9 Tips to Great Photo Slideshows

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A well-made slideshow video can bring your audience to tears.

A poorly-made one can bore them to tears.

I'm guessing you want to make a great slideshow that people will love.

It might be a personal event like a wedding, a funeral, or a birthday!

Or maybe you need something for your business – a function, a sales page, your social media marketing campaign.

Either way, by following these simple tips, you can really wow your audience. And have fun in the process!

Let's get started, shall we?

Use the following 9 tips to help you bring emotional power to your slideshow video.  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 audience's 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 the 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 DIY slideshow software do I recommend?


Animoto 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.

They have a free trial, but when you're ready to sign up, remember to use my special coupon OAKLEY15OFF to save 15% on your new account.

Here's an Animoto slideshow video I created for a family photo shoot:

Song: “This Life”, by Ryan Huston.
Animoto Template: Rustic

This video took me less than an hour to make.  And it brought tears (literally) to my clients' eyes.

Animoto is great for family slideshows: weddings, funerals, birthdays, travel, sports, etc.

And they are great for business videos too: square videos for social media, corporate events, sales pages, etc.

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!]

Can you show me exactly how you made the slideshow video?

You bet!

Check out this free step-by-step tutorial…

Create a Gorgeous Slideshow Video with Photos, Text, and Music: A FREE step-by-step tutorial

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