WordPress Wednesday – Make Your Photos Pop with the Simple Lightbox Plugin

Wordpress WednesdaysBy default, WordPress doesn’t handle photos too well, in my opinion. Whenever you insert an image into your page or post, WordPress will automatically link it to itself, so that it will display in a separate window, even if it’s not a reduced size thumbnail image. I find this annoying and often remove the links so that they are not clickable.

Sometimes however, if I want my readers to be able to click on the thumbnail and view a larger version of that image, I don’t want them to be taken to another tab or page and then have to hit the “back” button on the browser to return to my post.

To solve this problem, I use the Simple Lightbox plugin. This is a Javascript-based popup image viewer that will cause the image to display in a translucent box that hovers over your page, while darkening the page below, so that it can be viewed separately without leaving the actual page. If you have a group of photos in a post or page, or in a gallery, Simple Lightbox will play them in a slideshow which will automatically play, or the visitor can stop the slideshow and manually click through the images (the settings for this can be changed [see below]). simple lightbox

Install this plugin as usual by navigating to the Plugins directory from your dashboard and clicking the “Add New” button, then searching for Simple Lightbox. If you can’t install it this way, please read a previous post, How to Manually Install a Plugin, and install from the link in the first paragraph.

Once installed, activate the plugin, then click the Settings option.

The plugin adds the settings options to the main WordPress Media page.

The default settings are perfectly fine, but you can adjust the different options here, such as:

  • Whether you want to enable this feature just on pages or posts, or both.
  • Whether you want the slideshow to play automatically or not.
  • The length of time each slide show image displays for, and if it will display continuously or only once.
  • The opacity of your overlay (how dark the page below appears).
  • Enable/disable captions.

and much more.

A couple of notes about this plugin that are very useful:

  • Images are displayed at their original size to maintain optimum image quality.  Resizing images to their desired display size prior to uploading is recommended.
  • You can manually add rel="slb_off" to any image links that you do not want to be displayed in a lightbox.

This is one of my all time favorite plugins. Let me know what you think in the comments below!