The Best Photo Slideshow Software of 2014

Create Stunning DVD Photo Slideshows with the Top Slideshow Software Available Today

While digital photography is all the rage nowadays it is often difficult to know what to do with all the photos that you generate. More often than not they end up getting stored on a computer hard drive somewhere where they are rarely seen again.

The Problem

best slideshow softwareWith hard drives getting bigger and bigger and multi-mega pixel cameras the norm nowadays it is easy to generate a lot of digital photos that lie forgotten on computers and cameras.

Digital photo frames are great for showcasing treasured memories and it’s easy to update them with new pictures as you take them, but they do have their drawbacks. They run on electricity and it’s easy to forget to turn them on, this also means that you are unlikely to hang these frames on the wall so they end up tucked away on some table somewhere. Not ideal.

But the real problems with a computer full of photo’s is that they remain disconnected. The best way to show off your pictures is to show them in a sequence so that they actually tell a story. So rather than just show a selection of random pictures from your vacation they should be ordered so that they describe each day by activity e.g. a day at Disney, the surfing trip or the rock climbing expedition.

A Solution

Create a slideshow presentation or DVD. Taking the best and most memorable photos from your collection and combining them together in such a way that they actually tell a story is a much more enjoyable way to remember your vacations and special days.

They can be further enhanced by adding a soundtrack just in the same way that movies use music to convey the mood of the moment. Use fast paced music for your action adventures and soft slow music for those romantic moments. This way you’ll be able to create funny and personal video slide shows that not only you, but you friends and family will actually enjoy watching.

Even if you have limited technical abilities there are plenty of solutions for creating great looking slide shows in just minutes using the slideshow software that we have reviewed for you.

How to Select Good Slideshow Software – Buyers Guide

There are many factors that go into choosing a slideshow maker that will fit your needs, depending upon what your needs are. Here are a few of the main things to look out for when making a decision:

  • Is it Easy to Use?
  • Does it have all of the effects that I need?
  • Does it make slide shows in the correct format?
  • Will it work on my hardware?
  • Is it within my Price Range?

So lets look at these specifications in a little more detail.

Ease of Use

Most people will agree that having software that is easy to use is a must. If you struggle to produce any slide shows then the chances are that you’ll son get fed up and stop using the software. Even complex software should be intuitive to use. The good news is that the majority of slideshow makers come with a built in wizard function that will allow you to have a complete slideshow created in minutes.

Effects and Transitions

Transitions are the way that the software moves from one slide to the next and the effects that it applies doing so. Basic transitions normally include fade-in and fade-out or a simple slide effect but there are leterally hundreds of different ways to transition between slides and the more advanced the slideshow maker the more options you’ll have. Special effects are something else that can be added to your presentations. These differ from transitions in that they are overlays to the slideshow and can be visible across multiple slides, an example would be falling snow or changing backgrounds.

The more advanced slideshow programs can offer a more cinematic experience much like a short video clip that can include 3D effects that tell more of a story.

Output Format

Being able to create a slideshow that will actually play on your desired device is very important as is the quality of the final DVD or video. If you plan on making a DVD presentation to send to colleagues or family then you need to ensure that the software can actually produce one without having to rely on third-party software. Likewise, if you want a high definition version, such as Blu-ray then not only should all your photographs be high very high quality and you have a Blu-ray writer but you’ll need software that outputs files in HD format.

Many people like to view videos on portable devices such as smartphones like the iPhone and tablets such as the iPad so the chances are that you’ll want to create slideshows that work on these devices as well. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have the slideshow maker upload directly to Youtube so that it can be shared universally in multiple formats.

Hardware Requirements

Generating video slideshows can require some serious hardware from your computer, especially if you are involved in any post production editing. Most modern computers will be able to cope but having a decent graphics card and plenty of system RAM always helps speed things up. The software manufacturers should always state the hardware requirements needed to run their slideshow software.

A lot of software is designed with only one operating system in mind, normally Windows so if you are running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then you’ll find that there are a lot more slideshow makers available to you. But there are some that work on OS X for the Apple Mac users out there. Just remember to check that the software that you choose will work on your hardware and operating system.

Web based slideshow makers have the advantage that they work over multiple operating systems such as Windows, OS X and Linux and they do not require any special hardware on your behalf as the production and editing is all done on the internet servers. The only draw back to this type of slideshow maker is that you’ll need to have a very fast internet connection to upload the photos and download the finished video.

Cost

This one goes without saying. Everyone has their own price range when it comes to software. It is a good idea to try and calculate how many slideshows you are likely to create so that you have a guideline to calculate the perceived cost. For example, if you only want to create a few slideshows, possible for a special occasion such as a graduation or wedding then you may want to pay someone to create a slideshow for you rather than purchase the software yourself. If you are going to be creating presentations regularly or on a professional basis then going for a higher end product may be a consideration.

Photo Slideshow Software Reviews

There is plenty of slideshow software available at the moment and most of them offer a selection of options to create great looking video, some more so than others. Not all are easy to use for the beginner whilst others do not have enough functions for a professional.

