The Photographer’s Guide to Presentation Slide Design

Photography. If I asked you to list all the skills that are necessary to give a good presentation, I would be very certain that photography would not be on your list. Yet with modern presentation styles, knowing how to take a good photograph is just as important as being able to speak to an audience.

Giving presentations is commonly perceived to be all about talking but the moment you decide to illustrate your message graphically (using Powerpoint or Keynote for example), this is where your photographic skills come into play. Images are rapidly replacing text when it comes to getting your message across to your audience. This is taken to extremes by presentation styles such as Pecha Kucha or Ignite but it is also widely used by the “Presentation Zen” fraternity.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to show how to take great photographs and how this relates to good presentation slide design.

As a result of this series you will be able to:

1. Choose which images or photos to use in your presentations – sometimes even the most beautiful photographs won’t be suitable for your presentation, they could too distracting, directing the audience’s attention away from the important information on the slide or from the words that you are speaking.

2. Know how and where to place text on your slides – put words on a screen and your audience will read them but put them in certain positions or direct the audience’s eyes to your text and they will see the words faster.

3. Take great photos – sometimes no matter how much you look through free images or stock photos, there isn’t an image that captures your message perfectly. This leaves you with a dilemma: to use an imperfect image or to change your message. Neither is acceptable. Being able to take great photos means that you can create the perfect image or set of images to match your message and this is how you can elevate your presentations from good to dazzling.

And we all want to dazzle, don’t we?