How To Make A Graduation Slideshow

Creating a graduation slideshow can feel overwhelming for mom’s, who, let’s face it, are usually the ones making it for their kids graduation celebrations. So below I’ve outlined the main steps and given some helpful tips and tricks to keep it all organized.

1. Select Images & Videos

So first thing’s first… you gotta get all the photos and videos together. Now depending on your situation this could be where you’re stuck. Most people like to start with birth photos when making a graduation slideshow and that means going through 17 YEARS of photos…

Before you throw in the towel, you just have to break this problem up into smaller, easier to deal with hurdles. I suggest sitting down at an actual computer if you have one to keep it all organized. You can also consider just doing senior year or just high school if this feels too overwhelming.

Deep Dive Into Your Backups

Whether you use icloud, google photos, or some other backup service, that’s where we are going to start. You first go into your backup to grab copies of photos and videos. Most of them use ai tools for face matching and cataloging things by date. So, you search for your grad and go year by year. If that’s too overwhelming go month by month. Remember you only need the best not everything.

Don’t Forget Video

Remember this isn’t just about photos. Get copies of videos as well. There is nothing that will transport you back to a moment in time as easily as a video can. Hearing their voices as they’ve changed throughout the years is the perfect touch to every graduation slideshow.

Time Management

Don’t think that you can go through all the photos and videos in a couple of hours and be good unless you really don’t have much saved. I hate to break it to ya, but it’s pretty emotionally draining.

The best solution is to carve out some time everyday to work on it. I would say a minimum 30 minutes everyday to go through and add more photos to the folder. While you’re doing this reach out to some close family or friends that may have some photos or videos of your kids and ask them to share an icloud or google photo link. This is the easiest and best way to share that will be the highest quality when you download them.

2. Find A Software Program

So this can be a bit tough. There are so many out there and most of the time it comes down to money and time.

Budget Friendly Slideshow Programs

If you’re trying to do this for free you’ll likely want to dive into google slides or the free canva account option. There are probably more out there, but those are the two I know. You can also just make an album on google photos and it should create an auto slideshow you can stream to your tv. This is a great option if it’s playing in the background or you don’t care about sharing it with music anywhere online.

Quick and Easy: Using Animoto for Fast Results

If you just want it to be done quickly you might consider Animoto or a similar equivalent that helps you with music and templates, but the free account has Animoto branding. There are other paid options that start around $100 a year at the time this was written.

Advanced Software for Pro-Level Slideshows

Maybe you’re a photo/video pro (like me!) and you already have software like adobe premiere pro or lightroom, which will both work to build a slideshow. These are obviously more advanced options, but great if you’re wanting to have a more creative approach. When I make slideshows I use Premiere Pro video software because it has options for captions and timing for each clip that you can time to music.

3. Find A Song

So music can be a more difficult consideration with regards to copyrights. I have seen people try to share their slideshows on youtube and have it rejected due to song choices. I also suggest choosing a song before building the slideshow video because this will tell you how long the video can be.

There are options for free royalty free music options or you can find a monthly subscription and go through the options to download and use it in your video. Animoto offers a certain amount of songs on the free level and more in the other levels to choose from.

4. Start Building

Now for the fun part… putting it all together! Depending on the software you choose this can be tedious. Plan some time each day to devote to editing. Give yourself two weeks of time. You may not need this much time, but better to have too much then not enough. I know how emotional editing a very long video of your kiddo can be and if it feels overwhelming having extra time is great because you can just take a break and come back to it the next week.

5. Add Text Elements

There are so many ways to add a personal touch with text. Quotes, music lyrics, favorite books, dates, years, just to name a few. And if you’re showing this video to a large group you might include names or relations of people that know the grad, or video captions. Of course you’ll want an intro screen and ending screen with text or words of encouragement, but there are a lot of ways to add text that will help tell the story of their life through graduation.

Outsource it!

Maybe this is too much for you and that’s ok! I can build your graduation slideshow for you. Reach out to find out how to get started!

Slideshow Examples

I have some examples below to show different styles and software that was used to make these.

Animoto Slideshow Video
Slideshow Video – First Year Project