FAQ / Setting Up

FAQ Index


How is Essential Foto a standalone gallery if it’s a WordPress theme?

Essential Foto is unique among other themes in that it focuses solely on the content of your gallery or photo blog. It has no header graphics and uses neutral, professional looking visuals. This allows you to easily create a photo gallery section for any website, even if the main part of the site runs on Drupal, hand-coded HTML+CSS, or another WordPress blog.

Such an approach makes Essential Foto a “standalone” gallery. It also offers the advantage of being able to customize your gallery section, set up widgets, or use plugins without affecting or even touching your site’s main pages.

Of course, if you find Essential Foto’s sleek layout perfect for your main WordPress blog, you can absolutely use it as an ordinary theme, (and still include your photo gallery if you have one).


How can I try it out?

To see what Essential Foto looks like check out the live demos available. If you want to get a feel for *using* Essential Foto, read on.

Since Essential Foto runs on the WordPress platform you’ll first need to set up a WordPress site. If you already have one, the quickest way to try Essential Foto out is to install and activate it on your existing WordPress blog, (though a testing site may be more advisable). In general, switching WordPress themes can sometimes remove customizations you’ve made to your site, so be prepared for this.

Deactivate any gallery plugin you’re already using so it doesn’t interfere with Essential Foto.

Once you activate Essential Foto you will immediately notice its streamlined layout. However, to see how actual galleries work you will have to create one using WordPress’ standard Add Media/Create Gallery feature.

If you already added a standard WordPress gallery to one of your pages or posts, check it out to see how Essential Foto presents gallery previews. Click a thumbnail to try out the photo slider/carousel.

All this gives you just a taste of Essential Foto. To get your gallery looking like one of the live-demos or screenshots you’ll want to set up a menu, organize your gallery pages, and tweak a few settings. You’ll also want to decide at some point whether to set it up as a standalone gallery or your main theme.


How customizable is Essential Foto? How do I use it?

Essential Foto is designed for fast deployment with minimal customization. At the same time, it offers the benefits of a full WordPress theme with all its features, settings and content creation ability.

Perhaps the simplest way to use Essential Foto is as a standalone gallery, creating a separate WordPress installation in a subdirectory (or subdomain) on your main site and linking between the two. Another option is to use the Essential Foto theme for your main website as well as your photo section.

  • Use the Add Media/Create Gallery feature to upload your photos, create captions, and customize the thumbnail grid.
  • Allow comments or include articles with your galleries.
  • Create a custom menu with everything exactly where you want it, or allow the menu to auto-populate as you create new gallery sections.
  • Create an “Exit Gallery” or “Return to Main Site” menu option.


What’s the difference between the Essential Foto theme and the plugin?

When using the “Essential Foto” theme you do not need the plugin. If you enable JetPack’s optional gallery carousel, Essential Foto will automatically apply its unique look or “skin” there as well.

If you want the Essential Foto skin *only* for JetPack’s carousel and not for your thumbnail pages or photo blog, use the plugin “Essential Foto Just for JetPack” instead. The plugin works with any theme, but you must also enable JetPack’s gallery carousel or a compatible plugin such as “Gallery Carousel Without JetPack”.

Having both options provides flexibility. Which one you need just depends on what you’re trying to do.


Is Essential Foto light on resources? Is it secure?

Essential Foto is essentially a skin, running on WordPress’ core gallery engine and one of the default themes, (Twenty Thirteen). This makes it light-weight and easy to use, and means you get the same security updates as WordPress default themes.

Additionally, Essential Foto disables the Google Font service used by the default theme in order to avoid unnecessary third-party connections. Instead it uses fonts included in its own package.

The plugin, Essential Foto Just for JetPack, is even smaller, comprised of that part of the theme which applies to JetPack’s gallery carousel.

Essential Foto’s performance consists primarily in its style sheet. In fact, you could copy parts of it directly to your “Additional CSS” or your own child theme, (and are welcome to do so).

Building your site’s gallery section on WordPress’ core functionality provides great power and flexibility, and Essentail Foto helps you do it!


Am I allowed to make money using Essential Foto?


Essential Foto is distributed under the GNU General Public License, and anyone can download it here for free. However, Essential Foto may certainly be used for commercial purposes:

  • Web design firms may provide a gallery option to their clients by using Essential Foto. They can install, customize, and modify it as needed and charge for this.
  • An online service can preconfigure Essential Foto with WordPress Multisite and sell user accounts, allowing anyone to create a photo gallery for their site with no setup.


If you find the Essential Foto theme or plugin useful in any way and would like to give back, please consider making a small, voluntary payment. Link-backs and endorsements are also appreciated.