How to make a video from photos

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

March 16, 2022

In this guide, we’re exploring how to make a video from photos and other still images. There are lots of options for those who want to create an interesting slideshow effect or a video for YouTube that incorporates lots of photos. We run through the best software solutions to create video from photos.

Quick summary

  • Editor’s pick: Movavi Video Editor Plus
  • Quick and intuitive editing software for Mac and Windows.

  • Free slideshow maker: Google Photos
  • A free and easy option to turn your images into a video slideshow.

  • Best freeware editor: Shotcut
  • This free and open-source software allows you to edit video to a professional standard.

  • Easy editing for Apple users: iMovie
  • Free and easy editing for Apple devices.

  • Best for sourcing images: CyberLink PowerDirector 365
  • The Cyberlink app incorporates a lot of free stock image websites for sourcing images.

  • Best simple layout: MAGIX Video Easy
  • A simple layout in order to make a quick and easy video without much technical knowledge.

  • Best for streaming and editing: Vegas Pro
  • Professional editing features as well as streaming capabilities.

  • Great video editor for social media: Lightworks
  • Lightworks is designed for social media with loads of templates for Instagram and more.

  • Pro editing for Mac: Final Cut Pro
  • Powerful, industry-standard editing for Mac users.

  • Powerful freeware for animation: Blender
  • Incredibly powerful freeware for animation, which also includes a video-editing feature.

  • Free editor for Windows: VSDC Video Editor
  • A freeware editor that is suitable for use on Windows devices and offers lots of effects and transitions.

  • Hollywood-level editing: DaVinci Resolve
  • Excellent, Hollywood-level editing with color correction and advanced effects and features.

  • Free software with VFX: HitFilm Express
  • Free software with a huge selection of visual effects and transitions.

  • Best online video editor: Fastreel
  • An excellent free online video editor with drag-and-drop capabilities.

  • Collaborative browser editing: Kapwing
  • An online video editor that lets you collaborate and invite others to help editing.

  • An editing app for social media: WeVideo
  • A great option for use on a mobile, and an app with plenty of editing options and templates for social media.

  • Easy slideshow maker: Animoto
  • A simple online option to make a slideshow from your images.

  • Simple templates: Renderforest
  • Many templates for videos and slideshows to make a quick and easy video from images.

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Best programs to create a video from photos

Movavi Video Editor Plus is a fantastic tool for getting to grips quickly and easily. Rather than complex layouts that are tough to understand, Movavi is laid out in a way that makes the process simple, even for beginners.

This doesn’t compromise on any of the professional features. You can do some complex chroma key editing, add and edit audio, and create a clean-cut video from still images.

The video effects are a big bonus, too. You can reverse, edit, and add effects to the images you import as well as animate titles and make use of intro templates.

What are its best features?

  • Great compatibility with Mac and Windows
  • Lots of inbuilt effects to make a more exciting video
  • Support for loads of file types, including JPEG and more photo files
  • An intuitive layout

What could be improved?

  • A watermark in the free trial

Google Photos can be a great option for those who want to make a really quick and easy video. If you already use Google Photos to store your images, then the process is even more simple.

You can choose to create a video from an album, and the software gives you a few templates to choose from as well as make simple edits such as changing the length of time each image is on screen for. There is even a very simple option for changing the audio playing in the background.

There aren’t any advanced editing features, so it depends on what sort of video you want to create, but for a free and straightforward way to generate a video, Google Photos can be a good solution.

What are its best features?

  • Simplicity. If you don’t know how to use editing software, Google Photos makes it simple to create a short video from images
  • Cloud storage. All of the images you are using can be stored in the cloud

What could be improved?

  • Lack of more advanced editing features, such as detailed audio editing or color keying

You occasionally find some freeware software that can prove to be an absolute gem. For some people, Shotcut might be exactly that. In spite of being totally free to download and use, it has some relatively professional features and functions.

Shotcut can recognize a lot of file types, including still image files, and you can easily import these on the timeline. There are some downsides, like a lack of stock images, and if you want to dive into more intense editing features, Shotcut is actually a little tricky to get to grips with. Some of the features in the layout aren’t so intuitive.

Once you do get to grips with the features, though, you can enjoy some advanced functionality like chroma keying, stabilization (not needed for still images), and transitions, which are great for those exploring how to make a video out of pictures.

What are its best features?

