Aperture has a built-in
feature that enables you to create Web Galleries; showcases of images
you can transfer to a Web server complete with supporting HTML pages.
It's a simple way of getting your pages online, but it's hardly the
only way, and you'll quickly run out of templates to show your
galleries in an original and interesting format.
Fortunately, there are a lot of free or low-cost visual Web page
editors out there designed to help photographers show off their wares
without requiring them to know a single line of HTML. In part one of
this two-part feature, I'll explore three freeware products that are
worth look at. In part two, I'll examine a few of the shareware
offerings Mac users have to choose from.
is a freeware application produced by Myriad Software, a company based
in Toulouse, France that's best known for making software for
musicians. If you're on a tight budget and you're looking for a basic,
free Web image gallery generator that has a surprising number of
customization options, you owe it to yourself to have a look at Galerie.
Galerie generates photo galleries using pre-defined templates (about a
dozen and a half are included with the software). Galerie generates a
folder with HTML pages and images that you can then upload to a server
of your choice using FTP or whatever file transfer methodology your
There aren't any restrictions on the software, though the developers
ask that you retain a "Generated by Galerie" text with a link to the
download site on the generated thumbnail pages.
The software integrates iPhoto, iView MediaPro, GraphicConverter and
Extensis Portfolio. It'll also work with photos and folders dragged
from the Finder.
With iPhoto 7, it's trivial to share your Aperture library (you simply
select Show Aperture Library from the File menu, then select the
Aperture Album or Project you want to use), which makes using Galerie
pretty easy. Alternately, if you don't want to clutter up iPhoto with
Aperture projects, you can always just export the photos you want to
use to the Finder and grab them from there.
You can specify the maximum size you want your photos displayed, adjust
thumbnail size and layout, affect spacing, adding titles, dates and
comments, and even enable visitor feedback (managed through the
developer's servers, which do not host the pictures).
Galerie's preferences give you a fair degree of control over how the
pages and data are generated. You can specify EXIF and IPTC metadata to
be included with your photos (always good to include copyright ad
credit information, for example), and you can also specify whether
color profiles are included in generated images, or whether you want to
be able to allow HTML tags to be used in comment fields (turning the
feature off is good to keep spammers at bay).
The biggest benefit over Aperture's own Web gallery generator is the
novelty of new layouts, and the customizability you have over the pages
themselves. It's a degree of control that Aperture does not offer,
although in Aperture's defense, some of its layouts are a bit cleaner
and more professional-looking.
The dozen and a half templates included with Galerie give you enough
variation to dress up your pictures in interesting ways, although if
you want to create your own templates, you're on your own. The software
includes tools for managing images, so you can add or remove images you
don't want in there.
Galerie requires Mac OS X v10.2 or later, and is a Universal Binary.
Fastball Software seems to have vanished just as quick as it came --
the company's Web site links now default to a parked Web page hosted by
a domain name service company. But if you check VersionTracker,
MacUpdate and other software download services, you should be able to
find WebGem, a handy utility that takes a decidedly different approach
to image gallery hosting.
Rather than using templates and exporting HTML to folders that you can
upload to your own service like Galerie, WebGem actually posts the
content directly from your own machine. It starts up a simple Web
server that hosts pages containing thumbnails of the images you want.
The thumbnails even contain drop shadows, offering users a
pleasant-looking, if basic, layout for viewing pictures.
WebGem works with both iPhoto and Aperture, sharing individual projects
and albums. You can select which content you'd like to share. You can
also specify thumbnail size, how many photos you'd like put on each
page, what the title of the site should be, an image to go along with
the page layout, keyword searches and the ability to turn on and off
full-sized image downloads. The keyword search only functions with
WebGem is very limited -- you don't have any control over the Web page
design, and the "live" sharing of content in Aperture and iPhoto
projects has some inherent shortcomings -- such as what would happen if
you archived your Aperture project in the Vault, possible security
issues hosting a Web page on your own machine, and the need to keep the
host system "tethered" to the Internet to make it available.
But still, if you need a quick and dirty Web page gallery generator
that works differently than Aperture's, it's probably worth a gander at
WebGem. I'd love to know what happened to the developer, too, as
Fastball Software seems to have just dropped off the planet.
Aperture to Gallery plug-in
(not to be confused with Myriad's Galerie, above) is an open source
Web-based photo album organizer. This requires a lot more technical
skill in order to set up, because Gallery's developers presume you're
sophisticated enough to set up photo management software on your own
Web site. But if you are, Ubermind Software has graciously generated a
freeware plug-in designed to work with Aperture that will let you
export images directly to your Gallery site.
Gallery is inarguably the most difficult of these three solutions to
administer and use: You'll need to know how to install software on your
Web server (though their instructions are very good), and you'll also
need the administrative authority to do so. You may also have to do
other things, like change the parameters of your server's PHP
initialization files, if you plan to upload large photos.
Having said that, Übermind's Aperture plug-in makes the process of
actually uploading pictures to Gallery a home run: You simply identify
where your Gallery is located, create (or locate) an online album for
the photos you'd like to export, and then click on the Export button.
The plug-in does the rest for you -- resizing the pictures, uploading
them to your Web site, and generating what's necessary for Gallery to
Gallery itself features a wealth of customization options -- you can
push off processing to PhotoAccess or Shutterfly, install e-commerce
modules, enable panoramic image viewing using Java, embed watermarks,
and much, much more. It's also a well-supported and frequently updated
application. Gallery also determines how the photos are displayed,
using a variety of built-in themes. It's all script and database drive,
so it's easy to switch to a different look and feel for your photo
galleries -- you don't have to manually rebuild pages. There's a
limited number of themes, but they're worth checking out -- they're
Of these three solutions, Galerie has the best balance of ease of use
and power. Because it produces static HTML pages, changing themes or
editing content can be arduous, but the tradeoff is that it's a simple
FTP upload to your Web server to get content online. WebGem can help
you share photos instantly from Aperture or iPhoto, but it's very
limited in how you can actually show your photos. For many Aperture
users, they're going to like what they get built in to Aperture better.
Gallery is incredibly powerful, but the learning curve is steep. Once
you have it configured, however, this is by far the most robust and
full-featured system for getting photos up on your Web site and doing
it with a really professional flair. Expect to spend at least a few
hours getting Gallery set up unless you're a bona fide webmaster,
although Übermind makes getting photos to Gallery via Aperture a
lead pipe cinch.