Improve your image: Get 1000s of free photos for your PowerPoint presentations

Did you know you can find 1000s of
great free photos for your slides –
without even leaving PowerPoint?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve used this method to get 2500 high-quality photos for free. For instance, here’s a photo I used for an Ignite talk I gave recently:

Find images that work so well together, people will think you hired a graphic designer!

In this post you’ll quickly find out how to get numerous photos that are as crisp and useful as that, including ways to find images that work so well together, people will think you hired a graphic designer! You might be surprised where you can get all the photos, though…

You’ll find them by choosing Insert > Clip Art, even though clip art (the cartoon-like variety) rightly has a bad name, so most writers (like Garr Reynolds and Olivia Mitchell) advise against using it. But the Clip Art button in PowerPoint gives you access to more than just traditional clip art.

To find only photos, click Insert then Clip Art and then choose just the selected option shown here: (Click image to enlarge)

Then, type a word in the Search for box and click Go.

Near the bottom of the Clip Art pane, you’ll also find a Clip art on Office Online link. There are 2 good reasons to use that link when you want to search for photos:

  • It gives you a bigger window to work in than the Clip Art pane.
  • When you click a photo on Office Online, you can look for similar shots by clicking either of the See similar images links (highlighted below):

Find photos that go well together, or that follow a theme – or tangents to it!

That’s great for finding photos that go well together, or that follow a theme – or tangents to it! For instance, having searched for “wolf”, clicking See similar images finds lots of wintery scenes: (Click the coloured link above to try it yourself)

When you’re on Office Online, my last tip is to choose View > Full Screen from your browser’s menu (or press F11). That hides the menus and toolbars, giving you more room to see the photos. (And when you’re finished using Full Screen view, just press F11 again.)

Use photos to really engage your audience during your Q&A session near the end of your talk

To see some examples of photos used in presentations, check out this overview of the FiRST framework, and these examples of looping slides for use before a webinar and of an audience-oriented “graphical agenda” slide. Another use of photos is to really engage your audience during your question-and-answer session near the end of your talk, with a technique I call Stop Q&A hypnosis.

To see great ways to format your photo slides, also visit Learn 4 pro slide layouts – in 2 minutes.

Over to you

  • To what extent do you use photos on your slides?
  • Where do you get the photos?
  • How much do you expect to pay?
  • Any tips to share with other readers?
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2 thoughts on “Improve your image: Get 1000s of free photos for your PowerPoint presentations

  1. I am a volunteer working with Nancy Carst, bereavement coordinator for the Akron Children’s Hospital Palliative Care Center in Akron, OH. She is presenting on a national webinar in November and the card ministry that she began has been granted an Ignite spot during the webinar. It is a webinar on Grief and Compassion for Parents. We need some photos to help tell her story – an angel, some beautiful shots of sunrise or sunset for parts that describe how we provide support after a child passes. Thank you

    • Thanks for your comment Marie. If you click the links below, you’ll find several photos on Office Online that might be suitable. The links show what photos are available through PowerPoint for each of these 2 keywords:

      I hope the webinar goes well. The 5-minute Ignite format’s a really good way to give an overview of a topic. I’ve not seen it used in a webinar before, but I’d say it should be well-suited to that medium.

      (For people who aren’t familiar with Ignite, it involves showing each slide for just 15 seconds, and there are always 20 slides. So those restrictions help presenters to focus keenly on their core message, and to present it succinctly, both of which are great for the audience of course.)

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