  • Being totally free of charge with no watermark in the output file
  • Support for high-definition files and editing

What could be improved?

  • Some of the editing features aren’t intuitive to use, so improving the layout could help
  • Lack of more output presets for certain devices

iMovie comes free with your Apple devices. It can be installed just as easily on iOS or MacOS, meaning that you have an option for making videos from photos on your phone or your computer. iCloud Drive storage means you can save a project from one device and open it up and continue on another, which is great for those who are real Apple fanatics.

If you’ve ever bought an iPad or another Apple device, you may have noticed that iMovie is automatically installed on the device.

For those who want to put something together really easily, there are some very simple templates within iMovie. You can even choose some slideshow templates which are suited perfectly to still images. If you are looking to explore how to make a video with pictures and music, the large selection of stock audio in the app will also help you to spice up your footage and pictures.

This isn’t just a way to create really quick and simple videos, though, as you can go into much more depth if you wish, using functions and features like green screen and voice-overs. There are also some seamless transitions for giving a really professional look to your video.

What are its best features?

  • The app is great for those who are beginners or want to make something more professional
  • An excellent library of music that you can include and incorporate
  • A selection of templates to work with when making a video out of still images

What could be improved?

  • No support for devices that aren’t made by Apple

A lot of people who want to know how to make a video from pictures already have images, but there are scenarios in which you might need to get images first. For example, if you’re making a video for YouTube and need some stock images to fill certain frames. CyberLink PowerDirector 365 has a number of packages, and some of them include access to millions of stock images.

The downside of having all of these stock images is that there is an annual cost attached to these memberships. If you are happy to go ahead without, then you can buy a one-time license and still enjoy all of the functionality.

This includes a load of ready-to-use graphic titles for communicating clearly and color presets to improve the look of your video. There are also a number of effects and transitions that you can quickly and easily apply, and they look impressive and professional.

Along with support for importing and exporting in very high quality, the layout isn’t too difficult to get to grips with. If you pay for one of the yearly packages, you can even enjoy the priority support offered to ongoing customers to answer your queries.

What are its best features?

  • Free support for 365 customers
  • Impressive editing features and keyframe controls for advanced editing

What could be improved?

  • Lack of more free stock images for those who don’t want to pay for a yearly membership
  • The layout could be a bit more intuitive, especially for beginners

MAGIX makes a lot of software for editing video and audio, and MAGIX Video Easy sets out to make it incredibly easy for people to create professional-looking videos.

Whether you want to know how to make a video with pictures or you want to incorporate some videos, this is one of the most intuitive ways to start out in the world of video editing. Creating a video out of still images can be as simple as dragging and dropping or selecting a cool template and choosing a few images.

There are some transitions and options for titles and simple edits, but all of this is kept very simple to help beginners with their editing. The software is also reasonably priced, and you can pay monthly or yearly for it.

What are its best features?

  • An intuitive layout that makes it incredibly easy to use
  • Compatibility with a lot of image files
  • An option to pay monthly or annually
  • You can use a free trial to see if this software is for you

What could be improved?

  • Lack of more stock images and video clips
  • No option to use more advanced editing functions

Vegas Pro is not just about editing simple videos. It has a lot more functionality within the editing suite, which can lead to some really impressive results once you get to grips with the software.

You can enjoy automation, keyframing, and multicam editing as well as loads of filters and effects to make your video much more interesting. A lot of features are overkill for making a simple video from photos, but they are good to have in the future if you become more of a pro editor. You can even live-stream using the software.

Vegas Pro also has some powerful audio-editing controls and HDR editing so you can make sure your video is crisp and professional-looking.

For those who want to dive more into editing and become more of a professional, this software could be a great solution as well as an option to customize your workflow and create your own shortcuts.

What are its best features?

  • An ability to make some very advanced and professional edits
  • Support for high-definition and high-fidelity audio files
  • The app is highly customizable to suit your own workflow needs

What could be improved?

  • Low affordability. VEGAS Post 365 comes with a hefty monthly fee for those who want to use the software

Lightworks comes with two different packages available, either Pro or Create. While Pro has been designed for a more advanced, “Hollywood” style of editing, Create is very good for those who are just getting started. This package, the cheaper of the two, gives you plenty of options for making videos from photos.

