Music is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool. It can add to the emotion of any moment, making it a great compliment to the showcase of your professional photography. Pictage realized this opportunity and came out with a slideshow program to help you market your photographs (and in turn help them sell more of your prints).
The program has its pros and cons. Before reading on, it’s important to note that the slideshow program is only available to Pictage members (for free). If you’re considering using Pictage as your printers, image backup solution, album maker, and/or credit card processing service, this may give you additional incentive to take the leap. Pictage itself isn’t without many flaws, including high print costs and high membership fees. However, that’s another topic entirely. For this article, I’m going to focus on their slideshow program.
To briefly summarize, the slideshow program is good if you’re not a perfectionist. If you’re looking to get a quick slideshow up online, I can’t think of a faster way to do it (if your images are already uploaded on Pictage). However, it lacks customization, the most important of which is the music selection. But let’s get into the details of the pros and cons.
1) Simple and Fast – My goodness this program is easy to use. Find your event, select the folder with your images, select you song (from their list of royalty free music), and publish. From there you can email the client to view it and/or grab the embed code in various sizes to include in your blog. You can literally do this in 5 minutes.
2) Direct marketing to the event – The slideshows include a link to your Pictage event. As your clients spread the word of the slideshow, more and more people will see and buy your photographs.
3) Easy Embedding – I know this is mentioned in the first point, but it’s worth mentioning again. You don’t have to upload anything via FTP programs, nor do you have to customize the code. You literally copy and paste and your slideshow is ready to view on your photography blog.
4) Good looking – You’ll see from the example slideshow created that the slideshow looks good, with sleek button controls, good (not great image quality) and a good overall appearance.
5) Quick loading – The image sizes are reduced enough to ensure quick load times for your slideshow.
1) No Music Selection – This is by far the biggest flaw of this slideshow program. You can only select from their list of royalty free music. Some of them are low quality recordings, while others are just plain bad. I think I only found a handful that I would consider using.
2) Effect Options – The program doesn’t come with any effects besides a choppy zoom/pan and a fade. However, the fade is a good, clean option. If you’re the type that likes to control the movement of every slide, you’ll quickly realize the limitations of this software.
3) No Custom Timing – The Pictage slideshow program doesn’t allow custom timing, a big drawback for those of you who like to create dramatic, animated, and other interesting effects involving the timing of the images.
4) Difficult to Add and Subtract Images – To add additional images to your show, you have to go into the folder where the slideshow is pulling the images and add the images to that folder. The additional images are then added to the end of your show; and you then have to go and sort each image manually. with less than perfect planning, this can become a time consuming process.
For an idea of what I’m talking about, I put together a quick example. This took me a total of 15 minutes to select the images, select the song and input into this article.
In the end, most photographers put a high level of care into the optimal presentation of their images; and for these consumers, the software falls short. The best solution we’ve found so far is Showit Fast, a software I reviewed previously in this article here). However, Pictage’s Slideshow program is also a good program and offers some good functionality; and in the end, it’s still better to use this slideshow program than no slideshow software at all.