Photonic Gallery & Lightbox for Flickr, SmugMug, Google Photos & Others



Photonic takes the WordPress gallery and super-charges it with a lot of added functionality. It adds support for several new sources and parameters to enhance the content and look-and-feel of your galleries. It supports Flickr photos, Albums (Photosets), Galleries and Collections, along with Google Photos photos and albums, SmugMug folders, albums and images, Zenfolio photos, Photosets and Groups, and Instagram photos. You can also set up authentication so that visitors can see private and protected photos from each provider.

When used without the Gutenberg editor Photonic by default overrides the gallery shortcode. In case you happen to be using a theme or plugin that already overrides the gallery shortcode, Photonic provides you with the option to use your own shortcode for Photonic galleries. This lets your plugins coexist. Bear in mind that if you deactivate Photonic you will have to remove all instances of this custom shortcode, something that is not required if you stick to the gallery shortcode.

When used with Gutenberg Photonic creates no shortcodes, rather it creates blocks. If some of your posts were written with Gutenberg and some without, Photonic supports both scenarios.


Of all plugins free or paid, Photonic has support built in for the highest number of lightbox scripts. This includes scripts that run on pure JavaScript without relying on external libraries, or those that require jQuery.

Pure JS Libraries

jQuery Based Libraries

Non-GPL alternatives like Fancybox2 are supported, provided you install the scripts yourself. With the exception of Thickbox the lightboxes have been adapted to become touch and gesture-friendly. See the Lightboxes page for details.

Support for Multiple Platforms


The following Flickr concepts are supported in Photonic:

For demos of Flickr support visit the Flickr page.

Google Photos

The following Google Photos concepts are supported in Photonic:

For demos of Google Photos support visit the Google Photos page. Note that the Google has released the API in a Developer preview mode, so there are some restrictions around usage.


The following SmugMug concepts are supported in Photonic:

For demos of SmugMug support visit the SmugMug page.


The following Zenfolio concepts are supported in Photonic:

For demos of Zenfolio support visit the Zenfolio page.


Instagram photos are supported in Photonic. You can display your own feed, and while code has been written to support tags and locations, Instagram hasnt approved Photonics access to others photos. This means that currently only displaying ones own feed will work.

Native WordPress Galleries

Your existing galleries are left intact. However you can add a style parameter to a native gallery to open it up to Photonic. The style parameter can take any of the values documented on the Layouts page.

Other Photonic Goodies

Gallery Wizard

The WordPress Classic editor shows up with a button that says Add / Edit Photonic Gallery. Clicking on it launches a wizard that helps you interactively build out a gallery with just a few clicks.

Video Support

Photonic provides gallery and lightbox support for videos as well. Videos of the following sorts are supported:

  • External videos from YouTube or Vimeo can be opened in any of the lightboxes apart from Image Lightbox, Thickbox or BaguetteBox
  • Self-hosted or external videos in MP4 formats can be opened in any of the lightboxes apart from Image Lightbox, PrettyPhoto, Strip or Thickbox
  • Videos hosted by external service providers (Flickr, Google etc.) can be opened as a part of a gallery in any of the lightboxes apart from Image Lightbox, PrettyPhoto, Strip or Thickbox. Some lightboxes have issues with specific features. Please refer to the Lightboxes documentation for more.

Deep-Linking and Social Sharing

Photonic provides deep-linking support for non-WP images, and by extension, supports social sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

Beautiful Layouts

Photonic displays your galleries in multiple forms:

  • A grid of square thumbnails (the default)
  • A grid of circular thumbnails (like Jetpack)
  • A neat justified grid
  • A masonry layout
  • A tiled, random mosaic (a much improved variant of the Jetpack Tiled Gallery layout)
  • A slideshow, using the Splide script

See the Layouts documentation page for details and examples.

Gutenberg Support

Photonic is Gutenberg-capable. While creating a block, just look for Photonic. Please refer to the documentation.

Obsessively Comprehensive Documentation (OCD)

Photonics documentation is comprehensive to the point of obsession. And yet, if you find something missing, please feel free to get in touch via the support forum



This plugin provides 1 block.

  • Photonic Gallery


You can install the plugin through the WordPress installer under Plugins ? Add New by searching for Photonic, or by uploading the file downloaded from here.

