How to Choose Photo Slideshow Software
The top performers in our review are ProShow Gold, the Gold Award winner; Photostory 2015 Deluxe, the Silver Award winner; and PhotoStage Slideshow, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 choices.
Photo slideshow software is the perfect way to take that box full of fading pictures and turn them into a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Slideshow software offers a fun and convenient way to make entertaining slideshows without the steep learning curve of learning new tools or the intimidation that comes with learning new technology. You can make your slideshow look like a scrapbook but in a format that outlasts a fragile pile of old photos.
It used to be that photo slideshow presentations, regardless of whether it was made for a business meeting or a remembrance of a wedding, consisted of a continuous set of images that would rotate without the benefit of music, graphics or video. Today's slideshow software has a range of unique and entertaining features, including video and narration, you can add to liven up your slideshow. And you don't have to be an expert to create a slideshow. Whether you're a novice or an expert, slideshow software appeals to a range of skills.
We reviewed photo slideshow software that allows you to make a slideshow with music, a picture slideshow that resembles physical photo albums and slideshows that reflect advancements in photo editing and technology for users that want modern updates to traditional picture collections.
Photo slideshow software is a way to turn all of your precious memories into a touching presentation for the whole family. Other products you may want to check out, like photo editing software, provide ways for you to change pictures and enhance their quality, and document scanners make it possible to use older photos that have never been put in a digital format. In addition to our reviews, you can learn additional tips and how-tos in our learning center articles about photo slideshow software.
Photo Slideshow Software: What We Evaluated, What We Found
We determined the effectiveness of each photo slideshow software option by evaluating whether or not it offers photo editing options, the ability to add audio through narration or music and embellishments like clipart or animation. The best programs have multiple transition effects and high quality, similar to what you would receive from a photo book service. Furthermore, the best software should export your slideshows to popular sites like Facebook or YouTube, or onto DVD or interactive CDs. It should also have tools to make editing easier, like an undo function or import wizards. Last, support services should provide an easy yet effective way to learn to use the software’s features, like video tutorials and a user guide.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We judged the software by comparing the editing tools, output options, creative functions and support services. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews. The results of our evaluations were not provided to manufacturers in advance of publication.
Key Attributes of Photo Slideshow Software
While there are numerous attributes you should consider before purchasing slideshow software, there are a few in particular you want to pay attention to so you find a product that gives you the tools you need to make your projects with your individual stamp. First, having a number of editing and creative tools gives you the best chance of sprucing up your photos to a high standard. Second, multiple output formats allow you to transfer your slideshow from the software into whatever file or disc you prefer to use. Third, sharing capabilities allow you to share your most precious memories with a larger audience beyond your friends or immediate family. Last, help and support services offer convenient ways you can learn the software and receive help if you have questions. All of these attributes factored heavily into our ranking of each software application.
Editing & Creative Tools: Putting the Puzzle Together
During our research, we looked at the range, type and quality of editing tools included with the software’s offerings and how well the slideshows turned out given the tools at your disposal. We also evaluated whether you can add a theme or motif and different types of audio to each project. The best software also lets you add animation or art to your collages. Both ProShow Gold and Photostory 2015 Deluxe offer all of these options, and PhotoStage Slideshow has nearly all of them, including ways to edit stylized transitions into your slideshows.
Output Formats: Sharing Your Work
With any photo slideshow software, there should be many ways to transfer your projects from the software to other formats and sources so it's easier to share with friends and family. The best software should be able to output slideshows to discs and files in QuickTime and Windows Media. PicturesToExe has a high score for slideshow quality in its output capabilities. Knowing in advance how you want to share your collages can help you find the software that fits your sharing plans effectively.
Sharing Capabilities: Sending Your Baby Out Into the World
When you want to transfer your work from the privacy of your computer to your friends and family, then having places like YouTube and Facebook you can upload it to comes in handy. Most of the software we reviewed, with some exceptions, let you upload your show to social media sites, like Facebook. ProShow Gold also has the ability to share your slideshows on Twitter, which is useful if you aspire to photographic arrangements as part of your professional life. In addition, software, like Photostory Easy, can also be uploaded to your mobile devices and through email. Photostory 2015 Deluxe and PhotoStage Slideshow are two choices that also allow you to put your slideshows on Facebook.
Help & Support: Adjusting Well
As with any software, there should be support services that help you learn how to do the tasks digitally without interfering with your creativity. Having both a user guide and video tutorials, along with an email address for questions, should take care of this, but there are other ways, such as downloadable updates, that keep your software up to date with all of the newest features and eliminate the need to buy other software. SmartSHOW and CyberLink MediaShow are two programs that offer this.
If you still prefer a personal touch, then software that offers a toll free phone line is probably the best way for you to stay ahead of your software. Choices like PhotoStage Slideshow sometimes charge for phone or email services. Manufacturers also provide FAQs on their website with common inquiries about the service, which can save you the time of having to call the manufacturer.
What Else Is Important in Selecting Photo Slideshow Software?
Some features are more prominent than others in judging a software package’s abilities. Transition effects and background and theme choices help you set a style and mood with your slideshows, and each should have a diverse set of offerings.
Transition Effects: Moving the Wheel of Time
Transition effects allow you to set a pace for your slideshow, along with a mood. When you need to fit a slideshow within a timeframe or convey a particular effect, having multiple transition effects at your disposal is helpful. If you are making a slideshow of a fun vacation, you can choose a transition effect that is quick and ostentatious. If the slideshow is for a wedding, then the software can implement a transition that is slower and more subtle. Transition effects can add a new dimension to your work and make it fit whatever event, person or theme the slideshow is about.
Backgrounds & Themes: Finding the Right Concept
Backgrounds and themes can make your slideshows look very polished. Photo slideshow software generally offers settings with different colors and frames that can give a project a certain flair. There can be backgrounds with themes for weddings, beach vacations, and graduations, among many others. DVD Slideshow Builder and InAlbum both have hundreds of backgrounds and themes to choose from. If you need or just enjoy using a particular theme in your slideshows, then choosing software with a variety of options can be a good fit.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
ProShow Gold, Photostory 2015 Deluxe and PhotoStage Slideshow are all superb photo slideshow software applications. PhotoStage Slideshow, the Bronze Award winner, has creative functions designed to make your editing quick and seamless if you are in a hurry to complete a project on short notice.
Our Silver Award winner, Photostory 2015 Deluxe, has one of the best collections of backgrounds and themes. ProShow Gold makes high-quality slideshows that you can output to just about any file, disc or site, with enough creative functions and support services to make even a novice feel at ease making their first slideshow. It deservingly wins our Gold Award for its variety of editing, support and creative benefits.
Other photo slideshow software on our lineup has plenty to offer. PicturesToExe has every main output option, and CyberLink MediaShow offers almost every editing tool. Each software was chosen because it has a solid set of features, and every one of them can provide satisfactory results.
All of the photo slideshow software on our lineup are solid choices whether you are a novice or an experienced user. Finding a software program that gives you the best, most convenient way to make a photo slideshow that reflects your hard work and creativity will be very manageable with our reviews and is sure to bring you and your family lots of fun and precious memories for years to come.