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Helpful Hints/D.I.Y.: Slideshows: How many are too many?

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Many years ago, I came to the conclusion that my greatest strength as a photographer - was't necessarily taking a great photograph - - - instead people and clients responded to the story that I was telling with a sequence of images. Within a small grouping as a final selection, they were able to have a feel for the complete affair or event, from start to finish.

Being able to judiciously throw away 90% of images from a given shoot, is a skill worth acquiring - if our desire is to keep viewers coming back to look at an image sequence more than once. Many times I think, it is far easier to eliminate everything by looking for the one image that stands out best. Certainly far more difficult to narrow down hundreds or thousands to a select few, in order to tell a compelling story. Especially when there may well be many really good photographs that are being trashed.

I know the challenge of brutal number crunching - but do not feel sentimental to my photographs I suppose - - - as well, I can benefit from a long time of old-school training where it was imperative to provide no more than 12 to a max of 24 images in a presentation. And when I owned my Main Street Studio, common wisdom was that 5 or 6 or maybe 10 of only the very best photographs would be displayed on the sales room walls. Same small number of prints if a portfolio was being sent to a potential commercial client.

Nowadays everyone has thousands of images posted in galleries on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc.


Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Since the late 1980's, slideshows have been a beneficial part of my selling and later on - a product that I can provide clients. More and more delivery of slideshows, video and multimedia products are becoming the norm for most photographers in the digital age.

So I find that there is now a lot of confusion as to what to include in a slideshow. A few things triggered my updated analysis of optimal slideshow/video length.

  1. I have recently been putting together some image and video sequences of recent events - for my family.
  2. At my grandsons grade 8 graduation the other night, the teacher projected what could have been a captivating slideshow of the activites of the students from the year (made in iMovie with nice transitions and movement) - - - but it dragged on and on for 3 full songs.
  3. Recommedations on Youtube that lead me to pretty good photographers whos wedding slideshows lasted a dreadfull 12 or 15 minutes.
  4. One photographer in my area, who advertises the inclusion of a 20 minute video of all of the images taken during the wedding day - as part of her package.


Robert Watcher

Well-known member
May I please take the liberty to show 3 different Slideshow videos that I have provided my clients over the last several years. Please note the length of each and consider when your interest begins to wain. Also - if you find that you enjoy watching one, it may be valuable to pay attention to the type of images used and the sequences that make it work for you.

After you are done watching these - why not do a search on Youtube for other photographers wedding videos that are times at 10 or 12 or more minutes - - - ask yourself the same sentiments as above (consider when your interest begins to wain, the type of images used and the sequences that make it work for you).


Robert Watcher

Well-known member
For my personal preference, I find a tolerance level for any slideshow or video presentation of images and clips - to be between 3 and 4 minutes. Nice thing about that, is that that same time frame is about the length of most songs. That would then provide for an inclusion of maybe 50 to 80 photographs - - - depending on the transition speed that you prefer.

With many event or portfolio image presentations, it may not be quite as difficult to cull down to that number or even fewer if not as many photos or less variety were taken. But imagine if a days shooting at an event, produces 1800, 2000, or 3000 images. Point is - - - that in the case of a story or editorial, the time or page constraints must be considered first - and then the difficult task of leaving out every image that you love, to fit within those limitations, must be undertaken.

But guaranteed - - - your client or viewer will love it, won't have a clue what was left out, and will have friends who are willing to watch it. So the question is "How many are too many?". Answer is "How long is too long!". Right?


Or you can just come up with something new like I did (my customers have to have a copy). All 1800+ images taken from the day - - - but still in viewed in just 3 minutes:


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

I appreciate the difficulty in coming to the "right" number. I know that everyone was bored out of our minds when the kindergarten showed each kids birthday celebration, each with the same poses and tables of decorations and activities....then another 2 minutes of "celebrations". The school is trying to win more kids being enrolled, LOL!