Sound photo slideshow editing tips: How to pace slideshow and move photos

A slideshow needs good photos, good sound as well as good editing. Here’s two editing tips that will make best use of the (well-taken) photos: alternate the slideshow with still and moving segments; use small, slow, smooth photo movements.

A feature of Soundslides Pro, the popular slideshow tool, is to add movements to a still photo – something we call Ken Burns effect, where we can zoom or pan on a still photo. First-time users of Soundslides tend to “abuse” this feature – they apply movement to each and every photo, they zoom all the way in or out, pan all the way from left to right, or use fast movements. Read below for tips that can transform a rookie user to a pro editor.

Proper pacing: alternate still segments and moving segments

We don’t want the slideshow to consist entirely of stills, but we don’t want it to be all moving pictures either. A tip is to use a few stills in a segment, followed by a segment of  moving pictures, followed by another still segment, then another moving segment, and this pattern repeats till the end.

See below for a sample sound photo slideshow for how this still/moving alternation works – you don’t see more than three or four photos (still or moving) in one group.

Photo movement should be slow, small and smooth

Slideshow editors work with still images but desire to have movements – visuals that look similar to a video. Soundslides Pro provides the ability to add such movements – zoom, pan. For effective use of this feature, slideshow editors can borrow some ideas from video filming, because when it comes to moving effects, moving photos is similar to moving a video camera.

When filming still objects, a common practice in video production is to move the camera itself to achieve the effects of movement. In this case, the camera movement is usually slow, small, and smooth. See below for a segment of an NBC news package about post-Hurricane Sandy restoration in coastal New Jersey, where the camera person was filming abandoned houses (still objects).

Notice how the camera moves: zoom, pan or combining zoom and pan. When zooming, the camera doesn’t zoom all the way in or out; when panning, the camera doesn’t pan from all the way from left to right or vice versa. And the movement is smooth: no pause or hesitation in between.

Lastly, compare camera movements in this video and the photo movements in the sample slideshow above: do you see the resemblance – slow, small, smooth?

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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