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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.