I have an instance of Gallery running for a personal family photo website I created a few years back. I originally chose Coppermine, but members of my family thought it was too difficult to learn and extremely constrictive. I set out to find a new gallery that was both easy to use and feature rich. I settled with Gallery largely based on it’s aesthetic value and how small the learning curve was before I could be fully functional.
I honestly didn’t need too much. I wanted a gallery that looked pretty clean and was easy to navigate. I also wanted to control whether or not family members could post to whatever albums I chose. Most importantly, I wanted to be able to grow with the application. I only have a few thousand pictures currently on the site, but that will grow every year as I add more and more. I’m even going backwards by scanning some old timey family pictures, so this database is going to become huge. I wanted to make sure this application could handle large amounts of data and based on my random scanning of forum posts, it appears that people can run fairly robust image galleries with Gallery.
I installed the Gallery software using the instructions I found on the website, but it wasn’t very intuitive for technical hacks like me. I find that doing anything from the command line is pretty frustrating, so this was a giant pain in the ass. Even after it was installed, there were additional files and libraries that needed to be installed (confusing) to properly display pictures, so I needed to be really patient with this setup. Unfortunately, I built this on an old desktop sitting under my desk, so I could not take advantage of the super quick Fantastico installation that would have taken me seconds instead of hours.
Once I was all set up, this gallery software was really worth it. I love it when a script looks organized and attractive right out of the box. I did very little customizing since this was only a family site. The first thing I did was upload a new logo that I created with Microsoft Paint. In the admin section I set the number of albums I wanted to display, what kind of borders I wanted on my pictures, and within a few minutes after finishing the install I had a place to upload and view family photos whenever I wanted.
You might not be as low maintenance as me when it comes to the look of your gallery, but you can always take a look at the different themes people use to spruce up their sites. I installed Gallery 2.0, so that previous link is to themes for the 2.0 version. As of this writing, Gallery 3.0 Beta is now available and there is already a new section for Gallery 3.0 themes as well.