The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Slideshow Basics: Jump Start Your Creative Process

‘Micro Mosaic Circles’ transition effect. Found in Transition Pack 2.

Do you have a slideshow to make for a client, family member or maybe just for yourself but don’t know where to begin? This article will help jump-start your creative process and get you on the road to making a great-looking production.

There are a series of important steps that you should take when you begin creating a new slideshow. You want to consider the style that you are trying to achieve and what steps will be necessary to get that style firmly established. You will also want to begin planning your show contents, based on the images and media that you have available. Once you have created a framework for your show, you can begin making the show itself.

Establishing the style of your show is an important first step. You’ll want to first think about your audience. There are a series of questions you must answer about your audience to establish what should be done in the show:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What information or emotion is the show going to share with them?
  • What pace and style is necessary to accurately convey that information or emotion?

Here is an example of a basic starting framework for a show created to show off a wedding reception:

  • The audience is the bride, groom, and family members.
  • You will show the upbeat and high energy fun that was had at the reception.
  • A fast pace, with dynamic motion, high tempo music, and festive colors will be needed to convey the emotion of the event.

The answers you give do not need to be complicated. Start with a simple concept and flesh out the rest as you begin to outline your show in more detail. A basic concept and outline goes a long way for you when you are starting a new show.

Creating a story board is another excellent step to follow when you begin creating a new show – especially one that you intend to sell or use in a professional capacity. A story board for a slide show is very similar to those used when creating movies. You will plan out what your slides will contain, and what images you will use.

Download a free printable storyboard PDF here >

In most cases, your story board will be visual, rather than text. It can often be helpful to create a drawn diagram of your slide list. In each blank slide area, draw a quick sketch of what you want to include in that slide. You can also think of this like planning a song or a poem. Slide shows will have repeating elements that share things in common with choruses or refrains, and you can begin to plan these kinds of elements visually in a story board. Each slide can be laid out conceptually, and further refined into the patterns that make good shows.

If you prefer to work with text, you can create a general outline using headings and bullets to prepare what your slides will contain and what kinds of elements you want to include. This is very similar to an outline before you begin writing a paper of any kind.

A story board also gives you a good starting concept on how long your show will be. Once you begin to arrange the images you want to use and consider slide timing, you have a sense of whether your concept will fit into the time frame you have in mind.

Creative inspiration also goes a long way in helping to get started with creating your own slideshow. Check out our Pinterest boards for tons of sample slideshows and cool design ideas. Sometimes a visual spark is all you need to get the ball rolling!


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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.