10 Great Image Management Plugins - dummies

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The ten plugins discussed here address one or more of your image management needs. All have thousands of users, great reviews, regular updates, and are easy to install. All plugins are free, and several offer Pro or Extended versions with additional features and configuration options. Consider all the things you may need to do with images on your website:

  • Locate images

  • Upload images to use on your site

  • Configure the appearance of images

  • Handle how images display on a page

  • Manage your image collection

EWWW Image Optimizer

Developer: Shane Bishop, ewww.io

The EWWW Image Optimizer is a WordPress plugin that optimizes your images, providing the best balance between image quality and file size. The plugin can optimize the images that you have already uploaded, convert your images automatically to the file format that will produce the smallest image size, and even apply lossy compression for PNG and JPG images (some conversions require purchasing an API key).

It includes numerous advanced tools for optimizing different image types, as well as conversion options for changing file types, such as converting JPEG to PNG images. You can also use the plugin to batch convert files you’ve already added to your Media Library.

Use the plugin with GIF, PNG, and JPG images. All compression uses lossless optimization and compression by default, so your image quality doesn’t change before and after optimization.

GIF animations are an exception to the optimization rule. In order to edit the animation again, you need to “unoptimize” the file first.

Once you install the plugin, it automatically optimizes your images as you upload them to your website. You’ll find an extensive Settings panel for the plugin that includes several tabs:

  • Cloud Settings. Choose features for processing images through the plugin’s paid cloud service.

  • Basic Settings. Choose lossy compression and metadata removal options.

  • Advanced Settings. Specify optimization levels, schedule optimization times, or pick folders. On this tab, look for options to disable creation and/or optimization of various image sizes. The list includes default sizes from your theme, WordPress, and other plugins. You can also select whether to skip small or large images based on a size in bytes, and whether to apply lossy optimization or remove data from full-size images.

  • Conversion Settings. One feature for site administrators is the ability to hide conversion links in the Media Library so the settings aren’t available without specific rights. Look for a setting to delete originals, which removes original images from your server once they have been converted. Enable conversions from one format to another, including JPG to PNG, PNG to JPG, and GIF to PNG.

Not only is EWWW Image Optimizer a great plugin, but the developer also provides a lot of user information to help you get the most from the plugin.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer

Developer: ShortPixel

Use the ShortPixel Image Optimizer to format your images for the most efficient use online. The plugin works with common types of image formats, including PNG, JPG, GIF (still and animated), and PDF, and has no file size limit.

The ShortPixel Image Optimizer has free and paid versions, and both offer the same optimization quality and features. The only difference is the number of images you optimize per month. You can process up to 100 images/month for free. If you use more images than that per month, the paid version costs $4.99/month for up to 5,000 images. As a bonus, any image you process that requires less than 5% optimization isn’t included in your image count.

This plugin includes some nifty features:

  • Optimizes uploaded images as well as thumbnails and featured images

  • Is WooCommerce–compatible

  • Offers multisite support for a single API key

  • Saves originals in a backup folder you can manually restore

  • Offers a batch optimize feature to process previously uploaded images

  • Provides an optimization report with image details and statistics

Pixabay Images

Developer: Emilian Robert Vicol, Simon Steinberger, Pixabay.com

The Pixabay Images plugin helps you choose an image you can freely use on your site. All images in their collection are attribution-free, CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) public domain images.

Pixabay Images is easy to use and integrates with WordPress seamlessly. Installing the plugin places a Pixabay button next to the Add Media button on the Add New Post page. Click the button to open the Media Manager as usual, displaying the Pixabay Images tab. Type search terms or keywords, and select or deselect types of images, including photos, clip art, and horizontal/vertical orientation. Click Search.

If you use Internet Explorer, you must be using version 10 or higher in order to see the Search Results page.

Your search returns display in pages. Hover your cursor over an image to open a popup with a larger view of the image and links to three image sizes. Click the link for the size you want to use, such as 100 x 150, to upload a copy of the image to your WordPress Media Library. Add content such as alternative text, a caption, and description. You can even specify an image as a featured image, and then click Insert into Post.


Developer: Thomas Hoefter

ImageInject started as the WP Inject plugin, and helps you add photos and images into your WordPress posts. After you install the plugin, you’ll find a Search box added to your Add New Post screen. Type in a keyword to start the search.

The plugin searches for public domain images at Flickr and Pixabay. Flickr images may require attribution, while the images from Pixabay are CC0 public domain images that don’t need attribution. You can choose multiple images at one time.

