A picture is worth a thousand words. This worth is even higher for professional photographers, freelance designers, design agencies and other visual artists. You can do more by displaying your work on a banner than by giving hour-long speeches behind a podium.
So… Should you start saving money to advertise on billboards?
No need. You can achieve similar or even better results with a well-built web portfolio. You can showcase your work, prove your expertise in front of potential clients and stand apart from your competitors.
Most creatives use WordPress to build their websites — usually to escape the nuisance of learning CSS and HTML. You can also use WordPress portfolio plugins to create an outstanding portfolio.
A WordPress portfolio plugin lets you create a gallery of your work in minutes and adds multiple functionalities to your website. Also, if you want to change your website or portfolio theme in the future for desired features or a fresh design, you don’t have to worry about losing your work.
To help you set up your portfolio in minutes, we’ve listed the seven best WordPress portfolio plugins to aid you in your search.
What to look for in a WordPress portfolio plugin
There are hundreds of WordPress portfolio plugins for you to choose from. To make the best choice, look out for the following features when selecting your plugin:
- Ease of Use
- Premade templates to avoid building portfolios from scratch
- Short-code for easy embedding
- Support to embed content from Instagram and other social media platforms
- Support for popular WordPress plugins for visual artists — WebP and image optimization plugins
- Seamless operation across desktops and mobile devices
- Integration with most WordPress themes and page builders — like Beaver Builder and Visual Composer
- Support for animations and filters
- Multiple portfolio layouts
- Intuitive builder to easily build and edit beautiful portfolios
- Reasonable pricing for your needs
- Unlimited portfolios (if a premium plugin)
Best WordPress portfolio plugins
- WP Portfolio
- GridKit Portfolio Gallery
- Go Portfolio
- Visual Portfolio
- Essential Grid
- NextGEN Gallery
- Meow Gallery
Below is a list of the best WordPress portfolio plugins for artists, photographers, freelancers and agencies. With these gallery plugins, you can show off your work without spending hours learning custom CSS to build your online portfolio website.
1. WP Portfolio
WP Portfolio is among the best portfolio plugins for WordPress. Artists, photographers and videographers can use its 48+ templates to build image and video galleries quickly.
WP Portfolio’s website portfolio comes in handy for web designers, developers and agencies. You can build and showcase websites in minutes using its functionality.
Top WP Portfolio features:
- Ready-made templates to get your portfolio set up instantly
- Unlimited layouts to customize your portfolio the way you want
- Easy shortcode to add the portfolio to your website
- Infinite scroll to keep visitors engaged
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Web designers
Price: Premium plans start at $39/year.
2. GridKit Portfolio Gallery
GridKit Portfolio Gallery WordPress plugin enables photographers and artists to grab user attention and showcase their work via masonry, puzzle and grid layouts. With 100+ animations and styling options, you can create an interactive portfolio using the plugin.
If you are running an e-commerce business, you can also use GridKit Portfolio Gallery to display photos of your team members or even the products you are selling.
GridKit Portfolio Gallery offers lifetime subscriptions that empower you to use the plugin on up to five websites (with the Extended License) with regular updates and excellent support for the first year.
Top GridKit Portfolio Gallery features:
- Fully responsive portfolio gallery that adapts to different devices
- WordPress shortcode support for easy embedding on your website
- Gallery category filtration and pagination for easier navigation through portfolio items
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Individuals and small businesses
Price: Lifetime plans start at $29.99.
3. Go Portfolio
With 38 starter templates, Go Portfolio helps you create unique and stunning portfolios in no time. The plugin’s standout feature is its ability to import and export items in bulk, so you don’t spend hours importing your images and videos.
Go Portfolio lets you create filterable grids and integrate them with WooCommerce to create a product showcase.
Top Go Portfolio features:
- Four different styles of portfolios providing you easy customization options
- Support for different thumbnail and lightbox types
- Unlimited portfolios
- Visual Composer for quickly building your portfolio
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Photographers, artists, restaurants and small businesses
Price: Lifetime plans start at $27.
4. Visual Portfolio
With Visual Portfolio, you can create image galleries that take your audience’s breath away. This free plugin lets you add hover effects and create portfolios in tiles, justified, masonry, slider and carousel layouts.
Add flair to your photo gallery by adding image, audio and video popups that let visitors view the requested media without going anywhere. The Visual Portfolio’s premium version also allows for social integrations, image filters and other add-ons.
Top Visual Portfolio features:
- Support for custom post types
- Watermarks and passwords to prevent theft
- Popup gallery to help you keep visitors on your website
- Support for infinite scroll and load more
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Photographers and artists with a limited budget
Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $39/year.
