How to Make a Great Wedding Photo DVD


After all the planning, the big day has finally passed, leaving the couple with a number of new additions to your happy family and, hopefully, a collection of painstakingly taken digital photos. But where do you go from there? Do you simply start at the beginning? Where is the beginning: when you first met, or when the procession at the ceremony began? How many pictures should be included? Should you create captions to describe every event taking place?

Driving Away

All of these are valid questions, and a good amount of them will only find answers within your own personal judgment. Every wedding, and every couple, has its own unique personality: the movie you make commemorating the momentous day should reflect that. Luckily, however, the art of the wedding slideshow is also a tradition, and there are a number of guidelines to provide inspiration. The following guidelines are not meant to be followed to the comma but may offer advice and guidance if you happen to be stuck with 500+ photos and limited editing experience.

Choose high quality photos

Unless a blurry picture is the only shot you have of a necessary moment (the cutting of the cake, for example), leave it out. Choosing better photos will make your slideshow seem more professional, not to mention more fun to watch. Pay attention to things like focus, color balance, contrast, and exposure: all your pictures should look clean and well-lit. Also, select photos with high resolution (at least 1024x768, if not larger). And try to use photos that match the layout of your slideshow: landscape photos (wider) look better than portrait (taller) photos.

Vary your photos

Wedding Cake

Other than the ceremony itself, events in the wedding can be represented by only a few pictures -- let your audience's memory do the rest. And don't choose too many shots of the same thing. Give a representative cross-section of the event: the wedding party, wedding families, setting, decor, floral arrangements, rings, musicians, catering, wrapped gifts, anything that seems significant.

Choose good music

Every couple probably has their favorite song, and you might want to include it. But you might also consider that the more generally likeable the music is, the more generally likeable your slideshow will be. Choose strong, romantic music that everyone can enjoy at some level. Who can resist Wouldn't It Be Nice by the Beach Boys, or When I'm Sixty Four by the Beatles? Or argue the charms of Elton John's Your Song and Fleetwood Mac's You Make Loving Fun? There's always I Love You by the Climax Blues Band and You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder, as well as Faith Hill's This Kiss and Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is (to be Loved by You). Just remember: the photos you choose tell the story of the wedding, but the music carries it along. It's crucial to select music that can accept this burden. You should also remember that you need to have appropriate rights to use the music in your video if it is for anything but your own personal use.

Keep it short

Wedding Rings

Bear in mind that very few people outside the wedding party will probably watch the slideshow more than once or twice. But when they do, they'll be hungry for highlights; an encapsulated synopsis of the event that might provoke an evening of reminiscing. Between 5 and 10 minutes is usually a perfect length: it gives you enough time to offer a fair overview without overstaying your welcome. Two medium-length songs will ordinarily fall within this duration.

Don't overuse captions

Opening credits are a must, including vital information such as the full names of the bride and groom, the date, time, and location of the wedding, and perhaps even names of wedding party members. This can be easily accomplished with Photo to Movie's title feature, which gives you free reign over font, size, color, shading, etc. But most of your photos will be all the more powerful if you let them control the screen. Don't include captions unless it's absolutely necessary -- such as to signal a new group of photos (i.e., "reception dancing," "bouquet throwing," etc).

Don't overuse motion


A good rule of thumb is to keep photos onscreen for no more than five seconds. This allows the audience to soak them in without becoming bored. Transitions should be short, too -- one second long at the most -- and as simple as possible. Photo to Movie's 70% zoom motion template is an excellent example, as this feature doesn't intrude upon the content of the picture itself. Use fast and fancy transitions if you must, but never for too long and never back to back. Many times the smoothest, most elegant slideshows are created simply from cutting photos along to the beat of the music (simple with Photo to Movie's waveform display).

Know your audience

This is the cardinal rule of wedding videos. Tailor your movie to the specific interests of the bride, groom, and their families. Type titles in their favorite color, or include pictures that expose their sense of humor. Show all the subtle moments that comprise a wedding but that are often missed in the day's blur. For many couples, these photos will be the only way they can revisit the moments their marriage began, and share those moments with their great-grandchildren.


After integrating these simple guidelines with your own creativity, your slideshow is ready to go. You can burn to DVD and distribute copies to all the wedding guests as souvenirs or even "thank you"s for their generous gifts. And since the movie is brief, you'll have no problem exporting and uploading it to the web so your entire family can access the slideshow from your homepage!

Hopefully these guidelines have been useful to your project. Good luck!

Written by Joseph Jon Lanthier, LQ Graphics, Inc.

Some photos provided by David Ball.

Some photos provided by Jason Hutchens under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

June 7, 2007 - First version