Technology has come a long way since you and your siblings had to watch two full carousels of your grandparent’s cruise slides and found yourself nodding off on the couch. Back in the day, people would bring out the slide projector at family gatherings, parties, and special occasions. Although you may still be able to find old-fashioned Kodak slide carousels and working projectors, it’s easy to create far more interesting slideshows today. All it takes is curated digital images, a little creativity, and one of many high-tech tools available today. An end of year slideshow is a wonderful way to look back at the year’s highlights and ring in the New Year.
How to Make a Photo Slideshow
Creating a picture slideshow is an excellent way to share precious memories if you’re looking to do something more interesting than posting photos in the cloud or on social media. The first step in creating a slideshow is to digitize any older media you wish to include. The second step is to gather and organize all the pictures, either by theme or date. The best way to make a picture slideshow depends to some degree on how much time you want to spend and the effects you wish to achieve. It’s a given you’ll need some type of software to create the slideshow – two popular options are PowerPoint and MovieMaker.
How to Make a Picture Slideshow on PowerPoint
Although some computers come preinstalled with PowerPoint, you can purchase the software for a single month or on a yearly basis. The basic version (Microsoft PowerPoint Personal) includes everything you need to create, save, and share files and photos across devices with OneDrive.
- Open Microsoft PowerPoint
- Go to File at the top left of the screen and click New Presentation if a page with templates doesn’t automatically open
- Click the Design tab or go to File again and click New from Template to use a preset design
- Insert a new slide by clicking on the Home tab and then the New Slide button
- Only insert text if it enhances the photo without detracting from it and at a minimum size of 24pt
- Add images by clicking Insert and then clicking the Picture icon
- Add other elements by using features in the Home and Insert tabs on the top ribbon
- Drag elements around with the mouse to experiment with the layout
- Save your slideshow as a PowerPoint Show or as a Video
Additional PowerPoint Tips
- Choose a theme or create your own using PowerPoint elements
- Once you create a slide layout/design you like, use a duplicate slide to avoid recreating the design again and again, then insert a new photo
- Vary the design and color of slides a little to avoid family members snoozing through your slideshow
- Consider using a transition – a visual effect that occurs when you move from one slide to the next which you can customize by controlling the speed, adding sound, etc.
Using MovieMaker to Create Slideshows
Easy Movie Maker features the same functions to create slideshows as the classic version. The earlier version is usable but no longer supported by Microsoft. If you don’t have the Movie Maker app and are operating on Windows 10, you can download it from the Windows 10 app store.
- Right-click on the desktop, then select New and click Folder to create a dedicated Slideshow folder on the desktop
- Place all of the media you wish to include in this folder
- Open the Easy Movie Maker app
- Click the New Project option
- Select your photos, then click Open and Easy Movie Maker to import the files
- Click the two arrows pointing up and down at the bottom of Movie Maker’s screen, then click and drag photos to reorder them
- Click the checkmark at the bottom of the screen when reordering is complete to save changes
- Change lighting, color, default animation, and the display duration by clicking on any photo you wish to edit
- Click the checkmark in the upper right-hand corner of the screen when editing is finished to save changes
- To edit the transition between photos, click the black and white box between your first two photos
- Click the right-facing arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to continue to the text screen
- Double-click the box that says Double-Tap to input text
- Click outside of the box when you’re done to save the text to the photo, and if you wish to add more, click the plus sign in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and repeat the process
- Click and drag the green slider at the bottom of the screen to adjust how long the text remains on the screen
- Click Save Video in the upper right-hand corner of your screen when you’re done creating your slideshow
Adding Music to Your MovieMaker Slideshow
- Click the Add Music option
- If you closed the slideshow, locate it then click OK
- Click the plus sign at the bottom of the screen to add music
- Select any mp3, wav, wmv file you wish to add
- Click Open after you select the music to import it into Movie Maker
- Click and drag the red slider at the bottom of the screen to adjust the music length, although it will automatically adjust itself to match the length of your slideshow
- Click Save Video in the upper right-hand corner of the screen when done
Other Options for Creating Slideshows
Google Slides: Similar to PowerPoint, this option is stored online and offers a few less bells and whistles.
iMovie: If you already use iPhoto on your Mac, iMovie should be fairly intuitive to use. You can quickly import selected photos to iMovie, add slide transitions, and even upload your favorite song to create a cool year-in-review slideshow to share with friends and family via email or the cloud.
Animoto: This free video maker is the same one Facebook uses to create those clever end-of-year montages. It enables creating a 30-second video montage from your digital images without much effort. You can choose from several dozen templates, upload photos, select music, and then share your creation with family and friends on social media or via email.
If slideshows aren’t your thing, the sky’s the limit on other creative ways to add pizzazz to photos.