The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Selling Slideshows: Answers to your Most Asked Questions

So you’re creating and selling slideshows, but you’re tired of finding vague answers to some of your basic questions. Well look no further! Today I’m here to set the record straight. Here are some of the questions we’re asked most often about creating slideshows whether you’re a photographer, multimedia artist or just making slideshows for fun.

Q: What is the best resolution for images used in my shows?

A: With any creative tool, the golden rule is “best quality in, best quality out,” but as a minimum, your images should be HD quality, meaning an image size of 1920 x1080 (about 2 megapixels). Thankfully, pretty much every camera (including most smart phone cameras) will create this image size with ease. Learn more about resolution and DPI in our Knowledge Base.

Q: What is the best format for delivering my shows to clients?

A: DVDs are still the most compatible disc option, but the visual quality is far from HD. Whenever possible, use Blu-ray. If time and budget permit, consider including both types of discs in a nice dual folio. (Check out this article for more info about packaging your shows)

On each disc you should also include a video version of the same show. This will allow you to present a nice physical piece to your client, in addition to delivering the flexibility of viewing the slideshow on a TV, computer, portable device or online. I recommend MPEG 4 video due to its very high compatibility. As some computers do not handle full, 1080p HD very well, output to a resolution of 1280×720.

ProShow makes it easy to create these kinds of combo discs. Simply output your slideshow as a video in ProShow and save it to a new folder on your hard drive. When you go to create your disc, under the ‘Burning’ tab, check the box for ‘Include Additional Content’ and select the video you previously created.

You can also easily output to the web to offer your viewers a way to instantly see their slideshow online. Try outputting your shows to YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook – all of which offer HD viewing capabilities.

Q: How long should my slideshow be?

A: Hands down, the optimal slideshow length for anything you sell should be in the 4-7 minute range. People tend to give me dirty looks when I say this, but consider the following: How long is the average music video? About 4-5 minutes. When you watch a TV show, how often do the commercial breaks happen? About every 6-7 minutes. The reality is that when it comes to watching any kind of video, 4-7 minutes is pretty much the limit of any person’s attention span.

Naturally, some of you will have demanding clients who want longer shows. You should keep your clients happy of course, but I recommend your absolute cap on show length should be 10 minutes.

If you simply have too much content that you can’t fit it all into 10 minutes or less, then break the show up into smaller pieces. Remember, when you make a slideshow you should be telling a story…and sometimes stories are best when they are broken up into separate chapters.

Q:How many songs should I use in my slideshow?

A: When in doubt, follow the ‘Two Song’ rule. While only having one song in a show is fine, occasionally that can make your shows feel more like music videos -which can take away from the value of your images or the story you are creating for your clients.

Using multiple soundtracks gives you the ability to change the mood and pacing of a show, which makes for more compelling storytelling. In turn, that makes a better product for your clients, which of course allows you to potentially charge more for your shows.

Additionally, using two songs in your show will generally get you to the optimal show length of 4-7 minutes.

So there you have it! Did we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about creating and selling slideshows? Let us know! We’re here to help!

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As a member of Photodex's events team, Dylan specializes in teaching pro photographers and slideshow hobbyists alike how to use ProShow in their business. He's an avid student of photography and enjoys Austin's eclectic mix of music, art and nature.