How to Do iPhone and iPad Travel Photo Slideshows

January 11, 2013

in Travel Tech

  • SumoMe

In the BDCE (“Before Digital Camera Era”) we had two ways to show our trip photos to friends and family.

Slide projectorIf we used negative film, we could have prints made, put them in a photo album, mail out copies, or just pull them out of the envelope in which they came back from the drugstore or film processing lab, and pass them around the coffee or dinner table.

If we used positive film, we got square paper-framed “slides” back from the place where we took the film for developing. People could look at the slides in a hand-held or table-top slide viewer, or we could pop them into a circular plastic tray, set it atop a slide projector, and project the photos onto a wall or screen.

Today, digital photography has given us many options to share photos, all of which are more effective than what was available to us “Back in The Day,” particularly if you own an iPhone or iPad.

Internet-Based Slideshow

Web Albums App screenshotIf you’ve uploaded trip photos to an online photo album site like Flickr or Picasa, and have an Internet connection, you should be able to access your albums and play slideshows on your iPhone or iPad.

Since many of my photos are stored on Google’s Picasa, I use the Web Albums ($2.99, iTunes App Store) app to view them on my iPhone and iPad. (There is also an “HD” version of the app ($3.99) which works with both Picasa and Google+ photo albums).

In addition to playing all of the photos in an online album in a slideshow, the Web Albums app lets you share a photo from an album by e-mail, by posting it to Twitter, or in a physical postcard that will be printed and sent via “snail mail.” You can also share a link to an entire Picasa Web Album by copying and paste the link into an e-mail.

“Local” Slideshow

Camera Roll ScreenshotIf you don’t have an online photo album, or don’t have an Internet connection available, you can still show photos individually, or in a slideshow, if the photos are stored on your iPhone or iPad.

For photos taken with your “iDevice,” go to the Camera Roll and click on individual photos—or if you moved them into an album on your Apple gizmo—pick that album to look at the photos one-by-one or play a slideshow of them all.

You can also use a photo album that you synced from your computer to your iPhone or iPad. (Tip: Create an album of photos of your hometown or region that you can share with people you meet while traveling.)

iPad Camera Connection KitIf you run a slideshow, you can pick from 5 different transitions between photos: “Dissolve,” “Cube,” “Ripple,” “Wipe Across,” or “Wipe Down.” During the slideshow, you can play any song in the iTunes library on your iPhone or iPad.

If you toting an iPad with you when you travel, you can use Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit (original through 3rd generation iPad) or Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader (iPad 4th generation and iPad Mini) to copy photos and videos from your digital camera’s SD memory card to the iPad. Each sells for $29.00. Unfortunately, neither works with an iPhone.

“Big Screen” Slideshows

The photo sharing and slideshow options reviewed thus far work fine if you want to hand your iPhone or iPad to one person (or maybe three, seated shoulder-to-shoulder). But if you want to display your photos to a larger group, or in a larger size than possible on the relatively small screen of your iPhones or iPad, you have four choices.

Apple TV

Apple TVThe name “Apple TV” is a bit misleading. Although Apple might someday manufacture and sell actual TV sets, the $99 “Apple TV” is simply a “black box” that you connect to an HDTV with an HDMI cable like the one that runs from a cable TV set-top control box to a television set. The HDMI cable is not included with the Apple TV device, but BestBuy sells a mind-boggling variety of them, as does

Apple TV allows you watch videos from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Vimeo, MLB, NBA, NHL and other sources. But it also lets you wirelessly stream photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to the television set to which the Apple TV is connected using the “AirPlay” function on your “iDevice.”

Wired TV Connection

If you don’t have an Apple TV gizmo, you can still directly connect your iPhone or iPad to an HDTV using a “wired” scheme. As with the Apple TV, you’ll need to buy an HDMI cable or temporarily use the one connected to your cable TV box or DVD/Blu-ray player.

30 Pin AV AdapterTo connect the HDMI cable to your “iDevice,” you’ll need either an Apple 30-pin Digital AV Adapter ($39) or Lightning Digital AV Adapter ($49, for the iPhone 5, 4th generation iPad or iPad Mini). Just plug the HDMI cable into the Apple AV adapter, and plug the adapter into your iPhone or iPad.

Although the wired connection isn’t as elegant as the Apple TV AirPlay option, it’s less expensive and you can hook your iPhone or iPad to any HDTV in your home, at a friend’s place, or perhaps even to a one in a hotel or conference room.

Music or other sound recordings associated with your photo slideshow will play through the TV’s speakers.

Computer Monitor Hookup

Your iPhone or iPad can be connected to a computer monitor in much the same way as the “Wired” TV Connection.”

Lightning to VGA AdapterYou won’t need an HDMI cable. Just buy either an Apple 30-pin Digital to VGA Adapter ($29) or Lightning to VGA Adapter ($49, for the iPhone 5, 4th generation iPad or iPad Mini). Plug one end into your “iDevice” and the other into the computer monitor’s VGA cable.

Unlike the “Wired TV Connection,” this set up won’t play music or sound track associated with your slideshow. For that, you’ll have to rely on the internal speakers of your iPhone or iPad, or external speakers or headphones connected to it.

Project Your Photos

You’ve seen digital projectors connected to laptop computers used for PowerPoint presentations. But you should be able to use the same type of projector to connect to an iPhone or iPad with a VGA or HDMI adapter. sells a number of digital projectors. Here’s just one that is designed specifically for use with “iDevices.”

While some of these projectors are fairly large and heavy, you can find some that are very lightweight and portable, like the Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector reviewed in this article from The New York Times.

Be A “Show Off”

In today’s digital age, showing off your vacation photos is easier than ever. And if you own an iPhone or an iPad, its easy as Apple pie!

(Purchasing iPhone or iPad apps, or products sold be, through links on this page, helps Tales Told From The Road continue to bring you a wide range of travel-related stories.)

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