Suggestions for photos slide show with nice effects and music for party

I’m having a party in a couple of months. It’s a get-together with people I worked with and taught over the past 40 years here in Japan.

I have about 400 photos I’d like to play continuously is a slideshow on a screen. I’d like there to be nice change effects, and I’d also like a playlist I created for the party to play in the background.

I’m looking for the best way of doing this. I’ve tried several things and was wondering if there were any better suggestions.

In the Photos app there is the Play Memory Video option but there is little control over the effects or the speed of transition. And I can’t choose a playlist to play, though it looks like I can choose one song.

There is also the Slideshow option. There you can choose themes and speed. The Magazine theme looks interesting, with a middling speed. But again, there is not great control over the music. You can choose one song from a playlist you’ve created. But you can’t choose the playlist itself.

An awkward option is to use Slideshow with the Magazine theme and no music and separately shuffle the playlist I created in the Music app. Run both apps together. That basically works, but is sort of cumbersome. Especially if I might want to stop and start the show during the party while different people speak, etc.

I’m vaguely worried about what might happen with a failed Internet connection, so I want to be sure everything I need is downloaded to the iPad. I have plenty of room on it, so that should be ok.

But do people have any better ideas for this kind of slideshow presentation?

Also, some photos are landscape and some are portrait and depending on the orientation of the device I’m worried about photo clipping. But I can live with that.

Anyway, suggestions welcome! Thanks.

I’m currently stuck on Monterey so my experience isn’t up to date but, I’ve used Photos, Graphic Converter, iMovie and Adobe Premiere to do this.

As you note, Photos is limited but in addition to the Play Memory Video you mention there is a Slideshow option. I’ve generally made an Album with the images I want in the order I want. You can then pick music from Music or another source of digital sound. You could create a single track using Audacity or some other sound editor and add that, but again, it’s pretty limited.

Graphic Converter has a Slideshow option. I can’t remember how to add music and transitions. In a folder you put the desired sequence of images in order then GC’s Slideshow option will play them. I think you can export it as a movie, which I think is really the best way to go.

More powerful are the movie making apps. Of course with more power comes a steeper learning curve and a greater investment of time in the production of the slide show. In both iMove and Premiere you create a ‘project’ then import photos, add them to a timeline in the order and duration you want and add transitions/effects as desired. You can also create a soundtrack edited to your needs directly in either app. The final product has to be exported as some sort of movie file. iMovie is plenty powerful but Premiere is more. Of course iMovie is free and you’d have to ‘rent’ Premiere for at least a month!

Hope that helps.

Thanks for your reply.

I was trying to do this on an iPad, but I suppose I could try on my Mac, if that makes a difference.

The nice thing about the Slide Show feature in Photos are modes like Magazine, where multiple photos in different arrangements show up. I don’t know if that’s possible with iMovie. I know with iMovie there is a nicer Ken Burns effect though.

I did mention the Slideshow option in my original post. The Play Memory doesn’t seem to allow you to select the music, and the effects were very limited (no choices), so my post was actually mostly about my attempts to use Slideshow.

The problem I ran into was that even though Slideshow in Photos does allow you to select music it doesn’t let you choose a playlist. All you can do is select a single song from inside a playlist. Apple Support tried to help me on this and gave up and said it looks like it can’t be done. Of course, Apple Support has (often) been wrong before. So if somebody knows a better way let me know.

In addition to iMovie which you mentioned, and which I haven’t tried for this yet, doing Apple Music simultaneously with a Photos Slideshow also works. It’s just a bit clumsy. If I wanted to create a movie from that though I could also try a screen recording.

The nice thing about running it from Photos is that if people bring along new photos to share at the last minute I can just add them to the Photos album.

I haven’t used Graphic Converter for a long time. I didn’t know it had that feature. I should give it a try. I wonder if it allows choosing a playlist. And what kind of effects it has.

Apple also suggested trying Keynote for this. Apparently it has a slideshow feature also?


I too use the clumsy approach of preventing music playing in Photos slideshows and separately playing Music playlists (note that on an iPad/iPhone Music app go to Library then Downloaded to select locally stored playlists & avoid streaming problems)

I found the Mac predecessor, iPhoto, more versatile for slideshows. Like several other Apple apps, including Keynote, I found that clever features were dropped when it was ported to iOS and became Photos.

