This is a guest contribution by Andrea Sims of Your Story. Share It!
Remember the occasion of the family slideshow of the old days? Usually enjoyed a few weeks after a big vacation or event. The family would gather around, set-up the screen or hang a sheet and dim the lights. The projector would hum in the background as the photos went around with a “clickety-click.” Inevitably, the soothing ambiance would be disrupted by snoring, as Grandpa dozed off.
But, family slideshows don’t need to exist in the dim living rooms of yesteryear nor do they need to put family members to sleep. Slideshows are still an excellent way to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries, graduations, the bride and groom, vacations or the-year-in-review. With these simple guidelines you’ll be able to plan slideshows that evoke emotion and fond memories.
Recently, my family returned from an annual trip to the Lake Region of Maine. I decided to celebrate our many Maine vacations with a slideshow. My husband grew up visiting his grandmother at the lake cabin, and now enjoys taking our family and making new memories. My Maine slideshow includes photos from many visits—including my husband as a child, our visits before we had kids and visits with our kids.
When getting started with a slideshow, ask yourself these simple questions. The answers will help you plan the best slideshows.
WHO IS VIEWING THE SLIDESHOW?
It’s important to consider the audience and environment for viewing when planning the length and number of photos to be included. Basically, the larger the audience, the shorter their attention span will be.
- Social media audience à less than 1 minute, 15-20 photos
- Captive, large audience during a presentation à 3-4 minutes, 40-50 photos
- Small, personal audience at home à 5-6 minutes, 75-100 photos
My Maine Vacations slideshow is for home viewing by family and fits the last scenario.
In any case, it’s important to curate your photo collection carefully. Remember to include a variety of photos from a wide range of activities without being repetitive.
HOW IS THE STORY TOLD?
I recommend using a storyboard to plan the slide order. Photo order can be either:
- Logical sequence with thematic sections
For my Maine slideshow, I chose to use thematic sections. I’m often asked what my family does during our Maine vacations. While gathering photos, I found that our visits focus on three things—the deck, the dock and the family. First, the deck is where we enjoy sharing meals and playing games. Next, the dock is the hub of water activities including fishing, swimming and boating. Finally, the family is the focus as we relax, take walks and laugh together.
Be intentional in the structure of the slideshow and use the slide order to show connections and story development.
WHAT IS THE MOOD OF THE SLIDESHOW?
One of the best reasons to use a slideshow to showcase your photos is the ability to convey emotion with animation and music. Music is used to set the pace and mood. Plus, changes in music identify transitions. Graphic elements, fonts and color help to set the mood just as they do in print.
When telling the story of our Maine vacations, I included music and graphic elements to provide a summery, happy feel—reminiscent of visiting a summer camp as a kid.
Ready to visit Maine with us? Click here for a sample of my Maine slideshow to see how I considered the audience, structured the story and set the mood. This slideshow even passed the Grandpa test—he didn’t fall asleep!
Whether you want to celebrate a lifetime or events of the past year, slideshows make a great way to enjoy your photos. With a little bit of preplanning, making a memorable slideshow can be simple. There are many programs and apps to create your own, such as, iMovie (Mac), Animoto (Web), ProShow (PC or Mac), Lightroom (Mac/PC), Windows Movie Maker (PC), etc. Or, contact the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) to find a photo organizer to help you share your story with a slideshow.
Andrea Sims is a member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) and the owner of Your Story. Share It! She is passionate about celebrating memories with photos. After many years of scrapbooking as a hobby and volunteering with school yearbook staffs—first as a student and later as a parent—she decided to become a photo organizer. Andrea especially enjoys creating slideshows for events. Being a photo organizer gives her the opportunity to help other people enjoy their photos and share their stories.