A Simple Effective Way To Create Great Slide Shows

August 24th, 2009

I got a reader question today that asked, “Is it possible to send a link in e-mail that sends the reader to a slide show ? I do not have a slide show facility on my website as it is quite basic. So I guess what I need is to find something that allows me to create my own slide show on line and then hosts it for me. Is there such a thing? I have looked on PFRE but can not find any articles about this.” This is probably a question that more than one person has.

My answer was YES, currently my favorite basic slide show site is Here’s why I like

  1. You can try it out free for 14 days.
  2. An minimum cost account cost $49 USD/ year for unlimited storage.
  3. The slide shows are great (here’s an example of one of my slide shows). Large, full browser and full-screen slide shows and you have control of almost everything.
  4. You can let viewers download the full-size photos if you want, or not.
  5. You can e-mail links to the slide shows to clients.
  6. You can create these slide shows from within Lightroom, Aperture or iPhoto very quickly and easily or if you don’t have any of these photo management apps you can upload photos with any browser.
  7. You can make iPhone compatible slide shows. This is becoming significant. There are from 12 to 50 million iPhones as of mid-2009, depending on who you believe.
  8. supports video as well as still photos.
  9. Here is the complete feature list for the two levels of accounts.

You do have to be careful how you use slide shows like these. It’s easy to slide into thinking of this as a real estate virtual tour. Of course, it isn’t because:

  1. You can’t do branding of the slide show.
  2. The terms of service on sites like talk about the service being “non-commercial” although you need to be a lawyer to determine what the words really mean.
  3. You can’t use them on sites like
  4. slide shows don’t replace professionally designed and branded real estate tours.

On the other hand these kind of services and slide shows really show off photography compared to tiny MLS photos. A slide show like this can be a powerful medium for a showing off your photos in many of situations. seems to have more features than most photo sharing sites that I’ve tried.

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16 Responses to “A Simple Effective Way To Create Great Slide Shows”

  • HI there Larry, this site looks pretty good and reasonably priced. I know I thought you used Mac Mobile gallery as do I. How do you think it compares? The size of the slideshow is very impressive and loaded very quick. I sometimes have an issue when non Mac users try loading my gallery slide via the link. It takes some a while. Although I would think that has something to do with their bandwidth and provider

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  • If you weren’t going to use phanfare and wanted branding functionality, what’s the next choice?

  • Hi Larry,
    For anyone who has their own web site that they maintain through dreamweaver and would like to create their own slide shows for a fraction of the cost, they may consider looking at The version 3 slideshow is one that can be customized by the user, saved as a template and within minutes the slideshow can be inserted and uploaded. Very simple and cost efficient.

    They are working on a version 4 that is even easier (i have seen the beta) and it includes a full screen option along with an even easier user interface. With version 4 a slide show template can also be created and then all of your slideshows can be created within 2 to 3 minutes.

    Just another option…

  • Hi Larry!

    Phanfare looks like it could meet most of my slide show needs for now. Do you know if the slide shows can be embedded into a WordPress Blog? I’ve been looking for an affordable way to present a sample of my work to other Realtors. Smugmug looks good, but I like the integration with the iPhone Apps that Phanfare features. The number of buyers using the iPhone to search for real estate will be growing at an increasingly fast pace, in my opinion. Also, can the slide show function on a CD as a settlement gift to buyers or sellers for example?

  • @Ileen- I’ve had the same problem with I to have had Windows users have problems. I’ve never tracked down the problem. One of the issues with video on is they assume the viewer has QuickTime.

    @Michael- If you are not inclined to host your own slide shows, then branding requires you use a slide show like or or I like all of these.

    @James- I’m a Dreamweaver user, I have to tryout dwuser.

  • @Judy- They probably can be embedded in WordPress. However, I’ve struggled trying to embed anything in this blog. I’ve not taken the time to research how to get embedding to work in WordPress. As you may have noticed, I bypass the problem by linking a JPG to the slide show… as in this post.

  • Larry, if you try out click on their contact us button and ask them if you can test out their beta version 4. It is much better than v3 and is very user friendly.

  • Have you guys considered setting up sets on your Flickr page? Each set can be played as a slideshow, and you can even send someone a link directly to the slideshow. Cheap (free, or $25 for a pro account) and very effective. As Larry points out, it’s not for “commercial” work, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

  • Stephen, Sure, for similar slide shows, flickr works great. You can send people links to slide shows. However at least one member of the PFRE flickr group that I know of was using flickr slide shows for real estate tours and was asked by flickr administration to stop.

    I pointed out phanfare because it has a few more features that flickr doesn’t have.

  • Larry, what plan are you using; premium or pro? I need exactly what your example shows – no branding, headers, footer, etc. MLS in Toronto has strict regulations on any of that. It has to be only photos. Thanks.

  • Brett- I have the $49.99 Premium account. I think with the Pro account you can do custom headers and footers where the branding would be.

  • Hi Larry … your Phanfare slideshow looks great … I’m going to give it a try! Are you using the Phanfare LR Export Plugin? What settings? While I’m typing this comment, I’m using the LR Plugin to upload 15 photos to a sample album, and it’s taking forever. Figure I must have something set incorrectly. Thank you …

  • Hi Larry, thanks for the great tip about Phanfare. I was about to pay for the SmugMug pro version before reading your post and signing up for the 14 day trial.

    I was looking for a solution to add a photo download gallery to our property website product and this certainly does the trick. What I like is that our clients can download images individually or the entire set (hi-res or low).

    The gallery integrates beautifully due to the fact that you can use a custom background image for a specific album and create “subsites” for each client.

    Take a look at our first site using this great service:

  • I use Phanfare, too, and love it. I think the quality is nice for the price. I am thinking about upgrading to “Pro” and wonder if anyone has a pro account, or knows of someone who does???
    I’d love to see it in action.

  • @Susie, I just upgraded to a Pro account after I did the post to see what all the differences were. I have only spent 20 to 30 minutes on the site since I upgraded to Pro so I haven’ made up my mind yet. But, initially, unless you want to use your own domain name for your tours (which is a nice touch) or do 20min videos I’m not sure it’s worth the upgrade. I haven’t tried custom headers and footers yet… Currently my understanding is the custom headers and footers are on the site that lists your slide shows and not each slide show.

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