Whether you are trying to create a year-in-review slideshow for your family's adventures, or you are trying to create a slideshow for a work project, it is important to know what you are doing. After all, a tacky, cheesy slideshow will almost certainly create the wrong impression. You could take classes on how to make the perfect slideshow, but if you don't have the money or time for classes, a few tips on how to make a good slideshow can go a long way.
Less Text is More
You can say with a picture what you could not say with words. The key when creating a slideshow is to provide visuals that will back up your presentation. Avoid the temptation to clutter your slides with the notes to your presentation. If you are making a show for personal reasons, the pictures are what capture memories and captions are almost always unneeded and in the way.
Target Attention with Masking
If you are taking a screenshot or using a cluttered picture, you can use masking to direct your audience's attention to key details. For example, if you want to highlight a specific person in a photo, you can use a semi-transparent box to blur the details in all but the key section of a photo. If further help is required to focus your audience's attention on your subject, use arrows or circles to pick out the detail you want to draw attention to.
Tread Lightly with Transitions
Transitions can help to ease the flow from one slide to another, and that is just what the best transitions do. The more your transitions draw attention to themselves, the more they detract from the content of your slideshow. Use subtle transitions and be consistent. Remember, consistency does not require that you use only one transition, but alternating between two or three transitions will provide variety without drawing undo attention.
These are just a few tips for how to make a good slideshow. While these ideas can help you to reign your creative impulse and create a slideshow that you can be proud of, they are just the beginning. If you lack time, or you doubt your ability to control the impulse to allow your creativity to run wild, you should trust your slideshow to a trained professional. You can take your own pictures, then hand them off to a company that makes slideshows to put them into a quality slideshow. They should even let you participate in the creation process without letting you run amuck.