Getting Started with Lightroom 4
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a photo slideshow


Getting Started with Lightroom 4

with Tim Grey

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Video: Creating a photo slideshow

Photographers have long used slide shows as a method for sharing images. And with digital technology of course, it's become easier than ever to create photo slideshows. In Lightroom, we can very quickly create a basic slideshow using the Slideshow Module. Let's take a look at how it's done. I have some photographs I captured at Grand central terminal in New York. And I've spent the time in Library Module to assign star ratings for those photos. So now I'd like to take my best images or at least my favorite from Grand Central Terminal and create basic slideshow with them.
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Watch the Online Video Course Getting Started with Lightroom 4
3h 22m Beginner Mar 06, 2012

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Whether you're completely new to Adobe Lightroom or have been using it from the start, this course from author and digital imaging expert Tim Grey will help you get up to speed quickly with Lightroom 4. He provides a complete overview of the Lightroom interface and workflow and shows how to set up Lightroom to best suit your needs. Along the way, learn the basics of importing, managing, optimizing, and sharing your images. Plus, discover how to use features like auto-advance, Smart Collections, the Library Filter, the Map module, and more.

Topics include:
  • Getting to know the Lightroom interface
  • Establishing Lightroom preferences
  • Using catalogs
  • Importing images
  • Image review
  • Identifying and locating images
  • Optimizing and sharing images
Photography video2brain
Tim Grey

Creating a photo slideshow

Photographers have long used slide shows as a method for sharing images. And with digital technology of course, it's become easier than ever to create photo slideshows. In Lightroom, we can very quickly create a basic slideshow using the Slideshow Module. Let's take a look at how it's done. I have some photographs I captured at Grand central terminal in New York. And I've spent the time in Library Module to assign star ratings for those photos. So now I'd like to take my best images or at least my favorite from Grand Central Terminal and create basic slideshow with them.

I'm going to go ahead and navigate in the Library panel to the folder that contains my Grand Central Terminal images. But I'm also going to turn on a filter so that I can only see images that I've given a three star or more star rating to. Within the Library Module, we can actually present a basic slideshow very, very easily. On the toolbar, you can have a Slideshow Play button. To add that button to the toolbar, all you need to do is click the pop up at the right side of the toolbar and choose the Slideshow option. Once you've done that with the Play button there, all you need to do is click, and an impromptu slideshow is started for you automatically, displaying all of the images that are currently on the filmstrip. Of course, this doesn't give us a lot of flexibility in terms of changing the presentation.

So I'll go ahead and just press Esc to cancel that slideshow. And then, I'll switch to the Slideshow Module. Here, I can choose a template over on the left panel and that will provide a basic starting point for my Slideshow Presentation. I think I'll just opt for the Default Slideshow Presentation here, but then, I'll fine tune the settings just a little bit. Let's take a look at those options over on the right panel. I have an option, right at the top, to zoom to fill the frame.

Now, this is nice, in some ways, because it means that the images will fill the maximum available space when you're presenting the slideshow. The problem is, that also means, that images will be cropped, and that, can be especially problematic for vertical images. If I turn this option on, for example, and then choose a vertical photo, You can see that I'm not able to see very much of the photo at all. By turning that option off, we then see the entire image. So in most cases, I will leave the zoom to fill check box turned off.

But the only time I might use it is if the images are mostly abstract or if all of the images or at least most of the images are landscape in orientation. I can also add a stroke border to the images if I turn this option on. I can then specify a color or go ahead and change the color from black to white so that we can see that then we have a nice border around the images. This can be helpful to provide, essentially a visual container for the image. For example here, I have a relatively dark area that blends off into the dark background.

And so that stroke can help to make the image boundaries look a little more obvious. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's bad. It's really a matter of personal preference. In this case I think I'll turn the stroke border off. We can also cast a shadow outside of the images. Of course that shadow is dark and since I currently have a black background your not going to actually see the shadow. But with the shadow turned on we can then adjust the settings. Which direction do we want it to go, how large do we want it to be, and how opaque, how visible do we want it to be in the slideshow presentation. Generally speaking, less is more with a drop shadow around the images. I'll leave this turned on for the moment.

We can't see the shadow against the black background, but as soon as we get to the option to change that background color, I will do that so that we can actually see the effect in the preview. In the Layout section, we have the option to show guides. Now the guides determine the boundaries of the image. You can see that those guides determine the extent of the photo within the slideshow display. Turning off the guides will not change the behavior of those guides. It will just determine whether or not they're visible. I generally prefer to leave the guides turned on, so that I can see the boundary for the photos. We can also adjust the position of those guides.

In other words, how far in from the edge of the presentation will the images be placed? We can link all of the guides, or work with individual settings. If they're linked, then when we adjust one, we'll be adjusting all of them. But I can also select individual guides. For example, if I wanted to move the images over to the right side of the frame for any reason. But generally speaking I will work with the guides set all the exact same value. I want the image essentially centered in the display. I'll go ahead and scroll down now we can take a look at the overlays option.

