Direct Your Own Photo Show: Windows Live Movie Maker

Eyes Wild, above, is a show I made with the Windows 7 “Windows Live Movie Maker” program that is a free download from Microsoft, as part of Windows Live Essentials. WLMM is easy to learn and friendly to use. It is also and has an intuitive and useful set of features for making short shows or videos.

Let’s walk through the 8 steps.


In your Windows 7 program, check to make sure you have WLMM installed or download and install it.

Give thought to your topic and then set up a folder on your external or main drive with the images you want to use. Looking at the photos in the folder you just set up, Double Click on one of your Pictures. It will appear and above it you’ll see a menu showing Edit, File, Email, Print and Slideshow.

2. Bring up WLMM

Click on Slideshow once to bring up WLMM.

Now, as the show plays, you’ll see a menu option for Create Movie. Single Click Create Movie. It will automatically load all the images you have in your folder. Now for the fun part…

3. You’ll see a series of tabs for HOME, ANIMATIONS, etc.

Under the HOME tab, you can reorder the images just by dragging them. Use the “Add Videos and Photos “ button to import more images.

I chose the Sepia setting for my show. The preview window shows you the run time, and lets you click the arrow to expand your preview size to full screen.

Add a music track by clicking the Add Music button.

Add a title with different fonts and add captions if you like. Just like in the movies you can choose how your Credits will scroll, fade, or dissolve.


You’ll want to choose transitions from one image to another. By default, WLMM will zoom and pan automatically, so you can choose another Transition or Animation, or none at all, by clicking on those two options and choosing different fades, or pan and zoom effects.

Note: When you are just beginning, try not to overdo the pan and zoom. Turn it off and just use the basic non-pan, non-zoom most often. This will put the emphasis on your image, not the effects.


This gives you options to alter the individual photos using fades, overlays and color adjustments.


Under the Project tab, choose your format. I chose 16:9 for widescreen. WLMM has a wonderful feature to make the duration of each slide add up to match the total length of your music file: just click on the Fit to Music button.


You can fade the audio in the Edit panel, and also choose a different background color for your show.


Just left of the HOME tab, is an icon for the MENU tab. Unlike the other tabs, it doesn’t show letters, just an icon and a little downward triangle.

Save your project, publish the movie directly to the web and save your movie to your hard drive through this menu.

That’s it. You’ve now created a movie using your own photos. Have fun.

by Jim Austin

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