All in All, It’s Just Another Brick in the Photo Wall

I like being CEO, because when I’m not smoking a Cuban while drinking my third martini, I have time to ponder how we display and interact with images on the web.

It was in one of these vermouth-induced hazes that I realized how most photography websites present a single image on the homepage…as if a single image is supposed to encompass the breadth of our work and illustrate our diversity and creativity! Nay, my friend, it does not.

Showing a bunch of galleries as thumbnails is a potential solution because it’s an easy way to convey lots of information in a compact space (and in fact, this is an option on PhotoShelter). The only problem is that the presentation of thumbnails is often staid and boring, and sometimes you might want to be a little more selective about the galleries you display [see portfolio].

But what if there was a way to use a feed of your feature galleries, and have some control around their appearance. Set them free! Hey teachers! Leave those galleries alone!

[Enter Photo Wall, stage left]

As a part of our Festive Fall 6-Pack, we’re excited to release the Photo Wall. It’s a third option for your homepage in addition to the Slideshow and the Featured Galleries. You can select the galleries you want to display, and then configure the appearance of the thumbnails.

Here’s a version with squares and no padding between images, using my Featured Galleries as a source.


Here’s a version using fixed aspect ratio rectangles and 3 pixels of padding.


Here’s a version using the natural aspect ratio with a corner radius and making the “small featured galleries” half the size of the large ones. I love the abstract shape that the different aspect ratios create.


As you could probably guess, we don’t use Flash to do this, which means you can tweak the appearance of certain items using CSS. In the Maui – Funhouse style, we override the default behaviors to persistently display the title with a little blue ribbon background.


A goal of any website is user engagement, and an interesting presentation and design can certain heighten this aspect. I’ve been playing around with the Photo Wall for the past month or so on our development server, and I can’t stop smiling at all the different ways to configure the damn thing.

Of course, the more feature galleries that you create, the better the thing looks (in my opinion). Having fewer than about 6 galleries isn’t going to do much, but when you get into the 10-20 range, you start creating some very interesting visuals on the page.

Start playing around in your account, and show us what you’ve got!

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

There are 16 comments for this article
  1. Steve Black at 11:14 am

    Love the idea – and the improvements you guys keep making! As a bit of a control freak, I’d like to see something in the next iteration: Ability to select the exact photos (and number of them) to show up on the photo wall. Thanks for continuing to push the envelope and I’m loving what you guys do! Steve

  2. Quinn Ryan Mattingly at 12:49 pm

    I love it guys! One question, how can I turn off the white title box that appears on hover? I would just like the text to be red, and white upon rollover, as the rest of my site. Right now, if you’ll see, upon image rollover, the white box and white text are clashing, and I’m only able to see the red text when the mouse moves a bit wierd. I think this will make a great landing page for my essays, instead of just a gallery collection. Thanks again! QRM

  3. Allen Murabayashi at 2:56 am

    QRM, nice photo wall!!! to turn off the white background, you have to add some CSS to the “custom CSS” box (if you’re using a theme), or to your master templates if you’re in manual mode. div.jqm_box div { background-color: transparent !important; }

  4. Rudolf Abraham at 8:05 am

    Great stuff. Having a play with the wall and (finally) one of the custom pages…. I second the suggestion (in portfolio section of blog) of being able to create public galleries for portfolio which don’t also have to appear on galleries page…. Also setting order of tiles in wall (assuming I might not always want them to change after new uploads to galleries) would be useful. BTW after the upgrade a couple of links in text on my about/home pages corrupted – ‘%20’ appeared before the ‘http…’ – easy enough to fix (and subsequently removed two of the links anyway), but might be a bug somewhere…? Cheers Rudolf Abraham

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