In this project, we're looking for ways to present a collection of photographs for sale. Our client has given us the following requirements:
For this project, we're only working on the photo collection piece of the layout, so we don't have to worry about anything but that piece. We will assume that the layout will go into a main central column in a larger layout, but that doesn't really change anything for this project.
Due to the constraints of the project, particularly those of the Gallery and Contact Sheet views, we won't be able to use tables to lay out these photos. Why not? Because of the request to get as many pictures as possible "above the fold" (that is, into the browser window at page load).
So, instead of tables, we'll need to float the pictures and their information for those two "compact" views. Floating them will allow us to get as many pictures in each "row" as will fit in the browser window. In other words, a user with an 800x600 browser window might get four images per row, while a 1280x1024 user will get six or seven. Using floats allows for this kind of "flow" behavior, whereas using tables does not. As an added bonus, we can set up the floats so that each one is the same width. This will ensure that they lay themselves out in a grid-like fashion.