5. Essential Grid
One of the most popular WordPress portfolio plugins for grid-style galleries, Essential Grid is a great starting point for most professionals. You can build image, video and audio galleries and have the additional flexibility to link projects and products too.
Essential Grid integrates with many WordPress plugins as well, so you can easily import your gallery rather than starting from scratch.
Agencies can rely on Essential Grid to create multiple websites for a reasonable price.
Top Essential Grid features:
- Visual skin editor to view the page outlook before publication
- 40+ customizable templates
- Responsive and mobile-optimized portfolios
- Social integration with YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo and other platforms
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Large design agencies and web developers
Price: Premium plans start at $34/year.
6. NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery, the industry-standard since 2007, is a prevalent free WordPress portfolio plugin for photographers. It lets you bulk add images, import metadata and edit/sort your gallery with ease.
NextGEN Gallery’s free version is perfect for beginners. It provides three gallery styles and two album styles with customization options.
NextGEN Gallery’s premium version allows for gallery extensions so you can sell your images right from your WordPress site. Also, you get access to tons of additional gallery styles, photo proofing, lightroom, deep linking and other features.
Top NextGEN Gallery features:
- Social sharing with Pro Lightbox — users can comment on individuals images and share them on social media platforms
- Support for Gutenberg Block Editor
- Secure payment methods through credit cards and PayPal
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Photographers and visual artists
Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $24/year and a lifetime subscription is available for $260.
7. Meow Gallery
Modern layouts and a retina-ready display make Meow Gallery a great portfolio gallery WordPress plugin. It’s free, fast and compatible with the Gutenberg Block Editor, official shortcode and the core WP gallery.
With Meow Gallery, you can create portfolios in masonry, grid, tiles and justified layouts. It’s a simple yet effective plugin that is great for rookies and professionals alike.
The Pro version provides additional layouts, faster loading and animations. You can choose between its annual or lifetime plans, which have further options tailored to your business needs.
Top Meow Gallery features:
- Perfect compatibility with WordPress galleries
- Responsive galleries
- Optimizations for speed and performance
- Infinite/lazy loading
Best WordPress portfolio plugin for: Photographers, artists and agencies looking for a free portfolio plugin.
Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $19/year.
Other WordPress portfolio plugins to consider adding
- Envira Gallery: A responsive gallery plugin with drag-and-drop functionality, image protection, and various layout options.
- Essential Grid Gallery: A versatile grid-based gallery plugin with extensive customization options and support for various media types.
- Portfolio Gallery: A user-friendly plugin that allows you to create stunning portfolios with customizable layouts and filterable categories.
- FooGallery: An intuitive gallery plugin with drag-and-drop functionality, built-in image editing, and support for both photos and videos.
- Modula Image Gallery: A powerful plugin that lets you create unique image galleries with customizable grids and stylish lightbox effects.
- The Grid: A responsive gallery builder plugin that offers unlimited layout options, filtering capabilities, and seamless integration with other plugins.
- Photo Gallery by WD: A comprehensive plugin for creating professional photo galleries with advanced customization options and image management features.
- Filterable Portfolio Gallery: A flexible plugin that lets you create filterable portfolios with various display styles and customizable grids.
- Portfolio Designer: A drag-and-drop portfolio plugin that offers pre-designed templates, multiple layout options, and extensive styling choices.
- Portfolio Showcase: A user-friendly plugin with customizable templates, responsive design, and various animation effects for showcasing portfolios.
- Wonder Grid Gallery: A responsive grid plugin that supports images, videos, and audio files, offering multiple layout options and lightbox integration.
- GridKit Portfolio Gallery: A powerful gallery plugin that allows you to create portfolios with dynamic grids, filters, and interactive hover effects.
- Master Slider: A feature-rich slider plugin with a visual editor, animated layers, parallax effects, and touch swipe navigation.
- Nimble Portfolio: A minimalist portfolio plugin with responsive design, customizable grid layouts, and smooth filtering options.
- Crelly Slider: A lightweight and easy-to-use slider plugin with customizable animations, layers, and responsive design.
- Final Tiles Grid Gallery: A responsive grid gallery plugin that offers flexible customization options and Masonry-style layouts.
Final Thoughts: The best WordPress portfolio plugins
Choosing from the hundreds of WordPress portfolio plugins on the market can be a tedious task. It involves trial and error since a portfolio plugin that worked for others may not suit your artistic needs.
The seven WordPress plugins we’ve mentioned above are a great place to start. To truly elevate your WordPress website and portfolio pages, check out Bluehost’s WordPress hosting packages today.