If you use the word ‘Smart’ in any product you have to make sure it lives up to its billing, I mean imagine if it was super clunky to use and unintuitive? Well fear not as Pixellu have made THE easiest to use slideshow software I’ve ever come across!
This is the first Slideshow software I’ve used that is fully online, unlike their popular album maker SmartAlbums there’s no software to install, instead you’re greeted with a simple looking web interface, nothing complex, simple… smart! I think the smartest part of what Pixellu have done though is include a library of fully licensed music for you to use in your slideshows, so no more paying large sums for multiple uses of a song from a music library, nope! If you have a favourite song on Smartslides and want to use it 100 times you can, for no extra cost.
I have heard a few grumbles from people about the size of the music library so decided to count how many songs were available at the time of writing this… 70! That’s a pretty healthy number of songs to choose from, and I’m sure it’ll continue to grow over time. Yes some aren’t to my taste, how could they cater for everyone with every song? We’ll all have our favourites and others we’ll probably never use, but there’s plenty to play around with here.
I also think there’s a few in there I wouldn’t use for wedding slideshows but absolutely would for personal occasions, the online sharing of the slideshow is something that makes distributing it to all corners of the globe far easier then with the other programs I’ve previously used. Gone are the days of uploading to Vimeo in order to share Xmas or birthday slideshows with family members, always watching your upload limit so you don’t have to pay for a pro account. With SmartSlides I just share the link that’s created when I publish the slideshow, it’s unbelievably easy and straight forward.
Of course I’ve missed out the importance of sharing slideshows with couples in the above paragraph, that deserved to be mentioned in it’s own right. I always deliver a slideshow on the couple’s USB, about 100 or so pics that will really get their emotions going before they dive in to the full set of images in their gallery. How can they share that with their friends and families though? It’s a 300mb+ file!
I actually had one bride upload it to Facebook which actually seemed to work ok, but let’s give them a simpler way right? Well now you can, just include the slideshow link in an email to them and they can send it to all their friends and families… imagine the effect that slideshow will have on a friend of their’s that has just become engaged? It’s got so much more impact than a storyboard blog post, thus increasing the chances of them booking you for their own big day.
I should point out that you can download the slideshow to your hard drive for adding to your couple’s USB, whilst the software is web based you can still download it for offline use. If you have a special song you’d like to add to your slideshow instead of using their free library this is also possible, you aren’t restricted to their selection only… just make sure you have the correct licence to use it!
I’ve heard a gripe about how well slideshows play when embedded in to blog posts, it’s not something I do usually so I haven’t tested this aspect fully, although I have included one in this review (at the very end) so you can see how it performs for yourself.
Another comment we received about the embedding process is that it removes the front page of the slideshow which contains your logo. I’ve tested this and indeed this is the case. I’d love to see this changed so it doesn’t lose this nice introduction to who the slideshow is about, and of course that all important branding of your business.
As mentioned above it’s possible to customise your slideshows by adding your logo (which is pretty essential IMO), you can also choose from several ‘themes’ which change the background colour of the client viewing screen and a few other little touches, nothing major but still a good way of being able to amend something to fit the mood or style of the wedding.
One very cool feature that’s coming soon is ‘beat matching’, at the moment you upload your photos, it looks at how many you have chosen, how long the song is and makes each slide the same length so your slideshow starts and ends with the song. This alone is really good and makes life very quick and easy, but once it matches the beat it’ll be sooooo good! I have previously wanted to change the duration of certain slides before and was a little disappointed in the fact you couldn’t, however once this feature comes out you’ll never need to worry about it… it’ll do it for you!
One thing I LOVED was the fact the slideshow has ‘pins’ for sharing on Social Media, so on the 8th tearful run through by your emotional couple they’ll no doubt share it on everything so all their friends and families can join in the fun, again increasing your potential reach to those recently engaged brides looking for a photographer just like you.
I’m struggling to find fault with SmartSlides truth be told, yes the music library COULD be bigger, but it’s got 70 songs in it, so you know, it’s decent!
Price wise it’s a steal at $16 a month (£11.62 at the time of writing this) for their ‘Pro’ plan, which is the full package and storage for 200 slideshows or $32 (£23.24) per month for ‘Studio’ which allows storage of 1000 slideshows. To put that in perspective the song I used for my best of 2017 slideshow cost $100 for 5 uses from a well known music library. So when you factor in the free music it’s a great price.
I’ve created about half a dozen slideshows in SmartSlides so far and I can’t see a time where I will go back to any of the others I’ve tried, after only a few goes I’ve got my slideshow making down to about 5 minutes (plus the time it takes to watch it and make sure everything is ok). With such ease of use it’s not just the smart choice, it’s an essential one!
Here’s my embedded slideshow, please test and let me know if you have any issues, we’ll update the review accordingly with any findings you have.
Click HERE to see how the slideshow looks to the couple when they receive their link.
Please note this is not a sponsored post and we have not been asked to review SmartSlides by Pixellu, we have not received any monetary gain for this feature and the views expressed are true to my findings of the software.