Create a Gorgeous Video Slideshow with Photos, Text, and Music – A Step-by-Step Tutorial

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Last Updated Feb 13, 2019

In this post, I'm going to show you the step-by-step instructions for creating a high quality, emotionally captivating slideshow video using photos, text, and music.

It'll be just like a recipe.

I'm going to show you everything from start to finish.

First, the Final Result

Here's a slideshow video I created for a photography client of mine… I used this software called Animoto.

[Heads up: This article includes affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, I will make a small commission which helps me run this website. It doesn't cost you a penny, and my special link to Animoto will actually save you 15% on your subscription. That's a win-win! And thanks for your support!]

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you exactly how I made this video so you can make one for yourself.

Why would I want to make a video slideshow?

A video slideshow is great for personal events like weddings (and wedding rehearsals), funerals/celebration of life events, retirement parties, anniversaries, birthday parties, vacations, and graduations.

They also make fantastic gifts for mothers/fathers day (don't forget grandparents day!), Christmas and religious holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

And other practical uses such as for school projects, lectures for teachers, sales videos for businesses, social media content for businesses and bloggers.

But I suck at technology, I'm not creative, and don't have much time!

Video is all the rage.

I can tell you that I have never regretted creating and sharing slideshows for special events and for the people I love.

It's quite common for people to watch these videos and cry tears of joy or to be speechless out of appreciation.

And I want YOU to feel that good.

To create something beautiful, and meaningful and to share it with loved ones.

I am here to help you create the kind of slideshow that will make you look great, and your audience feels all warm and fuzzy inside.

And I've made this tutorial to make sure technology, lack of creativity or bad execution will not get in your way.

You can do this!!

One step at a time.

With the right tool in our hands, we will build something great and have a lot of fun doing it.

I've tried a lot of different video creation software and nothing beats the high-quality, easy to use interface of Animoto.

They have a FREE trial which will allow you to follow this tutorial and if you decide to sign up for a paid account, remember to enter the special coupon code Oakley15Off at checkout to get a 15% discount on a new account.

What's so good about Animoto?

I use Animoto because it's very easy to make really awesome looking videos – quickly.

They have great style templates, a huge library of license-free music, and a customer support team that's ready to help you out if you need it.

I'm amazed at what I have created with Animoto – retirement videos, wedding videos, client videos for my photography business, Mothers Day and birthday videos, and even a couple of touching slideshow videos for funerals.

And I can't wait for you to be amazed at your creation too! Now, let's build you a gorgeous slideshow video…

Step 1 – Go to Animoto's Website

Go to Animoto

Remember, you can go through this entire course and create your own slideshow video with their free trial.

Step 2 – Create Your New Account (for Free)

Enter your email address or use your Facebook account to create your free Animoto account.

No credit card required.

Animoto wants to tailor it's product to your needs.

They cater to pro photographers, businesses, educators….and personal use.

Let's assume you're just wanting to use Animoto for personal use to create a nice family slideshow.

So choose that and let's move on. There really is no wrong answer here.

Step 3 – Choose “Start From Scratch”

You can walk through Animoto's “tutorial” or skip it.

Then you'll see a bunch of pre-built “Storyboards”. Feel free to scroll through them, but for this tutorial, we're going to create our video from scratch.

So click the “Start From Scratch” button.

Animoto Tutorial

Step 4 – Choose the Video Style

OK. This is where it gets fun!

Animoto's designers have created many wonderful, high-quality video styles.

You get to browse around and pick the one that best fits the mood for your video.

One of my favorite styles is called “Glamour” and it's what I used to create the video above.

Feel free to browse around and look at the different samples.

And pick the one you want to try out.

It's important to know that you can always change the style later on as you work on your slideshow project.

So don't feel any pressure to get it right the first time.

And you can also create multiple copies of your slideshow using different video styles so you can play around and see what fits best.

Why not pick Glamour for now and we can move on with the tutorial.

Animoto Tutorial


Step 5 – Choose Either Landscape or Square Format

Landscape is good if you plan on viewing the video on YouTube or a widescreen TV. It also looks good on websites.

Square videos are ideal for sharing on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

For my video, I chose Landscape.

