How to make a beautiful memorial slideshow

Funeral Planning
Two people sit looking at colorful printed photographs.

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know what to do. One way you can honor their memory is by creating a memorial slideshow. This can be a great way to share photos and memories of your loved one with friends and family. In this blog post, we will provide tips on how to create a memorial slideshow that truly honors your loved one's memory.

What is a memorial slideshow?

A memorial slideshow is a digital presentation that can be used to celebrate the life of a loved one who has died. It usually contains photos, videos and text set to music.

What should I include in a memorial slideshow?

In a memorial slideshow you will want to depict the life and character of your loved one in the best way possible. To do this, consider capturing photos of key life events such as:

  • Childhood and growing up

  • Holidays and travel

  • School and graduation

  • Family and relationships

  • Work and retirement

  • Final years.

Any short videos and stories that can be included to express the person’s true character will also be hugely valuable in presenting them in the most accurate way possible.

Why use a memorial slideshow?

To put it simply, a memorial slideshow is the best way to present an individual’s rich life in a short, succinct screening. The process of putting together a funeral slideshow will also lead you to engage with a lifetime’s worth of photos and keepsakes, which, while difficult, can be extremely beautiful.

Preparing a funeral slideshow often helps us to process and work through the grief of losing someone you care about. Going through all those old photos can be cathartic. Sometimes, the slideshow can include messages or things people want to say to the deceased or about them, which can also help mourners process their loss.

Playing those pictures, quotes and messages during the funeral can help communicate that even though your loved one is gone, they lived a full life and left a mark, which can be incredibly healing for grieving family and friends.

And if you end up uploading the slideshow online, to something like an online memorial, you’ll be able to view it for years to come. You could visit it on your own time, to grieve, celebrate and reflect whenever you need to. This keeps your loved one’s memory alive for longer, helping you stay connected with them long after they’re gone.

How to make a beautiful online memorial slideshow

There are five simple steps to creating a memorial slideshow.

Step 1: Collect photos and memories

Start by sourcing and collating any photos, videos and memorabilia of your loved one you can find. Contact your family and loved ones who may have pictures to add to your collection. Providing memories of your loved one from a number of others who knew them will only enrich the presentation.

A shared Dropbox folder will also help you significantly when you’re collecting photos. You can easily share the folder through email with friends, family, coworkers — anyone who might have photos for the memorial slideshow . You’ll get to collect a good amount of photos this way, while also capturing memories of your loved one throughout the different stages of their life.

Step 2: Organize the photos

To ensure the memorial slideshow does not run for too long, you’ll want to select and order the photos that best reflect your loved one’s true character and life story. You can start by categorizing photos into life events — milestones like weddings, retirement, and so on.

Pick photos that represent important stories, or that express who your loved one was. Choose photos that present an honest emotion, rather than something that is posed for the camera. You can always include text — or even a voiceover — to add context to the photo.

Finally, order the photos chronologically or by event to give the slideshow some sense of structure. The safest route is to frame the photos as a story with a beginning, middle and end. Tell the story of who your loved one was, how they lived and the lives they touched.

An effective way to organize the photos and honor your loved one is by creating an online memorial. For a small, one-off fee, you can create a personalized Timeline of their life and upload your own photos, videos and stories onto the imeline in chronological order. This can then be shared with friends and family, who can add their own memories in whatever format they want.

This can make it very easy to structure and present your memorial slideshow.

Step 3: Select the best software to create your slideshow

Memorial slideshows can be created using many different software programs, such as, Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or Adobe Photoshop Elements.

It is important to choose the right software when creating a memorial slideshow, as each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it is crucial to preview the memorial slideshow before showing it at a memorial service or funeral. This will help you to avoid any mistakes or errors.

a. offers a memorial slideshow option at the click of a button, while also offering the benefits of an enduring Timeline of your loved one’s life that you can return to whenever you feel like it. Simply register an account, pay the one off fee, then upload photos, videos and life stories.

Once you have a sufficient number of photos on the memorial, all you have to do is click on the “View slideshow” button. The photos and videos on the Timeline will start to play in chronological order.

You also have full privacy control, which means that only the people you share the Timeline with will have access or be able to contribute to the memorial. People across the globe use Memories, so you can be assured that your family history will be kept in a secure, encrypted environment and your loved one’s Timeline can be passed onto future generations to come.

While is easy to set up, it doesn’t allow you to add music. However, this can be easily solved by playing music through another channel (such as Spotify).

b. iMovie

Mac users may already be familiar with iMovie. This free software is included with your Mac and provides a lot of flexibility to combine photos, videos and music together with personalised text to play as a memorial video. The in-built “Ken Burns Effect” will automatically apply zoom in or out to your images, saving you a lot of time while breathing new life into static images and old memories.

While this software provides more flexibility, it does require more technical knowledge and time to create a personalized video that you are happy with.

c. Smilebox

With Smilebox, you ​​can upload photos from your computer, phone, Facebook or Instagram. You may also choose one of 6 templates in the Smilebox gallery. They provide a library of songs which you can upload, or you can add your own. Feel free to adjust the slideshow speed, template and colour scheme, depending on your needs.

The only downside to Smilebox is the price. It’s a minimum monthly price of $15 to add your own music and remove their watermark. This is worth considering, especially alongside iMovie, which is free, or, which has a one-off fee that lasts for life.

Step 4: Create the slideshow

If you are using, you need to upload the photos and videos to the online memorial first. Then it’s just a matter of clicking the button. However with iMovie and Smilebox it takes time to manually drag and drop the photos, videos and select the music. Allow a few hours at least to complete this task.

If you are not very technical, speak to someone in the family who is, and see if they would be willing to help to create the slideshow. If you already have the photos and memories ready to go, it shouldn’t take them that long. They may also choose another software that they are more familiar with.

Step 5: Select music for your memorial slideshow

This is where you get to set the tone for the slideshow. List your loved one’s favorite songs and decide which ones describe them the best.

If you're keeping with tradition, you’re likely leaning towards a solemn song for your memorial slideshow. However, remember that the attendees are not only there to pay their final respects, but also to celebrate the life of the person who's died. In fact, your music choice doesn’t necessarily have to be melancholic. Think of it as if you were choosing the person’s theme music, giving them the send-off they would have wanted.

Memorial slideshows are more than just a collection of pictures. They tell the story of a life, the experiences that shaped the person, and the difference they made in this world. Your memorial slideshow can be a final tribute, and a wonderful way to immortalize your special memories.