How to Make a Video With Pictures and Music

Being a photographer, I sometimes get jealous of video. It’s not that I don’t love photography. The still image is one of the most powerful forms of art and communication. Video though has the potential to connect on a much deeper level.

Not only does video allow you to “move” your pictures, you have the added sense of sound, not just sight, to make your viewer feel something.

This doesn’t mean that photographers should quit and become videographers. Instead, why not embrace or at least experiment with it? In the end, it’s just another format that allows you to connect with your audience.

The Video Slideshow or Photo Montage

The easiest way for photographers to get started with video is to create a video with their photos. A video slideshow or photo montage is perfect because you only have to collect a few of your photos and then add some music to it.

video, slideshow, photos
Video is also excellent for driving engagement on social media. Here you can see the top two posts which were video far outperform an image post (the last one in the list) .

The above video, Earth in A Day: 1/1/2018, is a slideshow of pictures taken around the world by 52 photographers on 7 continents, from our photo group Eat | Sleep | Photography. It took me a few hours to make in Final Cut Pro, but there are plenty of alternatives which let you create a video with your photos in minutes.

5 Ways to Make a Video With Your Photos

There are a number of different ways to create video slideshows, both on your phone and desktop or laptop. Here are 5 different app and software recommendations in order from most difficult to easiest to use.

1. Final Cut Pro (Mac): FCPX is a professional grade video editor and it shows. It’s like iMovie on steroids. The downside is that there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to usability. And it’s not very cheap either.

video, photo, slideshow
Making a video slideshow with Final Cut Pro (FCPX).

2. iMovie (Mac): I started out using iMovie. It’s more than enough to take care of your editing needs. Best of all, the software comes bundled with any iPhone or iMac purchase. Another bonus, it’s not that difficult to use.

3. Splice App: This is easily my favorite smartphone video editing app. What I like most about Splice, besides that it’s free and easy to use, is that comes with a library of royalty free music you can include in your videos.

4. Animoto: Probably one of the easiest ways to create slideshow videos. Just upload your photos and Animoto will create a video complete with music and movement. There’s a 14-day free trial.

5. Magisto App/Site: This online video editor also offers a free trial as well as an app. I’ve never used it but a non-photographer friend of mine says it’s stupid simple.

Royalty Free Music Options

One really important piece to creating great video slideshows is to include good music. Both iMovie and Final Cut Pro come with some jingles and sound effects, but they get old quickly. Splice offers some good tracks you can use for free.

Here are some great royalty free music sites every video creator should know.

Pro Video Tip: Ken Burns Effect

If you’ve ever watched a documentary that includes photos, you’ve probably seen the Ken Burns effect in action. It’s simply a panning and zooming effect used in video production that include still images.

I like to use it in my videos, like Earth in a Day, because it makes your photos seem more dynamic, not just static images in video format. Some video editing software does it for you automatically.

I prefer to use more complex video editors like iMovie or Final Cut Pro because it allows you to take full control of the Ken Burns effect.

How do you make a video with your photos? Share your tips in the comments below.

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4 Replies to “How to Make a Video With Pictures and Music”

  1. I’ve been making video slide shows for years, which I then use for presentations to several clubs I belong to. The program I prefer using is Magix Photo Story Deluxe (I’ve used a number of previous versions over the years). The program has many built-in options for movement and transitions, and then inserting music is a simple drag and drop operation.
    Dozens of my videos are available on my website at .

  2. I’ve been making slideshows for years as well. When I first became a Mac user, I tried iMovie with awful results, the program deciding that my photos were too high res, so it “dummied” them down….awful! I now use Fotomagico, with great results. I can edit the transitions between slides, add text and music, and sync the music to the slides. I can download any music that I have in my iTunes library so haven’t tried any of the music sites you suggested, Pete. I find that most of the slideshow creating programs use the Ken Burns effect as the default. I think it’s distracting to use it too much so I start out with “dissolve” and then add more interesting transitions as needed. I prefer to have the focus on the photography and the story being told.

    A problem with Fotomagico is that it keeps disappearing and insisting that I need to buy it. I re-enter my license key and it’s back again. This is really the only problem I’ve encountered, and the support team is very responsive.

    I loved your First Day of 2018 show, and thank you for organizing it for all of us to see!

    1. Hi Dafri. It iMovie dummied them down? I know that can happen in the editing phase but when you export your video it should be fine. Anyways, thanks for sharing about Fotomagico. Sounds like a good program. It’s really just about finding one that works for you. Yes, too much Ken Burns can be distracting. I also like dissolve. Thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed the 1.1.2018 video!

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