Animoto Tutorial - Step 5

Step 6 – Add Your Photos (and Videos)

Feel free to go through Animoto's walkthrough to get familiar with the tool. Or just skip it as I'll show you what you need to know.

OK. We're getting to the meat and potatoes now.

Let's upload your photos.

Simply drag ‘n' drop files from your desktop like this…

Animoto Tutorial - Step 6

Let's stop for a second and answer some questions about images.

Do I have to have my own photos and videos?

No. During your “Pro” free trial, you'll have access to over 1 million stock photos and videos from Getty Images to use in your slideshows. These are license free for you to use as you please.

Note that if you get a Personal account with Animoto, you won't have access to the stock images. Just the Pro and Business accounts do.

What resolution should my images be so they look their best?

You definitely don't want your images to look blurry because their resolution is too small.

Animoto recommends the images are sized so that the longest edge is at least 2000 pixels.

Click here for more information about image size and resolution.

What about videos?

Animoto accepts a lot of different video formats. And recommends uploading videos in HD if possible.

Got more questions?

Check out Animoto's Help page.

Step 7 – Add Images (and Videos) to Your Slideshow

Drag-n-drop images and videos into the slideshow area.

You can do this one at a time, or some at a time, or all at a time.

Animoto Tutorial Step 7

Step 8 – Add Special Blocks for Text or Collages or Quotes

This step is completely optional.

But a little extra can help make your slideshow video stand out.

Animoto Tutorial Add Block

I like using the Collage block for portrait images or for images that look good together like this one…

Animoto Collage Block Example

Step 9 – Let's Preview Our Video!

I know there's still work to do, but at this point, it might be good to preview your video to see how it looks.

Animoto Tutorial Preview

We're about to enter the editing process to make the slideshow video as good as we can make it.

In the upcoming editing steps we're going to move images and blocks around, adjust the timing of the photos, change the color and fonts of text, change the music, and get rid of the Animoto watermark.

Feel free to hit the Preview button anytime during the editing process to see how your video is coming along.

Just keep in mind that this is a low-resolution version of your slideshow and is intended to help you make decisions on style, images, text, and music before you finally hit the publish button.

Step 10 – Move Stuff Around

Any item or block can be moved and re-ordered – images, videos or text.

It's as simple as drag'n'drop!

Step 11 – Adjust the Timing of Each Image or Block

By default, each image is given 3 seconds.

It's a good idea to make some images last longer and shorter in the video. If every image lasts 3 seconds in the slideshow video, it could get monotonous and boring for your viewers.

I suggest that most images last 3 seconds. But some should be 2 seconds and some can be 4 seconds.

Animoto Tutorial - Adjust Timing

Pro Tip: Add more time to group photos so viewers have time to scan each person in the photo.

Pro Tip: If your slide has any text, make sure you give enough time for viewers to read it. Pay attention to this when you preview the video.

Step 12 – Change the Music 

“Music is emotion. It has the power to supercharge the emotion in your images.” – Roy Ashen, Founder of Triple Scoop Music.

Animoto has over 300+ songs to choose from (with the personal plan and over 2000 for the pro and business plans).

And they are all license-free.

So you can rest assured knowing that you have copywrite permission (through your Animoto account) to use the music and share your videos anywhere you please (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)

Great. But how do I pick the right song?

Well, there is going to be some trial and error for that.

Obviously, you want to pick a song that matches the mood of the slideshow and the event or occasion for the slideshow.

You don't want your funeral slideshow video song to be a punchy, upbeat pop song.

Or maybe you do.

I'll leave that decision to you.

Fortunately, Animoto helps you narrow your search down by different categories:

  • Popularity
  • Mood
  • Genre
  • Instrumental/Vocal
  • Tempo

So just dive in and sample some of the music…

Animoto Tutorial Music

Step 1 – Click the Music Icon on the left

Step 2 – Click the “Change” button

Step 3 – Click “Browse Full Library” button

For my video, I found one I really like called “This Life” by Ryan Huston.

If you want to use that song, just do a search for “This Life”.

What if I want to upload a song?

Yep. You can do that too.

If it's music you wrote and recorded, sweet!

