Are you a new WordPress user? If you are, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of different available plugins. The work of photographers is so diverse and visually dominated that the amount of both free and paid plugins targeted towards photographers is massive. Some of the most popular paid plugins will operate under one cost or subscription model, and cost hundreds over time. So, let’s take a look at 10 great FREE WordPress photography plugins.
Free Photography Plugins
Let’s get started with the boring: security. Ugh, I know. Look, security is boring and not where you want to start, but it's also one of the foundations of every great and important website. This is especially true if you plan on selling anything on your website: you need to make sure that it is well protected. At a price of nothing, Wordfence is where it is at.
NextGEN Gallery is a great gallery plugin for your WordPress site, and once again the price is right. After all, this is a list of free photography plugins. One of the best things about NextGEN is that while it is easy to use, you can delve into it more and take over all the control over what the software is doing to create your galleries. This makes NextGEN a fantastic plugin for you to grow with, as it allows you to learn at your place while its intuitive nature reduces the typical learning curve that some plugins may present.
Further, NextGEN provides multiple distinct gallery styles that are built-in, making them both easy to use and fast to create. Additionally, NextGEN allows you to create both compact and extended albums. You have complete control over everything from sizing, stylization, and controls to features that are less available such as Lightbox and other effects. Additional creative galleries such as the ever-popular filmstrip and film ones are also featured in NextGEN. NextGEN’s premium upgrade options include NextGEN Plus and NextGEN Pro, and upgrading from the free version is easy, although you are never forced to do so.
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Yoast SEO is a fantastic tool that every WordPress website should be taking advantage of if they are currently not working in the SEO space. SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of making a website as congruent as possible with search engines, such as Google or Bing, so that more people searching for specific terms, keywords, etc. may stumble onto your site.
SEO is a relatively new invention in the digital world, and there are very few people that understand it and apply it well without the help of plugins or computer assistance. Yoast SEO brings that to your WordPress site for free, helping you curate the right keywords, titles, and fixing your text so that it meshes as well with search engines as it can. The user interface is intuitive, allowing you to see areas where you need to improve and areas where your text is good to go. After using Yoast for a while, you will become comfortable with what type of writing best works on the internet, and what you can do to make your content as search engine friendly as possible.
Next to Yoast SEO, Prepost SEO is a great plugin to use. You can use it as a stand-alone SEO advisor like Yoast SEO, or you can use the two in tandem. These two SEO assisting applications work well together, as they let you see the strength of your SEO from two separate sets of metrics and calculations, making for a much more informed SEO strategy as you use them. Additionally, while it lacks the level of help for post creation and strategy which Yoast SEO offers, it has a great suggestion feature built-in and checks the internet to make sure that you aren’t accidentally plagiarising or stealing content.
Additionally, one of the best features here is the ability to check all the small details that you may forget about, especially if you are working on a particularly large or tedious post. This includes grammar checking with built-in error information, and the ability to check links to see if they lead to an actual page while also allowing you to easily change between follow and no-follow link types.
Google Site Kit
Google’s Site Kit is a great plugin if you are just getting into the process of learning about your analytics and how you can use them. Other than the fact that it comes from Google, the dominant search engine of the internet era, the Site Kit also features incredible design and allows those that are more Excel-savvy to really dig into their website numbers.
Now, analytics might not be something that you are overly keen on learning about and spending time with, but even then, using Google Site Kit just to monitor what images of yours, galleries, or albums attract the most attention is just as useful as the other side of Site Kit. Further, using Google Site Kit allows you to see where people are coming to your website from, and helps get insight into what social media platforms are actually helping market your website.
We can't make a free photography plugins article without mentioning this one. Soliloquy is a slider plugin that makes slidable image galleries smooth to create and operate. While the majority of slider plugins attempt to make great galleries for the end-user, Soliloquy shines because it makes them easy to build from your side as well. You don’t want to have to tediously work to build these sliders, and you shouldn’t have to.
With over 1.5 million downloads, and countless backing from photographers, artists, designers, and developers, Soliloquy’s Slider all but promises longevity and further updates to its product. It’s not going anywhere, and it’s a fast tool to get your website started with.
If you are currently working with paper, tracking invoices manually, take some of that burden off your shoulders. WP Invoices is a pretty simple plugin that lets you create invoices for your clients. It gets better from there: the plugin accepts a variety of different payment methods, including geographically specific ones in certain regions or countries. Furthermore, it even has a built-in subscription payment, so you don’t need to remember to create scheduled invoices for specific clients or groups of clients. History tools allow clients to see their past transactions and invoices with you, and for you to have an organized and searchable back end of invoices for your records.
Additionally, WP Invoice has an entire suite of incredible and free add-ons for the plugin, hosted on Usability Dynamic’s website. Options include electronic signatures, data visualization, automated quoting systems, and many other options. Setting up WP Invoice can make the business part of your photography easier for you and your clients alike!
SEO Friendly Images
Where Yoast SEO is the plugin that I believe all fledgling websites should take advantage of, SEO Friendly Images is that plugin for photographers. While optimizing your written content is important for any website, photography, and imagery dominated websites need to make sure that they are upholding their SEO standards when it comes to those images as well.
SEO Friendly Images does just that, making sure that your title and alternative titles are well written for search engine usage. Further, SEO Friendly Images automatically updates all images for you, so you don’t have to worry about doing so one-by-one.
W3 Total Cache
One downside to free photography plugins, or any photography plugins for that matter is the photography aspect. You're dealign with a lot of images. So it's important to think about your site's speed.
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular performance optimizers for WordPress websites. It leverages content delivery network and SEO to make the website viewing experience of your website’s visitors as seamless as it can, and makes your website’s desktop and mobile versions faster for viewers.
Furthermore, the use of the caching system that W3 Total Cache takes advantage of (hence its name) means that your website will work incredibly well with everything that is already existent on your website, except for its slower speed, which once configured, will boost like crazy.
Enhanced Media Library
Last on this list, but certainly not least, is Enhanced Media Library. If you’re starting a new website, this plugin is a must-install, especially if you plan on uploading many images. While the basic WordPress media library does its job fairly well, Enhance Media Library makes looking back feel like a trip to the stone age. This plugin allows incredible customization to the tags, categories, and taxonomies of your images, so you can now cut down the amount of time it takes you to find an image, and make your images super organized. Further, it brings drag and drop functionality into your media library, and makes it easier to utilize. This plugin will save you time and pain in the long run, and if you get it now and clear the initial hurdle, you’ll be thanking yourself down the road.