15 Best Slideshow Makers with Photos and Music: Desktop Software & Online

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Summary: This blog introduces best free slideshow makers with music and effects in the first part. For more control over the effects, themes and templates, there are another 6 pieces of freemium slideshow making software to play with.

Are you aware of how many photos are taken and then forgotten in the storage card? Photos of cute babies, 4-leg friends, birthday parties, weddings, and more. Using a photo slideshow maker can breathe life into those still photos.

In fact, any fully-baked video editor (NLE) can be used as a slideshow maker, the only drawback is the amount of time and effort required if you are new to non-linear editing software. That's why the market of dedicated and easy-to-use slideshow makers blossom.

A slideshow maker might have some or all of these options:

  • Add transitions
  • Add filters and adjust colors
  • Add background music
  • Add text and captions
  • Use motion graphics and stickers
  • Record your voice to add commentaries

The difference lies in the degree of customizability each program allows, and that makes sense because those programs aim at different markets (for users at different skill levels).

Free slideshow maker offers essential functions enough for a simple video, and you can use Instasize Photo Editor to enhance your photos before making photo slideshow. If you don't mind spending a penny, there are freemium programs that offer more templates and controls to get design-y. We cover both types in this blog for different editing needs.

Best Free Slideshow Makers for Windows and Mac

1. Windows 10 Video Editor

The default video editor for windows 10 is one of the best free slideshow makers for beginners. It is pre-installed, and comes with basic transition and motion effects enough for a quick making of photos slideshow with music. The best thing is, you can directly pick photos and videos already stored in the photos library, or import media from iPhone and Android mobiles. With each photo or video inserted to the storyboard, you can trim it or adjust duration, add captions, transitions and music.

Also read: How to Re-download Windows Movie Maker in 2020>>

Windows 10 Video Editor

Pros:

  • Pre-installed app, easy to use
  • Lightweight for low-performance computer

Cons:

  • Barebones for power users looking for highly customizable solutions

2. iMovie

If you are looking for the best free slideshow makers for Mac, iMovie ranks top on the list. Developed by Apple, this video editing application works nicely for slideshow making. You don't have to train yourself to get design-y, the themes and text styles in iMovie keep up with Apple's aesthetics. You can add enormous numbers of photos and video clips into the timeline, as long as the finished video falls within 60 minutes.

Use iMovie to make photo slideshow

Pros:

  • Various stylish themes for quick slideshow making
  • Countless YouTube tutorials to guide you through slideshow making
  • Option to add and edit background music for the slideshow

Cons:

3. ffDiaporama

The interface of ffDiaporama does admittedly look a little dated at a first glance. But it is free and open source software, hard to beat that! You can create decent photo slideshows with music.

This program has basic transition built-in, including commonly seen slide, zoom, fade, etc. Transitions can be applied between each photo, with the option to change speed.

ffDiaporama slideshow maker

Pros:

  • Option to quickly rearrange photos by dragging them
  • Support editing background music in the slides

Cons:

  • Only provides some basic functions
  • No templates or storyboard to use

4. 4K Slideshow Maker

If you want an automatic photo slideshow wizard, 4K Slideshow Maker does the magic. It automatically creates a video from photos you imported, and apply random but nice transitions and effects to the photos. Popular effects such as ken burns will be added, giving you a view of panning and zooming to breathe life into still photos. It also allows you to adjust the duration of photos and transitions.

4K Slideshow Maker as your photo slideshow wizard

Pros:

  • Ready-to-use profiles to export video as the best format for iPhone, YouTube, Facebook, 4K
  • Directly import photos from Instagram to create IG photo show
  • Option to use face detection tech to keep people in the frame

Cons:

  • All the things you prefer to manually done is not possible in this program
  • No option to trim and cut background music and videos
  • Cannot add text or stickers to the video

Best Slideshow Makers with Music, Effects and Templates

6. Photopia Creator

Photopia Creator is a professional slideshow maker with templates, stock music, caption pre-sets, and a myriad of advanced functions. You can add an image masking layer, adjustment layer and keyframes to create a stunning video. For non-techie users, there is are plethora of slide styles (templates) to use, with options to make custom adjustments. For instance, you can color grade or resize a photo to fit in the template.

Photopia Creator is a professional slideshow maker

Pros:

  • Option to adjust brightness, contrast, hue, saturation of the photo within the software
  • 950+ built-in effects and 250 tracks of royalty-free music library to use
  • Option to group several slides together for better organization

Cons:

  • Subscription-based software with a 21-day free trial
  • Less suitable for occasional users

7. IceCream Slideshow Maker

IceCream Slideshow Maker is a no-brainer choice for beginners to quickly create animated slides with still photos. With a straightforward interface and clear guidance, you can simply import photos and apply transitions in between.

It is similar to how you add animation in PowerPoint slideshow, except that IceCream SlideShow Maker will turn it into a video in the end. You can add transition like cross-fade, fade to black, fade to white, pixelate, flip over, wipe, stretch, zoom etc. If you want a photo to stay on the screen for a while, you can change its duration.

IceCream also allows you to add text layover on your photos, you can select font, color and position of the captions. There are some handy effects for text too. It offers basic functions to add audio, and sync audio with the photos.

