The best WordPress plugins for photographers, in one professionally curated list designed to inspire and direct you towards website success. If you are planning to create a WordPress site for your photography business, then this is a great starting point for you. Having a site that offers everything you need to run your photography business can be such a time saver. There are no reasons to have a WordPress website alongside a Smugmug gallery or to have a WordPress blog alongside a Showit site. Especially since WordPress can be your website, your blog, and maintain a lot, if not all, of your business tasks.
Photographers need to share their work with their clients. They also need time-saving tools to automate some tasks, like social media. They need the ability to quickly and easily edit site design or content. They also need a CRM type system to keep track of client activity.
Before you dive into the best WordPress plugins for photographers, we recommend reading up on our recommended WordPress hosting for photographers' articles.
Once you've settled on your new website host and have your basic WordPress site up and running, it's time to install some of the best WordPress plugins for your new photography website.
Best WordPress Plugins for Photographers
There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins available, but to save you the time and research, we have curated what we believe are the best photography WordPress plugins around.
Each of these plugins will perform specific tasks for your photography site, saving you time, energy, and frustration. Oh, and they'll be on your site, so your branding will stay consistent, and you own the content 100%. Here we go!
Search Engine Optimization
We're huge advocates for SEO, and in the past, we've had an online community dedicated to it. We've also written about SEO a lot. Every photographer needs some form of SEO implementation to help their site to rank better.
We have tried all the popular SEO plugins for WordPress, but only one has stood tall among the rest. Yoast SEO, the only one includes all the powerful features you would need in one plugin, without the need for an extension plugin. Yoast provides a beautiful page and posts analysis tool to help on-site optimization. The modern sitemap tool is way ahead of its competition, and our recommend WordPress gallery plugin also integrates with the sitemap. With over 5 million active sites running Yoast SEO, it's safe to safe it's tried and tested.
Image Optimization & Compression
Image Optimization is two-fold. First is the task of ensuring your image has a small enough file size for fast load, but still good quality. As photographers, we need the best of both worlds. It's easy to compress, but it's hard to compress and retain visual quality. The other is ensuring you have named your files correctly, added ALT text, etc. While there are plugins to rename your files and automate ALT text, we recommend doing it manually before uploading to your site. But for compression, we have some advice. Here at Imagely, we've done extensive testing to determine the absolute best image compression plugins.
Of all the plugins we tested, the one that offered the evenest level of compression and visual quality was Imagify. The plugin offers three levels of compression, will never overcompress your images, works beautifully and deeply with our recommended WordPress gallery plugin, can resize your uploads, and much more.
Photo galleries are obviously extremely important to a photographer's website. Before WordPress had a media library, using a gallery plugin was the only way to have any true gallery on your website. Now, WordPress has its own system to keep your images together. However, it's still not a true gallery management system. That's why we recommend using a plugin, still, for photography sites. Galleries are what is usually highly considered when thinking about WordPress plugins for photographers.
Yes, it's our own product. But NextGEN Gallery is being used by over 1.3 million sites and has been tried and tested over the years. In fact, NextGEN Gallery was the first gallery plugin to come out, before WordPress had a media library. It's been around, and people still love it. The backend interface is beautiful, easy to use, and there are practically no limitations on how your images can be organized and displayed throughout your site.
As mentioned earlier, NextGEN Gallery has integration with Yoast SEO, Imagify, and much more! There are also countless extensions for NextGEN Gallery, which shows how the developer community really believes in the product.
Adding NextGEN Pro to your photography site means that you can offer proofing galleries, e-commerce galleries to sell prints and digital downloads and so much more. In fact, print lab integration for automated print fulfillment is coming very soon!
For Lightroom users, rejoice as there is an easy to use a plugin for NextGEN Gallery. Now you can create a publishing service just as you could for other services. A Lightroom Collection Set becomes an Album, and a Lightroom Collection becomes a Gallery
When it comes to the best WordPress plugins for photographers, we don't just go by features or hearsay. We go by real-world results, what's been tried and tested over the years, and much more. We have two alternatives to share with you. However, we want to point out that we see some customers try the alternatives and typically return to NextGEN Gallery.