But if it's someone else's songs, make sure you are aware of Animoto's upload terms.

You must have copywrite permission to use someone else's song.

And if you try to cheat that, Facebook and YouTube robots may find it and delete your video for violating their terms.

More music tips and information here and here.

Step 13 – Make Style Changes

Don't like the font? Or the colors?

No problem. Click on the Design icon to make style changes for your entire video.

Animoto Tutorial Design Style

For this theme, I'm not a fan of the brown video background color. So I changed it to grey. Feel free to do the same or pick somethign you like.

Also play around with the Font until you're happy with your text.

What if I want to change something on just one slide?

You can totally do that!

Click “edit” on the slide you want to adjust.

When you hit the “Produce” button you'll get to a screen where you can title your video and give other information.

Animoto Tutorial - Edit Image

When you're editing a photo you can change where the text displays on the screen, the text color, and size.

Animoto Tutorial Edit Photo Details

Pro tip: Make sure you move the text to a “negative” space area in the photo and choose a color that has contrast from the background. Or use the “Legibility” tool to make your text stand out.

Step 14 – Produce Your Video

Remember, you can preview your video as much as you want as you create your video.

And once you think you're done, let's go ahead and produce it.

Animoto Tutorial Produce

Give your video a name and fill out the rest of the info if you wish and then click the “Finish” button.

Step 13 – Get Rid of That Watermark

With your free trial, you can make as many Animoto videos as you like.

For as long as you want.

But (and of course, there's a but)…there will be an Animoto watermark on your videos.

So let's pay for a subscription and get rid of that watermark.

Animoto Tutorial Upgrade

Which plan should I get?

It really depends.

Here are some things to consider…

The Personal plan is fine, but a bit limited in styles and music. And all of the videos will end with Animoto's logo (but no watermark).

The Professional plan opens up some more options for design and music and allows you to get rid of the Animoto logo at the end of the video. You can also sell these videos to clients, like if you're a photographer. This is my top recommendation.

The Business plan is for…..businesses. :) You need this one if your videos are being sold to other businesses (i.e. you're getting paid by a business to create marketing videos for them)

If you plan on making just this ONE video, then get a monthly subscription and remember to cancel it after a month. Whatever videos you make in that month will have the watermark removed indefinitely. But once your paid subscription lapses, any new videos you make will have the watermark on it.

If you think this slideshow video thing is awesome and you now want to make videos for all your vacations and special events then you should get an Annual Account – which is cheaper than going month to month.

Which plan do you have?

I started with a monthly Professional account because my first video was for a photography client.

Then I cancelled my account after the month was up.

But a couple of months later I wanted to make a slideshow video for a funeral of a close family friend.

I again got a monthly account and then canceled.

Next came Mothers Day.

By now I was seeing a trend.

I loved making these videos and there were lots of occasions in my life where I wanted to make one.

And I was also thinking of making marketing videos for my business.

So now I have an annual Professional account.

Step 14 – Enter this Special Promo Code at Checkout to Save 15%

Be sure to use this exclusive coupon code Oakley15Off at checkout to save 15% on your annual subscription or your first monthly subscription.

At checkout you'll have to click the text at the bottom that says “Have a promo code?”

Animoto Tutorial - Coupon Code

Gotta love saving a buck, right?!

Step 15 – Share Your Creation

Once your video has been produced, and you've signed up with Animoto to get rid of the watermark, you'll have a plethora of options for what to do with it.

You can download it, share it on social media, or embed it onto yuor blog.

And don't worry if you still want to make changes, you can always go back and edit the video if you want.

Animoto Tutorial - Download Video

Great job!

Congrats on your new video. I hope you and your viewers love it. :)

Please remember to share your video project with me!

Just copy/paste your link in the comment section below.

I can't wait to see it!

But…I Have More Questions!

The Animoto blog is full of inspiration and tips and I highly recommend you check it out.

They had a contest for Mothers Day that inspired my daughter and me to create a Mothers Day video as her gift to her mom.


You betcha.

Don't Forget…

Use that special coupon code Oakley15Off at checkout to get 15% off your new account with Animoto.

Have fun making amazing slideshow videos!