I really like to create my own image galleries, but let’s face it, in the real world, we can’t always have things how we want them. Sometimes we need to get the job done in the best possible manner, as quickly and effectively as possible.
When I need a quick image gallery, I tend to use Lightroom. Lightroom is a great tool for making images pop, and it has a lot of great settings. All you have to do is import your imagery from a folder on your computer, and then choose the settings that work best for you.
Open up Lightroom, and make sure that you are on the library tab at the top right. Go to the bottom left where it says import, and go to the folder on your computer where your images are stored. It is a good idea to organize all of the images that you want in the gallery prior to going into Lightroom, because you can easily import them all at once. Simply click on the first image in the folder, and hold down the shift key and click the last image in the folder, and you will select them all. Click ok to import them into Lightroom.
It is a good idea to look through your images to make sure that they are all facing the proper direction, and if not, hover over the image in the grid view and arrows will pop up. Click on the bent arrows to turn the image to the proper orientation. Tweak all of your images how you would like, and make sure they are how you want them to be for your gallery.
There is an image strip all along the bottom that contains all of your gallery images. Select them all by the shift-click method that I explained earlier for your image files, and then choose the web option at the top right of the window.
Here we have several options to go through. You can choose from so many options that will make your gallery fit in with the rest of the look and feel of your web site. I like this Lightroom technique, especially for situations where you have 50 or more images to display, and it can be a huge pain to code a CSS gallery, or to create one using XML with 50 or more images.
Some of the the better options involve the Airtight functions, such as Autoviewer, that creates an automatic slideshow of your images, Postcard Viewer, which creates a sort of scattered Polaroid effect, and the simple, yet elegant Airtight Simple Viewer. I really like these 3 options the best, because they give you the ability to achieve different, highly functional looks almost automatically. They also create small thumbnails, that when click on, display large, beautiful images rather quickly. They also load quickly. I used the Airtight SimpleViewer on an in-house project, and it was so clean and smooth, and I was thoroughly impressed.
There are different settings to manipulate as well, such as the different template types, colors, how many columns are in you gallery, how large the borders are, how large the large images actually are, as well as the level of quality. You can also change the background colors to match your site and you can add titles and captions to your images.
You also can automatically create an HTML or Flash Gallery. I am not crazy about the Flash gallery. To me, it looks a little generic. I do like how you can switch from thumbnail view to gallery view, but it still looks generic. The html gallery looks a little better, but still has a really generic look and feel to it. They also take a little longer to load as well. The Airtight options really work well as far as load times and functionality.
When you have created and customized your options, you can hit export and send your images to a folder of your choice and implement it into your site.