Social Media Plugins
Social Media is important for all businesses, but because the majority of photographers are solo business owners, it's important to think of ways to automate or semi-automate as much of social media activity as possible. Not engagement, though!
So this section is broken into three categories: Follow, Share, and Automate. While not every photographer needs these, they're some of the more fun WordPress plugins for photographers you can use.
For Genesis theme (Imagely Theme) users, we recommend Simple Social Icons as it's extremely lightweight and uses SVG images (super-fast loading) to generate your social follow icons. The plugin utilizes widget areas to determine where your social icons show.
There are countless social sharing plugins available for photographers to choose from. But there is one we recommend above the rest. It's called Social Warfare Pro. It's freemium, like so many other plugins. So you can try the free version anytime, and upgrade to the Pro version if and when you decide you need additional features. The only social feature we believe is missing, and we hear is in the works, is social follow icons.
Having the ability to send your blog post content to social media channels quickly and automatically is a beautiful thing. It's such a time saver and leaves your time open to do additional social engagement, reply to comments, and much more. That's why we recommend the following plugins.
WordPress to Buffer Pro allows you to send your post content to all the major social channels on your specified Buffer schedule. Once you set it up, you never have to touch it again. That includes posting to Instagram! There is a free version with some limitations, but the Pro version is well worth it in our opinion.
Post to Google My Business is fairly new, but it's exciting. It allows photographers to quickly publish to their My Business profile upon publishing a new blog post. It saves you time from having to do it manually and means your new content will show up in your local search results automatically.
Page Builder Plugins
Page Builders have been around for a very long time. They're a beautiful thing as they allow photographers to create and modify their websites without needing to know how to code PHP, HTML, or CSS. In the world of page builders, there are many options. We've spent a lot of time analyzing all the popular page builder plugins, and compared them for you. But to sum it up, the one we recommend the most (currently) is Elementor.
However, we're extremely excited to see the future of the new default block editor in WordPress 5.x. That new editor has a codename, Gutenberg. At its core, the new block editor is very robust and flexible. However, sometimes you need that extra little something. That's where Kadence Blocks comes in. It adds blocks commonly found in page builder plugins. After heavy user testing and code reviews, we found Kadence to be the best overall block plugin for any WordPress user.
Alternative: Beaver Builder (Pro)
An important part of a photographer's business, or any business for that matter, is the capture of emails for lead generation. There are two plugins that we recommend considering for those tasks. One of which requires a paid monthly or annual fee, and the other is a one-time fee. The advance of the software as a service offering is the server overhead isn't required as the WordPress plugin uses their servers for implementation.
OptinMonster is our go-to recommendation for optins. It's one of the most popular available, has been tested heavily, and has its own page builder style interface if you want to design your own optins. However, OptinMonster does require a monthly or annual plan as mentioned earlier.
For those who prefer less expensive products, Bloom might be the best choice. It is hosted 100% by you, lives solely on your WordPress site, but has some limitations. For example, unlike OptinMonster, Bloom does not work with Mailchimp Groups. So if you use Groups, then Bloom is not right for you.
Email & Forms
Going along with lead generation comes another form of email capture and delivery. Contact forms are important as they're a fantastic way to get booking requests, without the risk of spam. There are a lot of contact form plugins out there, but we're going to recommend two of our favorites WordPress plugins for photographers.
This plugin is created by the same team behind OptinMonster and Monster Insights (which is coming later). If you use each of the plugins, you'll notice a similarity in design. WPForms Pro gives you a very user-friendly interface for creating contact forms, questionnaires, surveys, and much more. There are extensions to integrate with MailChimp and many other email marketing services. We recommend WPForms Pro for anyone who wants simplicity in their form creation.
