9 Tips to Great Photo Slideshows

A well-made slideshow video can bring you to tears.

A poorly-made one can bore you to tears.

I'm guessing you want to make a great slideshow. And whether it's for a wedding, a funeral, a birthday or even for a business function, by following these simple tips, you can really wow your audience.

Let's get started.

Use the following 9 tips to help you bring emotional power to your next slideshow.  And have a look at the example video I made below to give you some inspiration.

1. Start with the end in mind

Do you know how, exactly, you'll be presenting your slideshow to your audience? You don't want to get to the wedding reception only to find out there is no wi-fi and you can't stream your slideshow video!

Thinking ahead will help you make the right decision on which slideshow software tool to use and what you'll need to show off your slideshow without any problems.

Bonus Tip: Don't settle for anything less than HD. Make sure your software can export at least at HD 720p. Extra points if you get HD 1080p.

2. Keep the video short and sweet

This has to be the biggest reason why most slideshow videos suck.

They are just tooooooo long.

I'd suggest trying to fit your slideshow to the length of a song – 3-4 minutes with about 50-60 photos. With about 3-5 seconds per photo.

Yes, that means you're going to have to make some very tough decisions about which crazy good images will not be included in the slideshow.

The worst culprits of way-too-long slideshows are of vacation slideshows. For those, I'd recommend making a series of short videos, like chapters in a book.

3. Motion creates emotion

Many software tools today will allow you to add text, animation, video clips, and transitions.

When crafting your slideshow, take time away from the photos and pay attention to theses “extras”.

Some software will have incredible customization but may have a steep learning curve. Others, like the one I use, offer made-for-you design templates that look awesome but have limited customization.

I prefer to use templates made by professional graphic designers and animators, then to spend hours and hours trying to create something that just won't look as good.

4. Match the music with the mood of the event

Adding music to a slideshow is nothing new or revolutionary.

But don't just slap on any ‘ol song.

Consider the mood of your slideshow and find an appropriate song. I prefer simple music (classical, for example) that I know won't dominate the slideshow, but will nicely compliment it.

Also, make sure you pay attention to copyright. Facebook and YouTube will remove any video that their robots think is in copyright infringement.

Some slideshow makers will have built-in, legal, royalty-free music you can use and will have music organized by genre and mood.

5. Add a quote to spice things up

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved” – George Sand

Inspirational quotes can really help increase the audiences attention, as well as their emotional connection to your slideshow. Browse around Brainy Quotes to find just the right one for your project.

It's always good practice to add the author to the quote. Don't forget!

6. Choose slideshow software that saves you time and headaches

Sure you've got the photos – but you may not have the skills, interest or time to make a great slideshow.  Consider getting a tech-savvy friend to help you or choose a slideshow maker that is known to be user-friendly.  I have used at least a half a dozen slideshow making software programs and I always seem to come back to Animoto (use OAKLEY15OFF coupon code to get 15% off) because the slideshows are just so darn easy to make, and always look great.

7. Test, test, test!

If your slideshow video is to be shown at a special event like a wedding or a funeral. Be sure to show up early to make sure all the tech is working.

If you give yourself enough time, you can problem-solve common issues like getting an extension cord for the projector, or connecting to wi-fi.

Also be sure to test the volume. Not too loud. Not too quiet. Juuuust right. :)

8. Give a slideshow video as a gift

On the personal side, I have created slideshows for funerals, mothers day, and work events. It doesn't have to cost much can be completed in less than an hour, and is almost sure to lead to tears of joy, laughter, and all sorts of warm fuzzies.

Once you learn how to use whatever software you choose to make your first project, it'll be so much easier to make the next one. And the next.

Like taking great photos, creating great slideshows is really a wonderful gift for your loved ones.

9. Use slideshow videos to make money (for photographers + business owners)

This one isn't for everyone. But as a part-time pro photographer, being able to quickly create high quality slideshow videos has been great for my business.

Clients just love them!

Many portrait photographers out there up-sell slideshows in their packages to clients. Since I find I can create a slideshow in less than an hour using Animoto, I prefer to give slideshows as a free gift to my clients – as a surprise. It usually pays for itself when clients share the video on facebook with their friends – which lands me new leads and new business.  Easy marketing.

Which slideshow software do I recommend?

Animoto [use my exclusive coupon code OAKLEY15OFF to get 15% off a monthly or yearly plan] is an online slideshow video maker that's pretty fun and easy to use. They have fantastic templates and a large selection of (legal) music to choose from.

And just for inspiration, here's a slideshow I created for a client of mine using Animoto. The song is pretty awesome, right?! It's called “This Life”, by Ryan Huston.

The video style template I used is called “Rustic”. This video took me about 45 minutes to make. And it brought tears to my client's eyes.

Animoto has a free trial. Definitely, check them out if you want to make a video slideshow. They have design templates and music styles for funerals, weddings, birthdays, corporate events and everything in between.

Get your FREE Trial of Animoto Now

[Don't forget to use my exclusive coupon code OAKLEY15OFF to get 15% off a monthly or yearly plan!]

Or get a PRO to make your slideshow video for you for a measly $5!

Seriously. If you just don't want to learn some new software and you want a great looking slideshow made for you, then this is the way to go.

I recommend this particular gig on a site called Fiverr.com. It's just $5! Simply order the gig, send him your photos and text and let him do all the hard work for you.

I Will Create 3 Awesome Animoto Videos For Your Presentations,Marketing Or Commercials

It's trustworthy. I've ordered this gig before. And he has hundreds of 5 star reviews. Your video will be ready in 7 days (but probably much sooner) and it'll look great.

It doesn't matter if your video is for a personal family event or if you want to make marketing or promotional videos for your business.

$5. That's a cup of coffee at Starbucks. And your slideshow will be done.

And lastly,

If you have a slideshow you'd like to share, please leave a comment and post the link to your slideshow. I'd love to see it! :


  1. what is the song title sir!

  2. hey what is the song you used?

  3. Thank you for an excellent article. I was looking for ideas and tips for slide shows; yours was the first site I found and I’m glad I did. Great writing style. I really like your About page too.

  4. Desirae says:

    What template did you use for this one? I haven’t bought a plan yet so I was wondering if this was on one of the more expensive plans. Also, what song is this? I love the look of this and the song goes well with it. Very good job! Thank you!


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