IceCream Slideshow Maker

Pros:

  • No learning curve for beginners
  • 20+ transition effects to apply in 1-click
  • Real-time preview of the end product

Cons:

  • Only supports 20 photos per slideshow in the free version

8. PhotoStage Slideshow Software

PhotoStage has an interface that resembles regular video editing software, with effects, animations, text and transitions tabs clearly displayed in the working space. It allows you to combine photos and videos into a new video, and apply one of the 47 transitions to smooth out image switch.

PhotoStage has a sound effects browser baked in, you can select them by categories, including whoosh, sport, scifi, nature, etc.

PhotoStage Slideshow Software

Pros:

  • Record and add narration to the slides directly within the program
  • Smooth real-time preview of slideshow video with effects and music

Cons:

  • Templates for text look out-dated
  • Less intuitive to deal with photos of different frame sizes

9. CyberLink MediaShow

MediaShow offers a powerful solution to organize photos and create slideshow from them. It also allows you to add video clips into the slides.

Unlike other programs that focus on slideshow creation, MediaShow is more of a combination of Lightroom and video editor. You can tag and grade photos, use AI face-recognition tech to better organize photos. With photos and videos ready, you can make a slideshow with background music. There is a dazzling array of designs, text effects and transitions to apply.

CyberLink MediaShow

Pros:

  • Create slideshow with photos from Instagram and Dropbox
  • Support adding videos and 3D photos
  • User-ready themes to apply for slideshow videos

Cons:

  • Overblown if you only want a photo slideshow maker

10. Magix Photostory Easy

Magix Photostory Easy has a very neat interface. Once you imported photos into the timeline, you shall see a plus icon between each photo, and that's the place to add a transition.

There are some high-quality intro and outro templates to make the process easier, and it offers you decorative elements as video layovers. In addition to this, Photostory is also packed with image optimizer to enhance your photo slides.

Magix Photostory Easy

Pros:

  • Beginner friendly and easy to navigate
  • Export settings including burn to DVD and publish online
  • Option to record your voice for the slides

Cons:

  • Fewer customization choices if you want to add a personal touch to the slideshow video

11. SmartShow 3D

SmartShow 3D is a dedicated slideshow maker to spice up your photos and videos. As its name suggests, you can add 3D animation effects for photos and captions. It also provides you with a wide range of tools, 150+ transitions and animation effects and 30+ video output formats.

Though it is less expansive as a typical video editor, it offers you slides templates designed by professionals to use instantly, with themes like wedding, vacation and Christmas. You can add music and voiceover to the slides too.

SmartShow 3D

Pros:

  • Stylish 3D effects to display multiple photos in one scene
  • Make animated photo collage styled slides

Cons:

  • Less option to use your own stickers

12. PTE AV Studio

PTE AV Studio 10 is a successor of PicturesToExe 9. If you are looking for something complete with effects control, this program might be the best slideshow makers for you. You can fine-tune effects and motions of the picture slides, to the extent of using professional NLEs.

As for templates and transitions, there are nicely designed presets, such as Brush strokes, 3D album flipping effects, and photo collage to display your pictures and videos. The audio control is powerful too, you can drag curves to control the volume of background music, commentary voice over and sound effects.

PTE AV Studio

Pros:

  • Highly customizable with easy-to-understand parameter settings
  • Export 4K video to display high quality photos
  • Option to create Executable (.exe) shows for PC

Cons:

  • Require some learning curve for a non-techie person

Best Photo Slideshow Makers Online

13. Canva Slideshow Maker

Canva Slideshow Maker offers a streamlined experience to create a slideshow online. It certainly benefits from a huge array of stylish graphic designs and other visual assets on this platform. You can import videos and still photos to replace examples in the presets. The best thing is, you can click on individual graphic in the template, and change its color schemes.

Canva Slideshow Maker screeshot

14. Kapwing Slideshow Maker

Kapwing Slideshow Maker is an easy to use online tool to convert photos into videos for free. The minimalist design is consistent throughout the platform and caters to people with the same taste. You can choose a desired aspect ratio including 1:1, 9:16, 16:9, 4:5, 5:4, and custom size. Using the placeholder, you can also place Emojis over your photo slideshow.

Kapwing Slideshow Maker screenshot

15. Google Photos

Google Photos has built-in slideshow and Collage makers. Combining these tools properly, you can churn out fantastic photo slideshows on the fly. You can select desired photos and let Google create the slideshow for you automatically. The only drawback is, it cannot create slides for photos from different albums. You need to go inside one album, and click the three-dot icon to call out the Slideshow option. You can create an album specifically to make slideshows.

Google Photos Slideshow Tool

Key Takeaways

It is true that most of the dedicated slideshow makers have a limited free trial, while free slideshow makers fail to provide more templates and styles (except iMovie).

Slideshow Maker Chart

If you are serious about making photo slideshow with music and effects, and you are not satisfied with the limitation imposed by simple programs, there are more than 10 pieces of free non-linear video editing software to choose from, including Shotcut, VSDC, HitFilm Express, Lightwork, DaVinci Resolve, Kdenlive, etc.

Unlike dedicated slideshow maker, everything is highly customizable. It would be bliss for customization and curse for non-techie beginners. You can make your own templates, creating PNG files with Photoshop, and import it into the program. Or you can purchase professionally designed templates, with motion graphics and title styles ready to use.

Wishing you all the best with the slideshow project.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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