No matter how many pictures you have taken to use in a photography show, if you don’t do the proper
editing, arranging, and planning of narration, you won’t have a program that will interest an audience.
I. Preparations of Photos
1. Identify. When slides or prints are back from processing, keep them in the boxes until you
have screened each film and marked the box as to the location of the pictures. For digital photography,
transfer images from the disk to your computer and identify them.
2. Screen images slowly enough to eliminate the pictures that are out of focus or over/under
exposed. Be ruthless in the weeding. If a picture calls for an apology, don.’t use it
3. Select. Take each group of photos and screen them again to select the really good ones that
you want to use. Put the discards in a separate spot in case you need to look at them again to fill in a gap
in the story. Some poorer photographs may be saved by masking or digital manipulation, if you need
them badly. Knowing that you are emotionally involved with the pictures you took, try to objectively
select images that will interest others.
4. Sort. Group photos by location if preparing a travel show. You will probably put the pictures
in the order in which you took them. But plan your story-line for the narration, and decide whether you
want to rearrange the order to make a good story. Nobody in your audience will care in what order you
took the photos or the order in which you visited places.
5. Sequences. Make short story-telling segments of related pictures. Use transition photos to
bridge gaps. When you come to a spot in your story where the locale shifts from city-to-city, country-tocountry,
or even just across town, look for photos which will tell your audience that you are moving from
one place to another. Use a picture of a bus, train, boat, airplane, sign, or roadside scene – anything which
will form a transition from the place you have been describing to the place you will next describe. Use a
long shot to show an overall view and surroundings; a medium shot shows part of the scene you think is
most interesting, and a close-up shot shows details.
6. Trim. Select the photos you really want to include in your show. Eliminate the weak slides
and duplicates of a subject. Nobody wants to see the same photo more than once.
7. Arrange. Put the photos selected into a logical order – chronologically as taken,
geographically, historically, or how you would tell a story. (a) Utilize your people, animal, or flower
pictures, your sequences. Remember that variety adds spice to your show. (b) Don’t switch back and
forth from vertical to horizontal images. Try to put as many of one format together as possible. Your
eyes need time to adjust to the change in format. (c) It is a good idea to group photos with similar colors
together, when possible. (d) Try not to have images next to each other in which the exposures are too
different (hard on the eyes of the viewers). When arranging slides, it is helpful to use a slide sorter.
8. Titles and Maps. Decide and make title slides or photos you want to add to your show; e.g., a
photo showing the overall title, the next one saying “photography by _____,” the third one possibly being
a map. Begin the show with especially interesting shots and end up with equally good ones to leave your
audience wanting more. Come up with a good “The End” shot.
LSW 04-23/08 File: Photography Lessons/Photo Shows, How to
9. Photograph (for travel shows) souvenirs, artifacts, handicraft objects, etc., which you have
brought home to add detail interest, and use them where desired in your show. Or you could display them
on a table to be viewed after the show.
10. Check your photos and adjust any where horizons are askew, main subjects or objects are
tilted or crooked, distracting people and/or objects can be masked or cropped out, or where they can be
color-corrected. For slides, dust any that need it – nothing is more amateurish and irritating to your
viewers than seeing little spots all over a sky and having to admit that “those are not birds.” Check them
carefully to see which could be improved by masking, cropping, bettering the composition, or eliminating
undesirable details. This will raise a mediocre show into an AAA rating.
11. Spot. Mark all slides for projection by putting a spot in the lower left corner of the cardboard
mount. This way, after slides are in the tray, you can see at a glance that they are facing the right
12. Review your show to see if it goes together well and flows smoothly. Now is the time to
delete portions that are of little or no interest and add portions that would make your show more
13. Music. When using music in your show, it should be kept soft so that it will not compete
with your images. If it is too loud, you can’t concentrate on the images. It should not be music that will
become tiresome or irritating to the viewers. If the show is longer than the song, switch to new music.
Match dramatic music to dramatic photos and soft music to “quiet, peaceful” photos.
II. Preparation of Commentary.
Prepare an outline based on photos selected. Fill in your outline by
using the research material and notes you have accumulated, following closely the order of your show.
Use conversational style, speak in the present tense. Be yourself: use interesting, colorful, descriptive
language, and good verbs, but sound like yourself. Avoid use of narration to describe what is obvious as
the photo is shown – many don’t need to have anything said about them. Don’t brag about or apologize
for your photos. Don’t continuously repeat any stock phrase, no matter how good. Practice at home.
The time limit for single-sitting shows will usually run 30-45 minutes. A show might run
up to 1 ¼ hours by dividing it about in the middle with an intermission; 80 slides usually equal one hour.
The success of a show of this length depends upon having a strong or highly interesting story to tell, or a
vital message. The stories can make or break a show. Remember, the mind can enjoy only so long as the
seat can endure!
Length of time you leave each photo on the screen depends upon the strength of the photo and the
narration. Photos left too long will cause the viewer to lose interest. Too short a look will create
restlessness or even impatience – five seconds should be the minimum. The absolute maximum length
should not exceed 15 seconds. If you have more to say, use two or more photos. The photos that do not
require comment should appear for a shorter period of time. You can set your show to run automatically,
but tell the audience to wait until the end to ask questions.
IV. The “Big Show.”
Look at your photos before you leave home to see that they are in the correct
order and right side up (slides) for projection. Check equipment to make sure you have not forgotten
anything. Take an extra projection bulb and a flashlight. Arrive early enough so that you will be set up
before the audience arrives. Be prepared to accept compliments on your show. If you follow these
guidelines the program is likely to be well accepted. Then after the show is over, you will feel a warm
sense of pride in accomplishment.