Looking for the best WordPress gallery plugin for your site? In my Envira Gallery review, I’ll help you decide whether Envira Gallery is right for you.
I’ll go hands-on with the premium version and tell you both the pros and cons of using Envira Gallery on your site.
In general, I found that it’s a stellar option for heavy-duty users. But if you’re just a casual user who wants to display a few pictures in a nice-looking format, you might have some better options.
I’ll start with a quick recap of the features that Envira Gallery offers, then I’ll dig into the hands-on section of the review and show you how things work on my demo site.
Let’s get started!
Envira Gallery Review: What’s In The Box
Envira Gallery comes in both a free version at WordPress.org, as well as a few premium versions that come with varying sets of add-ons.
For this Envira Gallery review, I’m going to focus exclusively on the premium version because that’s where most of the unique functionality lies. But the free version is nice to have for getting a feel for how the plugin works.
Furthermore, most of the premium functionality is divided into different add-ons.
There are a lot of different add-ons. Seriously – at the time that I’m writing this review, there are 30 different add-ons.
Sounds a bit overwhelming, right? Why not just put all that functionality into the core plugin?
Well – even though your mouse finger might get a little tired trying to install all these add-ons – I actually really like the add-on approach because it’s modular. That is, you can pick and choose exactly what functionality you want and skip the rest.
The end result is that you get access to a lot of functionality, but without any bloat. And that’s a good thing for your site’s performance.
Envira Gallery Add-ons
So what do those add-ons do? Bear with me here as I quickly summarize what all you can choose from:
- Standalone – give each gallery its own unique URL.
- Supersize Lightbox Images – display images in full-scale when using lightbox mode.
- CSS – add your own custom CSS.
- Slideshow – including autoplay and transition speeds.
- Protection – disables right-click to “protect” your images (don’t be that person, though – this is a silly way to try and stop image thieves).
- Printing – gives visitors easy printing options.
- EXIF – lets you display EXIF metadata in your galleries.
- Gallery Themes – use pre-made themes to change how your galleries look.
- Password Protection – force users to enter a password to view a gallery.
- Pagination – divide big galleries into multiple pages.
- Videos – create galleries with videos from a variety of sources.
- Albums – lets you create albums that contain multiple galleries.
- Fullscreen – lets visitors view images in full-screen mode.
- Deeplinking – lets you create URLs that go straight to specific gallery items.
- Schedule – schedule entire galleries or individual images to only display at certain times.
- Tags – add custom tags to gallery images. You can then let users filter or search for images by tag.
- Watermarking – automatically add a custom watermark to your images.
- Zoom – adds zoom functionality to gallery images.
- Defaults – set reusable gallery settings defaults to save time when creating new galleries.
- Breadcrumbs – add breadcrumb navigation to your galleries for easier navigation.
- Downloads – add a download button so that visitors can easily download your galleries.
- Pinterest – add Pinterest “pin it” buttons to your gallery images.
- Instagram – import your Instagram pictures into a gallery.
- Social – add share buttons to images.
- Lightroom – create and sync galleries with your Adobe Lightroom collections.
- WooCommerce – sell your photos via WooCommerce.
- Proofing – let your clients proof photos right from WordPress.
- Dynamic – lets you create dynamic galleries “on the fly”. Like pulling images from a specific folder or the current page/post/custom post type’s attached images.
- Featured Content – create galleries based on posts, pages, products, testimonials, or any other custom post type.
- ZIP Importer – lets you upload a ZIP file of images straight into a gallery.
- Dropbox Importer – lets you import images from Dropbox straight into galleries.
- NextGEN Gallery Importer – helps you import galleries that you’ve previously created with NextGEN Gallery.
So yeah…there’s a lot there!
Sorry for that beefy list, but I’m not sure of a better way to share everything that you can do with Envira Gallery.
Not, let’s take this Envira Gallery review hands-on…
Hands-on With Envira Gallery – Using The Core Functionality
To create your first gallery with Envira, you head to Envira Gallery → Add New:
The interface that you see looks a lot like the Soliloquy slider plugin from the same developer that we recently reviewed.
You can choose to create a gallery from your own content – either by uploading new images or selecting existing images from your WordPress Media Library. Or, with the right add-ons, you could also create an External Gallery to build a gallery from Instagram, Dropbox, or others.
Once you add some images, you’ll be able to configure your gallery in the meta box below.
Configuring Envira Gallery Images
Without any of the add-ons, there’s not a ton to configure with Envira Gallery.
To change the order of the images, you can use simple drag and drop to move them around:
And to edit basic information for each image, you can click the Pencil icon to control:
- Alt text
Basic Gallery Settings
Once you’re happy with your images, you can jump over to the Configuration tab to control overall gallery settings.
You’ll be able to choose a variety of dimensions for your gallery. You can:
- Choose a set number of columns, or let the plugin automatically optimize the number of columns.
- Set dimensions like height and margin.
- Enter individual image dimensions.
- Choose whether or not to crop images and, if enabled, how to crop.
You can also enable lazy loading, which is a great way to improve performance.
