WordPress and photos 2: Goodbye to Gallery2 and ZenPhoto

My website, before I turned it into a blog, consisted mainly of a small portfolio. I hardly ever updated my portfolio except that I added a few pictures now and then in the photography section. Even though I was technically capable of designing and coding a minor addition or update could sometimes mean major work. This is one of the reasons I switched to the WordPress blog software; to facilitate easy additions. What WordPress doesn’t facilitate however is the easy uploading and managing of (multiple) files, see my post “Uploading and file management in WordPress.”

Because of the serveral reasons mentioned in my previous post I tried a few standalone galleries that handle the uploading and managing of photos much better. I tried two galleries that are both written in PHP (just like WordPress) and offer plugins to integrate with WordPress.

First I tried Gallery2 with the WPG2 plugin for WordPress but this resulted in some problems. On top of that I couldn’t get the Gallery to integrate in the look of my WordPress theme and after fiddling with the files for hours I simply gave up. I moved to the nice looking minimalistic Zenphoto with the ZenPress plugin for WordPress. File uploading is very easy, you just upload everything to a folder with the appropriate name and it automatically creates a photo folder with that same name. You can adjust titles and other information instantly thanks to Ajax. The ZenPress plugin adds a button to your visual editor to add photos but the interface is rather awkward. First you have to select a category and then you have to insert your pictures one by one, where you can chose from a range of options such as size and alignment for each of them. Unfortunately there is no way to insert a whole album into your blog with one click. You can set defaults for inserting your pictures but even with this option if you want to insert thumbnails for all the pictures in an album this means that you have to follow (at least) three steps:

  1. Click ZenPress button
  2. Select album
  3. Select picture

Imagine if you have twenty pictures in an album. Of course you can link one picture to your album but then your visitor leaves your blog and goes to your album. What I want is to integrate the albums into my blog.

Another problem I encountered is that I am limited to a certain amount of webspace and bandwidth by my host. I have a basic account which means I can upload a total of 500 Mb and have 10gig a month of data traffic. When uploading pictures you easily reach the 500 Mb (a high res picture is almost 2 Mb). My main reason for using my own webspace for my pictures was that I wanted all my things in the same place. Of course I could buy more webspace, doubling my webspace to 1gig (and bandwidth to 20gig) would mean an additional 30 euros, but my whole photo archive is over 25 gig! It also wouldn’t solve my problem of integrating a gallery with WordPress. I had to search for a solution that might include hosting my pictures somewhere else. Then I rediscovered Flickr (Pro), which is even cheaper than doubling my webspace. A long time ago I used to have a Flickr account but I never used it because I used my own webspace so I deleted my account. But Flickr has grown (and so has my archive!) and expanded and don’t even get me started on the features they offer! Continue reading for my Flickr adventures and how to make a WordPress Flickr photoblog.

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