Alternatively you can download the file from here, unzip it and move the unzipped contents to the wp-content/plugins folder of your WordPress installation. You will then be able to activate the plugin.

Once you have activated the plugin, refer to Photonic ? Getting Started for a list of capabilities and documentation.


Obviously, your galleries will not show. If you are using Gutenberg you dont have to worry about anything. If you are not using Gutenberg and you are using the native gallery shortcode, you will not see any empty shortcode tags on your site. But if you are not using Gutenberg and you are using a custom shortcode that shortcode tag will now show up.

Yes, the plugin is working. Unfortunately the integration of Photonic with the visual editor is complex, and there is a likelihood of conflicts with other TinyMCE-specific plugins. If you come across such a conflict, please report it on the support forum. In the meanwhile you can disable the visual editing capability of Photonic (Photonic ? Settings ? Generic Options ? Generic Settings ? Disable shortcode editing in Visual Editor) and you should still be able to edit the gallery shortcode directly through the text editor.

Yes, the plugin is working. The issue you are facing is that you have another plugin (typically some sort of a lightbox plugin) that is modifying the markup generated by Photonic.

Of course, it would be easiest if you were to disable that plugin. If a lightbox is all you need, Photonics lightbox can be used to display regular photos as well, from your admin dashboard under Photonic ? Settings ? Generic Options ? Generic Settings ? Photonic Lightbox for non-Photonic Images. This will ensure consistency across Photonic and non-Photonic images.

However, if you really wanted to keep that plugin, Photonic offers a way out there too! For each provider (e.g. Flickr, Google Photos etc.) go to the Settings page, e.g. Photonic ? Settings ? SmugMug ? SmugMug Settings ? Disable lightbox linking and set that option.

Yes, the plugin is working. You might simply need to re-authenticate with new API, from Photonic ? Authentication

Blame Big G here! Google Photos API has several shortcomings, primary among them being the high number of API calls required to fetch a gallery. This would cause API keys to routine hit their limits if they were being used for too many galleries. This makes it impossible for developers to authenticate users using their API keys without signing up for the Google Partners program. Unfortunately Photonics design is not one of the use cases supported by the Partners program.

As a net result, to prevent users from getting locked out using Photonics API key, it is an unfortunate requirement that users use their own key. And this is where Google makes things needlessly complicated. Photonics documentation is very comprehensive with instructions on how to authenticate, but that doesnt change the fact that Googles process is convoluted.

Check if you have a caching plugin active. If so, exclude the page with Google Photos from the cache. Google Photos URLs are short-lived, hence cannot be cached. This problem does not occur for other sources.

Suggestions are welcome for other photo-sharing platforms.

You mean apart from the 17 that Photonic currently supports?? If you have specific suggestions please feel free to contact the plugin author, but starting from version 2.60 the focus is shifting to pure JS lightbox libraries.

Note that there have been slight modifications have been made to some of the lightboxes to make them play well with newer code.

As explained in the Description, the Instagram API has been coded to support hashtags and locations, but Instagram itself has not provided Photonic access to those features.

Also, the TinyMCE integration for the plugin is complex, predominantly since Photonic doesnt rely on a separate shortcode. This can cause potential conflicts with other plugins. If such a situation arises, please report it in the Support Forum, and disable the visual editor capability for the shortcode by specific post-types (Photonic ? Settings ? Generic Options ? Generic Settings ? Disable Visual Editing for specific post types). If that doesnt work, you can go thermonuclear on Photonics visual editing (Photonic ? Settings ? Generic Options ? Generic Settings ? Disable shortcode editing in Visual Editor) you will still be able to edit the shortcode using the Text Editor in WordPress.

The Mosaic layout may sometimes show 1px wide gaps betweeen images if you set the padding between images to 0. This happens due to rounding errors in the height and width calculations. To avoid this, it is recommended that you use a padding > 0 between images for this layout.

Apart from these, while the plugin can handle pretty much whatever you throw at it, Lubarskys Law of Cybernetic Entomology states:

There is always one more bug.

Bug reports are welcome, and handled enthusiastically.

Yes, but only for the plugin front-end and the wizard. The Settings pages are not translated at this point. Also note that any strings included in the third-party JS scripts are not translated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Most Viewed Posts