5 Common photo slideshow mistakes

Online photo slideshows are an increasing popular tool by online news sites to illustrate news stories and showcase their best photography. Photo slideshow creators like Soundslides and other online alternatives make creating them easier, but not necessarily better. Here are some of the common pitfalls to avoid:

1. Too many or too few photos

Too many photos crammed into one slideshow usually means each photo only appears for a second or two, barely enough time for the viewer to take each one in. Too few photos means each photo remains on screen way too long, making the slideshow feel drawn out and boring. Avoid either extreme by editing the narration or selecting only the most relevant and necessary photos. Two to three minutes in length is best. Any longer risks losing the viewers attention.

2. Unmatched photos

If the subject is discussing their cat, don’t show a duck. If they are describing a sad time in their life, don’t show a photo from their bachelor party. Like in broadcast news packages, the photos that appear should reflect what the subject is discussing. More commonly, some slideshows will use an interview as narration, but won’t visually identify the person who is speaking until midway through the slideshow, if at all. Whenever possible, include a photo of the speaker at the beginning of their talk so the viewer knows who is speaking.

3. No captions

A pretty picture is just that without identification of what is happening in the photo. Write clear and concise captions for each photo, including the people, places or things being shown and the photographers’ names, to take the guesswork out of viewing a slideshow.

4. Awkward transitions

The voice of the narrator is saying something poignant and yikes! the photo has changed mid-sentence or mid-thought. Soundslides and some other slideshow editors allow the user to adjust the length of each slide. If the slideshow has narration, tweak each slide to fade in or out during natural pauses and breaks to lessen the chance for awkward transitions.

5. Overpowering music

Many slideshow editors add royalty-free music to their projects to support the narration and heighten the drama. Unfortunately, because many forget to adjust audio levels, the music drowns out the narrator or interviewee. Use a sound editing program like Audacity or similar programs to edit the audio before it is added to the slideshow and ensure that what’s important — the human voice — isn’t being overshadowed.

Also on 10,000 Words:

Move over Soundslides: 4 Free online slideshow creators
9 Telltale signs of amateur video
30 Amazing photoblogs (and a few tips for creating one)
How to create, edit and embed audio for free