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Create a Slideshow this Summer

Updated on June 15, 2012

Creating a summer slideshow is a great way to capture the memories that you and your family have made this summer. But if you have never made one before, you may feel a little overwhelmed on how to get started. Below are the first steps to creating a summer slideshow that your whole family will enjoy watching.

Step 1: Gather your summer photos

Hopefully, you are super organized and have been keeping your photo folder on your computer in some sort of way which makes it easy to find your pictures. If not, then you may want to find some free time to do that, as being able to go directly to the folder you need instead of sorting through tons of pictures will definitely save you time.

Once you're in the right folder, choose about 20 - 30 pictures that depict what this summer has meant for you. Did you travel to a new place during the summer? Did your kids try a new activity? Think about the adjectives that you would use to describe your summer and then find pictures that correspond with those words and feelings.

Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker

Step 2: Choosing the Right Software

There are numerous types of software that are great for creating slideshow, but basically choosing the right one comes down to how techy you are.

Difficulty Level
Windows Movie Maker
Roxio PhotoShow
ProShow Gold
ProShow Gold
ProShow Gold

I have used all three of these programs as I continued to do slideshows through the years. I graduated up to ProShow Gold, which is absolutely awesome, and gives you the freedom to download or create your own slide templates. While I'm not there yet, I do enjoy the multitude of choices offered by this program. However, if you’re a newbie at creating slideshows, starting with Microsoft Movie Maker is the simplest solution. It offers plenty of slide templates and effects to customize your slideshow. Roxio is another program that offers a little more than Movie Maker, but won't overwhelm with you options.

Roxio Creator 2012
Roxio Creator 2012

Step 3: Setup your Pictures

Now that you have chosen the right slideshow program for you, the next step is to insert your pictures in the right positions. Do you want to randomly place your pictures? Or would you rather insert your pictures chronologically based on when your pictures were taken? However you decide to do it, insert them all into the software in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

Step 4: Pick your Music

I usually do step 5 before I do this step, but that's just me (plus with Pro Gold, you can always match your slideshow time to the length of the music, so I don't stress too much about this). Logically, though, this should be the next step, because the music dictates just how fast or slow you may want your picture slides to change. So, go into that perfectly-organized music folder of yours (wink, wink) and pick out some great summer songs that seem to capture the vibe that you would like to create in your slideshow. If you don't have any good songs on file, then visit Amazon music or Itunes and buy single songs for $1.

Here are several awesome summer songs to consider using for your slideshow:

In the Summertime
Mungo Jerry (or try the version by Shaggy if you want a reggae beat)
Under the Boardwalk
The Drifters
Soak up the Sun
Sheryl Crow
Will Smith
Summer Nights
Grease Soundtrack

Step 5: Insert Slide Effects and Choose Timing

Now that you have the music, it is time to set up your slides. Pick slide times that seem to match with the beat of the song you chose. I usually choose between 4 - 5 seconds for a moderate rhythm song. Also, set up your slide effects. Do you want very dramatic slide changes or a low-key one? Do you have a picture of people at the beach or at the pool? If so, find slide effects of water splashes or water drops. Try to incorporate the effects that seems to match the picture that it is introducing next.

Step 6: Give your Slideshow a Title

Preview your slideshow and adjust any slides or timing issues. Then when you are happy with your finished product, give it a cool title. Depending on the software you use, you may want to include a cool background for your title instead of writing it over a dull colored template. Search your picture folder or Google images for a beach shot, a sunset picture, or maybe even some footprints in the sand. Whatever picture captures your slideshow best, use it for your title screen.

Step 7: Give Yourself Credit

Many slideshow programs have credits that you can add to the end of your slideshow. You've worked hard, so why not give yourself some credit. I always add myself in as the photographer and slideshow creator. I also write the names of everyone that was in the slideshow pictures. Now's the time to shine!

Step 8: Export your Show

Most slideshow programs will allow you to save your show either as an AVI or MP4, etc. Choose the right video option for yourself and export that show.

Step 9: Share, share, share

Whenever I create a slideshow, I send it out to close friends and family members. Everyone seems to enjoy it, especially grandparents or relatives who live far away and may not get to see your or your family very often. Creating slideshows is a great way to keep your extended family filled in on your family's activities and vacations. So, show it off!

Hopefully, you found that creating a slideshow is a lot of fun and yes, some work too. But overall, the payoff is great when you can look back in a few years and see all the cool things you did over this summer.


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    • profile image

      Chris Meyer 5 years ago

      If you're on a Mac, you might try to create a slideshow with Photo to Movie slideshow software. It's a dedicated slideshow application and easy to use without the limitations of iMovie or iPhoto. I'm the software developer.

    • worldseeker profile image

      worldseeker 5 years ago

      I agree with you that PowerPoint can be used for photo slideshows, but to be honest with you, it's not my favorite method. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 5 years ago

      People always skip the easy one--Powerpoint. You can design backgrounds, group pictures, add music and automate the whole thing then save it as a PowerPoint Show and will play on any computer that has PowerPoint or the PowerPoint player, which can be downloaded in a couple of minutes.