How to Create a Photo Gallery Website

How to Create a Photo Gallery Website

Whether you're a photo enthusiast, professional, or someone who just wants to share a bunch of photos on the web, what I'm about to show you will knock your socks off!  By the time you're done reading this page, you will have all the knowledge it takes on how to create a photo gallery website.  Not only will you build a professional, good looking photo gallery website, you won't have to pay a dime for the software tools needed to streamline creating your photo gallery website.  I'm not exaggerating either, read on and you'll see how.


"5 Steps to the most simple way to build a photo gallery website"

1.  Choose a  domain and reputable web host (like Bluehost

2.  Install Joomla (make sure the web host in step 1 supports it)

3.  Change the Joomla template (you can use the default buy why?)

4.  Install the RSGallery plugin and configure it

5.  Start uploading your photos!


 Joomla + RSGallery = Instant photo gallery web site (without the hard work)

And both are free (open source)! 


With the help of a free piece of software named Joomla (along with a free plugin name RSGallery) you can create an absolutely stunning photo gallery website that's fully functional and professional looking.  


Designed For The User, Less Time More Results 

Since Joomla is designed to keep things easy, you could very well use these tools to build your photo gallery site in about 2-5 hours from start to finish.  Compare that to months, even years, of learning html, javascript, php, and other web programming languages!  In the end your photo gallery web site will look like you hired a professional to built it!


Take the "Wow" Challenge!

Your site will leave everyone wondering how in the world did you create such an incredible site!  Try it out and see how many people you can "Wow."  Let someone you know that you plan on building a gallery website, but only show them the web site after it's done.  You're sure to get one of these, "Wow, how did you make this?!"  Your friends and family (and even yourself) will be very impressed.  Definite bragging rights! 


To give you a taste of what  your photo gallery site will have, here is a list of some features:


  • Slideshows
  • Automatic watermarks
  • Batch uploading
  • Comments and voting
  • Allow users to upload
  • Automatically display Exif Data
  • Automatic resize
  • Thumbnail creation
  • Descriptions and search
  • Downloading


Also, I should mention that you absolutely do not have to be a webmaster or even tech savvy to do this - I kid you not!  For the most part, I find most tasks with Joomla involve button clicking and filling out forms via its web interface.  So, if you know how to use a computer and follow this guide to help you through the entire process,  you will have your very own photo gallery website -- free of extra charge and totally made for and by you.  It doesn't get any more satisfying than that! ;)


Get Ready to Fly!

Let's get to it!  Shortly you're gonna be on your way to uploading your photos and pictures to your very own custom photo gallery website --  If you've seen stunning photogallery sites and are jealous, it's time to turn the tables. 

What's more important, since Joomla makes creating a photo gallery website so painless, you'll be able to concentrate on your photography.  So now there's absolutely no excuse to show off (and possibly sell) your photos online!

If you're not already familiar with Joomla, get up to speed quickly here.  In a nutshell, its a free application that helps people like me and you build stunning and feature-rich websites without having to dreadfully learn complex programming languages.  Most tasks are point and click!

If you're totally new to building websites in general, that's great! Actually this entire site is dedicated to learning and doing easy website design, so welcome to the club! 

An Example Photo Gallery Website

I love to say, seeing is believing.  So lets get started with an example photo gallery web site.  Take a look at and  Go ahead, poke around and click on "Photgraphy" or "Photo Gallery," respectively.  This guide will show you how to make a site similar to these two sites which both use Joomla and RSGallery.

Let's get started Building a Photo Gallery Web Site With Joomla

The process is broken down into two sections with very easy to follow steps  -- The first step is to install Joomla,  the next step is to configure Joomla for your photo gallery website.

First follow the General Joomla Website Installation steps, this section describes the necessary installation steps for all Joomla websites. 

Secondly, move on to Configuring Joomla To Create a Photo Gallery Web Site.

Don't worry if the steps look a little overwhelming right now -- sometimes something new seems more difficult than it really is.  You gotta crawl before you can walk, right?  I assure you that YOU CAN EASILY install Joomla (especially if the host you choose does it for you).  Pretty soon you'll be running  with Joomla and having fun building multiple sites (currently I have 7 Joomla sites).

General Joomla Website Installation

Here's a tip to remember:

Stick with what works.  I've installed Jooma on hosts that fully support it and hosts that don't support it very well.  I've outlined steps on how to install Joomla on Bluehost - a host that I know supports Joomla and provides great general support.  If you choose this host also, you can be sure your setup is as good as golden!

