Currently, the number of templates designed for Joomla gallery websites has increased significantly in the market. Considering this fact, I'd like to share with you some experience in building a photo gallery website from scratch based on version 1.5.
The aim of this article is to help you build a Joomla gallery on version 1.5 in the most cost-effective way. Therefore, I prefer free templates and extensions (under GNU/GPL license). The only cost you have to pay is hiring a hosting service and buying a domain name.
By following the steps below, you can build a Joomla gallery website by yourself.
Step 1: Choosing a template
You can choose a free template from various sources such as blogtemplate4u.com, joomla24.com and themesbase.com. Many developers have been submitting their work to these places for free. If you want to look for a version 1.6 template, take a look at the article that I wrote for Joomla Magazine a while ago - Free Joomla! Templates for Joomla! Community. Glance around and choose a template for your need.
JSN Tendo Free Edition which developed by JoomlaShine Team is a recommended template. The template is geared for photo gallery website so it possesses appropriate looks and features.
You can see right on the homepage an eye-catching flash gallery called JSN ImageShow. The extension is also developed by JoomlaShine and available for free. Download JSN ImageShow.
Please notice that the detailed documentation - The configuration manual for JSN Tendo is included in the Free File Download. Check it for more details about using the template.
Step 2: Choosing suitable extensions
Choosing suitable Joomla extensions for your photo gallery website is as important as looking for the best template. According to my web-development experience, a gallery page requires specific components. Here are some extensions that I suggest, all of which are under GNU/GPL license. You can download them for free.
A Gallery Component is inevitable in any image website. This is the key component used to display your Joomla gallery website.
While you are using JSN ImageShow for the homepage showcase, you can also use it for the Gallery section. The most interesting thing is that JSN ImageShow allows you to connect your account on Flickr and Picasa. You can easily present your images from these sources on JSN ImageShow by using the API.
Besides, I recommend another cool Joomla gallery extensions which has been widely used by many photographers: Phoca Gallery
It is easy to categorize your images and show them neatly in groups like a portfolio or an album. You can change the parameters of the folders according on your liking. Also, viewers can make comments and give ratings, and you can set access and user rights and so on.
While JSN ImageShow specializes in stunning flash slideshows, Phoca Gallery differentiates itself by displaying each single photo. Phoca Gallery permits users to do quite a lot configuration and management in its control panel. Meanwhile, JSN ImageShow is much simpler with seemingly automatic functions.
The most exciting thing is that JSN ImageShow is capable of displaying images from Phoca Gallery easily. I think the combination is necessary when you want to showcase your latest albums on the site's front page.
Each component has its own advantages and you may want to try both. I think that JSN ImageShow will stand out from the crowd if it is usedto showcase a flash gallery on the homepage or on a single page. JSN ImageShow is perfect for effects and transitions.
In the mean time, Phoca Gallery will be ideal for a Joomla gallery collection, which contains a lot of different work under various categories. You can also view every images's information in detail and download it with Phoca Gallery.
Here is an example of how JSN ImageShow and Phoca Gallery can combine with each other perfectly. Take a look!
Your viewers might want to leave you a message, so they can get in touch with you through the Contact menu. My recommendation is Contact NT component.
The component is based on the Contact component of version 1.5 with additional fields like: Website, Telephone Number and Customizable Combo. Configuration of Contact NT is like working with the default Contact component. I think working with this component is more convenient than others of the same type. Remember that you are required to register and login before downloading. Download Contact NT Component.
More and more photographers and designers have developed a great demand for sharing their thoughts and experiences with viewers on weblogs. For a Weblog Component, I recommend K2 - the best extension for weblogs.
K2 can create powerful content for sites with integrated comment and social bookmarking functions. K2 has its own dashboard whichis separate from that of Joomla. Therefore, it is also convenient for you to control the weblog by setting up user groups, authors, articles, tags and comments from viewers.
A Search Component will save viewers' time to locate certain photos when you have different categories and galleries on your gallery website. I suggest you try ACE Search Basic component, which is free and easy to use.
As I'm introducing you a cost-effective way of building a web gallery, all components are non-commercial. For ACE Search, they also have commercial editions which includes more advanced features. If you find it necessary to use those features, you may consider the commercial editions of ACE Search. Donwload ACE Search.
Building a photo gallery website is simpler than other types. The major component is the gallery extension that displays your galleries or portfolios well. It should be in the most eye-catching way.
This article has shown you the main steps along with the necessary components to build a Joomla photo gallery website based on JSN Tendo.Try out with your first gallery website and leave us your comments. Good luck!