iMovie Photo Slideshows

You can use iMovie to create a slideshow video from a series of photos. All of the iMovie tools, like effects, transitions and titles, can be used in a slideshow to make it more interesting than slideshows created in some other tools. You can also easily share your slideshow video from iMovie.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with Let's take a look at creating slideshows using iMovie.

We're using iMovie version 10. Let's take a look at building a slideshow using photographs in iMovie. There is so much you can do here.

First of all you have access directly to your iPhoto library from Libraries here on the left. So if you bring that up you can see all the photos that you've got there. So let's start off by creating a new movie project and then we will simply set it to No Theme and name it. Then we will look at the iPhoto library. You can see I can drag and drop. I can dig down into Events. I can look in my Albums. Things like that.

But I am going to drag and drop photos here and put a few of them right after each other. Let's shrink down the magnification here so I can see them a little more easily. You can see right away by default they have this kind of Ken Burns effect where they zoom and out like that.

We can adjust that pretty easily by simply selecting the photo there and go to Adjust. Under Adjust we have Cropping. You can see it is set to Ken Burns. You have your start area and you have your end area. So we can do lots of different things with this to animate the photo. It it pretty self explanatory how it works. Now if we move through here we can see (let's set this by hitting the button again up there) and then we can see how it goes from one to the other.

But if we don't want that, that isn't what we want, we can use Fit or Crop. Crop will then fill the entire frame here while Fit will actually fit the entire photo in but it is going to leave black bars on the left and right because the photo is a 4 x 3 photo where I'm doing a 16 x 9 video.

So cropping does this and then I can adjust what part of the photo I want to include in there. You can see now along the duration of the photo if I scrub back and forth you can see there is no movement because I'm not using the Ken Burns effect there at all.

Just like with videos I can add transitions between the photos. I can use the same transitions that I use in the video. So just drag and drop those in there. Now you can see as you scrub across it the transitions like that.

You can apply the same Effects as well. So I can click on this video here and I can do color effects like these and I can do video effects as well. You can Preview there on the right what it looks like. I can decide to stick one in. So by using an animated effect, like say aged film, I can actually even make it look like it is video because there is something moving on there.

Now you're not restricted to just grabbing things from you iPhoto library, from there like that. You can actually go from the Finder. So here is a Finder window and I've got a bunch of pictures and I can actually drag and drop a picture into the timeline just like that. So it is not even in my iPhoto library. That works just fine. So you don't even need to use iPhoto for this. You can drag and drop a whole folder full of pictures into iMovie. It will throw them all together and create a slideshow for you.

In addition, of course, you can also use Titles. You can put the title over the photo. So I can assign some text there and just select it and change the text very easily. I can also add text to say the beginning of the video. So let's find something that works for that. Let's say lets use the standard here and I can put that before the video. You can see how it drops in so now you can have that as its own thing.

If I want to change the duration of any of these I can select them and, under Adjustments, I can go to Info and there I have duration right there on the right. So I can make it twice as long just like that. But I can also drag the edges here if I don't need to be precise. The same thing here with the title of course.

So you can do just about anything you do with video you can do here with photos in a slideshow. Then when you are done you can Share it just like a video as well. So you can share it to all the same places as before. Upload it to YouTube. You can export it to a File as well or send it to iTunes for greater compatibility with other things. The sky is really the limit.

You can drag and drop music in. So we can go to sound effects in Music or GarageBand and grab some music that we've got and drag and drop that in to hear as a soundtrack. You can also use the voiceover ability in iMovie to record your voice and you can basically narrate a slideshow and export the video.

Comments: 22 Responses to “iMovie Photo Slideshows”

    1/9/14 @ 9:45 am

    The iMovie Photo Slideshow lesson is great. I had no idea I had the tool right in front of me. Now I can create a family slide show using the scans of old family photos to share with the family and add some music as well. Thank you so much Gary for your posting.

    1/9/14 @ 12:28 pm

    Thanks for the lesson. I’ve made many movies but maybe just one including pictures and music so I’m going to expand on that. Question on importing movies and pictures to the MacPro from the iPhone: my method is 1) open iMovie and import, but now it no longer asks me to delete my videos on the iPhone to make room. Then 2) go to iPhoto and import (but now it wants to import the videos as well so I have to manually select only the pictures. Allows deletion after though. What is your method?! Thks.

      1/9/14 @ 2:05 pm

      I save personal photos and videos to iPhoto. So if they are personal videos, I start by importing them into iPhoto and use them from there. If they are work or professional videos, I use Image Capture and import them to a folder. I then import them from that folder to iMovie.

    1/9/14 @ 3:21 pm

    Great lesson. I have just begun to create slideshows in iPhoto and exporting them as video. Is it better to export into iTunes or iMovie Theater as I want to view them via Apple TV? Thanks for all you do.

      1/9/14 @ 3:25 pm

      Try both and see which works best for you.

    Barbara Hooper
    1/9/14 @ 8:15 pm

    Is there any way to import photos with captions from iPhoto into iMovie?

      1/9/14 @ 8:27 pm

      No, but you can always build the slideshow in iPhoto using those captions and then import that video into iMovie for further editing.

