Put Your Pictures to Music

April 29, 2009

If you’ve got pictures on your computer, a fun thing to do is to create a slide show. And to make your slide show more enjoyable, you can add background music to it.

Your digital camera probably came with software that allows you to pull pictures from your camera, organize your pictures, edit your pictures, and so forth. Most of the software that comes with camera isn’t all that good. Some are better than others, but did you know that you do not have to use the software that came with your camera?

The highest rated software for organizing and editing photos is called Picasa. The best part is that Picasa is free. You can download it for free from Google by going to http://picasa.google.com. Picasa has a lot of features, but in this article I want to concentrate on how to create a slideshow with music playing in the background.

First, Picasa can only play music that is stored in mp3 or wma format. So make sure your music is in one of those formats. If you aren’t sure what format your music is in, look at the file name.  All files in Windows end with a period and then three letters (or numbers). This is called the file extension. You can identify what kind of file something is by the file extension. So if your music files have a file extension of .mp3 or .wma, then Picasa can play them. There is a setting in Windows that may prevent it from showing you the file extension. If you don’t see any file extensions, then you can hold the mouse pointer over the file. Hold it there for a few seconds and it will tell you what kind of file it is. If it says MPEG Layer 3 Audio File, it’s an mp3. If it says  Windows Media Audio File, it’s a WMA file. If it says anything else, it’s not in the right format for Picasa. You can go to Download.com and find a free audio converter to convert them.

To create a slide show with background music, select the pictures you want in your slide slow. Now right click on one of the selected pictures and choose “Add to Album” and then select “New Album”.  Now you will get a window that asks you to give the album a name. Enter a name for the slide show. At the bottom of that window, put a checkmark next to “Use Music for Slideshow and Movie presentation” Now click the Browse button and select the music you want to play during  your slide show and click Open. Now click OK. That’s it!

To view your slideshow with music, click the green play button. You can turn it into a movie by clicking the “Create Movie Presentation” button to the right of the play button. This will create a movie file. You only need to do this if you want to send the presentation to someone, or if you want to burn it to a DVD that can be used in a regular DVD player.

Picasa is a great photo organizer and it’s easy to create a simple slide show with music, but it’s very limited on what it can do. If you want to create a nice slide show movie with titles, text, effects, multiple songs with the flexibility to control each picture and each song, then try Windows Movie Maker. Windows Movie Maker comes with Windows XP and Vista, so you probably already have it.

Would you like to see a movie created using Windows Movie Maker? Click here. Scroll to the bottom, and play the bottom video. This video was created using Windows Movie Maker and is a combination of videos and pictures set to music.

For information on how to use Movie Maker, click here

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