Use a good photo editing package that can reduce the size of the pictures.
Many will optimize them for web display and will give you download rates for various modem speeds.
Also if you dont need all the background stuff in your pics you could crop them to a smaller image size.
Have you thought about pre-loading a few of them as your home page is being loaded. May take a little longer to load, but once it is there you can at least have a set of photos preloaded.
If your using thumbs and links to larger views, you could spread the load so to speak and have them loading whilst other things are being done.
One a couple of sites I have I have reduced pictures to 1 pix by 1 pix and use them as full stop (period) in text page, so as you read the text the pictures are loaded for the next page.