Practical Blogging Tips: Jazzing Up Your Images in WordPress

In my followup research after posting 48 Unique Ways to Use WordPress, I came across Jason Schuller’s new WP Elements blog. Jason has some very cool WordPress plugins, an excellent free magazine theme, Massive News, and another theme for a video gallery on the way.

Two things caught my eye on Jason’s blog: the Fancy Zoom plugin and the Featured Content Gallery plugin. The latter is a plugin version of the gallery box that appears in his Massive News WP theme.

Both plugins can really jazz up your WP blog’s images.

Fancy Zoom

Fancy Zoom is a sexy variation to other “lightboxed” image plugins. The basic principle is this: show a relatively small image on a post and link it to a larger version. With Fancy Zoom installed, you’ll see an animated “zoom” to the larger version without a browser refresh. When you close the lightboxed image, you’ll see an animated close. (Watch out; clicking can be addictive.) Here’s a screen grab after a click, but to see the full animated effect, go visit Jason’s 32Eighteen site and click on one of the images in the middle column.

Featured Content Gallery

Have several feature articles on your site and want to make them prominent? Jason’s Featured Content Gallery plugin lets you set up a sequence of images, each one linked to a feature article. The result is visually stunning. Here’s a screengrab, below, which doesn’t do it justice. So go visit the plugin page for an example.

The gallery, while very attractive, has a drawback: updating the gallery is awkward. That is, if you intend to add new images and remove older ones on a regular basis, it’s a tedious process. Increasing the number of images in the gallery set is probably less work, but you have to manually tweak the plugin files – which cannot be done from within the WP admin panel.

(1) You do not have to link the showcase images to articles. You can simply showcase images.

(2) Showcase images can very likely be linked to off-site pages, though I haven’t tried. If you own/run multiple blogs, this could be a nice way to use a “hub site” to showcase feature articles on your other sites.

6 thoughts on “Practical Blogging Tips: Jazzing Up Your Images in WordPress

  1. I really like to use Lightbox plugin for jazzing up the previews and display of my images.

    It’s so easy to use, just click on any of the thumbnails and you’ll see the lightbox preview window, with the ability to browse all the images.

  2. Hey, thanks for sharing a great resource for WP bloggers. The fancy zoom plugin is awesome! The use for expanding images of web screenshots is nice, but I can think of many other uses. It could be time to add another plugin…thanks.

  3. Barbara: thanks for the input. You can also use something like a web slideshow widget/ player. There are a number of ways to do this.

    Lani: I have to agree with you. I had no idea there were thumbnails lurking. But I have a desire to click on everything, so I discovered it by accident, initially. On the other hand, it IS a slideshow and you don’t have to use the navigation at all.

  4. For some reason I really like the animation on opening, but dislike it on close. When I close something, I just want it gone. I am the very model of a modern impatient web user.

    I like the featured content gallery but the navigation isn’t very obvious, especially on the darker images. It is beautiful to look at, but I’d probably like to see it more obviously functional. I think I’ll take it for a test drive though. As I said, it’s beautiful.

  5. At the risk of stating the obvious, using plugins like Fancy Zoom and Featured Content Gallery can add a very nice visual element to your blog.

Comments are closed.