      4. Click ‘Scan for new pictures’ and the plugin does a quick search with a progress bar.
      5. Thumbnails are automatically created but you can adjust it for each photo on the fly. You can also rename the image, put in a description and add tags using the same management interface.
      6. Create more Galleries and repeat as above. Then create an Album called ‘Trip to Paradise’ to include all the mini-folders/galleries.

      The most time consuming part of this process was renaming the files and putting in descriptions. :)

      • Sunday (5 comments.) says:

        Thanks for that info, I may well try it out, although I did remember I had uploaded a plugin called SimpleViewer, but hadn’t installed it. It does much the same as you describe above, with each set of pics in it’s own folder (including the html and everything, meaning I can include a little gallery in a post “as is” or I can just put a link to the gallery in the post. Not sure I can make one large album from each set of photos however, I think I have to make a whole new folder, so NextGen may be better. (I will say that Simpleviewer appears to be of use on an ordinary website as well, not just for WordPress)

        • Mosey (20 comments.) says:

          Thanks for suggesting SimpleViewer. I’ve not tried it out yet, but one of the reasons I like this new NextGEN is because I am helping out a local club by building their website, and one of the things they’re looking for is a photo gallery.

          Some of the image gallery plugins only seem to cater for people with a little more technical knowledge, so NextGEN gallery (with its built in basic roles/capabilities feature) and quite simple interface is rather more user friendly for the people who will actually be doing the updating.

          To be fair, I haven’t tried out the upload feature (since I use FTP) yet but this capabilities thing (limiting e.g. editors to only using the upload interface without accessing the admin side) was a huge (and new) bonus for me as I didn’t expect it :)

  24. Landmark Realty (1 comments.) says:

    Love NextGEN Gallery. Been using it for a long time now on several sites.

    • Sunday (5 comments.) says:

      Hi Landmark Realty… anychance of posting some links to the sites with NextGen on? So I can have a peek please?

  25. mynak (1 comments.) says:

    Nextgen nallery is so good and useful. Im using this for 4months.

    • Eric says:

      I’ve been looking high and low, but are there any image plugins designed more for SEO and ad churn? Having a thumbnail that expands into a floating larger image seems like a wasted opportunity when it can be framed within your site template with ads surrounding it.

      All of these seem glitzy enough, but none of them assist in monetizing a site. Any advice out there? Any plugins that do the basic:

      A) Create a customizable row/column gallery of thumbnails, with pagination.

      B) House each image on its own page in a template with ads.



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