PrettyPhoto is likely the most popular jQuery lightbox. It has its ups and downs but it generally fulfills most needs. The plugin comes with a customized version which has really good social sharing options and advanced deeplinking. Lots of people are familiar with its layout as it’s used on many sites all around the net. It’s decent and free.

Basic usage example

Special usage – video and custom links

HTML in the lightbox captions + download link + different captions on the thumbs

This example shows how you can use HTML in the lightbox and utilize the four different WordPress image metadata fields: title, description, caption, alt text. Display them in four different locations: two on the thumbnail, two in the lightbox! Also note the (optional) Download link inside the lightbox that prompts you to save the image.

How does the customized version differ from the original prettyPhoto?

  • Supports advanced deeplinking which allows to link to an exact image, even with random order or constantly changing galleries, because the deeplinking is no longer dependant on the numerical index of the image on the page
  • Individual Facebook Like where the liked photo’s thumbnail shows up on Facebook, this has server side code as well so it only works within Justified Image Grid
  • Added Google Analytics support, photo views show up as events
  • Added easy to use prettyPhoto specific settings: skin (theme) selector, deeplinking method, social tools disable/enable, Google Analytics toggle
  • Works with custom link rel tags, the original version doesn’t re-open images when you have changed #prettyPhoto that appears in the URL
  • Pinterest pin button
  • G+ button

Pros:

  • It’s customized for Justified Image Grid (see above)
  • Popular
  • Free
  • Has social sharing tools
  • Has deeplinking
  • Supports videos and iframes
  • Comes with a handful of skins
  • Overlay thumbs mini-gallery inside the photo frame
  • The ability to change some advanced settings
  • Slideshow function
  • Can display two different captions

Cons:

  • Not responsive (can be solved by using a different lightbox for mobile devices)

Note: These pros/cons are not a complete list, just pointers to help you choose a lightbox.

Check out the official project page of PrettyPhoto!

How do the settings look like?

Because the screenshots are large, they open in a new tab so you can zoom them with the browser and can read the text.