    John C Stires
    1/10/14 @ 10:59 am

    Selecting the Finder Option went by too fast for me to pick it up… would you pls explain how/where you grabbed that? Thanks Gary.

      1/10/14 @ 11:15 am

      It is just a Finder window. I grabbed it from my second screen. Or, if iMovie is only using part of the screen you can grab it from the other part. Or, you can switch to the Finder using any number of methods (Command+Tab, for instance).

    Kevin Brown
    1/10/14 @ 9:37 pm

    Great video, thanks so much really helped the wife get a good start…..

    Al Jenkins
    1/22/14 @ 3:49 pm

    I am working on a slide / clip show to be posted on tube.
    When importing photos from an album, some blur badly. Is there any way to prevent this to allow the original clarity to be imported in the movie?

      1/22/14 @ 3:58 pm

      If your video is, say 720p (1280×720), and your image is less than that, like 640×480, then iMovie scales it up to fit. There’s no way to get more resolution from a low resolution image. The information just isn’t there.
      However, if your image is 1280×720 or higher, then what may be the problem is you are mistaking the “preview” in iMovie with the final product. Remember, the preview is a preview — literally. It is a fast render of the video frame in real time to help you edit. Try exporting the video to see a final product and how the images will really look. It doesn’t hurt to export before you are done to see how it looks.

        Al Jenkins
        1/23/14 @ 3:08 pm

        Yes some photos have been reincarnated from old photos and slides.
        the bulk of the 30 minute video consists of iPhone photos, clips, and better quality canon 12 mgp photos.
        What resulted from the export to file, (which took four hours), is truly amazing.
        The entire video is usable!
        Thank you very much.

    Tab Baldwin
    2/8/14 @ 12:00 pm

    Making first slideshow. Created 6 in iPhoto w/ music and imported into iMovie ’11. I have 6 “chapters”–now to “export”. This will play at my mom’s memorial service on a projector (connected to both DVD player and a pc). I’ve experimented with a couple of different settings and saved to iDVD and to a flash drive (and it played on my old pc). The DVD quality is crappy as is the QT movie on flash drive. How else can I do this–to Dropbox and access on the funeral home’s computer?

      2/8/14 @ 1:30 pm

      Really hard to say as there as so many factors involved. You’ll need to review the settings you used to export from iPhoto, and the settings used in iMovie. I would just export from iMovie to a file, confirm that this looks good and if it doesn’t try higher quality settings. Seek out the first-hand help of someone with expertise in this area as there are too many variables to guess where you could be going wrong. Either that, or keep experimenting.

        Tab Baldwin
        2/9/14 @ 9:15 am

        Thank you for the reply! I exported from iPhoto into iMovie with settings as good as I could do (from info gathered online). The slideshow looks great on my iMac–just wish there was a way to share it in that “condition”. I accept, even if I don’t fully understand, the quality limits of burning to DVD, but was hoping there was another way. Maybe take my iMac with me (but I’ll be flying) and hook it to the projector?
        Thanks again. LOVE your tutorials. I’d be lost on my Mac without them.

          2/9/14 @ 9:53 am

          Take that file that you like and put it on a USB flash drive, formatted for PC. Then test it locally on a PC (friend, library, etc). Then bring that with and play that on the PC available. You can’t control what that PC is/does so be prepared for the case where that PC isn’t up to playing high resolution video by making a DVD anyway. The DVD may no look great on your high resolution screen on your Mac, but may look fine on a low resolution projector.

            Tab Baldwin
            2/13/14 @ 6:54 pm

            Thanks, Gary. I will try the flash drive too, but I think the DVD will work just fine. I played with the settings, and I now think it looks pretty darn good. I exported with high settings and quality from iMovie to desktop before importing into iDVD. From there, I used “professional” (or whatever the choice was) and burned at 1x. Made a world of difference from my first attempt.
            I appreciate your helpful website!!!

    3/3/14 @ 5:33 pm

    Hello Gary, I need to make up a slideshow using pictures and a few short videos that I took from my reg. cell along with music. I take pictures every year for the Varsity HS basketball team, but this year I had to get a new PC so I went with a iMac and have no idea if I can do this. I also will need to burn the final unto DVD’s for each player.

      3/3/14 @ 5:37 pm

      You can certainly use iMovie for this. Just mix videos and photos. Practice. There’s a lot to learn and it can be fun to learn. Burning DVDs will be tough since if you got a new Mac you don’t have a DVD burner. You’ll need to get some equipment and some software — and perhaps some help there. Or, just forget about DVDs and post it online, privately if need be.

    3/22/14 @ 5:57 pm

    Hi Gary – Is there a way to create your own “Ken Burns” push in on a picture? Some of the default cropping choices do not capture everything on old pictures. I’d like to just pick crop and then add a slow push in as an effect. I had done this before in Microsoft Movie Maker and think that there has got to be a way to do this in iMovie.


      3/22/14 @ 6:03 pm

      Hard to tell what you are looking to do but you can always crop the images in an image editor (Preview will do, if you have nothing else) and use the new cropped versions. Sticking with 16:9 ratio is best for iMovie. Making the rest of the image transparent (with Photoshop or the like) will work for odd sizes.

Comments Closed.