Just like cooking up a fabulous dish, slideshows require just the right combination of ingredients to make them a savory experience instead of a bland and boring event. The following are five key elements to superb slideshows.

Slideshows Need a Storyline

The biggest mistake people make when putting together slideshows is thinking that they’re just collections of pictures and music—this kind of thinking is the catalyst for slideshow mediocrity. Truly inspiring and entertaining shows offer structure, finely-tuned timing and, most importantly, a storyline.

As you are collecting pictures for your show, try to find a story to tell along with them. Sometimes a particular picture inspires this storyline and sometimes the storyline you decide on can influence the kinds of images you assemble.

No matter the subject—from honeymoons to vacations in Hawaii—if you find a unique and creative approach to your show, you’re already halfway to a hit. (For more ideas on this, read Tips to Making Your Slideshows Terrific).

Find Your Slideshows Tone

Once you have your storyline decided upon, the next step is to find the tone or mood of your show. Is it going to be cute with some touching elements or funny with some more serious highlights? Or perhaps is it about someone who’s passed on and requires a more thoughtful approach, with a few carefully-placed, lighter moments? Some shows may even offer multiple sections, each with a slightly altered tone.

Regardless of the tone decide upon, you’ll want to make sure it’s consistent throughout your entire show and/or section—this gives your slideshow the cohesiveness it needs to stay both focused and interesting.

Match Your Tone to Your Music

Believe it or not, but the music you choose for your slideshow is actually more important to its overall impact than the pictures you choose.

“Music connects with people on a deeply emotional level,” said Sara Call, creator of Imagine Video Productions. The images on the screen are important, but it’s the music that really captures your audience—pulling them in and immersing them in the moment.

The music you choose should also be a mixture of your storyline and your theme, fitting both the mood and the framework of your show.

Find the Perfect Pictures

Like many creative processes, the best way to pick the right pictures for your slideshow is to start with the widest variety possible and then trim back from there. To do this, you’ll want to check with relatives, friends or anyone else that may have had contact with the people in your show.

Finding rare photos or pictures that haven’t been seen before are especially good finds, but the most important factor in choosing one picture over the other is whether it supports the story you’re trying to tell.

Share the Love

Once your show is completed, you’ll want to have several different avenues available to share it with others. Many people would love to have it on DVD, so they can watch it any time they want, whereas others may want to place it on their computer as a screensaver.

Fortunately, most of the slideshow software available today not only offer the capacity to easily make shows, but also to share them through different mediums, including DVDs, video CDs, screensavers, email and online galleries.

By following these steps, you can put together and share slideshows that are heartwarming, entertaining and will keep your audience captivated until the screen fades to black.

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