Working with Photo Stream

Working with Photo Stream

Photo Stream is an iCloud feature that, once set up, will sync your photos with your desktop and any iOS devices you have. For example, a few seconds after taking a photo on my iPhone, that photo is uploaded to iCloud and copies are synched to my iPad and my desktop (Mac or Windows). On my devices, Photo Stream is a section within the Photo Gallery app. On my Mac it’s an item within iPhotos or…

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From the Archives: Tell a Story with a Photo Slideshow

Do you remember the Christmas Tour of Blogs? What a fun project that was! This post is about taking advantage of your photo-editor’s slideshow capabilities to tell a story with pictures and as I was browsing for appropriate photos to use in my example, I stumbled onto my photo “cards” that I used in the tour. So, of course this project gets a Christmas theme!

Just about every photo-editing platform has some form of slideshow feature. If yours doesn’t or it’s too clunky for you, then put your Power Point/Keynote presentation app to work instead. Either way, you can build a fascinating story to share with family and friends. Let’s start by taking a look at the finished slideshow.

Tell a Story with Pictures – The Christmas Tour of Blogs from Moultrie Creek on Vimeo.

There’s no rule stating that a slideshow can only be made from photographs. Why not use your scrapbook skills to create graphic images – which can contain multiple photos – and use them in your project? I’m using iPhoto’s slideshow feature with the Vintage Prints theme. This theme worked best with my portrait-oriented images and it did the least bit of auto-cropping. The background music is Deck the Halls by Richard Freitas – a $1.99 purchase from Vimeo’s Music Store. It’s license lets me use it for public projects such as this without worrying about the DRM-Nazis screaming for my head. The track runs right at 90 seconds so I set the slideshow to time itself with the music. That gives the viewer time to read the captions as well as look at the photos. Once the slideshow was finished, I exported it to video and uploaded it to Vimeo. The entire slideshow part of the project took less than 30 minutes to complete and much of that was experimenting with the various themes to choose the right one for this project.

While the slideshow only took minutes, the cards took a bit longer. They were built in Photoshop Elements. The card background was created using a layer of my red background color, then placing a stylized line graphic over the background and adjusting the graphic layer’s opacity to have it fade into the background. The background was saved as a template file. Photos then had to be selected, each cropped to the same size, placed on the background template and saved as a separate image file. The light colored border around the image gives the look of a beveled edge to the card and the text color matches it. Once each of the cards was finished, it was saved and imported to iPhoto. The toughest part of the original project was cropping and sizing the images to fit in the template.

iPhoto lets me export the slideshow project in sizes ranging from small (fits an iPhone screen) to large (tv and large monitor screens). Nothing says I can’t export multiple copies – each in a different size. I can then email one size, share another on Facebook, post to my family blog or display a larger version on my tv using Apple TV or a Roku box.

Whether simple or complex, a photo slideshow is a great way to tell a story.

Side note: I don’t know about you, but I import a “finished” copy of just about every graphic/scrapbooking project I create into iPhoto. Not only is it inspiration for future projects, but as in this case, it can become the content in a new project.

A Scrapbook Slideshow

I’ve been working on some slideshows to present during the holidays but I wanted to include more than just photos. Actually, that’s a very simple thing to do. Using Keynote – the presentation graphics app for Mac/iOS – I can create slides that combine text, graphics and photos which I will export as images (jpeg or png) that can then be included with other photos in a custom slideshow.

There are two things to remember when combining slides and photos in a slideshow:

  • Keep the slides simple. Depending on the size of the screen used to present the slideshow, busy slides could be impossible to read.
  • Maintain a 4:3 aspect ratio for your slides (800 x 600 is a good size) so the transition from photo to slide and back will seem much smoother.

I’m using Keynote, iPhoto and Apple TV to build video slideshows with photos, slides and background music which will be displayed on the living room television during our Christmas get-together.  PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements and YouTube can work just as well.

Take a look at your tools and see how you can put them to use for your family gatherings.