Presentation Q&A: Finding Images For Your Presentation

Image: Eric Wüstenhagen (Flickr)

Question: Where can I find images to use in slides?

Answer: When looking for images for your slides you need to consider the following factors:

  • How much do they cost?
  • Are they good quality? 
  • Do you have permission to use them?
  • Will other people use the same image for another message?

Clip art

  • Cost: Free. Clipart images come with Powerpoint so no cost involved.
  • Permission: Full Permission
  • Quality: Mixed, the images are different sizes and not all of them will be of sufficient quality to fill the whole screen.
  • Uniqueness: Since the same set of images comes with every version of Powerpoint there is the risk that everyone will be using the same images and so your images will not have a unique association just for your message.
  • Disadvantages: A lot of Clip-art is seen to be cheesy or unprofessional. 


Stock photography

  • Cost: Varied. It depends on the Stock photography site so allow you to buy images for as little as $1 while others could charge $50-$100 for each image.
  • Permission: Full Permission
  • Quality: Good quality, usually with a lot of stock photography sites, you pay more the larger the image is. There is also a wide range of images available, Much more than you’d get with ClipArt.
  • Uniqueness: Here too since a lot of companies will buy their images from stock photography sites, there is also a risk of everyone buying the same perfect image and thus your image may not have the impact of being uniquely associated with your message.
  • Disadvantages: Some stock photography can be a bit posed or fake looking i.e. people in business meetings smiling and looking interested in presentations and can seem a bit cheesy.


Free images

  • Cost: Free.
  • Permission: While it is very easy to find images on the web with tools like Google Search, it isn’t always easy to know if you have permission to use the image. Use sites like Flickr or CompFight and search using their Creative Commons search, this allows you to search through images that you are allowed to use.
  • Quality: Variable. A lot of photos on sites like Flickr are by amateurs so they may not be as good quality as the professional photos on Stock Photography sites, though there are a lot of very good quality images there to use.
  • Uniqueness: With some many images on sites like Flickr, there is much less chance that someone else will use the same image as you in their slides.


Your own photos 

  • Cost: Free.
  • Permission: You own them, you can use them as you wish.
  • Quality: This depends on you. If you can take photos that meet your requirements, are not blurred and of sufficient quality then use them.
  • Uniqueness: Totally unique, no-one has the exact same photo as you. This can be useful if you know exactly what images you need for your slides, you can go out and take those photos