How To Create Slideshows with the Free PhotoStory 3

from Educators' eZine


Like most teachers, you appreciate instructional technology – especially if it’s free. Not only is Photo Story 3 free, but it is also a fun and fabulous way for even the technology newbie to throw together a viewable video in a very short amount of time.

With a few still images, the right music or set of sound clips, and a little creativity, teachers can introduce new concepts or topics in a format that can intrigue students to learn more. This article will introduce Photo Story 3 and illustrate how this free product can be used to integrate technology across the curriculum.

However, before you begin to learn about Photo Story 3, it is important to learn and then teach your students about copyright issues in the classroom. Here are resources to get you and your students started on learning about copyright:

A Visit to Copyright Bay (
Copyright Kids (, and
Copyright 101 for Educators: Winter 2003 (

Objective: To create an electronic slideshow using Photo Story 3.

Resources Needed:

Digital cameras, scanner, USB cables, Microsoft PhotoStory 3 for Windows (, computers with Internet access, Inspiration ( or Kidspiration ( for brain storming, index cards to create storyboards, a printer, and Windows Media Player 11 (

Oh, and a microphone should you wish to narrate your story.

Anticipatory Set:

The teacher will show students a traditional slideshow geared toward a specific instructional topic. The teacher will then demonstrate a sample Photo Story 3 movie to students. Each Photo Story 3 show will include digital pictures and graphics images used to enhance the storyline or instructional topic.

Starting a Photo Story 3 Project:

So how do you begin this easy and fun multimedia project? Since many people do not own any photo editing applications, Microsoft made it possible to perform basic photo editing tasks within Photo Story 3, using the action buttons under the monitor window. Photo Story allows for each story to have up to 300 pictures, which can be files with extensions .bmp, .dib, .eps, .gif, .jhif, .jpe, .jpg, .pcd, .pcx, .png, .psd, .rle, .tga, and .tif. Once your images are imported, you can arrange them on the Photo Story film strip in the order you want them to be displayed. Use the editing tools to edit, enhance, rotate, and crop your pictures. The following edits are possible within the program: correct color levels, correct red eye, rotate, remove the borders, auto crop, create captions and titles, narrate, animate, create transition, add music, save, and share.

Teaching Ideas:
Creativity is the best component when using Photo Story 3. Some ideas that have been used in the classroom range from introducing the Planets to Bird Identification. Other ideas address all levels of the curriculum including: water cycles, life cycles, history (i.e.-timeline of battles, decades, digital documentaries, timelines of famous people), art (student art work), literature (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, mythology, poetry), and holidays (Christmas).

The Planets… (Technology, Science, History, Language Arts, Music):

  • Photos from scanned images from textbooks and images on the Internet
  • Midi files (this could be higher technology learning--creating Midi files) ripped music from CD (be sure to watch for copyright identification/notice and give proper citation), narrations, or sound clips from websites such as Freeplaymusic (

Bird Identification (Technology, Science, History, Language Arts, Music):

  • Photos from scanned images from textbooks and images on the Internet or Digital Photos from Digital Blue™ Zoomshot™ Digital Snapshot Binoculars (
  • Midi files (this could be higher technology learning-creating Midi files), ripped music from CD (be sure to watch for copyright identification/notice and give proper citation), narrations, or sound clips

Literature-Hamlet by Shakespeare (Technology, Science, History, Language Arts, Music):

  • Images scanned from the literary books or images from the Internet
  • Midi files (this could be higher technology learning-creating Midi files), ripped music from CD (be sure to watch for copyright identification/notice and give proper citation), narrations, or sound clips
  • Wav files created with the narration tool in Photo Story 3

Figure 1: Welcome to Photo Story 3 for Windows to Begin a new story

Step 2: Import and arrange your pictures

Things you can do: import images, remove black borders, rotate imagery, and simple photo editing.

  1. Start Photo Story 3. Be sure the dot is in front of “Begin a new story.” Click on “Next.”
  2. Click Import Pictures (Figure 2). Locate the folder where your images are located. Browse to the folder containing your pictures. Hold the CTRL key down. Click on each picture you want to include in the slide show. When you’re done, click on “OK.” It is recommended that an individual folder for images be created for each project. This will make it easier to find your images.

Figure 2: Photo Story 3 for Windows-Import and arrange your pictures

  1. Rearrange the order of your pictures (if you want to). Explore the various editing options under each picture (brightness, remove red-eye, rotate, etc.). Click “Next” when you’re done. (Figure 3)
  2. Your pictures will appear in the film strip at the bottom of the Window. If you import more pictures, Photo Story 3 adds them at the end of the film strip. If you want Photo Story to remove black borders from your pictures by automatically cropping them, click the Remove black borders button.
  1. On the Add a title to your pictures page, click a picture, and then type the title.
  2. If you want to change the appearance or location of the title, do the following:
  3. To change the font, click the Select Font button, and then select the font type, style, size, effects, color, and script you want to use.
  4. To change the horizontal alignment of the text, click either the Align Left, Center Horizontally, or Align Right button.
  5. To move the title up or down on the page, click the Align Top, Center Vertically, or Align Bottom button. By default, the title appears in the center of the picture.

Figure 4: Photo Story 3 for Windows:-Adding text to your Photo Story

Step 4: Adding Customize Motion

Customizing Motions is a unique feature of panning in and out of your images. In this step you select how and where you would like the panning to occur. To begin to customize your motions select the Customize Motion button.

  1. From the Motion and Duration tab, tick Specify Startand End position of motion. Two copies of your image will be presented. The first one is titled Start position: and the second identical image End position:
  2. Both images will have a box that can be repositioned by dragging the resize handles. If you would like your image to show the full view then zoom in to a specific spot, you would leave the Start Position image as is and adjust the size and position of the box on the second image to suit. Once you are happy with your choice, select Save and then Close.
  • The music ends.
  • An anchor image that specifies a new piece of music be played is encountered.
  • The story ends.

Figure 5: Photo Story 3 for Windows-Adding background music to your Photo Story

If the anchor image is deleted from the story, the music and any other customizations associated with the anchor image are also deleted from the story.

When you add background music to your story, a music strip appears above the film strip. The music strip displays the name of each piece of music that is added to your video story. The music strip is color-coded for each piece of music in the story. Photo story automatically adjusts the amount of time a piece of music will play in your story when any of the following occurs:

  • A picture is added to a group of pictures.
  • A picture is deleted from a group of pictures.
  • A picture is moved to a different place in the story.
  • Another piece of music is added to the story.
  • The story ends.
  • Very easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Cool Pan and Scan

Weaknesses of Photo Story 3 in the Classroom:

  • Can't rotate pictures
  • Jerky zooms (Images can be pixely)
  • Narration is per image