Portfolios are a great way of showing off your work to customers and clients. As you would expect, WordPress makes this task incredibly easy. All you have to do is upload your images and WordPress will take care of everything else.
The core version of WordPress comes with basic gallery functionality. It is sufficient for displaying some images in a blog post or page; however it is not the most stylish or professional looking solution. There are far more attractive options available to WordPress users.
In this article, I would like to share with you a collection of the best WordPress portfolio plugins available online. These will help you portray your images in a more professional way.
WordPress Portfolio Plugin (FREE)
The first plugin in our list is the aptly named WordPress Portfolio Plugin. It can be used by businesses and designers who want to show off the websites they own or have designed.
All you have to do to add a website to your portfolio is add the name, URL, and description of the website. Websites can be assigned to groups to help you organise your portfolio better.
OTW Portfolio Light (FREE)
OTW Portfolio Light is a clean portfolio plugin that will display portfolio items on a three column template. Portfolios can be inserted into posts or pages using shortcodes. One shortcode will display portfolio items using a paginated template. Another will allow you to filter items by portfolio categories.
The dimensions of thumbnails and single images can be modified through the settings area. Despite its name, there is no premium version of the plugin; however the plugin has everything you need for adding a minimal style portfolio to your website.
A filterable portfolio plugin from Nimble 3 that uses a custom post type to store portfolio items. It has support for images and videos from YouTube and Vimeo.
Portfolios can be inserted into posts and pages using shortcodes or into templates using PHP. The default layout displays portfolio items in circles, however images can also be displayed in squares/rectangles if you use different code. A premium version of the plugin is available for £14.99 that gives you more filtering options and the ability to manage multiple portfolios.
Aeolus – Creative Portfolio (FREE)
Aeolus is a beautiful portfolio plugin that uses custom post types to store images and videos. Large images at 1980 by 1080 pixels can be assigned as featured images. Videos can be featured too.
The settings area lets you change the slug that is used in page portfolio URL’s. You can also change the number of portfolio items that are displayed on a page, change the labels that are used, and adjust the primary color scheme. Shortcodes can be used to insert portfolios into posts and pages. By using a custom shortcode, you can display items from a specific category and change the number of columns of items that are shown.
Rio Portfolio (FREE)
Rio Portfolio is a portfolio plugin that supports videos, links, and images. It uses custom post types to store data and uses jquery filteration to display a paginated menu of items. Portfolio items can also be assigned to categories.
The plugin settings area allows you to define the thumbnail image size and the number of items that are displayed. Portfolios can be inserted into your articles using shortcodes.
Awesome Filterable Portfolio (FREE)
Awesome Filterable Portfolio is a useful plugin that lets you add a lot of information to portfolio items. For example, you can include a long description, the name of the project, the client it was created for, and the URL of the project. All information is stored in a custom post type.
Thumbnail images have to be created manually, which is a bit of a pain; however, the plugin allows you to create categories and assign items to them. When a visitor clicks on a different category, the new images will load quickly using a smooth jQuery animation.
Portfolio lets you add a page that displays portfolio items. Additional fields can be displayed with images including date, description, short description, link, and more.
The page template will display all portfolio items on one page. You can define the image thumbnail size and number of columns through the settings area. Image thumbnails will automatically be regenerated if the thumbnail size is modified. Portfolios can then be displayed on your website by inserting a shortcode into a post or page.
Easy Portfolio (FREE)
Easy Portfolio is a simple portfolio plugin that lets you upload images and assign them to categories. Shortcodes can be used to display a specific portfolio, the number of items that are displayed, and the order in which they are displayed.
Via the post editor, you can define the project description, URL, meta title, and meta description. This is useful if you want to use the plugin for showcasing projects.
Waving Portfolio (FREE)
Waving Portfolio is a beautiful free portfolio plugin that can display portfolios in a grid. Shortcodes can be used to add your portfolio items to your website. The width of portfolio images, the color scheme, and the number of items shown, can all be changed through the shortcode.
When a visitor clicks on a grid item, the portfolio is displayed using a cool pop up. The name and description of the portfolio is displayed, together with all portfolio images.
Portfolio Mgmt (FREE)
Portfolio Mgmt registers a custom post type for portfolio items. Or as they refer to it “Case Studies”. The client name, project URL, and project description, can all be defined. Portfolio tags can be assigned too and there is a widget for displaying portfolio items.
Easy Media Gallery (FREE / $24)
Easy Media Gallery is a responsive gallery and portfolio WordPress plugin that lets you display images using a gallery or portfolio. Video and audio are also supported.
