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Tips for Making a Graduation Slide Show

Posted May 21st, 2009 by Chris

A graduation is a time to celebrate the hard work of school and the completion of a goal. This article will help you think of ways to commemorate that event with a slide show using Photo to Movie.


Planning the Slide Show

An easy way to do the slide show is to start with a song that represents the graduation. There are many songs relating to school and it's easy to pick one. Wikipedia even has an entire page dedicated to songs about school. Grab something from your own library that speaks to you. Ideally have a song that is three to five minutes long.


Once you have the song, estimate the number of photos that you'll need. A rule of thumb is about 12 photos per minute of slide show (5 seconds each). And remember, you can always use audio editing in Photo to Movie to fade the song out at a certain time to be shorter. You may want to have two versions of your slide show: one that is very short (one to two minutes) for the web; and a longer one (three to five minutes) for archival purposes or DVD.


Key Shots

If you're planning to take photos of the graduation, think about getting these key shots. If you've already taken photos, you can always revisit the location and grab a few more scenic filler shots. Try to return at a similar time of day with similar weather.

  • Wide shot of all participating graduates
  • Narrow shot of participating graduates
  • Action shots such as throwing hats in the air
  • Close up of graduate
  • Medium shot of graduate and friends
  • Graduate with parents
  • Scenery shots around the school or campus
  • Close up of diploma, hat, or scrolls


Most amateur photographers do a good job at keeping their subjects centered and understand the rule of thirds. But with Photo to Movie, an occasional photo with the subject off to the side or with a strange perspective can keep the slide show interesting. Don't be afraid to use the motion capabilities of Photo to Movie and use these photos.


For the more advanced photographer, using narrow apertures and a fast lens can lead to some awesome shots for your slide show. Keep the graduate in focus and the background out of focus.


Friends and Parents and Close Ups

When you're taking photos of the graduate with friends or parents, take the standard photos where everyone is looking at the camera. But also include some shots where the parents and friends are looking at the graduate or the graduate is studying something like the diploma. During a slide show, a varied set of shots will keep your audience interested.


Include shots with varying facial expressions. A photo of the graduate talking with someone, studying something intently, or just an emotion that isn't quite a smile goes a long way towards remembering the day.


Sequencing the Slide Show

Try to order the slide show roughly in the order that the photos were taken. Start with shots before the ceremony, during the ceremony, and then the post ceremony celebration!


Also, try to vary the shots. Mix wide shots, action shots, close-up shots, and medium shots. If you have two close-up shots that you want to have in the slide show, separate them with a couple of wide or medium shots in between.

Use subtle photo motion effects to highlight specific items in the photo.

Vary the transitions but remember that the more interesting the transition, the less the viewer will be looking at the photos. So use transitions sparingly and keep them short (1/2 second or less).



Armed with these tips and techniques, you should be able to put together a great graduation slide show using Photo to Movie. Have fun!

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