Great tunes for viewing sessions

Aug 24, 2008 | Business | 26 comments

I call these great tunes because when they are combined with a strong slide show they will add to the ambiance and built a heightened sense of emotional awareness. Please use responsibly. Now, I’m a bit of an old fart when it comes to music and apparently I am not alone. I fit neatly into a market sector with just about anyone in their mid 40s according to tv advertisers. When Julie and I started our wedding photography career 10 years ago we were just in touch with our clients music tastes. Our clients were mostly in their late 20s and we were about 5 years their senior. Now we find ourselves in an ever increasing age gap that certainly shows in the music appreciation department.

This is a call out to all of you to add a few top tracks of your own. Especially if you have no idea what the Clangers are or Rhubarb and Custard for that matter. 5 of each genre please.

Child portrait

You are so beautiful – Joe Cocker (A serious tear jerker. Don’t use the live version)

The road – Mark Knopfler (A soundtrack instrumental to start the session)

Novio – Moby (Another instrumental)

Fields of gold – Sting (A favourite track at funerals so use with caution)

Jesus to a Child – George Michael (Has religious connotations so use with caution)


Time of your life – Green Day

Let there be love – Nat King Cole

Meditation – Thule (classical piece for strings – various recordings available)

Dusk you and me – Groove Armada

Someone like you – Van Morrison


  1. Andy Rapkins

    In terms of classical pieces suitable for either weddings or portrait viewings, it would be difficult to find a better selection than Myleene’s Music for Romance (one of our favourites on Spotify!).

    • damien

      Thanks Andy. I’ll need to get Spotify to explore a bit more. Damien.

  2. damien

    Hi John, see comments 17-20 above. I use Fotomagico.

  3. john Higgitt

    I’ve just gone over to iMac’s and was attempting a photographic DVD presentation with iDVD, my question to any apple users is there other apple software to complete this task
    Many thanks

  4. Joanne Hobdell

    Thank you for the pregnancy music ideas!

  5. Sean Bolton

    I use ProShow Gold for slideshows with soundtracks for DVD.

    For PC based .exe slideshows I use Pictures2exe

    They are both good programs and excellent value.



  6. Chris

    I use fotomagico or Idvd. If you are using I tunes as a source of music for the slideshow and the tune has a protection code on it, you will only be able to use it on apple products and therefore won’t work on fotomagico.
    None I tunes stuff works fine though. Don’t forget the PRS

  7. martin

    Second vote for Pro Show Gold, it will let you make self executing slideshows to run on a PC in any resolution. Just resize, convert to sRGB and sharpen your files before importing to pro show. You can even limit the number of views and/or time expire the slideshow if you need to.

  8. damien

    Mac – FotoMagico

    PC – Pictures to exe or Pro Show Gold.

  9. Ian Jamieson

    Can anyone recommend software to create slideshows without reducing the quality of the images. I use Lightroom to show the slideshow at the studio, but when I save the slideshow as a PDF for the client to take away it does not embed the soundtrack.
    I have tried Adobe Premier which creates a movie with sound but the resolution is for PAL, and therefore not high enough quality for computer monitors.

  10. Ian Jamieson

    For portraits and weddings
    If I aint got you – Alicia Keys

  11. damien

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the link and the solution that so many photographers are after. Top comment!


  12. damien

    For the shoot bit Julie has Joss Stone and Gabrielle albums playing on shuffle in the studio and for the viewing I think we use Etta James – At Last and at least one other track but the choice depends upon the client. Obviously you don’t want to play Ace of Base – All that she wants :-) Another track to consider is Bread – Baby I’m a want you.

    I hope this helps Joanne. Damien.

  13. Sean Bolton

    Damien, All

    It is legal in the UK to produce a DVD slideshow with a commercial soundtrack, so long as you buy the licence for £25.00 at this website ;

    A few restrictions but basically this allows you to (legally) put together a DVD slideshow using any commercial music so long as it is for the client and family/friends who attended the wedding.

    This is a very specific licence so cannot be used for products you plan to sell to the general public, it is aimed directly at the wedding video/photographer and their clients.

    I think I am the only photographer in the UK buying this licence at the moment, they don’t promote it very well.



  14. Joanne Hobdell

    The wedding music tips are really useful. Can anyone suggest appropriate music for pregnancy shoots?

  15. Steve Baldwin

    I like others are not good on the classical genre.

    However I think Daniel Beddingfield – If you’re not the one. is very popular at the moment. This would fall well into both Categories (weddings and Portraits).

    You could always opt for most of any Westlife album. Once again I feel that they reach out to the right age of current client generation.


  16. martin

    We do supply slideshows on DVD and use royalty-free tracks from AKM Music for the soundtrack.

  17. damien

    Hi Ian, My understanding from some of the wedding videographers I have worked with is that they ask the bride & groom to provide the music to be used on their DVD. I’m not sure about credits etc. All I know is the music is usually bought by the bride & groom and will likely be only listened to by them. For the record, we don’t supply slideshows to our clients, we only supply high res files for them to make their own. (we charge a fee of course).

    I’m not sure about other photographers as I’ve never worked with any at a wedding but I’m sure a few will comment soon.

    Kindest regards, Damien.

  18. Jagdish

    This is the perfect Nick Hornby type conversation to take part in — my choice at the moment is Rugla by Amiina and Hoppipolla the wenzel templeton version rather than the sigor ros original

  19. damien

    Hi John,

    It’s a great question. We have a PRS license that allows us to play music at our studio. We never put the music onto a slideshow and only play the music separately from iTunes with the pictures coming from Microsoft Expression Media. I assume the PRS give a bit of the money they take to musicians.

    Our wedding show reel uses production music that we paid a one off fee to use from the MCPS and our lighting DVDs have music made using Apple’s Garage band loops. The next DVDs have music commissioned by me for the project. I wanted to use one track from the TV series called the Hustle and they quoted me £11,000 for one year UK only use. A musician friend of mine will make me a track of equal quality for a fraction of that so I have given him the go ahead.

    In other countries photographers pay a flat rate to use mainstream music on slide shows that they sell. This has yet to be agreed here in the UK and as a result there are many couples getting wedding videos and slide shows of still pictures with music provided by the client.

    I’m sure this subject is covered many times over in forums but it is important that all artists respect each others copyright.


  20. John Shatford

    I think the use of music is great but a musician friend asked how you sort out paying the royalties due from each showing.

    Does anybody know how you stand regarding the royalties issue.

  21. Morag Warrender

    I like
    Hallelujah I Love Him So by Ella Fitzgerald
    At Last by Etta James
    The More I See You by Chris Montez
    Picture This by Blondie
    The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield
    for weddings

    I agree that Celine Dion etc have to be avoided at all costs! Any suggestions for classical music would be a big help as I’m not too clued up in that genre.

    Excellent blog idea and I’d love to see your whole wedding dvd that’s due out in December.

    Morag x

  22. Sean Bolton

    Weddings soundtrack varies a lot with couples but these are a few classics which always go down well ;

    Sixpence Non the Richer – Kiss Me
    McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t no stopping us now
    Diana King – Say A Little Prayer
    Love Affair – Everlasting Love

    And a couple of less obvious tracks ;

    Santana – Feeling You (don’t tell the couple the title!)
    Stereophonics – Have a Nice Day

    Loads of others but the tracks that work best are upbeat and postiive.

    Avoid all the sentimental mush (Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Whitney Houston, etc) far to cheesy for most clients….. except for Louis Armstrong, We have all the time in the world. Classic track and works in the right situation.


    p.s. nice blog

  23. Chris

    pre wed shoot quando quando quando Michael Buble and Nelly Furtado

    Abba I do I do I do
    Mika Love Today
    Mumm – Ra Shes got you high
    Il Divo Everytime I look at you
    Leona Lewis A moment like this

    Child portrait / babies
    Lascia Pianga Lesley garrett
    Sull Aria Izzy
    For your babies Simply Red
    All about you McFly
    Shine Take That


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