Searching For Slideshow Apps

Recently, I was asked to create a slideshow for a family memorial service. I sat down with my pile of scanned and digital photos and set to work. I started with Open Office’s version of Power Point, but I couldn’t figure out how to export the file in a format that would work on any system. Since I wasn’t super familiar with Power Point, I felt like I was spending more time teaching myself how to use it than actually creating the slide show. So I moved on.

My next stop was ScreenFlow, a video editing App. ScreenFlow works great and has tons of options, but I would have to manually place, position and time each photo and transition. That was clearly going to take more time than I had.

That brought me to Google’s doorstep. I found a few online options, but I didn’t really want to be uploading pictures sent to me from other people to a website I didn’t really know much about.

However, not all was lost as that search led me to Lightroom. Lightroom was a great option, but because many of photos I had were emailed from other people, or scanned, they weren’t really sorted or even imported into Lightroom. To use them effectively, I’d have to sort them into the right folders on my hard drive and then import them. Finally, I’d need to add them to a collection in order to work with them.

The slideshow interface itself seemed pretty easy to use, but it lacked the transitions I was looking for.

Finally, it occurred to me to try the new Photos App that appeared in the last Mac OS release. Since I hadn’t used it before, I had to import the photos and scans I wanted to use. That was easy enough. I exported all the digital photos I needed that were already in Lightroom to JPGs and stored the copy in the same folder as the scans and other photos that had been emailed to me, and got to work.

Here’s a brief overview on how I created the slideshow in Photos.

1) Launch the PHOTOS APP.

2) Click the PHOTOS TAB and choose one of the file import methods. I opted to simply drag and drop the JPGs onto the open app window. 100 photos imported in just a few seconds.

3) Select ALL IMPORTED PHOTOS by using the CMD+A keyboard command.

4) To start a new Slideshow, click FILE>CREATE SLIDESHOW and give it a name.

5) You’ll be moved over to the PROJECTS tab to begin the Slideshow. Your Title is automatically placed on the first slide. You can remove that title if you want. I ended up creating my own title page in Photoshop and imported it as a JPG to serve as the first slide. To remove the text, right+click the Text Thumbnail on the bottom and choose DELETE.

6) Before rearranging the photos, choose a THEME. Click the SLIDESHOW icon on the right of the screen to show the available choices. Some of the options look very similar until you press PLAY to preview the transitions. I love the Vintage Prints option which I chose for the memorial service. Magazine and Origami are fun choices as well.

7) Choose your MUSIC.You can select a built-in ditty or any song in your iTunes library. You can add multiple tracks if your song isn’t long enough for your pictures.

8) Click the CLOCK icon to set your music OPTIONS. You can opt to fit the slideshow transitions to the length of music or set an exact length of the slideshow.

9) Now it’s time to tweak the photos. Depending on your template, you may have several photos on one slide. You can drag the images around into a different order and the Photos app will automatically adjust the template it uses for each slide. This can get a little tricky. Sometimes, Photos insists on placing certain photos on the same slide and you cannot really control it. That was the only frustration I had with the app. I sometimes had to reorder images slightly differently in order to get the images I wanted on the same slide to stay together.

10) Preview your slideshow by pressing the PLAY button. If you’re happy, click EXPORT and choose from 3 different sizes (480p, 720p and 1280p). You can also choose to automatically send a copy of your movie to iTunes to sync to your devices if desired. Export can take a while if you have a long video and choose the highest quality.

Want to see a video I made about my trip to Italy last summer? This one took about 15 minutes to make and it’s about 2 minutes to watch.

(Enter the password below, then you may have to click the Title on the image to open the video in a new window.)


If you make a video, share it in the comments!

Bonus Tip:
To create multiple photo libraries, hold in the OPTION key while launching the Photos App. You’ll be prompted to choose an existing library, or create a new one.