This article is old and because technology changes, it’s likely outdated. Our apologies for the inconvenience.
Making a slideshow in Windows Movie Maker is so easy, plus it’s already on your computer, so it’s free! (I’m a big fan of free).
Here’s a video you can watch and follow along as I create a slideshow:
1. Start by opening the program.
To add pictures, you can click the ‘add videos or photos’ button. Here I picked just a small selection from our recent tour of Pizza Hut.
2. Next, click the title button to add one to your slideshow.
It can be the client’s names, the location the session took place in, or whatever you like.
3. You have lots of options when adding a title.
You can change the font, the transparency of the letters, the background colour. You have the option to choose how long the text stays on the screen (the default is 7 seconds which is WAY too long in my opinion). Here you can also choose your ‘Effects’, meaning how the text will enter and leave the screen. Once you have it the way you’d like it, click the ‘Home’ tab at the top of the screen.
4. Want to add some text in the middle of your slideshow, or at the end?
Simply click on the slide you’d like it go before, and hit the Caption button if you’d like clear text on top of your slide itself, or the title button again if you’d rather it have a background. You can click the ‘Credits’ button for the end of your slideshow, but note that it usually adds a bunch of extra slides. You can easily delete them if you don’t need them.
This program is so easy to manipulate! If you ever want to switch the order of a photo or a title, simply left click and drag it to where you want it to be.
5. Music time!
Note: This software does not include music, so you will need to download your own. Keep in mind that if you are going to gift or sell this slideshow to clients, you will need to obtain the music license legally – but you knew that already, right? There are lots of great sites that sell music licenses, and you can google for those with free licenses – just make sure that you give proper credit where required.
When adding music, you have two options:
6. Click ‘Add Music’ to add music to your entire slideshow.
It will appear as a coloured bar, and will show up along your pictures. If the song is very short, and you have a lot of pictures, you’ll see that the bar might not cover all of your slides. More on that in a moment.
In this case, the song is long, so I don’t have that issue.
7. Want to change songs halfway through?
Choose the slide you’d like it to start on, and click ‘Add Music at the Current Point’. The second song will appear again as a colored bar above your slides.
8. Want to add a video?
That’s easy too! Simply click the slide that you’d like the video to go before, and click the ‘add videos and photos’ button on the Home tab.
9. Then click on the ‘Video Tools’ tab at the top to edit your video.
Here you can trim the video, control the volume and more.
10. If you’d like the music to run over the video and not hear the distracting sounds of the video, then mute the sound through this tab.
On the other hand, if you’d rather the song stop when the video appears and then restart when it’s over, click on the ‘Music Tools’ tab. Click ‘Split’ to cut the song in half, and then drag the start of the second half to the slides that follow the video. It will look something like this:
11. Okay, you’ve got your pictures, videos and music in. Time to get fancy!
The Home tab has several automated options for your slideshow to flow. Take some time to play with these and see if you like any of them, because if you do, your slideshow will be done pretty quickly! Hover your mouse over each one to preview. Here’s an example of how the Contemporary theme looks.
12. Want some more creative control?
Click on the ‘Animations’ tab. If you put a title slide in your slideshow, you’ll see a screen that looks like this. This will allow you to control the transitions of the title screen only.
13. For the rest of your slides, be sure to click on one of them (typically your first picture in the show).
A slightly different screen will appear:
14. Here you can choose through tons of different transitions.
There is a drop down with many different options. Hover your mouse over each one to get a preview. You also have several different pan and zoom options. I often choose the magic wand which is kind of like an automatic option. You can make each slide have a different transition, or click the ‘Apply to All’ buttons for both the transitions and pan and zoom, or just one or the other.
Here you can also choose the duration of each slide, meaning, how long it will appear before transitioning to the next one.
Remember when we talked about having a song that seemed too short for the amount of pictures that you have? That can be easily fixed. Head over to the ‘Project’ tab, and click the ‘Fit to Music’ button.
The slides will automatically be timed so that they fit to the end of the song. Of course, this doesn’t work well in every instance. In my case above, the song is much longer than the pictures, which would make for a painfully long slideshow! But this is very handy for timing purposes if you have a decent amount of pictures and a song around 2.5-3 minutes long.
15. Run through the show by clicking on the first slide and pressing the space bar.
If you don’t like the duration of each slide (meaning, how long each slide is shown before transitioning to the next one), you can go to ‘Animations’ tab and change the duration. I usually find that around 3 seconds is a good length. If you chose the ‘Fit to Music’ option, your duration might be longer or shorter. You can change it, but keep in mind that it might affect how the long flows with your show.
That’s about it!
You might notice I didn’t mention the Visual Effects tab. That’s because I am assuming that your pictures are edited and look the way you want them to. If you do want to change some effects on them (such as make them black and white) feel free to play around in this tab.
16. Time to save!
Check out the specs to decide what size slideshow you’d like. My default is typically the high definition option. Click the button, sit back, and enjoy your new slideshow.
Ready to see a completed slideshow? Check this one out:
Guest post writing, video and images are from photographer Julia Wells.
Julia is a family documentary photographer and the owner of Julia Francesca Photography.
She lives in Owen Sound, Ontario Canada with her very creative husband, her two wild and crazy kids and an escape artist of a cat.
You can follow Julia at these links:
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