I like to do slideshows when I give talks at photo conventions. Lots of photographers do slideshows. I think they are universally popular, but there are a few things I’ve learned about slideshows I thought I’d share here.
I use three different tools for my slideshows. Aperture 3.x is a great tool for creating quick and dirty slideshows that look great. You can customize the Aperture slideshow preset but the standard preset is pretty good. Obviously, creating Aperture slideshows will only work for you if you have a Mac. Likewise my second favorite slideshow tool – Boinx FotoMagico. In my opinion this is the best of the stand alone slideshow software. This is an advanced slide show program that gives you tons of control over the overall look of the presentation. You can do pans, fades, 2D and 3D transitions, add music, voice-overs, sound effects – you name it. And you can share these slideshows with anyone – Mac user or not.
Lastly, whether you use a Mac, PC or something else, you can enjoy Animoto. It’s also a very easy web-based tool that gives you the ability to put together a highly-polished, slick-looking show in minutes – no programming necessary. (www.animoto.com) Here’s a sample Animoto show I did.
Now that you know the tools I use, here are some tips for keeping your audience interested.
1. Don’t use too much text. I almost never add any text beyond some titles and subheads. If I have a real reason to do it I will, but text is hard to read on a screen – especially if it’s scrolling by.
2. Keep it short. I like to target four to five minutes as a perfect length for a slideshow. Better to leave them wanting more than to put them to sleep.
3. TEST – TEST – TEST. Before you show your slide presentation on an unfamiliar screen, test. Make sure the color looks good and you’re familiar with the projector’s operation. There’s nothing worse than announcing your slideshow only to have to make excuses for why it isn’t working or looks bad.
Slideshows are a great way to show off your work. Give them a try.
P.S. If you do slideshows in public, please don’t steal the music that you use with your show. Just like photographers who want to protect their intellectual property, musicians want to be compensated and recognized for their hard work. There are lots of inexpensive or even free ways to get slideshow music. Do a search on Google for royalty-free music. You’ll find dozens of great sources for legal music.