Creating a Slideshow with Family Pictures to Give as Gifts

Keeping images and videos of significant events in your family is one of the smartest things you can do, and definitely one you will thank yourself later for. But once you have amassed a sizeable collection, what do you do with it? Sure, it’s great and all that you’ve got a million photos backed up on an external hard drive, but is anyone ever really going to sift through all of them without getting bored? Nope.

So, here’s what you do if you want to share those images with the rest of your family: you create a slideshow for them.The benefits of doing so mean that not only do you have a nice gift to give to your loved ones, but you also have something to play on in family gatherings as a topic of discussion among the elderly and younger relatives alike. Furthermore, it shows that you really love your family and have actually put in some effort to sort memories of them in a ‘fun to engage with’ way.

What Do You Need Before Getting Started?

For starters, you obviously need the images that you are going to be using in the slideshow. This is most likely going to be the most difficult part of the whole process, especially if you’ve got a collection of images ranging well in to the thousands. Secondly, you’ll be needing some software program that you will have to use to make the slideshow itself. Microsoft’s PowerPoint is a good enough starting point, though you may take a fancy to some other software. So take some time to search around and see if something else catches your fancy.

You will also need to create a draft of the slideshow’s outline. How long the slideshow is going to last, what sections and theming you want to do, and how every section will fit together within their allotted time slots. You will also need to choose some music that you want to play in the background, as just a silent collection of images would get boring much sooner than if music is being used to enhance the slideshow.

Choosing the Pictures for the Slideshow

So, which pictures should make it in to the slideshow? A general rule of thumb worth following is that there shouldn’t be too many images, especially of the same day, event, or age period. That is a good way to bloat your slideshow with unnecessary filler that no one will want to see. Pick and choose a few pictures per different event, for example; 5 to 6 images for your son’s second birthday, 4 to 5 images of the day your oldest daughter first went to school. That kind of stuff will suffice.

Also, when choosing these images, try to include images of more than just one person. It is much more refreshing to see your son’s second birthday from a few different perspectives that show all of the guests present there too, as well as what those guests were doing, compared to just six straight images of your son’s face as he tries to blow out the candles. So, basically, try to include as many past events as possible, but keep each event’s specific pictures to a minimum.

Setting Themes Around Each Collection

Once you’re done filling up your slideshow with images, you’ll have to keep the individual images of specific events different from each other. There are several ways to go about doing this; you could use different image transition animations for different events. So, birthday images could transition to the next image in line with a flashy pattern, but the following images should then revert back to simple sliding transition animations so the effects don’t get too annoying too soon.

Another thing that can be done is that you could use borders and other clipart or decorative items around the images being shown. Birthday images could be bordered with bright and colorful edges with pictures of ribbons and cake spread around. The top edge of the border could read “Happy Birthday!”, and the bottom edge of the border could read the number that corresponds to how old the person in the pictures turned that day.

Furthermore, auditory cues could be used to distinguish the sections in the slideshow. Taking our birthday example again, there could be a celebratory sound effect that plays once the birthday section starts. You could even add small animations that could liven up the section. For example, you could add small confetti that could shower across the screen on the first image of the birthday section. The possibilities are limitless, all you need to really do is experiment.

Choosing the Background Music

The background music you choose should carefully be tailored to not only be as long as the slideshow without abruptly cutting out midway, but also be appropriate as well. Generally speaking, calming scores or slow songs are ideal for slideshows about family events. However, a change of pacing in the music could be added in during various sections to breathe new life in to them.

Once again taking the birthday example, a slightly more upbeat tune could start playing once the birthday section rolls around. It would have to start playing from the point the song containing it had already reached its crescendo, else it would take too long to build up and the birthday section would be over before it would properly get to the good part. Once the birthday section ends, the upbeat tune could gently blend back in to the previous background music that was playing before the birthday section came up.

Using Short Labels When Appropriate

Not all pictures are worth a thousand words; some can be quite confusing to decode in the absence of provided context. Your slideshow is also at risk of containing a few images whose context might fly over the heads of the viewers, even though in your mind the image speaks volumes about what’s happening. Take a step back and carefully analyze the images you add with the view of an outsider. Would someone watching this slideshow be able to deduce what is happening in the image?

If you realize that the answer to that question is a no, what you can do is add short and easily readable labels that quickly let viewers know what is happening in the image while still giving them enough time to then look at the image as well. Once more using the birthday example, a short label could read something like “Aunt Miranda was not amused when Timmy bit her hand”, with a following image of Timmy looking confusedly at the camera with aunt Miranda in the background nursing her hand while laughing with everyone, and another label could read “Wait, it’s not cake?”. Simple yet entertaining labels keep the viewers interested in the slideshow, and also go to show that you went the extra mile when making the slideshow.

Facts About Slideshow Presentations

Now that you have a better idea of how to create a more creative, fun, and interesting slideshow, you might turn on your gadget to start conceptualizing your presentation. Below are some fun and interesting facts about slideshow presentations that will help you be more innovative. 

  • When planning your slideshow, remember that the average attention span of a viewer is 10 minutes. If you have a thousand pictures in mind, choose only the best ones since you may only need a few that will capture your intention of creating the slideshow. Keep the presentation between 5 to 10 minutes. In this way, you keep the audience from being burdened with watching the show for a long time.
  • One of the most famous presentation tools is Microsoft Powerpoint. PowerPoint was first released in 1987 under the name Presenter. Microsoft later had to change the name for copyright reasons. Entrepreneur Robert Gaskins invented it. He sold the software to Microsoft for $14 million. Additionally, it was first available for Macintosh. Three years after, the first version of windows was introduced.
  • There is an average estimate of 500 million users of Powerpoint all around the world. That’s about 14% of the entire population. Further, approximately 35 million PowerPoint presentations are shown and presented each day by these 500 million users worldwide.
  • One effective way of presenting a slideshow is through storytelling. Everyone loves stories, and creating a slideshow with a similar concept will surely wow your audience. So, instead of making a presentation about a series of different pictures, you can get creative and turn boring slideshows into an interesting and fun story.


Creating a slideshow is easy, and once you’ve had a few hours of experience under your belt, you’ll be dishing out slideshows in no time. We’ve got a similar post to this for people who are looking to make a slideshow about their baby. And we’ve even got a charming little post on Christmas crafts for the grandparents if you or your children want to surprise them next Christmas.

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