Microsoft PhotoStory – The Best Windows Software You’re Not Using

How do you share digital photographs with your friends and family members ? Upload them to Flickr (or any other photo sharing website) or burn them on a CD / DVD for sharing with contacts who don’t have internet access or a computer.

That may not always be the best approach as people (your audience) often lose interest in photo slideshows when they get long or boring.

Microsoft Photostory Screenshot

Today, we will share an amazing but not-so-popular software called Microsoft Photostory that will help you create very appealing videos from your still photos enhanced with background music, picture effects, transitions and even movements. And yes, the software is “absolutely” free for all genuine Windows XP customers.

Microsoft Photostory has a simple interface that even your mom won’t have trouble understanding it. The workflow is easy again – select your favorite digital images and import them inside Photostory. You can also fix minor defects like red-eye, image contrast and the color level.

Microsoft Photostory ScreenshotIf there’s an interesting tale to share behind some photograph (like why people are laughing in the picture), just hit the record button and narrate the event in your own voice or add a plain text caption that will appear as a title over the photograph while the video is playing.

Photostory ships with tons of custom music loops or you can import your own MP3 files to play as background music for the slideshows.

Now comes the most interesting part – Photostory can add motion to your still photographs so they look more like a video clip. [You may have noticed this technique on the The History Channel or watch an example in the above Youtube clip when photographs of Robert Scoble or Ask A Ninja turn-up]

Adding motion effect brings life to your photos and it is so simple to achieve – you start by selecting the areas of a picture where you want the focus of panning and zooming to begin and end or you can ask Photostory to do that for you automatically [see a sample screenshot below]

Microsoft Photostory Zoom n Pan
Photostory can create the final output in WMV format in a variety of predefined sizes. The video format is also accepted by video sharing sites like Youtube. To create DVDs of the Photostory videos, import the WMV files in any authoring program and burn a DVD. Or you can buy the Sonic Photostory DVD plugin to burn DVDs right inside the Photostory interface.

Here’s a sample video created inside Photostory using pictures from the Vloggies Awards Party courtesy Thomas Hawk.

Microsoft Photostory Homepage | Download Photostory [requires Windows Validation]

Download Vloggies Video in Windows Media Format at Blip.TV

[Amit Agarwal writes for Digital Inspiration]



  1. […] IrfanView is my favorite image viewer and manipulator. In addition to a host of plugins that it supports, IrfanView enables lossless JPG rotation, is easy to use and simply works. It is one of the best tools for quick works on images where other tools are either too heavy or too difficult. Another tool that I recently came across is Microsoft Photo Story via Amit Agarwal. It has scored pretty high in some of the test drives that I have taken. It can be an excellent tool for digital photos. Another new entrant has been Paint.NET which is finding its way into Mono tools. […]