We can include an identity plate as an overlay on the presentation. I generally turn that off although you could use that as a bit of a branding exercise. For example setting the identity plate to your photography company logo so that you'll display that logo at all times during the slideshow. With the option turned on by the way we can adjust the opacity and the scale. So for example I can increase the size of the identity plate In this case of course, the identity plate is a branding for Lightroom. So I probably don't want to present that in my slideshow.

I'll go ahead and turn off the identity plate. I can also add a Watermark to my images, if I turn this option on, I can select a Watermark. I haven't created any Watermarks yet, but I could certainly create one with the Watermark Editor. So for example, I might put my name here, copyright Tim Gray in the bottom left corner. I can adjust the font and the positioning, et cetera. We'll just leave that as it is, and I'll click Save. We'll just call it Tim Gray and click Create. And now, we can simply choose that preset for watermarking, and all of the images will have that watermark displayed. In a slideshow I don't fell that I need to have that Watermark, so I'll go ahead and turn that option off.

I also don't want the star ratings to be displayed, as far as I'm concerned everyone should assume that every image I present is a five star image. So I don't want them to see that they're a bunch of three star images here. I also don't need any Text overlays. We can include text within the slide show but, in this case, I think we'll skip that. And here we come to the Backdrop section, you can see that we have a Color Wash. In this case it is set to black. I can change that. I'll just briefly change it to white, for example. And now you can see that I have a wash going from the top right to the bottom left.

I can change the angle of that wash, as well as the opacity. In this case, I don't think I need a gradient at all so I'll just turn off the Color Wash. I could also specify a background image. I'll turn that option on for a moment and I can click and drag an image into this box to make it my background image and then adjust the opacity of that display. Generally speaking, I prefer not to use this option. It does seem like a clever, interesting way to present some context for your slideshow, but generally, I find it to be a bit distracting.

About the only time I would actually use this option is if I had just an abstract texture that I wanted to use behind the photos. And then finally, we can adjust the background color. If I click on the color swatch, I'll go ahead and choose white for that background color. And then if we go back up, we can adjust the settings for our drop shadow, and then we'll be able to see that shadow just a little bit better. So you can see there as I adjust the opacity, for example, you can see the shadow is now visible. I generally don't like using a drop shadow in slideshows.

I just wanted you to be able to see the effect. I'll go a head and turn off that cast shadow check box. And then I can come back down and adjust that background color. In this case I'll think I'll use a shade of middle gray. I think that'll work out reasonably well for this slideshow. And then scrolling down some more I have titles. I can have an intro screen and an ending screen if I'd like. In this case I'm simply going to use a black ending screen. And I'll start with a black opening screen, but without the identity plate.

I could certainly change this to a title. For example, if I turn on the identity plate and then choose to edit the identity plate. I can use a stylized text identity plate and, for example, type Grand Central Terminal. I'll click OK and I'll need to obviously change the text color here. I'll just override the text color and we'll adjust the scale and that will give us a basic opening title screen. Scrolling down, we have the playback section.

I can turn on soundtrack and add some music if I'd like. I'm not going to add music to this particular slide show so I'll just leave the soundtrack option turned off. I can also specify which screen I want to play back the slideshow on. This is especially useful when you're working on a laptop, for example, with a digital projector connector. You would want to set the playback to be the digital projector screen, not your laptop. And you can also blank the other screens if you'd like. So that it won't be distracting. You won't be illuminating things, for example. We can then specify a slide duration. Here I have a slide duration of four seconds.

I'm going to reduce the fade, the transition between images to just one second. That will be a little bit faster transition. And we can also choose a color for that fade transition. I'll go ahead and turn that option on and we'll leave the color set to black so that we can fade through black. And I think in this case it actually might be interesting to present the images in a random order, so I'll turn that check box on. I'll also leave the Repeat option on so that the slideshow will just continue on and on until I actually stop it.

And I'm also going to leave the Prepare Previews In Advance checkbox turned on. That will cause Lightroom to prepare all of the previews in advance so, that it doesn't slow down the slideshow presentation processing those images between frames. I can then preview the slideshow if I'd like, that will play the slideshow in this central area, or I can simply play the slideshow overall. I'll go ahead and pause the slideshow in the preview area... And then I'll go ahead and click on the first image in the slideshow. And I'll click the Play button. And now we can see the slideshow presentation.

Here's my title screen. And then we'll transition into each of the images, in this case played in a random order. And this slideshow, because the settings I specified will continue playing forever until I press the Esc key in order to stop that slideshow presentation. I can also export my slideshow as a PDF. That PDF will default to present as a slideshow, but it's rather limited in terms of transitions and other issues, so that's not always the best way to share a slideshow. But it is convenient, in terms of emailing it, for example.

We can also export as a video. And if I click the Export Video button, you'll see that I can save my slideshow as a video file. I can even choose which size I want that file to be. This is a rather convenient approach for sharing a slideshow online, with services such as YouTube, for example. It's not ideal for sending the slideshow via email, obviously, because the file size can be rather large. I'll go ahead and click Cancel there. But I think otherwise, my slideshow is ready to share. I'll go ahead and click on that first image again and play the slideshow so that I can enjoy it once again.

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