The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Making Portraits Pop in your Slideshows

One of the top design-related questions we get asked by ProShow users is how they can make their portrait-oriented photos look their best in a slideshow. Since almost all shows nowadays are formatted to fit a 16:9 screen, a portrait photo doesn’t fill the frame very well and can leave black margins on either side of your image.

If you don’t like the look of these black margins, try adding a background or slide style to your portrait photo to give it a more professional and polished appearance.

Thankfully, ProShow 4.5 has built-in styles that are perfect for this type of application, although it’s also really easy to create these on your own.

Here’s how to create a simple blurred background:

1. Drag and drop a portrait photo onto your Slide List and double-click the slide to access Slide Options.

2. In the Layers list, right-click on your photo and select ‘Duplicate.’ This will make a copy of your photo and add it as second layer on your slide.

3. Select the bottom layer and using your mouse wheel (or the zoom value slider), scroll up until the zoom value for your bottom layer is much larger and covers the background of your slide completely.

4. Navigate to the Layers> Editing tab and with your bottom layer selected, adjust the opacity to 50% and the Blur to 30%. This will give your slide composition some depth and make your top layer (the original portrait photo) the star of the slide. Feel free to play around with the other adjustment settings on your bottom layer until you find the combination you like best.

5. If you’d like, add a border and drop shadow to the top layer to give it even more definition. Motion can also be applied for added interest. Even better, save it as a Slide Style to use the next time you have a portrait-oriented photo in a slideshow.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can avoid the boring double black bar background and display your portrait images with more pizzazz!

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As the head of the Creative team at Photodex, Leslie is involved in the design & production of ProShow demos, slideshows & special effects. She is a self-professed Crazy Cat Lady who is into horror movies, music, good food, and riding her bike around Austin.