The WordPress media management has improved significantly over the years and the inclusion of the WordPress gallery feature back in 2008 enabled for you to display your galleries and link to either attachments pages or the image itself. However there are some features that would enhance the WordPress Gallery even further but are not currently featured in the latest version and not sure if they have been proposed in the next release. Here are just a few of them!

Cleaner Gallery

Cleaner Gallery will remove the invalid XHTML markup and replace it with valid XHTML markup. It also gives you an option to load the Thickbox script and CSS which is included in the WordPress installation and it also adds support for various external lightbox scripts.

Gallery Cleaner

Photonic

Photonic is a all-in-one gallery and slideshow solution that not only enhances the gallery feature by adding a choice of several lightbox features including, ColorBox, Pretty Photo and FancyBox, it also allows support for images on external sites like flickr, Picasa and SmugMug.

WP Gallery Demo
Flickr Demo
Picasa Demo

Photonic

Photonic using the PrettyPhoto script to display images.

Garee’s Split Gallery

Garee’s split gallery is a very useful plugin if you want to split your native WP gallery into sections. This enables you to add content in-between.

Garee's Split Gallery

Simple Galleria

Simple Galleria uses the existing gallery shortcode to create a gallery effect. It also has options to change the styling of the overlay, background and include a auto play feature.

Simple Galleria

jQuery Colorbox

Another Lightbox solution that works out of the box for WP galleries and NextGen galleries. This plugin has 11 themes to choose from and has an option to enable the lightbox for all images in your pages or blog posts and also has a slideshow feature.

jQuery Colorbox

Style My Gallery

Style my gallery uses a shortcode to display your gallery inline using the FlexSlider jQuery plugin

Style My Gallery

FancyBox Gallery

The FancyBox gallery uses the existing gallery shortcode to create an extremely lightweight and quick lightbox. Unfortunately it will not work with image attachments.

Fancy Box

jQuery Lightbox for Native Galleries

This plugin makes use of the existing gallery shortcode. It uses the same script as jQuery Colorbox above but it not as configurable. It does have 5 themes to choose from so if you just want an out-of-the-box plugin, then this is the one for you. This also works well with Garee’s Split Gallery plugin above.

jQuery Lightbox For Native Gallery

Conclusion

No doubt there are many more plugins out there to extend the functionality of the WordPress Gallery. I have road tested all of the above and they are suitable for a variety of different needs and users. You may just want a simple quick lightbox like FancyBox or a all-in-one solution, highly configurable Photonic. There is something for everyone! Have I missed your favourite? If so please feel free to have your say.