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Photo Slideshow Making: Rules and Tips

Photo Slideshow Making: Rules and Tips

A slideshow is quite an interesting way to share and preserve memories of vivid moments in life. It is also a form of art and, as such, has its intricacies. Titles, transitions, visual effects, animations – there are many things that you can use to make your slideshow more than just a sequence of images. However, with so many options on the table, you may need some prior knowledge to keep things clear and coherent. So, if making a slideshow is the question on your mind, then let’s dive right in! We will explore things that you should be aware of at every stage of production.

Shaping an idea

Firstly, you have to decide whether your presentation will have a unifying theme – traveling, birthday, wedding, graduation, and whatnot. With that in mind, think about who you are going to show it to – friends and family, strangers on the internet, or live at an event. The platform where your slideshow will be displayed also matters – photos look differently on a TV screen or projected on a wall.

With all these variables defined, you will be able to better plan your presentation, select more fitting photos from your archive, and set the proper tone.

Preparing contents

Now, with a clear idea in mind, you may get down to preparations. Before starting any actual work, you should have these things at hand – photos (or even videos), music, outline, and software. 

While it’s up to your taste to make the images adhere to the chosen theme, the amount of photos is a different matter. You have to pick enough to tell what you want to tell, but not so many that they won’t fit into around 5 minutes – it’s okay to go longer, but you’ll have a much harder time holding viewers’ attention. The optimal tempo is 3 to 5 seconds per slide. The same rules apply to music. It should match the theme (e.g., something groovy and upbeat for your vacation adventure) and not overstay its welcome (no need for a 25+ minutes long symphony).

With the pieces at hand, you can start to assemble the puzzle. Think about what, when, and for how long should appear on the screen and put those thoughts on paper (or a text file). This way you will be able to make an outline, and a good outline will save a great deal of time further down the line.

And the last but not least thing to consider at the moment is the tool for the job. Check this list of the best software for slideshows to make a more informed choice, but in general, there’s no wrong option.

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Editing the slideshow

This one essentially boils down to what program you have chosen. You’ll have to explore its workflow on your own, but there are a handful of universally applicable tips. 

One, check the tutorials. No matter how tech-savvy you are, you may still find some features or caveats of the program you might not have discovered otherwise. This may give some creative ideas and hints at what to avoid while working.

Two, don’t shy away from using templates. Most modern slideshow editors have built-in themed templates that might save a lot of time and effort, or at least give your project a solid foundation to build upon. 

And three, don’t overdo it. Transitions and effects can spice things up, but use too much of them and the whole presentation might become an eyesore. Keep it classy.

Showing your works

Let’s say you have everything done and ready to share. Now you have to consider the requirements of the video hosting and render a video accordingly. Thankfully, many slideshow editors have export presets ready for publication on YouTube, Instagram, or even burning on a disk. 1080p videos are the most common, but there are other options. You can go UltraHD or higher, but your photos have to be of rather high resolution as well.

Over to you

An engaging slideshow has a lot of moving parts that have to work in coherence. You need to be aware of them to make wise decisions every step of the way. Think about how many images you want to use, how many songs you want to play in the background, how long you want the show to last, and so on. Then, make sure all that is reflected in the slide transitions and effects. But the result may be well worthy of all the effort – a pieceless time capsule that keeps your memories vivid and your viewers entertained.

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