Register a domain and choose a hosting provider

Remember you can register a domain name for free (a savings of about $10 a year) if you get a hosting package. 


Recommended web hosting providers are Bluehost and Hostmonster.  These hosting providers are rock solid and have been tested to fully support Joomla and your photo gallery needs.  Not to mention offer instant Joomla installation with Fantastico, and free domain registration with each account.


Install Joomla

I strongly suggest you sign up with a web host that lets you use Fantastico to install Joomla

If not follow the manual instructions to install Joomla


Configuring Joomla To Build a Photo Gallery Web Site

Choose a Photo Gallery Friendly Template

The right template is a little more crucial for a photo gallery web site.  Usually you can't go wrong with having a solid black or white background.  And you probably wouldn't want a busy looking background (like polka dots) to distract your vistors eyes from your photos.  You should experiment with different templates depending on how you want to portray your site.  


A friendly word of caution: There are a lot of Joomla templates that you can choose from.  Just Google "Joomla templates" -- and you'll see thousands of sites that offer unique Joomla templates (some free and some not), and you could easily spend hours or days surfing the web for "the perfect" template.  Be careful not to be too picky and waste too much time on this step.  Mostly because each site will require you to login before being able to download any Joomla templates -- this can be very frustrating.  Just make sure to strike a good balance of surfing for a template that satisfies you so that you can continue working on the main part of your website.  For a couple of my favorite templates see Joomla Templates.


For this tutorial's purpose, you can download this template called NLD Project7 -its has a nice solid black color scheme. 

Install this (or any other template for that matter) by logging into the Joomla backend. 

  • Select Installers-> Template-Site
  • Click Browse and select the template you just downloaded
  • Click Upload File & Install.   
  •  The last step is to set the template you just uploaded as your sites default template.
  • Navigate to Site -> Template Manager -> Site Templates
  • Choose the radio button near the template's name
  • Lastly click Default in the upper right. 
  • Reload your website and you should see the newly installed template in full effect!


The beauty of templates and Joomla is that if you get sick of one template for any reason, with a few button clicks you can change your whole site's look whenever you want -- all without any programming or coding!

Install RSGallery Component

The RSGallery  component is one of 1000's of Joomla special little addons that add special functionality to your website.  RSGallery in particular will turn your website into a full blown photo gallery with bells and whistles.

Click to watch "Installing RSGallery"

  • Download RSGallery
  • Log into the administration area of your Joomla site
  • Navigate to Installers ->Components
  • Under Install new Component, click Browse and choose the file you just downloaded above.

 Voila!  You just installed RSGallery.  Awesome, now you're ready to upload photos and create galleries! 


Upload Your Photos!

Click to watch "Creating A New Gallery and Upload A Photo"

  • Begin uploading your photos by navigating to Components -> RSGallery2->Gallery
  • Click New in the upper right corner to create your first gallery
  • Give your gallery a name and click save
  • Now go to Components -> RSGallery2 -> Upload
  • Choose the gallery you just created above and choose Browse to upload your first photo.  Don't forget to give the photo a title and a description if you wish.
  • Repeat #4 and #5 for as many photos you want in your gallery.  Alternatively you can batch upload your photos by navigating to Components->RSGallery2->Batch Upload.  Here you can upload a zip file of photos to a gallery in the administration area of your Joomla site.

Publish A Link To Your New Galleries

Last, but certainly not least, create a menu item for your photo gallery so that people can navigate to your photos!

Click to watch "Create A Menu Link For Your Gallery"

  • In the administration area, select Menu -> mainmenu, then click New in the upper right
  • Select the radio button for Component on the right then click Next.
  • On the next page, under Details fill in the Name of your menu item (for example: My Photos or Photo Gallery).  Also, under Component select: RSGallery2.  Leave Url as Top.
  • Click Save.   Now, when people click this menu item they will be directed to your photo albums.   Reload your site and you'll see the menu link you just created with the Name you provided two steps above.

You'll definitely want to cleanup the default menu items that are installed with Joomla (if you chose to install the sample Joomla data).  Here's how to unpublish unwanted menu items that you don't want cluttering up your new site:

Click to watch "Removing Unwanted Menu Items"


Have fun! 

RSGallery has a lot of features.  More than you could probably think of.  The configuration pages are pretty self explanatory so just play with the settings to configure your new photo gallery website the way you want it.  The best way to learn is to play with it!