My sister-in-law is eight-months pregnant right now, so she and I have been planning how to commemorate the baby’s first year. Her daughter’s first year of life is so special and fleeting that she wants to make sure she documents her growth and change over time so that she can look back and remember it later.
Any mom, dad, or grandparent can create a first-year slideshow with pictures, video clips, and music to share with family and friends around the child’s first birthday. The digital montage is a great way to show everyone, local and remote, how the baby has developed. In the future, you can show your child the slideshow so they can see what they looked like as an infant. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a video montage of your baby’s first year with pictures and music.
I recommend a free, online video editor called Kapwing, but you can use whatever software you’re used to. I like Kapwing because it works on any type of computer and is designed for beginners, so you don’t have to have video editing expertise to get started.
Step 1: Collect the Media
Find the pictures, photos, and video clips you want to use in your first-year montage. Browse through your phone archives and ask your partner and relatives to send you their favorite images too. Your Snapchat and Instagram Story archives might have good candid video clips from the early days. Collect all of your media clips into one folder.
Make sure to include the first photos you got of your child in the hospital after birth, when they were just hours or days old! Other developmental milestones, like sonograms, first smiles, sitting up, or crawling, are great nostalgic moments.
Step 2: Upload Media
Open Kapwing’s video maker and upload the photos and videos you want to use in your montage. You can drag-and-drop the files onto the Maker, find them on your computer, or import them from a link (if the clips are already on YouTube, Google Drive, or somewhere else online).
Your pictures and video clips will appear one by one in the editor. For any uploaded video clip, you can “Trim” the video clips to specify the section you want to include in your montage.
Step 3: Rearrange and Create
After all of your photos and videos have loaded into the editor, rearrange them into the order you want them to appear. You can delete scenes, add new ones, or duplicate them to play it in a loop. If you arrange them chronologically, you’ll see how your baby grows up over time!
On the left panel, you can choose options around the video output. First, choose the size that you want your montage to be – square, landscape, or portrait – and whether you want to crop your images or add padding around them to make them the right aspect ratio. A 1:1 ratio is great if you plan to share your montage on social media!
Watch the video preview to make sure that it has the right tempo. You can make each image longer or shorter by changing the duration. Just click the “Edit duration” button to adjust the length of each image or change the global setting for every image.
After you slideshow preview looks right, click “Create” to burn it together into one cohesive baby montage. Kapwing will take a few moments to process your MP4, but since the servers are cloud-based it won’t heat up or freeze your computer. Once the processing is done, you can share the URL to your video montage or you can download the file to save and publish.
[Optional] Step 4: Add Music
To add music to your montage, click the “Edit in Studio” button to the lower half of the final video screen. This will import your video montage into Kapwing’s Studio, where you can use the “Add Audio” tool to import music. With Kapwing, you can upload music from your computer or you can paste the link to a YouTube video to use its soundtrack.
Browse through your music library and YouTube to find a song you love that fits the mood of your slideshow. Here are a few of my favorite songs for first-year montages:
Parents singing to children
- “Safe and Sound,” Matthew West
- “Soldier,” Gavin Degraw
- “Let Them Be Little,” Billy Dean
- “Isn’t She Lovely?” Stevie Wonder
- “Never Grow Up,” Taylor Swift
Alternative sweet songs
- “Sunflower,” Post Malone, Swae Lee
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Iz
- “First Day of My Life,” Bright Eyes
Once you’ve imported your music, preview what it will sound like when paired with your slideshow. Use the “Trim Audio” button and the slider to adjust when your music will begin relative to the video. Creators can choose to replace the original video’s soundtrack or merge the music into the existing audio. If you’re using a copyrighted song, make sure that you’re using the output video for fair use and add a text attribution to the artist.
Once you’re done adding audio, click “Create” and “Done” to process your montage with music. Now, you can share your baby’s first year with musical memories!
I hope that this tutorial helps parents and grandparents create first-year videos that they can save, treasure, and pass along without needing to broadcast it to social media. Kids are only infants once, so having a first-year montage is a special keepsake for them and the people who raise them. I’m excited to make the first-year baby montage for my niece.