One of the true hidden gems of WordPress is its built-in Photo Gallery capabilities. You can use the Media Library to upload images and display them with a simple shortcode: [ gallery] (sans the space). Then you can view the individual images in the great Attachments page viewer (see Mr. WP’s blog, ma.tt, for a stellar example of the whole get-up in action). With the attachment pages, you get a permalink for each image and the ability to comment on images separately if your theme supports it (most do).
It is great!
It might sound a bit strange for the author of a Photo Gallery plugin (PhotoSmash) to be extolling the glories of another, 100% available to all WP users without lifting a finger, photo gallery. But it’s not strange at all, in fact PhotoSmash works great with the built-in gallery features and your Media Library. The upcoming version (v. 0.8.00) will offer the ability to display your PhotoSmash galleries using the default WP Gallery functionality out of the box.
So, you can display the standaard WP Gallery and have the PhotoSmash ‘Add Photos’ link right there to let your users upload new images to the gallery.
So, this is awesome, right? But the downside is that some of the other fantastic PhotoSmash functionality isn’t available in the WP Galleries. For instance, the Custom Fields cannot be displayed in the WordPress Gallery. You can still use that functionality and all the other PhotoSmash goodness in other places, even with galleries that you designate as WordPress Galleries, just by supplying the photosmash shortcode with:
which will override the Gallery Settings type.
Using PhotoSmash and the WP Gallery Feature Together
A couple of ways you can set view a PhotoSmash Gallery as a WP Gallery…First, you can make that gallery a ‘WordPress Gallery’ in Gallery Settings by setting the Gallery Type.
But what about normal galleries? Can you display them as WP Galleries? Oh yes, if you want to show a normal gallery using the WordPress Gallery feature, you can simply add one of these to your photosmash shortcode:
Customizing the WP Gallery Display
If you want to change the way the WordPress Gallery looks, you can add to your shortcode: wp_gallery_params=” … “ where the ‘…’ is any of the WP gallery shortcode parameters. Here’s the WP Codex tutorial on how to use the gallery shortcode: http://codex.wordpress.org/Gallery_Shortcode
PhotoSmash is just running that shortcode, so you can use anything you see in the Codex.
Why Do I Still Need PhotoSmash?
Well, PhotoSmash offers some very useful and unique functionality, including: ability to let users upload images to galleries, ability to create completely custom gallery layouts and custom upload forms (with custom fields), contributor image galleries, ratings, favorites, etc, etc. But perhaps one of the most unique functions is its ability to be used as a WordPress Gallery. There’s lots to love in both galleries, and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to choose.
Comments on Photos
So, now there are 2 ways to get comments on your Photos. 1) You can use the WP Gallery feature of PhotoSmash; or 2) get a Smashly.net membership ($25/yr) and get access to the PhotoSmash Extend plugin which gives you the ability to create new posts with each uploaded image (very flexible…uses a custom layout, complete with custom fields, etc, for the creation of the new Posts).
This has been a highly requested feature, and now you’ve got some options.
The Long Run
Matt Mullenweg (http://mm.tt), the founder of WordPress (if that’s the right word), said somewhere that he uses the built-in WP gallery functions because they’re guaranteed to work forever. There are some very good Photo Plugins out there, check out the venerable NextGEN Gallery if you haven’t already (with a million+ downloads, you probably have ), but they aren’t core to WordPress. Matt’s comment has merit. So, even if you’re using NextGEN or PhotoSmash or any of the other plugin galleries, consider if you can use them in conjunction with the WP gallery. As far as PhotoSmash goes, you can, and that’s a good thing!