Best Free Photo Slideshow Software

In a Hurry?
Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
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, transistions, 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.

  In recent years, and probably due to the vastly increased use of picture-taking "smartphones", the path of the slideshow world has forked into one of virtual scrapbooks and the other into the more traditional storytelling format.  The word "slideshow" hearkens back to the 1950's era of cameras using the transparent 35mm film to produce mounted "slides" for projection onto a screen for viewing with little or no ability to modify or animate the pictures.  The "slideshow" evolved from the simple linear sequential viewing to the present dvd or video format for viewing on TV or devices such as ipads and smartphones.
  Many "slideshow" programs have been developed in recent years, many of which have used "Wizards" to simplify the generation of the presentations, for better or worse depending upon the user's wishes or requirements.  I don't wish to denegrate out of hand the wizard or template approach since in some higher end programs, such templates may be used as a basis for user modification and control.  However, the advantages of user control using elements such as keyframing and other motion and transition control cannot be ignored for creating a much more interesting experience for the viewers.
 

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.

  Since the advent, a few years ago, of the picture taking smartphone, the market for Point & Shoot cameras has plumeted, along with the desire for post shoot printing and print distribution.  In addition, uploading smartphone pictures to the internet has promoted a rise in photo slide show wizard type programs.  As a result, interest in PC based slide show programs has decreased.  In line with this photography "sea change" I would welcome comments and recommendations for free on-line web-based slideshow programs.  I've also found that many of the "for profit" programs now have included  simplified free on-line wizard versions to their product aimed at the smartphone picture collections and distribution.  Please let me know your thoughts on this subject!
 
 
Discussion

Photo Story.

DVD slideshow GUIDVD slideshow GUI is a user interface for various great tools needed to make your own slideshow of photos. It is not as easy and intuitive to use as Photo Story but it's packed with more features favored by more experienced users.

Not only can you import photos and soundtracks with the program, you can also add to your project additional media types such as videos in avi or avs format, and presentation files in ppt or odp format.

Useful tools are ready for you to pan, zoom or rotate photos with a variety of transition effects and motion backgrounds as well as adding and editing borders and subtitles. It's also appealing to users because high definition videos up to 1080p are supported in project settings.

You can save your project file in dsg format for backup or export your result into popular video formats including: mp4, mpg, flv, avi, avs, etc. Further, you can author and burn a project file to a DVD for playback on a player or just save an iso file to your hard disk.

While running the current version of this program, I encountered some issues such as the system exception error when a project was previewed in Media Player Classic, but when the project was exported to an mpg file it played back smoothly on the same player.

Socusoft Photo to Video Converter (Free Version)Socusoft Photo to Video Converter (Free Version) is another easy-to-use program for making your slideshows in four quick steps: add photos; select transition and music; preview and output video.

What I like most about this program is its drag-and-drop feature. Not only can you drag-and-drop photos from your folder to a slideshow, you can also drag-and-drop transition effects between images with pan and zoom functions. This makes creating slideshows a lot easier.

On top of that, you can record your narration or add your favorite background music with optional in/out fading and loop audio. A project can be saved in its proprietary format while a completed slideshow can be saved to popular mpg format for playback with a video size up to a maximum of 720x576 pixels. Various audio and video options are available for adjustments by users as well.

Sadly, adding text to slides, more output profiles and other advanced features, such as burning slideshows to a DVD disc, are only available in the commercial Pro version.

ffDiaporamaffDiaporama Video Sequence Builder is a highly capable open source program on the level of some high end commercial products. As such, its complexity requires a steep learning curve and can be quite daunting to users looking for a simple drag and drop slide show builder.

However, if the user is looking for a key-frame type of image manipulation, this program will be a good candidate. Style sheets are available as samples of image motion manipulation (ala "Ken Burns" effects). The program is complete with a wide variety of audio and video output choices and DVD formats. Image inputs may be of photos, video, or animated clips. Some image editing is also available.

To be reviewed:
  • PhotoFilmStrip
  • Smile Box
  • Web oriented programs such as Ezvid, LibreOffice, Animoto, Onetrue Media and Kizoa
 
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 transistions 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 (Comslider.com) 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,
 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Photo Story
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Intuitive and easy to use, rich in features, panning and zooming with various transition effects, crop black borders, add text and soundtracks.
Save video file in wmv format only, no burning video to CD/DVD is supported.
3
5.1 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP to 7

This product is available at Softpedia here with no WGA validation required.

Socusoft Photo to Video Converter
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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.
8.07
27.8 MB
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows
DVD slideshow GUI
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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.
0.9.5.4
28 MB
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista
ffDiaporama
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
A highly capable open source program on the level of some high end commercial products.
Complex to use with a steep learning curve.
1.6
35.7MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP/SP3, Vista, 7 and Linux

 
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.
 
Tags

best photo slideshow, best photo slideshow software, best photo to video, best image to video, best photo story, multimedia slideshow, best image slide show, best photo to dvd program, converter, photo movie creator.

 

Share this
4.041665
Average: 4 (72 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by Remah on 20. February 2015 - 19:44  (121182)

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.

by StahlSS on 22. February 2015 - 23:02  (121194)

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

by StahlSS on 13. December 2014 - 4:45  (120095)

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

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting!

Gizmos Needs YouShare your knowledge of free software with millions of Gizmo's readers by joining our editing team.  Details here.