Search results display in thumbnails. Hover your pointer over any image to see a larger version of the image and links to several image sizes, including thumbnail, small, medium, larger, and featured image. Click a size option to insert the image into your post, or click Featured Image to use it as your post’s featured image.

After you choose one or more images and their sizes, the plugin uploads them to your WordPress Media Library. The plugin automatically creates <alt> and <title> tags for the images. Attribution links display on the page next to the image.

Additional features for the plugin include the following:

  • Search for different keywords and display results for each keyword in the same metabox to compare the image results.

  • Use the plugin’s Settings page to customize how the searches are performed and how the images are displayed in your post.

  • Choose settings for the automatic attribution display on your pages and posts.


Developer: Stefan Boonstra

Slideshow provides an easy way to integrate a slide show on any WordPress page or post. You can use multiple slide shows on the same page or post, each with different settings and styles.

Use the provided shortcode in a post or page, insert the provided php code in your website, or use the slide show as a widget. In addition to images, you can include YouTube video slides and text slides.

The plugin lets you choose custom settings:

  • Choose one of the provided styles or customize the style yourself

  • Set the type of animation and timing

  • Select display settings, such as the width of the slide show and how many images display at one time

  • Specify how the title and description display and whether they are hidden by default

In order to use this plugin, you must use a theme that contains a footer. The slide show is called after the </head> tag, so the scripts and stylesheet need to load in the footer, requiring the <?php wp_footer(); ?> call.

Huge-IT Image Gallery

Developer: Huge-IT

The Huge-IT Image Gallery plugin offers a variety of ways to display multiple images or videos in interesting ways. You can either add images or video from your Media Library or upload them as you work on your gallery. Add a title, description, and URL for the gallery as you assemble it.

Choose from seven types of galleries, ranging from a popup gallery or content slider, to thumbnail and justified image views. The plugin offers the Huge-IT Lightbox popup, which is also available as a standalone plugin (described in the next section).

Virtually everything you see on-screen can be customized, such as the text color and font size, the appearance of the link buttons, and the gallery frame and container.

One interesting feature of the Huge-IT Image Gallery is the choice of on-screen display options. Look for settings on the Image Gallery admin page to display all gallery items in a single string, divide the gallery into pages, or divide it into parts using a “Load More” button to add content.

For convenience, each gallery gives you a shortcode to copy and paste into any WordPress page or post. You can even copy and paste a code string into your template file to automatically include a slide show in your theme.

Huge-IT Lightbox

Developer: Huge-IT

If you use images on your website that users click to view at a larger size, try the Huge-IT Lightbox plugin. After installation, clicking an image on a page pops it open in an overlay window sized correctly for the user’s browser window size. You don’t need to apply the plugin to images individually.

The plugin works with both images and videos. You can configure most of the plugin options, including the following:

  • The Lightbox popup style

  • The transition style

  • Opening and closing speeds for the Lightbox

  • The overlay’s appearance, such as the transparency, close button, and titles

  • Sizes for the popups and whether they change according to the image size viewed

  • Slide show presentation of the images on the page, and features such as the interval time and autostart

Post List Featured Image

Developer: Jagged Edge Media

If you like to use a featured image on your posts, you will find the Post List Featured Image plugin a handy addition. Your website visitors won’t see any difference on your site with this plugin. Instead, it is designed to help you manage your featured images. A new column called the “Featured Image” column displays on your Post List page, showing a thumbnail of an image set as a featured image.

To help you manage your featured images, choose from three thumbnail sizes, and filter your list of posts based on whether or not they use a featured image.

You can also buy the Pro Addon, which lets you edit images directly from the Posts List page.

Pinterest Pin It Button On Image Hover and Post

Developer: Weblizar.com

Once you install this plugin, as your visitor moves around your site any object to which you’ve applied the action shows a Pinterest Pin It button when your visitor hovers over that object. You can apply the action to an image, a page, or a blog post. When your visitor clicks the object, it is instantly posted to his or her Pinterest board.

There are several ways to customize the plugin. You can show or hide the Pin It hover button in a post or page. The plugin’s Settings tab lets you specify the color used for the hover button and its size.

BJ Lazy Load

Developer: Bjorn Johansen

One ongoing goal of website developing and maintenance is to produce content as efficiently as possible to make your site load faster and save bandwidth. The BJ Lazy Load plugin replaces the visual content on your website, including post images, thumbnails, gravatar images, content iframes, and even text widgets with a placeholder. As your visitors view your site and scroll the page, the placeholders are replaced by the image content before it enters the browser window.

The plugin uses a JavaScript applied to each object. For those using browsers that don’t support JavaScript, the page content loads as normal.

This plugin works with iframes, so you can apply it to embedded videos as well as to images.