With lazy loading enabled, Envira Gallery will wait to load images below the user’s viewable screen until the user starts scrolling down:
Envira Gallery comes with built-in lightbox functionality that you can configure in the Lightbox tab.
You can control a number of important options here, like:
- Image size in the lightbox
- Transition effect
- Lightbox navigation
The Mobile tab helps you ensure that your galleries look perfect on all devices.
One great thing that Envira Gallery lets you do is create special thumbnail dimensions for mobile images. Beyond controlling aesthetics, this can also help you minimize file size on mobile devices, which helps your site load faster.
You can also choose whether to enable lightbox functionality for mobile users, as well as how lightbox functions:
There’s nothing too exciting in the Misc tab, but it does let you choose the gallery slug, as well as add your own custom CSS classes.
You can also import and export galleries:
Displaying Your Gallery
Once you’re happy with how your gallery is configured, you can Publish it to make it live. Then, you can use the shortcode or PHP function to display your gallery anywhere on your site:
Here’s what the default gallery styling looks like:
You could choose a set number of columns if you prefer a more traditional look.
Nine Awesome Things You Can Do With The Envira Gallery Add-Ons
Ok, so now you should have a good feel for how Envira Gallery functions at a basic level. Now, I want to take this Envira Gallery review even more hands-on and single out some of the coolest add-ons.
No – I can’t show you every single one of the 30+ add-ons that are available. But these are the ones that I think are the most helpful/unique…
1. Choose From More Gallery Themes
While the default style looks pretty nice, you might want a different approach for some of your galleries.
Beyond changing the number of columns to do that, you can also use the Gallery Themes add-on to get access to a bunch of pre-made styles:
For example, the Polaroid theme gives your gallery this neat polaroid effect:
Or the Captioned theme lets you display captions below each image:
2. Sell Photos Via WooCommerce
If you’re looking to make money from your photography, you might want the ability to sell photos.
With the WooCommerce add-on, you can integrate your gallery and images with WooCommerce:
Basically, it lets you link each gallery image to an associated WooCommerce product. Then, visitors can add the image to their WooCommerce cart right from the gallery:
3. Import Instagram Images As A Gallery
If you’re into photography, you’re probably active on Instagram. That’s why I love that Envira Gallery makes it easy to import your Instagram images as a gallery.
Before you get started, you’ll need to authenticate Envira Gallery with your Instagram account in the plugin’s settings (it’s super easy – you basically click two buttons):
Then, you’ll be able to use your Instagram account as an external gallery source:
4. Automatically Watermark Your Images
While I’m not a big fan of Envira Gallery’s add-on that lets you disable right-click (c’mon, it’s super easy to get around and just annoys people), I do like the Watermark add-on.
It lets you automatically watermark gallery images with your own image. You can also choose exactly where to place your image, including the margins:
5. Create A Slideshow From Your Gallery
With the Slideshow add-on, you can easily transform any gallery into a lightbox slideshow:
6. Add Social Share Buttons
Want to drive some social traffic to your gallery images? The Social add-on makes it easy to display social buttons on both your gallery and lightbox content:
7. Direct Deeplinking
With the Deeplinking add-on, you can check a box to allow deeplinks straight to a specific lightbox image:
8. Client Proofing
If you’re a professional photographer, you need a way to give your clients access to proof images. The Proofing add-on makes that easy:
9. Video Galleries
Envira Gallery isn’t just for images! With the Videos add-on, you can create video galleries from both self-hosted videos, or embedded videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and other sources:
That’s Just Scratching The Surface!
Again, these are just my favorites from Envira Gallery’s 30+ available add-ons.
If you want to see the full list of add-ons, you can check it out here. But now, you should have a good idea of how the add-ons integrate into the core Envira Gallery interface.
Envira Gallery Pricing: It Depends On What You Want
You can find a limited free version of Envira Gallery at WordPress.org.
After that, paid plans start at $29 and range up to $99 for casual users (or $299 for agencies).
Each tier gives you access to a different set of add-ons.
The $29 Basic plan is just that – basic. But if you upgrade to the $69 Plus plan, you’ll get some cool stuff like Instagram galleries and watermarking. And if you go with the $99 Pro plan, you’ll get every single add-on, including:
Envira Gallery Review Sum-Up – Should You Use It?
Envira Gallery is a great product. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right product for your specific needs.
If you’re just a casual user who wants to create some great-looking image galleries and doesn’t need more advanced functionality like eCommerce and client proofing, you might be happier using a more streamlined WordPress gallery plugin like Modula (it also comes in a free version).
On the other hand, if you are that power user who does want deep functionality like:
- Client proofing
- Lightroom integrations
- Albums and slideshows
- Instagram galleries
Then I think Envira Gallery is a great option for you.
It can go toe-to-toe with the other high-powered gallery plugins when it comes to functionality, but it’s also a heckuva lot easier to use. For all that functionality that you get, the interface is still pretty simple and the user experience is great.
With deep functionality and user-friendliness wrapped into one, it’s a stellar choice for people who need more functionality than a basic gallery plugin can offer.
Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.