When you want a really clean, smooth, commercially professional-looking slideshow, Lightroom is a good place to turn. Unfortunately, narration, jazzy transitions, and Ken Burns zoom and pan effects aren’t in the plan. Not that you want to do all those things all the time anyway. In fact, most of the time, those restrictions just contribute to cleaner and more professional-looking slideshow. I’d just like to have them available when I want them. End of sermon. Let me give you a better idea of what Lightroom can do and how.
The image below shows you how a Lightroom slidshow can look. What you see in the center of the screen give you a good idea of the elegant simplicity you get from a Lightroom Slideshow
In a Lightroom Slidshow, the only transition is a very nice cross-dissolve with absolutely no speckles or blotches. There’s a wonderful panel that lets you scale your slideshow borders any way you like. So if you wanted to, you could make both verticals and horizontals the same size.
One big advantage of creating your slide show as a PDF is that it usually opens in Adobe Acrobat and you can choose to play it as a slide show or as pages. So if you’re sending your work to a team mate or art director for comment, she can take as much time with each image as she likes. She can even add sticky notes as comments in an Acrobat document.
One big advantage of the Lightroom slideshow: When you play it straight out of Lightroom, or play it in Full Screen mode in Acrobat, it overtakes the entire screen. There are no Play buttons or other icons to clutter up the design. It’s a truly beautiful way to show a slideshow on a computer or LCD projector that’s hooked up to a computer. You would swear that you were looking at professional slides. You could also record the playback with a motion screen capture program, such as Camtasia and then open the resulting movie in a movie editing program such as Premier Elements or iMovie and then add all sorts of soundtrack, narration, and special effects.
NOTE: If you have Acrobat Professional installed, when you play a slideshow that’s a PDF file, you can click to have the file automatically attached to an email. Talk about a very easy but professional way to show a portfolio to a couple of hundred art directors!
One trick that can be very effective is to put photographers credits, a slideshow title, and any verbal introductory explanation as to what’s going on into the show as separate slides. All you have to do is create a new file that’s the same size as your horizontal slides, fill it with an appropriately subtle background pattern or color, and then use your image editor’s Type tool to add type. As noted above, some slideshow modules or programs will let you do this while creating the slideshow. Then simply save the text image in the same size and format as the images in the show. Then, just be sure to place those slides in the proper context with the other slides in the show.
Some slideshow programs actually have a command that lets you print the slideshow. Be sure to set your printer for photographic printing
It’s best to make a snapshot-size print of each of the images in the slide show. You can then lay them out on a desk in front of several people and shuffle their order so that the juxtaposition of the images does as much as possible to flatter one another. The advantage of doing this with prints, rather in by “lightboxing” them in Bridge, Lightroom Library, or other methods of on-screen sorting, is that you see a much higher-definition image that’s actually been printed. So you get a better idea of which images look best side by side and also a better idea of what might need a bit of retouching or manipulation before it’s included in the slide show.
It’s also quite likely that once you’ve put the slide show together, you’ll want to print it for inclusion in a book. My favorite tool for doing this is Lightroom. That’s because, if you’re smart, you’ve already put the images for the slideshow into a collection and arranged them. So you can then simply go to the Print module and print all the images at the same time and with the same borders, titles and Identity Plate. You also know that all the printer settings will match perfectly. Just be sure you follow all the recommendations in your printer’s manual for setting up the printer. Another big advantage of Lightroom is that it will let you print multiple images on a page. That’s a very good way to print titled slideshows.
To print a slideshow in Lightroom:
1. Make sure you’ve arranged the slideshow images in the right order and that, once you’ve selected them, you make them a Quick Collection. Then show the Quick Collection and press Cmd/Ctrl + A to Select All.
2. Click the Print button. Inside the Print Module, select 2 X 2 cells if you want to print multiple images on a page that are also large enough to see clearly.
3. In the Print Job panel, choose the proper base resolution for use on your printer. When in doubt, 300 dpi is a safe bet. Set Print Sharpening so that you’re compensating for any resampling that needs to be done in order to make the image(s) print at the size you’ve specified. If you’re printing near full page, set Sharpening at Low. If you’re printing several images on a page, set sharpening at High.
4. If you’ve already created or downloaded a profile specific to the printer, paper, and ink combination you’re using, select it. Otherwise, choose Managed by Printer. You’ll probably want to choose Perceptual as the Rendering Intent.
Suggestion for Adobe: I’d really like to see a way to click a gallery image and then see a whole slideshow that is related to that image. This could really keep people amazed and entranced with your web site.