How to organise digital photos for a slideshow


I recently assisted my friend, Sharon, in organising her digital photos to create a digital slideshow of her life.

Sharon had a wide selection of photos she’d gathered aside for a milestone birthday, but many more from albums too. And a chunk of images from her family are still to come.

The process involved selecting and photographing dozens of images from her albums, and retouching many of them.

What was lovely was to hear the stories behind the photos, and to know more about her life across the decades.

So I wanted to put together some tips to help you organise digital photos for a slideshow:

  1. Don’t be afraid to include images you’re not sure about, they can be culled once you have your full selection gathered
  2. Don’t worry about too many images – it’s highly likely you will gather 300-500 images for your final product
  3. Include photographs of places, spaces and mood. You don’t have to be in the photo for it to be of value
  4. Colours, shadows, reflections, patterns, repetition and silhouettes add variety from the usual faces, smiles and group shots
  5. Crop like crazy! In days gone by, a LOT of background was often included in photos and it usually doesn’t tell a story. Don’t be afraid to crop quite tightly
  6. I personally wouldn’t include any photographs that make you feel bad or bring up negative memories.
  7. Now that you have a chronological history, you can play with groupings. Here’s some suggested categories:
    • childhood/school
    • family of origin
    • places you’ve lived or worked
    • friends
    • travel/holidays
    • career/study
    • family/children (including furry family).
  8. Finally, sometimes a series works better than a single 🙂

Sharon and me

I found the end result so inspirational that I’ve started my own slide show! After all, who knows my life better than me? Read Sharon’s post on the process here. 

2 responses to “How to organise digital photos for a slideshow

  1. This is a subject I have been pondering for a while . . . . like, many years! I have photos from my childhood (1940’s) right up ’til I started taking digital photos around 2007 as well as many boxes of colour slides. I had the earlier black and white photos in an album, but at one stage decided to take them all out to mount in a larger album and to include the many colour photos. that followed. I didn’t do it and now am facing the huge task of having prints made (have had some done) of digital pics so that I can make a series of albums and bring up to the present, or maybe not!
    Your article has started me thinking of composing several digital slideshows as you have outlined. I think it would be quicker in the long run (and more economical) and my children will thank me when the time comes to sort out my belongings.
    I always thought it was nice to have a photo album in my hands to look through, but times have changed and now that it is easy to view on television, computer and i-pad screens etc. my thinking is changing.

    • Hi Betty, old school photo albums (or the modern equivalent of printing books from digital pics) are great, but one drawback is that you can’t add to them. A slide show can be updated or edited at any time!

      No matter what you choose to do, start small, and creating anything is better than having a jumble of pics 🙂

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