For a photographer with a limited budget and limited web skills, building/finding the right photo gallery tool to run a website can be painful. I have spent the better part of two years looking for the perfect photo management web gallery, blogging application and content management system to run my website. Although my search has been productive, I have yet to find the perfect solution. For the non-developer, building a site based off of pre-existing open-source tools can be challenging. So if you are like me, and know just enough about how the web works to get yourself in trouble, than you might just find the following information useful.

The Challenge

  • Find a content managment system that allow easy photo gallery updates
  • Hierarchical photo gallery organization
  • The ability to reorganize individual photos in each gallery
  • The ability to blog and photoblog
  • Run it all out of one content management system

The Candidates and the Findings

  • Moveabletype: Creates “flat files.” If you make one small change, you will need to rebuild the entire site. This can create quite the server load.
  • Zen Photo: Can be quite buggy. Otherwise, this gets pretty close photo-wise.
  • Coppermine: Too bulky. Ugly CMS.
  • Text Pattern: Too much coding and recoding required.
  • Simpleviewer: Flash-based.
  • PixelPost: Great for photoblogging, but can only display photos posted chronologically.
  • Flickr WordPress plugin: Requires PHP safe-mode turned off.
  • Gallery: Overkill. Ugly.
  • Folderblog: Category system sucks.
  • Photostack: Great for photo galleries, but no blogging capabilities.

The Results

After hours and hours spent installing, testing, reinstalling, and retesting, I have found that WordPress, paired with Photostack, works best for me. Designing each to emulate the other was fairly straight forward. The downside to this approach is that the site wasn’t built using one CMS, but rather, two independently working CMS’. To see Photostack in action, see my Photos section. Everything else was produced using WordPress.

UPDATE

I now use Monoslideshow formy photos/portfolio section.