Delivering your final images to your client is like preparing a gift – these images you’ve worked tirelessly editing are finally ready to be viewed and the last thing you want is for them to be presented in a lackluster way.
Slideshows are the best way to present photos if you want to captivate & impress your clients, whether it be using them as a way to tease a couple of images from your session or giving them a glimpse of what they can expect the full album to look like. So, we thought we would test out Pixellu’s SmartSlides and see how it compares to other slideshow makers for photographers on the market. You can see some of the example slideshows here used predominantly by wedding and portrait photographers.
Who is SmartSlides For?
Our reason for even searching for a program that creates slideshows was because we wanted clients to view a selection of their images before they received their full album. This gives them a sneak peek at your work and also provides them with a unique experience that not many other photographers implement. This personal and meaningful touch is definitely more for wedding, newborn, and family photographers that focus on capturing milestones and stolen moments of time. If you’re more of a studio portrait photographer or dabble with nature and wildlife, this definitely isn’t for you.
While creating a slideshow may not be a part of your final image delivery workflow, there are definite benefits that it provides for your service overall. Here are three things that stood out to me while making my first slideshow on SmartSlides compared to other slideshow programs:
1. Quick & Efficient Procedure
The biggest drawback to creating a product like this and incorporating it into your file delivery process is figuring out if it’s worth the time. With simple guidelines and suggestions, SmartSlides has managed to make the most user-friendly interface imaginable, ultimately boiling down the creation process to three simple steps: song selection, image selection, and image re-ordering. I ideally see this being used by portrait, wedding, and family photographers as it is an easy tool to integrate into your album delivery procedure.
2. Beat-Matching Tempo
I am sure we’ve all come across slideshow videos on the internet that diminishes the value of the photos used simply because the tempo of the slideshow is offbeat. The dancer in me cringes just at the thought off-beat slideshows but when I first saw this function while making a slideshow I was genuinely impressed that someone that put thought into this. Not to mention, all songs in the Smartslides library are licensed and curated for various genres of photography.
3. Mobile-Friendly Slideshows
More and more clients first view their images on a mobile device, and although this statistic might seem frightening, it’s just where the world is heading. While other companies we’ve tried in the past give you a final link to view the slideshow and download options, SmartSlides generated a mobile-friendly version of your video to optimize for mobile device screens and make it simple for photographers to simply shoot a text over to their client. While this is a small facet of their program, it’s a nice function to have and also encourages the client to share that link on their socials where more of their friends and family are likely to view it on their mobile device.
While this program comes many benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider or minor tweaks that I came across that would make it a much more robust slideshow maker for photographers.
1. An Added Business Expense
Their pricing system is broken down into a tiered structure, giving studios that vary in size the ability to fluctuate between plans as they see fit. If you are running a wedding or newborn studio, you could justify this cost by replacing your blogging efforts with a SmartSlides slideshow instead. Since they give you an embed code for each video it is an easy way to supplement the writing and image resizing, collage making, and watermarking that comes with blogging.
2. It Takes Time You May Not Have
While creating a custom slideshow for each client is a refined tool in the service process, this may not be something you see long term providing you with enough benefit to justify spending time on. While my sample newborn/family portrait session slideshow for this review only took 15 minutes, I can also imagine how unnecessary it would become when I’m swamped with post-production during peak wedding season. Just how some companies offer personalized USBs for image delivery or album and wall-art consultations, this could be your added touch to your service.
3. Missing Vertical Video Format
Over the past 2 years, the various social media platforms have increased their use of the vertical video format due to users watching videos on their mobile devices. While SmartSlides creates a mobile-friendly version of your slideshow, it’s missing a vertical option to post to social media. Instagram and Facebook stories have become such a widely used source of marketing and advertising that it’s a shame that SmartSlides doesn’t have the ability to render a portrait orientation version of a slideshow.
How to Use SmartSlides
When I mentioned how user-friendly this program was, I actually meant dummy-proof. From their mission statement on their website, you quickly learn that all it takes is 3 steps to create your final product. I timed myself just to see how much effort I would need to put in to create something half decent and ended up only taking 15 minutes to create a slideshow for a recent family session.
1. Select a Song That Fits Your Style & Images
Using a song that isn’t properly licensed could lead to some pretty troubling legal ramifications. Luckily, SmartSlides has an extensive library of legally licensed and curated music to make the process of slideshow creation effortless. They even simplify it for you by separating them into categories that align with the mood and style of your photography.
2. Select Your Stand Out Images
Once you’ve selected your song you simply drag and drop or upload your favorite images from your session and arrange them in whichever order you want them to be seen. The best part, as I mentioned above, is that while you are adding images to the slideshow SmartSlides tells you if you are matching the beat to your selected song with either a slow or fast-paced tempo. From there you can add or delete to better match your song’s tempo or cut your song to reduce the time of the slideshow.
3. Customize Your Slideshow & Export!
Once you are done assembling your images you can select a theme for the font style and appearance of the slideshow, add your company logo, and select a featured image. Once you export you are given 3 different options: a link to send directly to clients, an embed code for your blog or website, and a download option to share on your social media.
Here is the final slideshow that I completed in less than 15 minutes!
SmartSlides Review Conclusion
The single most remembered part of your business is the experience that you impart to your clients. That is a symphonic combination of how you speak to them and service them. While creating a slideshow may seem like an added step to your already fully-loaded product delivery process and overall routine, take a step back to think about the impact it could have on how others speak about your business and your service. Although our photos are such a large part of our reputation, they live on through how others speak about the experience they had with their photographer, and SmartSlides is simply a well-constructed, highly efficient vehicle to help craft that experience.