Four tips for better vacation slide shows

Think about the slide show as you shoot
Two digital camerasFor what I’ve done lately, I don’t have this option—the ones I’ve been using are often decades old. But fortunately, as we traveled I often did think ahead to the slide show, though it was the other kind. Then and now, I often think about the slide show and taking some pictures specifically for it: “Oh, that sign will be good as a title” or taking a picture of a road sign so I’ll know where we were. And don’t forget to take a couple shots as you’re getting packed, on the drive or at the airport perhaps. The story of the trip doesn’t start when you get there.

Save and scan “stuff”

Pictur with Alaska cruise map

Alaska Cruise Map

For some of the trips I saved maps, postcards, and descriptive brochures–I wish I’d saved more of them. At the time, I had no idea just how useful they would be once I had the ability scan them. The maps are obviously useful, but the brochures are useful, too, because tell me more about what’s in the pictures and scans of the covers make good transition slides from scene-to-scene and place-to-place.

Picture of ticket and money from Disney WorldThings like ticket stubs or program booklets can do exactly the same thing—yes, a blank slide with a caption works, but creatively adding a few scans of those things makes it a lot nicer.

Simplify and stick to the story
While looking at the pictures and sorting through them in preparation for building the slide show, I’m thinking about the story line(s) that I want to have in the show. What are the little stories inside the vacation trip? What happened that will be fun to show people?   I’m also thinking about  how I’ll structure the show:  time sequential is the most obvious, but might not be best, maybe reordering them to keep certain places or activities together would be better.

Vacation snapshot ArubaA crucial lesson I’ve learned is that I have to think about what stories I want to tell and aggressively remove anything that doesn’t support this show’s story. This is hard! It’s natural to want the audience to see all the wonderful pictures you took, but no matter how fantastic the picture, if it isn’t needed to tell the story, then it doesn’t belong in the show (make another show where it does belong).  Likewise, no matter how good they are, it’s rare that two, similar pictures are better than one in telling a single story point.

Did I mention that this is hard?!  But I’ve learned that I have to be ruthless to get the best story and the best slide show.

Let the pictures be the story not the slide show software
Let the story come through by keeping the slide show itself in the background. Yes, ProShow (and some of the rest) can do some really cool stuff—but if it doesn’t help the story, then it’s just showing off and probably a distraction.

So, what tips would you offer when it comes to vacation picture slide shows?

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Next, one more post with two more vacation slide show tips

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About Dick Knisely

Science-guy, engineer, father, grandfather, husband -- yeah, I'm all of those things. I author this blog to share things I care about and you might care about, too. I hope you do and that you'll join in to share things you care about.
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