In my previous article about publishing online photo galleries, I have addressed the two major solutions available for hosting your photo galleries on your own web site. The first solution that I have talked about was to use gallery generation software that will produce all the files necessary for publishing your gallery. This article will explore some of the implementations that are available for this solution.
1. What does an online photo gallery consist of?
A web photo gallery consists of two modules (most of the times): the thumbnail pages and the image pages.
- The thumbnail pages contain the thumbnails of the pictures contained in the gallery. Each thumbnail contains a link to the larger picture. The thumbnail page(s) provide a quick overview of the pictures available for viewing and provides the readers with a visual summary of the photo gallery (Santa Barbara, California photo gallery).
- The image pages contain the actual images and navigation controls. This is probably the most important feature of on online gallery: namely, that each pictures is presented in such a way that the reader can easily navigate back and forth between the pictures. This is achieved by wrapping the picture in a presentation container that provides links to previous and the next picture. See my example of Santa Barbara, California.
2. What does it mean to generate a web photo gallery?
In order for the two modules (described above) to function properly there are two steps to be performed. The first step is preparing the images for web publishing and the second step is creating all the code for gallery navigation.
- Preparing the images for publishing means that the original images have to be resized in order to produce thumbnails and web-ready images. The resolution and size are very important things to be considered when it comes to publishing pictures online. If the resolution is too large, the pages will load too slowly.
- The second step is the creation of the necessary code for the image navigation functionality. This usually involves quite a bit of HTML code that has to be produced for each image. This step also includes choosing a color theme for the final look of our photo gallery.
3. How does automatic gallery generation software help?
If you’re not familiar with HTML and CSS coding standards, using gallery generation software is your only choice for creating web image galleries. Even if you’re a pro at HTML and CSS, the process for creating a web image gallery is time consuming and very repetitive. It is a lot easier to use existing software and generate your gallery and then change the color scheme and functionality if you please. The more photo galleries you’re trying to publish, the more you will benefit from such software.
4. What software should you use for generating your web image galleries?
There are way too many choices available and the feature list can be both impressive and overwhelming. This kind of programs range from very basic to very complicated and also from FREE to very expensive. So what’s the best program for creating online image galleries? Well, the answer may differ depending on your purpose and needs. I tend to look for FREE software first, because I am very likely to find FREE software that will work pretty well for my needs. If the FREE software that I find turns out not to be flexible enough then I’ll look for commercial software. In this day and age, commercial software is not necessarily better than FREE software. I have tried many of these software packages over the years and I have settled on just two, so my recommendations are based on years of trial and error:
- Extreme Thumbnail Generator – this is my favorite photo gallery generation software. It comes with a 30 day trial period and costs $29.99 for the entire product and one year of free updates. This software package is the most flexible I have actually used. You can modify and save the color scheme of your choice and you can insert text or images or links into each page that the program generates. However, you have to know a little HTML if you want to make use of the flexibility available in the tool. If you don’t want to customize anything, this program will produce great looking image libraries in a snap. Check out my photo gallery from Santa Barbara, California.
- Web Album Generator – this is a FREE package that is probably one of the easiest to use software packages available. However, it is also quite limited in the options available. If you just want to create photo galleries and publish them and don’t care much about adding extra features, then this will work fine for you. One major drawback of this software is that you can’t change the available color schemes that are provided with the software. You can only change the colors after the gallery has been generated and you can’t import it for future use.
Using a program that generates image galleries is a quick and flexible way to publish your images on the web. If you also consider the cost and effort involved, this solution is probably the best for individual photographers that want to publish their pictures on the web. However, if you’re trying to build an image library with images that can be tagged, categorized and searched, then this solution will not work for you at all. The image gallery generator programs will only generate a static image gallery that cannot be searched. The generated image galleries have a very simple structure that is file based.
How do you publish your pictures online?
I’m always interested in your own solutions. How do you publish your pictures online? Feel free to share your experience by adding a comment on this page.
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