Besides easy editing and hundreds of titles and effects that you can choose from, the app lets you export files in the highest quality (up to 4K) so that videos look amazing on social media. There are even templates to export for Instagram and other social media.

You get access to some stock music and videos, too, which can help you if you are stuck, but the library isn’t huge.

The Lightworks Pro layout is more complex and not really the best option for beginners, though it does include advanced editing and cloud connection. You pay more than double for this software, which is worth keeping in mind.

There is a free plan for Lightworks, but it limits the output to 720p, so you can never use HD export options. However, this is really great for getting to grips with the software first.

What are its best features?

  • Excellent social media integration, including output templates
  • Lots of titles, transitions, and effects to choose between
  • A free plan lets you get used to the software before parting with money

What could be improved?

  • Lack of more than two licenses in the paid platform as many users have two or more devices they want to use

A lot of people consider Final Cut Pro to be a “big brother” product to iMovie. Both are developed by Apple, but Final Cut Pro requires you to pay for the software and has enough power to make a video from photos as well as make more advanced edits.

Unlike a lot of the other software solutions on this list, Final Cut Pro requires a one-off payment. If you are using a new Apple device with an M1 chip, you might find that some software isn’t compatible or doesn’t get enough out of it. This is not the case with Final Cut Pro.

The app has the option to install third-party Effects plugins with custom interfaces to get even more out of it, and you can work with HD and even UHD file types.

Though Final Cut Pro is definitely one of the more advanced editors on the market, it has some features to make the editing easier. The magnetic timeline makes it easier to get video and transitions properly lined up, and the Timeline Index makes it easy to add audio.

What are its best features?

  • The app gets the most out of the Apple M1 chip
  • Loads of intuitive features to make editing easy even for beginners
  • Adding third-party effects to increase the capabilities

What could be improved?

  • The price is a big up-front investment with no option to pay monthly, so only hardcore editors will consider something like this. A monthly pay option would be a good improvement

Blender is some of the most powerful freeware apps on the market. It’s used in game development and animation, so it’s not strictly made for video but does have the capacity to recognize a number of different files. This makes it a great choice for free video editing and those looking into how to make a video using photos.

The inbuilt editor allows audio mixing and up to 32 “slots” for adding images and effects, so you can enjoy the same level of editing you might get from some other software options. There are advanced functions, too, including keyframes, filters, and adjustment layers.

You can tell when you download and install Blender that it’s made with animation in mind. To get the most out of the video editor, you need to ignore or bypass these features.

What are its best features?

  • Surprisingly powerful editing – considering video editing isn’t the main function of Blender
  • The app is totally free, with no annoying ads and other hidden costs

What could be improved?

  • It isn’t as straightforward and simple to make edits as with some other editing tools, so a specific video-editing mode might be better for this. It’s easy to get caught up in the animation features

Windows users can make use of VSDC. There is both a free editor and a professional editor, but the free version is more than enough to make a video from photos on your Windows device.

In the words of the manufacturer, the editor supports “virtually all video, image and audio formats and codecs.” This means that you can import a wide variety of images and use them to create your slideshow-style video.

There are a variety of visual effects as well as audio. You can apply transitions, transform objects and add a lot of filters, including Instagram filters. This means that you can make it look like a social media video and export it, ready to upload on Instagram or other social media.

What are its best features?

  • Loads of social media features and filters that can make a video look fantastic on social media
  • Powerful editing features and HD support even in the free version
  • A huge level of compatibility so that you can import all sorts of image files

What could be improved?

  • No support for use on a Mac, which would allow more people to use it

DaVinci Resolve is an industry-standard piece of software that allows you to make a video from photos and do far more than just that.

When it comes to post-production, DaVinci Resolve is used by a lot of film producers and editors to polish the final product, and for that reason it can support the highest definition files as well as huge projects. If you just want to add a lot of images and edit them together, then DaVinci Resolve might be overkill.

It can definitely be confusing to get to grips with the software unless you are pretty used to video editing already. The features including HDR, AI tracking, and color management are not the sorts of things that absolute beginners can easily get to grips with. It’s also recommended that you have a specific editing keyboard and mouse to get the most out of it.

Though this isn’t easy to use, if you can get your head around it, there is a chance that it will yield some amazing results.

What are its best features?

  • HDR grading, powerful automation, and even AI integration in some of the features make this one of the most detailed editors
  • An ability to handle HD and UHD files with ease
  • Lots of presets for editing and transitions

What could be improved?

