How to Create a Mood by Adjusting Your Tempo

Moira West


You’ve carefully selected your images, you’ve arranged them in an order that tells a story, and you’ve found the perfect song. But, you’re not done yet! Part of creating moving videos is deciding what tempo works best with your images. Speeding up or slowing down your pacing may be the key to keeping your audience’s attention.

Tempo Screen Shot

The basic rule is this: don’t be afraid to change your image pacing. Remember that you’re going for the overall impact of a video, not just the look of one photo. Though you may think your photos are going by too quickly and want to focus on each one, your audience is absorbing the effect of all your images put together, even at a faster speed.

Tips for making tempo-driven videos:

  1. Choose a song with a strong beat for greater impact and clear transitions.

  2. When choosing a style, pick one that has transitions that support your tempo. A quick cut transition works better with a faster tempo, whereas a transition that fades in your photos will work better for a slower-paced video.

  3. Match your tempo to your mood and music. A dreamy song about a newborn may not work as well with rapid changes to images. Likewise, a video using a rock song for a senior session probably shouldn’t transition slowly from image to image.

Take a look at the impact tempo can have on just one video. We created three versions of a video using images from acclaimed wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis – one at the default tempo, one at a slower tempo, and one at a faster tempo. See how the pacing affects the mood and impact of each video with just slight changes in speed.

Here’s a video played at our default speed:

Play it slower, and it changes the mood, making it more dramatic and emotional.

Use a faster tempo, and you have a snappier piece that holds interest from start to finish:

Experiment and see what works best for your particular video. Try speeding up your images to add pep to your pacing or slow them down to match the mood of your images. You may find a faster or slower tempo keeps your audience’s interest longer and highlights your photos even better.