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5 Tips for Great Photo Montages

It’s that time of year again; the season for graduations, weddings and anniversaries is upon us. Here at Croom Video Services, we believe the best way to commemorate these milestones is with a photo montage. Here are five simple tips to help guide you in creating your own slideshow masterpiece.

• We tell our customers that a montage video should only be about 10 – 15 minutes, especially if the audience is expected to be engaged in the presentation.
• Longer montages are okay as background video for an event, or if the video is intended as a gift for later viewing.
• A shorter video allows your audience to stay engaged while being able to focus on the montage more easily.

Tip # 2: Chronological order isn’t always necessary
• Your photos don’t need to follow a strict timeline in order to convey a message.
• A freer structure allows you as the creator of the photo montage the ability to think outside of the box and craft a story that is fresh and interesting. One of our customers used the letters of an honoree’s name to highlight her  personality traits and interests. (eg. Sara = Sweet, Artist, Runner, Awesome)  They then included pictures in each section as examples.
• Consider grouping photos by common themes such as, family life, friends, work, etc. Show a variety of old and new photos in each category.

Tip# 3: Size Matters
• Be sure that your photo images are large enough. A typical image for a DVD slideshow should be at least 850 by 480 pixels. If you are scanning photos, use 300 dpi for the best resolution.
• Horizontal photos are better for filling the screen. If your montage editing program allows it, consider grouping vertical photos together.
• If you’re using photos from your cell phone, be sure to check the resolution. Many photos from older cell phones are typically too small, causing blurred images when expanded. The same rule applies for photos sent via email. A sender’s email program may reduce the size of the original photos. If you have to use small photos, consider grouping them together if possible.

Tip# 4: Volume Control
• Good audio is just as important as good video. If you plan on using background music in your photo montage, be sure to set the volume at a reasonable level. Music that is too loud and deafening, or so low so that no one can hear it will distract from your overall message.
• Have your background music set the mood for your audience. It’s ok to vary the tempo of your music choices to keep things interesting.
• Try to test your finished video at the intended venue. If you’re planning to playback the video on a laptop, make sure to have adequate amplification. The speakers on a laptop are generally not powerful enough to fill a room or hall. If you are using a DJ, they may be able to connect your audio outputs to their equipment; check with them well ahead of the event date.

Tip # 5: Remember Your Audience
• Most people in the audience like to see themselves in the video as well as the honoree. It helps them to connect to the material in a personal way.
• Try to include as many of the friends and family that will be in attendance.
• It goes without saying, but make sure the photos are appropriate for all of the age ranges that will be present.

We hope these five simple tips for creating a photo montage will help you with your own projects. Do you have more tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments below. Too busy to create your own video?  If you need a montage for an upcoming event,  please give us a call at  Croom Video Services, and allow us to take care of your photo montage for you!

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