  • A simple mode for beginners could be a much more straightforward way to edit your photos into a video

HitFilm Express is a fantastic free solution for those who want to edit videos, including YouTube videos or slideshow-style videos made out of photos.

Besides being relatively easy to use, the software has some really great added extras, including over 400 different visual effects. Getting the most out of them does require a little bit of research and practice, but when you are making videos out of photos, this could be a great way to spice up the end result.

The software is free for both Windows and Mac. Hitfilm Express does have some “add-ons” which you have to pay for, so you don’t get all of the effects and transitions free of charge. The free editor is still powerful, and it doesn’t add any watermarks to the video.

What are its best features?

  • An ability to get started for free. You don’t have to pay for this software and only have to pay for added extras if you need them
  • Loads of effects, including displacement and lighting effects as well as color correction and grading

What could be improved?

  • Some of the added extras come with a cost, so you don’t necessarily get all of the features for free

Fastreel is an incredible option for those who just want to explore how to make a video out of pictures and don’t want to download a lot of different software tools. Fastreel works completely within your browser.

The simple interface means that you can click and drag a load of photo files into your browser and quickly edit them together to create a slideshow-style video out of still images.

Though you don’t have a huge suite of editing features, you do have plenty within the browser to improve the look of your video, including a selection of transitions and the option to change the image clip duration so that stills stay on screen for the desired length. There are even some options to add audio and library music.

What are its best features?

  • The app is incredibly simple to use – just click and drag the images within your browser
  • A wide range of features and functionality, and no need to download anything onto your computer

What could be improved?

  • The editing features are still fairly basic as they’re all in the browser, so a few more transitions and effects could help

Kapwing is another option for those who want to edit videos within their browser, and it has a collaborative feel, like Google Docs, but for video.

On top of this, it has some really powerful features that are simple to use, so you can really easily add titles, transitions, and more. The software also integrates with a lot of stock media websites such as Unsplash, so you can easily add copyright-free images.

To enjoy long-term collaboration and unlock all of the features, there is a cost to the app, so it isn’t as free and easy as it may initially seem. But for collaborative editing functions, it may be worth it.

What are its best features?

  • An option to easily share projects and work on them remotely or allow other team members to edit them
  • The app is browser-based with a simple interface

What could be improved?

  • In the free plan, you can save a project in the cloud only for a couple of days

WeVideo is a great option for those who want to edit videos simply using an app. It has an app for both Android and iOS.

It’s easy to import a selection of images and edit them, selecting the order on the timeline and even adding some simple transitions. The app has inbuilt templates making it easy to create adverts and other social media style videos from your photographs.

Though the app itself is free, you can only make videos up to 480p unless you pay for one of the more expensive plans, which are billed annually.

What are its best features?

  • The easy app support makes it quick and easy to make videos on the go
  • Lots of social media templates to make videos ready to upload on Instagram

What could be improved?

  • The free version limits videos to 480p

Animoto doesn’t give you any advanced editing features, but if you just want to know how to make a video from photos, you might not need these.

Instead, you can upload your images into a template and create a simple video from your photos. It really only works on a slideshow platform, but this may be exactly what you’re looking for.

In the free plan, you can upload videos in up to 720p, but they will get a watermark which is frustrating.

What are its best features?

  • Some really simple and easy-to-use templates that can be accessed with a free account
  • It’s super easy to add titles and a couple of simple effects

What could be improved?

  • Lack of functionality in the free plan and a watermark

Renderforest is another template-based option that is easy to use in your browser. It’s easy to pick video templates in the style you want, such as a slideshow or YouTube intro. You can add your own images and create a professional video.

The free plan limits exports to 360p, and you need to pay to access all of the features. However, it can be a good option for those who don’t know much about editing to create a ready-made slideshow.

What are its best features?

  • An easy layout and one of the quickest ways to make a video from still images

What could be improved?

  • Lack of features and templates in the free version
  • Lack of variety in the templates

Summary

Being able to create videos from photos is a great way to make a slideshow to put on YouTube or your own website or to make an advert. You can even make a video from photographs in order to remember an awesome holiday. Whatever your purpose, the software solutions here allow you to make a video from photos easily.

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a content creator and a chief editor. With qualifications in English and American studies and art criticism, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content. Nataly graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree and worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH.