Coppermine is the open source image gallery that I first used when I launched my family website. I chose a nice light gray theme, customized it a bit with a new logo created in the very sophisticated MS Paint, added some carefully crafted help pages, uploaded a few hundred categorized pics, and then excitedly emailed it to members of my family. The reception about the idea of a family gallery was terrific, but the participation I was hoping for was lukewarm at best. I thought it was going to be a popular destination for family members to constantly post new pictures. Unfortunately, the site was barely visited and the new pictures continued to make the rounds via email. Bummer.
Everyone loved the look of the site and clicking through the recent photographs I’d posted, but there was a major flaw in the functionality of Coppermine. The area where I was posting my photos was in the main gallery area with all the categories I created. When others would sign up, they were given a separate gallery of their own to post to, so they could not add photos to my already created family event categories.
The way around this minor predicament was to make everyone an administrator. It’s not that I don’t trust everyone since it’s only my relatives who are the members, but this is not an ideal solution to the problem. As much as I loved having a family photo gallery that I had put in so many hours setting up myself, the lack of flexibility was the ultimate deal breaker which pushed me in the direction of the Gallery software.
Coppermine is certainly a nice piece of free software, but it just didn’t fit my needs for my website (or my family). That’s not to say it won’t be ideal for yours. Don’t let my opinion sour you on it until you check it out the demo and try it for yourself.