This is by far the most popular contact form plugin. It's one of the first premium plugins ever and is used by the majority of the leading websites on the Internet. It can do everything WPForms Pro can do (except for the WP Forms's template system) but is not as "pretty." Gravity Forms is definitely designed more for developers, but it's rock-solid, so we feel the need to share it too.
Bonus: WP Mail SMTP to take complete control over what email address is used to send from your WordPress site. This is also developed by the people behind OptinMonster and WPForms.
Update: As of Gravity Forms version 2.5 the plugin is getting a major user experience upgrade which rivals the beauty of WPForms.
The people behind OptinMonster shifted their business from creating a bunch of different types of products to only products that can help every business no matter the genre or niche. Monster Insights is one of those products. The plugin used to be called Google Analytics by Yoast and was a sister product of Yoast SEO. But once the plugin was in new hands, it was quickly renamed to MonsterInsights. The plugin is still the best of its kind, allowing seamless integration with Google Analytics, reporting, and much more.
There is also an official Google plugin for the job, called SiteKit which is designed to easily implement Google Analytics, AdSense, Optimize, Tag Manager, and Speed Tests to your WordPress site. It also has reporting charts and data on your dashboard.
Spam & Security
Next up are spam and security plugins. Spam is for comments; security is for your entire website. Of all the WordPress plugins for photographers, these are ones that should be installed on every site, even if you don't think you need it.
The other white meat. But in all seriousness, spam is a serious problem on all blogs, whether it's WordPress, Squarespace, Medium, or whatever. Spam is a problem. Akismet uses AI (artificial intelligence) to detect, reduce, and remove spam comments from your site. We strongly recommend using Akismet on every WordPress.
Like spam, security is something you have to worry about no matter the website platform you choose. There are rumors that WordPress is more vulnerable than other platforms, but it simply isn't true. The only reason it might be true is that WordPress powers over 30% of the Internet, so it's the most common website platform you'll find. To help protect you, we recommend considering Wordfence. It's one of the few security plugins that do a great job without having to change physical files in your WordPress configuration.
The only other recommended plugin we can share does require modifying files on your site. Keep that mind and backup your site before installing it.
Alternative: iThemes Security
Speaking of backing up your site. Photographers, listen... you back up your photo library, right? (Please say yes)
So why wouldn't you do the same for your website? Many hosts offer backups for you, but not all of them. So if you don't have a backup service provided by your host, or if they don't make the files easily accessible, then consider one of the following plugins.
WP Time Capsule is kind of like Apple's Time Machine. It's a simple day to day based system that backs up changed files each day. That's called incremental backups. It sends the files to either your Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3 account, so you always have access.
Before WP Time Capsule came out, our go-to recommendation was BackupBuddy. It's also made by iThemes and has been around forever. We recommend considering that one as well.
Customer Relationship Management
When it comes to CRM systems, WordPress is falling behind other platforms. It's one of those rare cases where a CRM might not be the best fit for WordPress. But then again, sometimes it might be. If you're looking for a CRM on your WordPress site, there is only one plugin we recommend considering. The name says it all, Zero BS CRM. That's right; it's a CRM system that gets down to the nitty-gritty. If you are going to try Zero BS CRM, please be aware that there are three viewing modes for the plugin. If you're using it on your main site, go for the view that doesn't combine the menu or take over your WordPress site. That way it looks and feels like any other plugin. So why we recommend Zero BS CRM over the others? Because they're the ones pushing the CRM niche forward in WordPress.
Our only alternative is a non-WordPress based CRM system.
Alternative: Sprout Studio
Many photographers are using contact form plugins for booking, which is great as they do the job well. But for photographers who want a fully automated system that requires no back and forths, Bookly or Amelia might be the best plugins for the job. It has a nice design, integrates with your calendar, and just works well.
The Best WordPress Plugins For Photographers
WordPress is powerful, flexible, and growing drastically year after year. The possibilities are endless with WordPress, and that's why we wanted to share with you, what we believe are the best WordPress plugins for photographers. We hope this helped direct you towards plugins for your photography website.