Yes, I need to be sure that everything is downloaded on my iPad before the day of the party. It’s a large capacity iPad Pro, so that should be no problem.

Apple Support suggested also trying Keynote. But I was just trying that and see no way of importing a Photos album.

One slightly off topic thing is that the photos were taken in a combination of portrait and landscape mode. It seems that Slideshow with Magazine theme in Portrait mode handles this best. It would be nice if it also worked really well like that in landscape mode, since I usually use my iPad Pro in the smart folio keyboard case. But that’s a minor point I guess.

Dumb question: Does the slide show need to be coordinated with the music? Or is the music just some ambient background? I can see circumstances where you would want to stop one or the other, but not both. If it doesn’t need to be coordinated, that should simplify the setup, enabling you to create and control them separately, even running them from 2 different devices.

It does not need to be coordinated. In fact, I was going to “shuffle” the playlist. They are a lot of nostalgic songs that I just feel fit well into the mood/event.

I’m going to just bring the iPad to the party (in addition to my iPhone). It’s probably easier to just run both apps from one device, since it has to be hooked up to the audio-visual display.

I guess I’ll just go with that then.



Fotomagico looks promising but is relatively expensive for casual use (~$100/year). It seems to be built on the original Keynote (or at least has many similar features for presentations).

TBH I didn’t realise they’d gone subscription - I’m still on version 5 which isn’t a subscription. Not sure of any relationship with Keynote. I was also a big user of Keynote - often with embedded slideshows from Fotomagico - and can’t say I ever considered any similarity.

It’s a very, very good app for slideshows.

Fotomagico switched from a perpetual license to a subscription. Many users (including me) were unhappy with the annual cost which nearly equaled the purchase price of earlier versions. I’m still using v5 for that reason and have been looking for a replacement.

Also, I don’t think you can use a playlist with fotomagico.

You both mention Keynote here. I was looking at that, but didn’t see any obvious way of importing hundreds of photos and creating a slideshow with music. Is that a feature of Keynote?

Currently I’m thinking of just going with Photos Slideshow set to Magazine theme, with no music and simultaneously shuffling my playlist in the Music app, both on my iPad Pro.



Such a shame. I don’t really do slide shows any more but if I did I’d probably just pay for a month, get a bunch done and unsub again. Way, way easier than using Final Cut and keyframes.

It reminded me a lot of my old analog slide show days with Trax software which i used with a Powerbook 160. It could do up to 32 projectors.

It’s a pity - the older Apple TVs had this capability; specifically, you could have it shuffle through hundreds of photos randomly, while selecting an iTunes playlist to play while it was displaying the photos. You could specify how long to show each photo (3 to 20 seconds, in various gradations), and whether they were shuffled or not.

The photos and music and playlists were stored on a Mac on the same network, and accessed via iTunes Home Sharing option.

Unfortunately, when Apple officially moved the Apple TV to tvOS, this amount of slide show flexibility went away. I keep an old 3rd Generation (~2012) AppleTV around for just such a purpose.

Sorry, I know this isn’t any help. (Though I guess an option would be buying an old Apple TV; I can’t imagine used models sell for much, given most folks want 4K and they’re missing a lot of the newer tvOS features.)

Maybe not, but interesting to know. I’ve never used an Apple TV though. Plus I wouldn’t want to bring my MBP to the party. But interesting to know.

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Another one here for FotoMagico. I’ve been using it for years. It can create standalone slideshows that can play of a USB stick. I also export to a movie file (but that can take ages), load the movie onto an iPad and then use Loopideo to play the movie over and over until the battery goes flat!
Most of these don’t have music so If needed I just play from the iPad’s music library.
I haven’t bought the new version as my usage has diminished quite a bit lately.
Another App I occasionally use is PhotoPresenter. It’s template driven with lots of neat styles.
It’s from the same developers as FotoMagico but I don’t know if it’s still available.

In that case I might as well do what I’m currently trying: use the Photos slideshow feature (magazine theme is nice) and play from the iPad’s music library.