How to Use VLC as an Image and Photo Slideshow Viewer?

It may or may not come as a big surprise, but VLC Media Player can open images as well. That’s right! Drag any JPG image on to VLC Media Player and see how it will gleefully open right inside the application. Now, this functionality isn’t limited to a single image. If you drag and drop multiple photos, it will display all of them as a slideshow. One image will be given 10 seconds of screen time. The next one will load, and the slideshow will continue. Once it reaches the end, it might loop or not loop from the start depending on what setting you have. It is just like creating a playlist for music but instead with photos.

VLC Opening Image

So, how do you properly use this feature?

The drag and drop method is the best way to use it. You can either drag a single photograph or multiple images directly to VLC’s interface or to the playlist [CTRL + L] window.

But note that folders having a collection of photos inside them cannot be dragged to the player. We will have to manually select the images inside the folder and drop it on the playlist. That means selecting the individual JPG files.

Image Playlist in VLC

So, a playlist can have .jpg files instead of the usuals.

Additionally, the Media > Open File [CTRL + O] method can also be used to open photos inside your computer. Just browse to the folder containing all the photos that you want to open after hitting Media > Open File. Then from the dropdown on the right, instead of Media Files (*.3g2, *.3gp …) option, choose the one that says All Files (*).

Opening all file types

After that, all the files including .jpg files will be displayed. You can select and open them like you would open any other media file.

Changing the 10-second per Photo Limit

When a photo is opened, it displays on the screen for 10 seconds. If multiple photos are chosen, then one photo will have 10 seconds and the next one will come on the screen. It is just like a slideshow. The pause, play, next and previous buttons can help in navigating the images.

But what if you wanted to change this 10-second limit to 3 seconds or 20 seconds. It can be done from the advanced settings.

  • Navigate to Tool > Preferences
  • Click on All to reveal Advanced Preferences
  • Navigate to Input / Codecs > Demuxers > Image
  • Change the value of Duration in seconds from 10.00 to something else (like 3)
  • Click on Save.

Changing how long an image is displayed for

Now, all the photos in your VLC’s slideshow will display for the new defined number of seconds.

What Else Can We do After Opening Photos?

After opening photos inside VLC Media Player, we can do a lot of things that we do to videos. If you think about it, an image is a single frame of a video. So, modify that frame with all the customization options that are present in VLC. That means, we can apply video effects like rotating, adjusting image contrast and brightness and overlaying text or logos. We can’t use audio effects on it for obvious reasons. It would have been cool to have a background audio while the picture slideshow was in action. But that is a feature that remains to be discovered.

14 thoughts to “How to Use VLC as an Image and Photo Slideshow Viewer?”

  1. I used to love VLC player, but the kast few years I have noticed that when i tey and open an image it plays kike a video and after a few seconds it goes away. I remember i used to open and image and the image would just stay there until i closed it, whats the rush VLC? I could then use the right arrow to go to next image in folder but now it just shows one video and rimes iut. I have no idea why and no one seems to be talking about this weird behavior.

    What happened?
    How do i get it to just open an image and chill?

  2. To use a folder with pictures and you want vlc to point to the folder rename all pictures in the folder with extension .mp4.
    you can use a script like in a batch file of from the cmd prompt:
    forfiles /S /M *.gif /C “cmd /c rename @file @fname.mp4”

  3. When I cast my photos to the TV in a slide show, they’re stretched out. Any idea how I can get the pictures to look normal?

  4. I find that not all of my JPG files will show the image… Most maybe but a lot come up black/blank for the display time then the next one might open. These same files open fine with other viewers.
    What I think I like about this slideshow business is that it could be an alternative to Irfanview for viewing pictures AND videos as a slideshow.


  5. i keep getting “VLC could not identify the audio or video codec” when loading jpg files. whats up with this?

    1. Interesting question. The phone app only searches for and lists video and audio files. So, with the phone app, you cannot open photos.

      1. Is there any future intention to add photo display to the android app?

        Fantastic app by the way well done all concerned.


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