Presentation Design Masterclass: Using Images

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Hello there! Welcome to the 5th module of Nicework’s Presentation Design Masterclass. So far, we’ve covered presentation planning, document setup, fonts and colours. Today, we’re looking at images – how they can be used to enhance your narrative, and how to go about selecting the right ones. Stick around until the end of the post – we’ve also got a free downloadable pack of beautiful presentation-ready images to get you started.


When it comes to presentations, images are often left for last. However, when planning your narrative and direction, it’s good to keep in mind that some concepts are best expressed with an image, graphic or video.

Imagery should be selected to expand and connect to the your big idea, so choosing images that are applicable and relevant is very important. Don’t overdo it, though – you do not need an image on every slide just for the sake of having one. Rather focus on what would best drive your point across in the simplest and most complete manner possible.

Why your imagery is vital


Imagery can forge a greater understanding of a complex topic, and bring clarity to even the most elaborate story. People also respond to imagery on an emotional level and connect more strongly to visual cues than they do to text. Consequently, images create a more memorable and impactful experience for your audience.

What resolution is and why it matters


Choosing the right image dependent not only on finding something with the right subject matter, but by making sure you choose an image with the right practical specifications. Even the most beautiful of images, when scaled up to large, will distort and “break” leaving you with an unprofessional looking presentation.

The best way to ensure that the images you source are top quality images to to look at their resolution, file size and clarity.


The amount of pixels per inch in an image. The higher the resolution, the less “blocky” the image is, allowing for crisper visual quality.

File Size

The size in megabytes on your computer, which usually gives you a clear understanding of the quality of the image and whether or not it will be a good fit. There are exceptions, but most of the time if an image’s file size is one megabyte or more, it’s big enough for your presentation.


Not something that is measured by the computer, but rather something you can tell by eye. Are the lines clear, or has the image pixelated or blurred?



For presentations and other media, its ALWAYS better to have larger resolution images as it allows you to crop the image differently and gives you the ability to use the image across other platforms or in future.

If you would like to print that presentation as well as using it digitally, then it’s very important that you select high resolution images. If you start with top quality images then you’ll ensure that you are safe for the future should the need to print.

Alternatives to stock images


One of the biggest problems with stock photo websites and stock images in general, is that they are often cliché and not very emotive, often displaying the most literal interpretation of a concept. This means that stock images often lack the the necessary emotive appeal that should captivate your audience.

Finding more natural-looking imagery can be tricky if you don’t know where to look, which is why we’ve compiled a lovely little list of emotive (and free) stock image sites for you use to use when building your presentation.

Keep in mind, of course, that the best images are ones that are unique to your company, people and product. That will be what makes your presentation unique, so investing in a photographer every so often to come in and capture your products, people and locations can give you a wealth of imagery for years to come.

Collecting images and building an archive throughout the year also ensures that you are less stressed when it comes to building presentations with tight deadlines.


One of my personal favourites, PicJumbo provides one quality free photo every day. Totally free photos for commercial and personal use. Subscribe to get the new ones sent to you weekly.

Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock Photo requires you to sign up (free) – then you’ll have high quality photos sent directly to your email every month.  They offer some incredible images.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock, created by Cole Townsend, publishes vintage photos from the Public Archives that are free of known copyright restrictions.


Pixabay has an almost overwhelming number of images – browse through the Editor’s Choice  section to find the ones that stand out from the rest.

To get your library started, we’ve put together a pack of 35 beautiful all-purpose images, 100% royalty-free. You’re welcome! Just hit the gigantic yellow button below. You can’t miss it.

Have you been enjoying this course? In our next module later this week, we’ll be talking about charts and graphs – when they’re needed, the practical side of creating them in PowerPoint, and how to get them looking beautiful. See you then!

Published by Ross

Ross grew up on the wrong side of the Jukskei. He studied at Vega and was awarded the Top Student prize at his graduation. After working as a freelancer for four years, he founded Nicework with Ben Vorster. He has a penchant for Scandinavian wood furniture and really nice shirts. He is open to bribery- all iPads are welcome. He also likes chocolate cake and is happily married.

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