In the settings area, you can customize the color scheme. This is a nice addition that few other free portfolio plugins offer.
A pro version of the plugin is available from $24 that adds many more features. This includes the option of displaying grid galleries, photo albums, portfolios, and image sliders.
Go is a responsive portfolio WordPress plugin that comes with four unique styles, Google web font support, and an options panel with many configuration options. Images, video, and audio, are supported.
Portfolio items can be displayed in a grid or horizontal slider layout. The plugin also includes a built in template and style editor for customizing the layout of your portfolio.
Media Grid ($16)
Media Grid is an interesting portfolio WordPress plugin that lets you create unique grid layouts using a visual layout builder. It supports every type of media including images, videos, links, and audio. An image slider is also included and there is an option to disable right clicking for images.
Social media icons can be displayed on portfolio items. The style of the grid can be changed through the settings area. A custom CSS box is also available for customizing things further. Check out the plugin demo to see the portfolio in action as it looks great.
ZoomFolio is a beautiful touch enabled responsive portfolio plugin that comes with ten unique skins. Several post types are supported including images, video, audio, testimonials, and YouTube. Portfolio items are displayed beautifully using lightboxes.
A shortcode generator allows you to insert your portfolio into any page. Portfolio items can also be integrated with a recent posts plugin.
Auto Grid Responsive Gallery is a beautiful portfolio plugin that displays images in a grid. The plugin is responsive so will adjust the width of the gallery when someone changes the size of their browser. As the visitor scrolls down the page, more images are loaded dynamically.
Images are displayed using a lightbox and slideshow. You can add new images to a folder using file transfer protocol and then assign them to categories.
UberGrid is a responsive grid portfolio plugin that lets you build a grid of images using existing posts or products. It features a built in lightbox that supports images, videos, Google Maps, and text. Five other lightboxes and twelve layouts are included too.
The output looks great, with CSS3 animations and effects being used to great effect for transitioning between images and categories.
Justified Image Grid ($29)
Justified Image Grid is a feature packed responsive portfolio plugin that packs over 300 settings. It can display images from your media gallery, blog posts, RSS feeds, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and more.
The plugin gives you so many ways to display images. There are several lightboxes to choose from, unlimited color schemes, and an option to add effects to your thumbnail images.
Final Tiles ($16)
Final Tiles Grid Gallery is a mobile friendly WordPress plugin that can be used to build beautiful portfolios. Six lightbox styles are included with the plugin and there are many different grid layouts available.
Captions can be added to images and it utilizes cool hover effects when you point your mouse cursor over an image. Social media links can also be integrated into images.
Grid FX ($15)
Grid FX is a versatile portfolio plugin that comes with four unique styles. It can build portfolios using images, blog posts, videos, audio, and WooCommerce products. Grid or masonry portfolios are supported.
Over 80 settings are available, including styling options and custom CSS, layout, pagination, lightbox settings, and more.
PhotoMosaic presents your portfolio images in a beautiful masonry gallery layout. Images are loaded quickly using the packaged PrettyPhoto lightbox plugin.
It is one of the few premium portfolio plugins that integrates with the WordPress gallery system. The plugin also comes with a widget to display your portfolio items in your sidebar or footer.
Using A Portfolio Theme Instead Of A Portfolio Plugin
If you are an Elegant Themes member, then we have some great Portfolio Themes that can also be used to create beautiful galleries (if these plugins don’t give you the functionality you are looking for). I would like to share with you two fantastic portfolio themes that are included with your Elegant Themes membership. These are always a great alternative to using a portfolio plugin.
Origin (Included in Elegant Themes Membership)
Origin is a beautiful responsive portfolio WordPress theme that displays images in a grid style. Grid images link to blog posts, however the theme also comes with four different portfolio templates. A stylish image gallery is included too.
The theme utilizes the WordPress theme customizer. This allows you to change the color scheme to whatever you want. As with all Elegant Themes designs, shortcodes can also be used to style content.
Gleam (Included in Elegant Themes Membership)
If you really want to showcase your images, I recommend checking out Gleam. The theme’s portfolio template displays images across the whole screen. A traditional grid style gallery template is also available and custom backgrounds can be assigned to each post to give them a unique look.
Background images also change frequently using AJAX loading. It is a nice effect that works without the user having to reload their page.
As you have seen, portfolio plugins can be used to display your images in a more professional way. I hope this article has given you some ideas as to what you can use on your website to display your work.
If you know of any good portfolio WordPress plugins that did not make the list, please feel free to share them in the comment area below 🙂
Article thumbnail image by tovovan / shutterstock.com