Turning Memories into Money: Making Photo + Video Slideshows for Profit
By Cathi Nelson
Are you the person who loves to take photos at all your family events? Have you ever volunteered to make the video montage for your children’s preschool graduation? Do you always cry when you watch a show that includes photos and music? If so, you can turn your passion into a profitable business.
Creating video slideshows for family reunions, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, weddings and many more of life’s milestones and celebrations is a great service people are happy to pay for.. The Association of Personal Photo Organizers member Jenny Larson, owner of Forever Digital Memories, made her first show for her kindergartner’s baseball team as a gift. Soon others wanted copies and she started realizing she had found a way to earn an income, doing something she loved. At first, she would make shows while her three boys napped and now they are in high school and she has a thriving business.
The basic construction of a slideshow is a combination of photos + video clips + music. You can choose to add special effects and animations, captions and text and other add-ons that will impress your clients. The idea is to tell a story with the content you’re given. It can be the story of a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, a recent high school graduate celebrating their achievement, a wedding couple documenting their lives for a reception video, a memorial show for a funeral etc.
If the idea of putting together a video like this sounds too technically overwhelming, think again! With the right tools and a streamlined approach, you can turn the process of making video slideshows for others into a thriving income stream and today’s tools make it easier than ever. I turned to a few experts, Jenny Larson and Amanda Eddy of Pro Show for advice on start up costs, earning potential, products needed to start your own memory making business and resources for help.
Video Slideshow Software:
Choosing the right software to put everything together is an important step in the process. ProShow Producer is a great option that includes time saving tools like a built-in wizard and animated effects that make the process of creating a video slideshow simple. It produces professional video slideshows your clients will be delighted with and outputs to the formats you’ll need like DVD, Blu-ray and other video formats. In addition, you can download a free trial of the software to try it before you purchase. Another software program is Animoto and you would want to purchase their professional version so you can brand it to your business.
You may think that your teenager can make a great video slide show using IMovie or other software, but think again! Using a professional product like Pro Show will ensure your video stands out because of their beautiful easy to use templates that will make you like a professional videographer. Jenny says,” Pro Show helps me make my videos look like they are worth paying for”.
Transfer of Materials & Scanning:
You’ll first need to devise a plan of getting the photos and videos your clients want to use in their slideshow to you so you can create the slideshow. Some will be digital photos, which can be shared via email or through a service like Dropbox.com. Other content may not be digital and will need to be scanned by you. You can start with an inexpensive scanner and eventually upgrade to a flatbed scanner such as the Epson V600 or Canon 9000F which range from $200 – $400. Scanning is also another revenue stream and to learn more go to, Scanning Photos Can be a Great Home Business.
The music you use for your client’s slideshow is almost as important as the visuals. Photos moving on the screen with a beautiful soundtrack can turn a simple slideshow into an emotional production. Be sure you’re using music that you have the rights to use. Luckily, there are many resources out there for getting high-quality royalty free music at a great price.
Below I’ve listed a few great choices.
Once you complete your project, will need to burn your DVD from your computer but it does take time. If someone is looking for multiple DVDs you can invest in a DVD Tower that can burn 5 – 7 DVDs at once for an investment of $250. You should also use a quality DVD, not something that will only last a few years. I recommend MAM-A, the gold standard in long-term archival quality.
Don’t just hand your client a cheap jewel case with their slideshow inside. Polished packaging is key and can raise the perceived value of your services and products when done right. You can take a look at some inspiring packaging ideas here and download a free printable DVD case template here that will let you make a custom DVD cover with your client’s images for a great personal touch.
How Much to Charge:
Making a video slideshow for a client, you can expect to make between $100 – $500 for one production, depending on your market. You’ll want to decide whether or you want to charge one flat fee for a slideshow or if you want to charge per photo. Either way, make sure you have clear pricing laid out so your clients can get a good idea of how much a slideshow will cost them. You can also sell add-ons like additional DVDs, custom DVD cases and more to add to the sale.
Jenny Larson charges an average of $400 per show, which includes 100 photos. Her busiest time of year is during graduations, weddings and holidays when she is creating between 3 – 4 shows per week.
My Work Flow Studio, a division of Big Picture Coaching, has created a resource available for purchase called, Studio Slide Show Forms. These forms are very helpful and have been created by Sherra Humphreys and Rita Norton, who are APPO™ certified photo organizers and currently work with VIP clients while designing tools and developing resources to help photo organizers bring their business to the next level.
The Pro Show Blog has great content and training including a webinar by Jenny Larson called, Making Memorable Reunion Video Slideshows for Fun and Profit – Part 1 and Part 2.
If you are looking for ways to add revenue to your existing business or starting a new business I highly recommend exploring this as a viable business option.
Cathi Nelson had her “light bulb” moment when she recognized that consumers were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the exploding number of photos, media and memorabilia they were accumulating. She started her own photo organizing business called PhotoSimplified and was amazed at the response from clients and others who wanted to learn how to add photo-organizing services to their business. In response she founded, The Association of Personal Photo Organizers to support the new and emerging profession of photo- life management by providing training, support, products and collaboration for people interested in adding photo management services to their existing business or as a new business. Since its inception, APPO has grown to hundreds of members throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom.