Photo Story3

Photo Story3

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Term2.png Photo Story3
Photo Story3 is a free Microsoft Software (download here) for presenting a slide show in a video format enhanced by animations, music, and narration. The software can be used to reflect the outcomes of workshops, meetings, conferences, training sessions or presentations in an engaging way. The pictures and captions illustrate the events, zooming and panning let the audience observe the images in closer details, the narration allows storytelling and the music binds it all together. Those who have stage fright during presentations can especially benefit from using this program, thanks to the narration function. Storing and distributing the reports is also simple. The files can be saved in .wmv format and then be shared in the preferred modality.


User Experience

Following is the experience of various users of Photot Story3 in a summarized form:
Pros Cons
  • The software is very easy to use; the wizard format takes even the least experienced users easily through the creating process.
  • The panning and zooming feature is very useful and powerful to present detail or an overview of the image.
  • The editing features are useful in enhancing picture quality (especially cropping and border remover) without using another graphic program.
  • Unless the user works on a lot of details, a slideshow can be created in a matter of a few minutes. The saved file is not too large and saves quickly.
  • Narration and music can run at the same time.
  • The software is free.
  • The volume of one piece of music cannot change throughout the slideshow.
  • The user cannot set his or her defaults in terms of motion and transition, so the user either accepts the defaults of the program or adjusts each slide individually, which might be very tedious with hundreds of pictures.

Comparison with Movie Maker:

Movie Maker is a similar, free software (download here) developed by Microsoft. Although Photo Story3 works only with pictures unlike Movie Maker which is also compatible with video files, the outcome is rather similar: A video presentation of images (still or moving), enhanced by transitions, titles, music and narration. Since Photo Story3 videos are compatible with Movie Maker, a combination of the two could result in an effective video presentation that takes advantage of the best features of both programs.
Advantages of Movie Maker Advantages of Photo Story3
  • The user can add video
  • There are more options for text display
  • The user can manipulate music volume and length
  • The user can correct and crop the pictures
  • Music and narration can run at the same time
  • Quicker and simpler user experience

Toolkit.png Guidelines for using Photo Story3


  • First select the set of images (a wide range of file formats are compatible) and arrange them in a desired order by simply dragging them to the right place. You can always return to this feature later and add further images.


  • The program offers corrective and decorative editing features. You can remove black borders (caused by rotating the picture for instance), crop the image, correct color levels, and remove red-eye. You can also choose from 10 visual effects, for example: black and white, sepia, watercolor.

Add titles

  • You can add captions to each picture and they can have 9 positions on the image from the combination of top-middle-bottom, arranged left-middle-right. You can change the type, size, style and color of the font. The color scale of the titles is limited to 15 basic colors; no further fine-tuning is possible.

Add narration

  • With the help of a microphone you can add narration to each image individually. The length of narration per picture can be a maximum of 5 minutes.

Add music

  • You can select a file from your computer (some users on online forums have complained that not all audio formats are compatible with the music player of the software) or create music with the help of an inbuilt music editor.
    • The Music Creator feature is quite detailed and you can define the genre, the instruments, the intensity, the speed and the mood of the musical piece. This feature can come in handy when you do not have any appropriate audio files on the computer. However, choosing an actual song is more recommended, since the sound of these created pieces are rather simplistic not always pleasant to listen to. It can also be quite time consuming until you can find the perfect melody. Narration and music can run at the same time, only the volume of the music needs to be adjusted.
    • In order to add music to the pictures click on the image with which you would like to start the music. The music will play until the images run out or until a new song (connected to another image) starts. Different songs appear in a different color in the editor. If the music is shorter than the image sequence, it will also stop. Unless the music is shorter than the slideshow, you cannot make it stop beforehand.

Customize motion

  • In this part you can modify two things. First the motion and duration of each picture, second the transition from one picture to another.
    • In the first option, you can pan and zoom, which lets you focus on a detail or observe the picture longer. You can define where the image should start and where it should end by highlighting areas on the image.
    • In the second part, you can define how you want the images transition into each other. You can select from a wide variety of transitions (more than 40) and can also time the length of each slide and each transition. This might take a long time in case you work with a large number of pictures. However, Photo Story3 offers default settings, transitions and movement, which could accelerate the process. Unfortunately, the user cannot set his or her defaults.

Save your story

  • The program offers you to save the file for several devices: PC, Pocket PC, Smartphone, Portable Media Center, and you can also send it as an e-mail message. This influences the size and resolution of the slideshow, but the format will always be a .wmv file. Saving time depends on the length and richness in content, but generally speaking it is rather fast.

The Preview button

  • This is a very useful tool that helps you to preview the changes you make. This button is constantly available when you change narration, music, motion and gives a quick idea about what the presentation will look like with the new changes.

Job Aid

Pdf.png Photo Story3

Link icon.png Web Resources
Below you can find further tutorials and examples of how to create a Photo Story.
Link Content
Photo Story3 for Windows - Review A brief online tutorial illustrating the use of Photo Story3 with screen captions and explanations.
OpenDojô Programme An example of a report created with Photo Story3.
Photo Story (5 min, video tutorial) A short video tutorial about Photo Story3 created with Photo Story3.