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I can remember as a kid enjoying the stories and testimonies of God at work in places abroad but rolling my eyes when the visiting speaker or missionary said “…so if we could have the lights, please, we’ll show you the slides.” I was just sure we were in for too-long, over-detailed, too-much-information ā€” at least for me. Time for a nap. Or maybe some doodling in the near-dark.

Well those days are gone. We have some tools available now that make sharing photos interesting, even exciting. Several weeks ago we had a visiting missionary give us a quick update on a Sunday morning. As she spoke, images on the screens behind her added context and relevance to what she had to say. I was impressed and raised my eyebrows in appreciation when she came in for a landing, thanked the church for the opportunity to share at the VERY moment her ending logo appeared on the screens. Techie that I am, it almost gave me goosebumps! Somebody had prepared well!

In February I described how to time pictures (we still call them “slides” for some reason) to fit a selected music bed in church. Here’s the link if you want to go see; use the “back” icon in your browser to come back to this page when you’re ready.

Did you know Microsoft Photostory works just as well, perhaps better? Photostory allows zooming and panning, so your photos have a sense of constant movement, along with the ability to add text and captions if you want. It’s a free download and easy to learn.

Why not download it and give it a try? Pick three to five of your favorite pictures and experiment a little bit. Then when you’re ready, try the refrain of a song and practice on it. I predict before the hour’s up you’ll have several ideas in mind, each scrambling to be first. It’s FUN! Especially when a visual transition matches a musical transition just right. If you put your photo-story together using a recording and but plan to use it with live music, be sure to go “soft” on transition timings and give yourself plenty of room at the end so you’re not frustrated when the live tempo varies slightly from the recording you used as your template. And it will – count on it.

I still recommend the x-number of seconds per-slide to fit your music bed for starters, but there are more variables with Photostory, which will probably result in longer prep-time to reach the finished product. My guess, though, is you’ll like the results better than “plain-old slides”. This is a tool you need to have in your media tool belt at church. Here’s another resource link for Photostory use.
Either one is better than yawning through the click-click click-click shows I grew up with as a kid, that’s for sure!