"D" is for Detail [Great Pictures]

"D" is for Detail [Great Pictures]

Attention to detail is important for adding that well polished look to your talk. Three of the most common mistakes I see made in presentations with pictures is the use of:

1) Poor quality images (pixellated)

2) Inappropriate choices of pictures (such as cheesy clipart)

3) Pictures simply grabbed from google - without regard for copyright or appropriate crediting.

If you were performing a research project you would want to use good quality sources, use the right methodology and would avoid plagiarism - so the same ideas also apply to our use of images in presentations.

1. High Quality Image Sources

Although there are plenty of websites which can sell good quality images for a fee (such as shutter stock and Getty images) - the beauty of creative commons is that there are also many which allow access to high resolution images for free! Some of these even use the Creative Commons zero license which means there is no obligation to credit artists and pictures can even be used for commercial purposes (although they do appreciate it if you do credit/contribute).

These are six of my favourite sites for finding pictures:

a) Pixabay: www.pixabay.com or Pexels: www.pexels.com - two large multi-source picture repositories

Pros: Hosts an easy to search collection of images (some of which are drawn from unsplash, gratisography and Flickr).

Cons: You sometimes need to be creative with your search terms. Pexels appears to have slightly better curated image collection and a slightly nicer page layout, however Pixabay tends to have a few more options.

b) Unsplash: www.unsplash.com

Pros: Creative Commons zero collaboration of photographers. Beautiful, high resolution large pictures, best strengths are landscape photography and clean look workplaces but also feature pictures of people and popular themes such as adventure or business.

Cons: Few medical specific images however with a bit of creativity, you can use pictures to represent people in case studies or to illustrate a theme or provide a background image for your text.

c) Flickr Creative Commons: www.flickrcc.net

Pros: Really large database of images to draw from. You can find pictures to demonstrate most ideas or themes. Also nice that there are contributors from all over the world.

Cons: Not all these pictures have the same Creative Commons license. You should click through to the source link on Flickr to see whether adaptations are allowed and what crediting requirements there are.

d) New Old Stock: http://nos.twnsnd.co

Pros: Great historical black and white or colour pictures free from known copyright restrictions. This site is great if you want to add a beautiful old-time flavour to your presentation or talk about a concept with historical origins. 

Cons: Few medical specific pictures

e) Freepik: www.freepik.com

Pros: This site hosts vectors (scalable graphics), icons and textures/backgrounds in additional to photographs.

Cons: The site layout includes advertising banners and to access the "no attribution" option you would have to pay for premium subscription - although it is not expensive at $10/month if you intend to use this as your primary resource for images.

When inserting good quality images - always make sure to run through your PowerPoint in "display" mode at the end so that you can make sure that the images do not appear blurry or need substitution.

2. Choosing Appropriate Pictures

Although it can be tempting to use every fantastic picture you find - it's a good rule of thumb to run through your presentation graphics and ask yourselves if the picture is likely to highlight your point appropriately or if it will be a distraction/unnecessary addition.

Often people like to include joke pictures and comics in their presentations - it can be helpful to include moments of humour in your talk - but I would suggest that such pictures or comics have their own slide allocated to them. Also, if you are to use them these jokes should be related to the topic and there needs to be a pause in your talk to give the audience a moment to digest the joke before continuing to talk. 

Some professional 'stock photos' can come out looking like samplers from a pharmaceutical brochure or a toothpaste advertisement. Generally I steer clear from these as they can make a talk look quite generic or reduce the sense of realism about a topic. A general rule of thumb is to trust your gut instinct about whether the pictures you are looking at fit this category.

3. Pictures without accreditation

Lack of appropriate accreditation and copyright breech is a serious issue in the creative/design/photography industry. We appreciate receiving respect from others. Just imagine that every time you copy an image off google or another source without appropriately crediting it, you are stepping on someone's toes. Ouch! That's not very nice at all - and in fact if you are unlucky, you could be pursued for breech of copyright.

It should also be noted that there are also some relaxations in use of copyrighted material under the terms of 'fair use' for commentary, criticism, research and teaching or purposes presumed to serve the general public interest. Also in Australia this protection has been extended to parody or satire in some court cases as well. At the end of the day - if you are concerned or in doubt - just take it out and look for alternative solutions.

So there you have it, three of my key tips for sourcing pictures for slides :).

This is part of a 26-part series I'm doing on an "Alphabetical Adventure in Slide Design"


"E" is for Engaging

"E" is for Engaging

"C" is for Colour [Palettes & Hex codes]

"C" is for Colour [Palettes & Hex codes]