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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slideshows 2.0

Considerations for shooting, editing and assembling photo presentations that entertain

Labels: SoftwareHow To

This Article Features Photo Zoom

One challenge you’ll face is mixing vertical and horizontal photos. It can be jarring for a viewer to be going along with horizontals and suddenly be forced to reorient to a vertical image. Often, the best thing is to limit your photo selections to all horizontal or all vertical shots. If you do mix them up, be aware of when and how often you do it. This is something to keep in mind when first shooting your images.

Arranging Your Photos
With multiple pictures, consider their order. Your first image should be a strong one that sets the stage for the story. You want to end your slideshow with an image that draws a conclusion.

In between, find ways to group the photos so that they enhance and enrich your story, if you have one, or give some sort of coherent whole to the program. You need to watch out for anything that disrupts and takes away from your story. If you need clear and connected transitions among a group of pictures, be careful that they go well together. If you want to surprise your viewers and make them pay special attention to a particular set of images, you should look for ways to surprise them in your combination of pictures.

The best way to do this is to look at your photos lined up next to each other in a program that allows you to do that. You need to be able to see how photos look next to each other in sequence, and in addition, to play a preview of the images as a slideshow in order to evaluate how they interact with each other and help or hinder the telling of your story.

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Great slideshows start when you’re photographing. For example, when capturing a location, take shots from a variety of perspectives, including wide shots from different angles, as well as detail shots. You may not use all of them, but having options lets you put together a more complete story in your show.

Software Options

Many programs offer the ability to look at photos as a group, including Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple iPhoto and Apple Aperture. However, while you can create slideshows from these programs, they really don’t offer the best possibilities for the photographer and are frequently weak on flexibility, controls and the use of music.

Programs designed specifically for slideshows work much better. They allow you to precisely work music against images, to change transitions, to change the length of time images are on screen, to use controllable pan and zoom techniques on each photo (often called the Ken Burns effect) and more.

ProShow Gold (www.photodex.com) is one of the best slideshow programs on the market today. It allows you to quickly create and build slideshows with many options. You have to be careful about choosing the right output size for this program or you’ll be disappointed in the results (also, you can let ProShow Gold resize your originals correctly for the program). It’s available for Windows only.

FotoMagico (www.boinx.com) is a good option for the Mac and offers many similar features. Boinx Software also has a fun slideshow program that runs on your computer (or projected from your computer) called PhotoPresenter and animates images across your computer monitor (great for laptops).


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