In my previous posting, I discussed how to save, crop and resize image files.
But where can you find images – photographs, logos, graphics – that illustrate your subject and match the theme of your presentation?
Google Image Search
An obvious place to start is with a simple Google search and select ‘Images’ from the top menu bar. This is a fast way to find images on any topic. But the big danger is the copyright ownership of almost all images. Google warns:
The images displayed in a Google Image Search may be protected by copyright, so we can’t grant you the right to use them for any purpose other than viewing them on the web. If you’d like to use images from our image search, we suggest contacting the site’s webmaster to obtain permission.
So be aware, just saying “Picture copyright XYZ” does not cover you.
Assuming you needs images which are not just for your personal use, but for slides which will be shown to an audience, it’s not worth the risk grabbing one from Google or the trouble of asking the sites webmaster for permission.
Your own photographs
Don’t overlook the obvious. Use pictures you’ve taken with your own digital camera or a still from a Flip video. Manipulate them by cropping, resizing and saving to your computer.
I took this picture in a market in Laos and I’m just waiting for the right moment to use it as a the background for a title slide.
Flickr is an awesome image hosting and video hosting website, now owned by Yahoo!. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. In September 2010, it reported that it was hosting more than 5 billion images. It has very clear guidelines on copyright for the images. Many of images are made available under the Creative Commons license. To find these, choose [Advanced Search] and check box near the bottom of the screen ‘Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content’
The cleanest Creative Commons license is the simple ‘Attribution’ which gives express permission to use an image if you give attribution to the owner – usually by inserting their name from Flickr under the photo. It could also be included in a closing frame in a video. If you are planning to deliver in a business setting, be aware of the ‘Non-Commercial’ limitation.
Here’s a great photo of a statue of Benjamin Franklin which I’ve attributed to the photographer:
Hint: Compfight is a great tool for speeding up your Flickr searches. Be sure to set ‘Creative Commons = only’ to the right of the search bar.
There’s a number of stock photography sites. istockphoto.com is my favorite. The images cost $1-2 each and include rights to reproduce for commercial or non-commercial purposes without attribution. There’s a wide range of photographs and graphic illustrations. This photo of Ben Franklin on the $100 bill came from istockphoto.
I make use of Lightboxes to save multiple pictures for a project, and email Lightbox contents for review by colleagues. While you are spec’ing out a project you can download a ‘Comp’ version – a low-res image with the istockphoto watermark embedded. These work as placeholders in your PowerPoint slides to see if they look right.
Once you decide to purchase simply buy some credits and then download the images you like. You’ll only need to download the smallest size available (the one with the minimum number of credits) which work fine for PowerPoint or blogs.
I’ve just given a couple of examples from the sources I use. Garr Reynolds has an extensive list of inexpensive and free sites, with many more suggestions in the comments to his original posting. Presentation magazine also lists sites. Some of the commercial stock photo sites like Getty can be quite expensive. Oliver at Rethink Presentations has a useful comparison table which includes pricing information.