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5 Tips for Making a Wedding Slideshow (Part 1)

Today’s guest post comes from SCU President and founder of Marketing Essentials International, Skip Cohen.

Welcome to Photodex Friday. The idea for this series came out of me noticing the number of artists who are missing one opportunity after another by not offering slideshows as a service/product to their clients. So, I spoke with the team at Photodex, and here we are with the first installment. While parts of this first post might be pretty basic for some of you, think of it as a review. It’s important for you to start learning to visualize the slideshow before you put it together.

Why Friday? Because many of you are wedding photographers, and we want to give you things to think about before you head into the chaos of the wedding. With a little help from Photodex, I want to share concepts on how to create great slideshows that will be on your mind as you’re shooting over the next 24-48 hours at an actual wedding!

One of the biggest challenges you have is making your work different from your competitors. Offering slideshows gives you a chance to truly be a storyteller. Plus, done right you’ll exceed client expectations every time. Remember your goal is to make yourself habit-forming!

Welcome to Photodex Friday!


5 Tips for Making a Wedding Slideshow

Image copyright William Innes. All rights reserved.
Image copyright William Innes. All rights reserved.

1. It Starts With the Shoot! Wedding Prep – Scope out the Venue

  • Location (see what the venue has to offer)
  • Talk to the onsite staff and coordinator to see if there are private areas for use, and things to be aware of on the day of the event. (In terms of networking – build a relationship with the venue staff. You’ll need their help at future events too.)
  • Lighting (measure lighting, and bring a test subject if you can. It’s great to take some pre-event shots and if you can have them wear white it will help you that much more.)
  • Note the time of day the event will occur. Try and work around those times to become familiar with what lighting you will be working with on the wedding day. *Pro-Tip: Whether formal or just in your head – tie your shot list around these times to utilize peak hours of sunlight or potential issues with poorly lit areas after a certain time of day where you may be setting up studio lighting.
  • Note backdrops and scene-scapes and factor them into your shot list. We know most of you, especially if you’re more experienced don’t work with a formal shot list. However, since you’re working to tell the story in a slideshow there are some key shots you want to make sure you get which will become key anchor points in your storytelling.

2. Wedding Prep – You’ve Done Your Homework – Now Think Through Your Shot List!

  • For example and these are in no particular order: First look, bridal parties both separate and together, decor, the rings, the dress, the bridal party while getting ready (makeup, dressing up, hair, suits), close ups, flowers, venue, toasts, first dance, father-daughter, mother-son, collateral, signage, cake, schedule family photo time, golden hour, etc.
  • At the same time every family wants bridal images, don’t forget the “groomals”. The groom is so often over-shadowed by the bride. Also, there are some creative ideas out there with the traditional “First Look”. For example, Bob Davis photographs the couple as they get their first look at the set up for the reception. Think about this one – they’ve spent months planning everything from centerpieces to catering but rarely get to see the reception room until after it’s filled with guests!

3. Expand Upon and Narrow Down the Shot List

  • Take the list above and elaborate creatively to include the specific count per each key shot category. This will help you to keep track of the time for your slideshow.
  • While many of you do very little in the traditional posed categories, you still need a few tried and true standards. Joe Buissink tells a story about a bride who wanted absolutely NO posed images, but after the event her mother wanted to know why there wasn’t a traditional bridal portrait done. Learn how to do formal poses so it’s a natural part of your skill set.

4. Taking Video at the Event

  • While many of you don’t normally shoot video, consider working on your skill set to include the ability for some short 6-10 second clips. This will add another dimension to your final slideshow.
  • Consider capturing some time lapse video as well.

5. After the Event – Editing

  • Pick your favorite 65-75 images including a few video clips to add more dimension to the story.
  • Tell your story in much the same way you might lay out the album. As you tell the story, pretend you’re adding a narrative track. Tell the story in a logical sequence and remember to use only your very best images.

Coming up next week – putting everything together in your wedding slideshow – with all the necessary bells and whistles!


Skip Cohen is President of SCU, founder of Marketing Essentials International and past president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI. He’s been an active participant in the photographic industry since joining Hasselblad USA in 1987 as president. He has co-authored six books on photography and actively supports dozens of projects each year involving photographic education.




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