WordPress Gallery Plugins over the past 3-4 year have become feature rich allowing display of images in thumbnail, masonry , mosaic and justified grid styles with all sorts of added display options. The latest best of breed plugins are delivering more wide ranging features as they attempt to grab acceptance in the image gallery market. NextGen Pro from Imagely reflects that trend. Here is a sample:
This is one of 16 image display options available in NextGen Pro. Add to this a choice of 6 lightbox tools for viewing enlarged images from a NextGen Pro gallery and you get a feel for its versatility in displaying your images.
But there is another important point. Imagely, the makers of NextGen, are the people behind the Nextgen Image Gallery, the best substitute for the anemic WordPress Media Library. Nextgen Gallery has much better operational options for Managing Galleries including image tags for filtering, drag and drop reordering of the images, plus 12 other options for managing galleries. In addition Nextgen Pro has both an Albums tool plus eCommerce setup that makes it simple to sell your images from gorgeous NextGen viewing galleries on the web:
But the bottom line is that all the best gallery plugins recognize the value of the basic Nextgen image gallery to pro imagemakers, and thus offer direct reading of NextGen gallery images in their plugins too.
The NextGen Pro Display Options
The free basic NextGen gallery comes with 6 basic display options that are part of the free NextGen gallery plugin and 10 more advanced display options that are at the heart of NextGen Pro as seen here:
The 6 Basic Layouts that come with the free nextGen Gallery plugin will satisfy many users by providing basic slider or gallery layout with lighbox option. True there are few slider or gallery customizing options; but for fast setup this frugality is hard to beat.
Unlike other free and premium gallery plugins, NextGen does not have have a table of pre-created galleries. Rather users create the Gallery they want directly in the Post or Page where it will be displayed as seen here:
I have created a Post which shows 5 of the 6 Basic Layouts available to users of the free Nextgen plugin here.Whats nice about Add Gallery is that NextGen makes available all of its tools as users create their gallery as seen in the screenshot above. After choosing which Display Layout there are three more settings for the Gallery:
After choosing the Pro Mosaic layout, what images to be used is the next decision. Nextgen gives users 5 choices for populating the gallery 1)one or more albums or 2) one or more galleries or 3) a selection of 20 or more of the most recently used images or 4) a selection of 20 or more images from all the gallery files or 5)all the images that have the user chosen tags. Only the premium Justified Image Grid premium gallery plugin matches these options. And as a photographer the tags and albums options have proved to be most helpful.
NextGen Gallery has remarkably few options for customizing the display layout. Most other tool have background color and frame settings, caption and descriptions position and color, and font settings and icon or semi transparent overlays with animation effects. If you are looking for these kind of features, then you may want to look at other gallery plugins like Envira or Photo Gallery. there is a hidden advantage to the simplified choices – Nextgen can be much faster to setup.
The last nextGen gallery setting, Sort or Exclude Images, is a hidden gem. NextGen shows you what images your settings will produce:
This is an invaluable check to make sure the group of images selected is what what you expect. If it is not, users can exclude any unneeded images. In addition with simple drag and drop operations, users can change the sorting for display. Again a handy feature for photographers. The net result is that users have a lot of display options with NextGen Gallery Pro. Here is a sample from the gallery tests:
Go here to see some live examples of NextGenPro Gallery layouts.
NextGenPro gallery plugins are caught in the middle of the features game. Some say the choice of 16 display options and 5 light boxes is overkill. Others argue that with no control for background colors, fonts for captioning, and various animation effects – NextGenPro just does not meet their needs. And still others say that the net balance of Gallery features is just right. This photo gallery users finds that NextGenPro Gallery works for so many websites, [see use at LouisePitre website here]that I am more than happy to have it available in my bag of handy WordPress plugins.