Custom Post WP Gallery is the portfolio plugin I’ve been wanting for WordPress for a long time. It’s very simple, but does exactly what I wanted: allows you to have a thumbnail image gallery that pulls the images from specific Pages or Custom Post Types, using the Featured Image functionality. The latter is what I really wanted so I could keep the portfolio as a separate unit within the website. While there are tons of thumbnail gallery plugins out there, all seem to have way too many features I’d never use, and are proprietary so if the plugin gets abandoned you’re stuck. By tapping into built-in features of WordPress, at least you are ensured some level of being future-proofed.
Another reason I wanted a gallery based on Custom Post Types is so my full images pages were actual webpages that I could control the text, title, description and slug. While those fancy “lightbox” image browsers might seem cool, they are no help (as far as I can tell) for getting people to your portfolio via Google. There’s no way to really focus the content on an individual page for each piece of artwork. And if you decide you no longer want to use the other gallery plugins, your portfolio needs to be rebuilt. With Custom Post WP Gallery, everything is a Page within WordPress and it’s still there whether I use the thumbnail gallery or not.
Again, since it taps into the existing functionality in the core WordPress.org installation, there’s less to break and the compatibility is much more likely. You set up a basic Page and add the plugin’s shortcode and you’re done. The shortcode can even be refined to narrow down to subsets if you’ve added custom Taxonomy to your Custom Post Type.
I did have some slight issues with getting proper square, cropped thumbnails to work, but it seemed like it was more of an issue with my theme rather than the plugin, and fast support from their help forums fixed the issue with a slight code tweak. Other than that I had nothing else to do save for set up a Custom Post Type for the Portfolio section. I have asked the developers for an increase in the maximum number of columns displayed which is currently limited to 3, and they quickly replied that they would see if the programmers could add this. Really the only thing I’d like to see added.
So far the plugin has been working great, and was well worth the $15+ I paid for it (the developer is in Australia so there was a few extra cents with the conversion). HIghly recommended for artists and photographers looking to build a portfolio on WordPress.