Best Free Photo Slideshow Software

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Introduction

Photo slideshow software allows you to create a slideshow of your favorite or memorable photos from your collection and turn multiple images into a standard video file for playback on your PC or other media devices.

Although the following reviews relate mostly to the technical aspects of the programs, remember that the best reason for using the programs is to tell a story in an interesting way. A lot of very basic programs will allow you to present photos in a singular linear fashion, similar to whipping out a handful of snapshots and handing them to a usually disinterested spectator (family, relatives, or friends)! However, a more memorable slide show uses the more complex features (motion, music, narration, titles, transitions, etc) to help tell a story about the photos without the distraction of out-of-sequence and poor photos. Also, keep most show durations to under 15 minutes (the maximum for most audience attention span) unless you are doing a "Ken Burns" type historical epic.

If this has been what you're looking for then check out one of the free applications reviewed here. You might find it pretty useful in creating an impressive multimedia slideshow of your photos for sharing with your friends and family.

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Rated Products

DVD slideshow GUI  

A user interface for various great tools needed to make your own slideshow of photos.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Packed with more features, useful tools to pan, zoom and rotate images with a variety of transition effects, motion backgrounds, borders and subtitles, export to popular video formats, support HD videos, authoring and burning to optical disks.
Not as easy and intuitive to use as Photo Story. Some errors encountered when running the program with over 100 images or greater than 50 MB audio files. Since the program is a shell for several open source programs (ie DVDauthor, Imagburn), user may have to seek more information for effective use.
Read full review...

Socusoft Photo to Video Converter  

An easy-to-use program for making your slideshows in four quick steps.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Easy to use, drag-and-drop feature, pan and zoom functions, transition effects with background music or voice, save results in popular mpg format, support video size up to 720x576 pixels.
Adding text, more output profiles and other advanced features, such as burning slideshows to a DVD disc, are only available to the commercial Pro version.
Read full review...

Photo Story  

An old but easy-to-use slideshow program produced by Microsoft to create a simple slideshow of photos.


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Intuitive and easy to use, rich in features, panning and zooming with various transition effects, crop black borders, add text and soundtracks.
No more developed, save video file in wmv format only, no directly burning video to CD/DVD is supported.
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ffDiaporama  

A cross-platform application for generating video sequences with key-frame image manipulation.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
A highly capable open source program on the level of some high end commercial products.
Complex to use with a steep learning curve.
Read full review...

Other Free Photo Slideshow Software

Several other free photo slideshow applications were not rated in this review. I am listing some of them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Picasa, a well-known digital photo organizer provides some basic slideshow making functions. No black border control is available unless full frame photo crop is applied. It also lacks more powerful features in other programs designed solely for generating slideshows.
  • Both XnView and IrfanView are widely used image viewers which allow users to create a basic slideshow of photos with background music saved in a self-running exe or screen saver file, but are short of some other useful features available in the recommended products.
  • MemoriesOnWeb, based on the same engine as the commercial version MemoriesOnTV, offers only basic photo slideshow features. Video output in avi or mpg format, but no user settings for profiles or video sizes were noted.
  • PhotoLapse is a small program for converting a large sequence of jpg still images to an avi movie but it lacks a lot of features available in other photo slideshow software.
  • Bolide Slideshow Creator is a good, easy to use, but very basic program. I am in the process of evaluating the program and will write a critique article in the near future. It is a Windows desktop program with capabilities for incorporating photos, audio, transitions (limited to about 30), text, adjustable timing for photos and transitions into the slideshow. However, it is limited to one simple pan and zoom effect and a 4:3 format output in avi, wmv, or mvw. More info later.
  • Comslider is a free slideshow creation program strictly for generating an HTML insert to a person's website. It is an interesting variation of slide show creation programs, with a limited set of features as compared to standalone programs, but may be of limited interest and use for most of our readers and users.

To be reviewed:

  • PhotoFilmStrip
  • Smile Box
  • Web oriented programs such as Ezvid, LibreOffice, Animoto, Onetrue Media and Kizoa

 

Related Products and Links

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor StahlSS. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

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Comments

thanks for your input here. I have to create an 'entertaining' slideshow once a year to show off a recent competition at our awards banquet. I've used the 3D -album to create special effects and transitions and awesome intros, brought it into another program and added music and trimmed everything up to have it sync.... what I'm looking for is another program that will do similar to what 3D album does as it doesn't seem to work so well after all the computer upgrades.... suggestions?

Hi Sorry I have not answered your note before this, but I have also had problems with using the new Windows 10 and the Edge browser ! I finally had to re-install my windows 8.1 as a dual boot with my windows 10. I hate to suggest it but you may want to add a dual boot configuration in order to run the 3D-album configuration. I tried a copy of the 3D-album program and its does seem to do all that you need, so I would suggest you run it under the former operating system you used in the past and wait until your favorite program has a Windows 10 update. Thanks for the comments. Don

I think that slideshow software is still relevant. I am on the board of a local photography club and many of our members are asking for workshops on how to create slideshows of their photos to share with friends and family. Granted this is not a 20 something group so phone/tablet photography is not the focus of our members, pretty much either point and shoot or DSLR's.

Many folks want to do something with their images beyond just letting them sit on their computer which is where slideshow software comes in.

I hope you continue to keep this category going.

Hi Motorguy I certainly am pleased to hear that there is still interest in slideshow production. Check out some of the free programs reviewed at the beginning of this category. I believe they may be at least a good introduction to the possibilities for adding transitions, narration, music, slide manipulation, titles, etc to make your productions more interesting. You did not indicate the city you live in, but most of the senior centers have computer classes and will allow use of the equipment for classes on slideshow production, if one of your people have had some experience with such programs. Please let me know if I can suggest course content or other help. In addition, most programs will allow the picture content to be stored as data in addition to the video program, so that the viewer can print out chosen pictures from within the video. Keep up your interest, Don Stahl (also a senior citizen !)
I think that this category is still useful. I've referred to it twice in the last year to look for products that will create a slideshow to play automatically on a DVD. DVD Slideshow GUI looked good but the download link took me to adf.ly/OxP9n and there was no download. I used Softpedia for the download instead. It took 20 minutes to create and write the 5.5 minute 720x576 slideshow. I had also searched and found Freemake Video Converter which should be avoided. It was very easy to use to create a DVD video slideshow. But on my relatively slow computer it took too long: 36 minutes to convert 77 photos to a 720x576 6.5 minute slideshow and another 4 minutes to burn it to DVD. Then it would only display 5 of the 77 slides.
Remah Thank you for your comments.It's good to know some people are still interested in making their own DVD slide shows. As you see by the above comments on the I have made about the DVD slideshow GUI program, my experience with the program is also less than acceptable in many areas. However, if you want more info on its use, checkout the comments on the Download.videohelp.com site. As I noted, the program is container for a group of stand alone programs which may be better used separately. Usually the creation time is more a function of the amount of work you want to put into transitions, narration, music, etc, than the raw rendering of the final video DVD production. Keep up your interest and let me know how you are doing as you progress. Thanks again for you comments. Don
MikeR You are correct in your comments on Photostory. I have been behind in my duties of category editor, for several reasons, some of which have to do with the apparent abandonment of hands-on slideshow programs for the convenience of point and shoot devices such as the ipad in the last year! I added some observations to the beginning of this category as to the snap shot mentality of the present generation of picture takers. There have been no comments such as yours for over a year! and I was about to give up the category. But if there is interest, I will re-review some of the new programs and report on them. Thanks for the input. Don Stahl