Price wise the cost of a slideshow maker can vary from free to hundreds of dollars, although most are priced under $70. The good news is that most of these slideshow makers also come in free versions, either as a trial period or by watermarking the presentations. This is an excellent way to test their capabilities before upgrading to a full version.

Here are our top picks and recommendations for the best slideshow software this year.

Best Free Slideshow Software for PC and Mac Users

best free slideshow softwareAnimoto is our top pick when it comes to free slideshow software.

This is a web based application which means that it can be used by anyone with access to the internet no matter whether you are working on a PC or Mac laptop.

As all of the processing and video generation is completed on the Animoto servers it means that anyone can use this software without special hardware requirements. There is even an iPhone app available so you can create presentations on-the-go from your smartphone.

What we liked about Animoto is it’s ease of use and the quality of the slideshows it makes. There are a choice of different video templates available, some in HD and soundtracks can be added from a huge library of music.

The videos it produces are very impressive using some special effects and animations not normally seen on free slideshow makers.

You can read our full Animoto review here.

Visit Animoto.com and start creating stunning photo slideshows today.

Best Photo Slideshow Software for PC Users (Download)

Best Photo Slideshow Software for PCWhat is nice about DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe from Wondershare is that there is both a very simple Wizard mode that can help you produce a finished slideshow within minutes and for the more adventurous people there is the advanced level that gives you complete control over the final product.

One thing that makes it stand out from the competition is the range of 3D animations and effects that you can apply to produce some Hollywood style slideshows.

Additional style packs are available if you need them for specialized occasions such as weddings if they are needed.

The quality of the output is good and can be formatted to difference devices such as iPhone and iPad as well as HD televisions.

You can read our full DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe review here.

Download the Free version of DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe for a trial run.

Best Photo Slideshow Software for Mac Users (Download)

Best Photo Slideshow Software for MacIf you’re the owner of an Apple iMac or Macbook then the chances are that you already have some great photo slideshow software installed, called iPhoto.

Part of the iLife suite of applications iPhoto is a very comprehensive slideshow maker that combines some spectacular themes such as holiday mobile and places that can combine maps and geographical data with your pictures and clips to produce movie like creations.

If you need to have more control over you apple mac slideshows and video clips then you can use iMovie, which you should also have pre-installed.

 

Best Professional Slideshow Software for PC and Mac Users

Best Professional Slideshow Software for PC and MacProfessional photographers and advertisers need to have total control over the look and feel of their videos and slideshows are are willing to spend the time to learn how to use complex software to achieve that result.

Our choice for professional slideshow software is Adobe After Effects. This is a professional movie editing package that features cinematic visual effects and graphics animation.

This is definitely not a software package for the beginner and for a simple slideshow it is a little overkill but the professional designer and anyone interested in creating top quality visual presentations and videos this is an excellent program.

Do You Have a Favorite Slideshow Maker?

Just leave your comments below and let others know of your best experience in making photo slideshows, your top slideshow software recommendations and any tips and tricks you may have.

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4 Responses to “The Best Photo Slideshow Software of 2014”

  • Linda Murphy on March 5, 2013

    Thank you for the foregoing review. I have a question for you? Is there software or a download of transitions and effects for Mac users? You are right the Iphoto and Imovie is easy to use and provides good results. However it is really short on transition options and effects. Since I have movies from photos and videos in process I don’t want to have to start over with entirely new software but would really like some additional transitions and effects. Thanks for your help.

  • Christina on March 11, 2013

    I have iPhoto on my Mac and it creates great quality photo slideshows. My Mac didn’t come with iDVD so I downloaded the trial version of aimer DVD creator to burn my slideshow to DVD so I can play it back on my TV. The quality is awful when I play my DVD on my computer or TV.

    Although iPhoto is great for creating slideshows, how to I get that same quality onto a DVD. I’am willing to fork out some money for good software that will create and burn my slideshow with great quality.

  • Steve NYC on December 4, 2013

    What I don’t like about slideshow software in general, including iPhoto, is that it either gives you only 80% of each photo (see Ken Burns effect) or it reduces the size of the image altogether, leaving black empty space around the photograph. I have yet to see a program that can fit my photos to the size of my HDTV screen. Part of this problem is digital cameras themselves. There’s only one camera that I know of that automatically fits your photos to the size of your screen (..won’t disclose which one. You’ll have to figure it out). Until I see a company finally correct these issues, I’ll keep making slideshows the ghetto way and play music on my stereo in the background. At least I’ll be able to see the image as it was originally shot.

  • David Johnson on June 22, 2014

    iPhoto used to be more sophisticated than it is today. Apple has been downgrading slidesound shows like it doesn’t care about this valuable feature. I should know as I have been professional producing slidesound shows since the 1960s. I have done a lot of national and international banquet presentations. Apple’s suggested program is it’s own Aperture 3. iPhoto is only OK for the simplest photo sets. I STILL USE iPhoto as my primary sorting tool going into slideshows. When they become more serious they get converted to Aperture 3 (costs 79 dollars from Apple). HOWEVER Aperture 3 as it evolves is getting RAPIDLY less useful! Apple needs to fix this major glitch!!!

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