Updated: Aug 24
A picture is worth a thousand words, and there is nothing like a well-chosen image to make an impression during a presentation, wether it's on PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides.
Pictures can bring emotion to a presentation, while words are more about cold messages and good old facts. To achieve the most results, you should be using both together. Granted, but where to find some great images?
Of course you can always type something in your web search engine, but there are at least 4 issues with that:
Quality: because they bring pictures from all over the web, search engines like Google and Bing also show a lot of garbage, poor-quality pictures. You don't want that for your presentation, because it will just look terrible especially if the slides are presented on a large screen.
Format: some of the pictures you can find in your browser cannot be downloaded, or cannot be read by some presentation software because the format is not supported.
Copyright: maybe the most important here. Using pictures from random Internet sources expose you (or your firm) to lawsuit for copyright infrigement. Ouch. Believe me, you don't want to be sued just for using an image in your slides.
Inspiration: this is also a crucial aspect. Sometimes it's better to let yourself be inspired by nice pictures, rather that type something specific in your browser and download the first thing that shows up.
Because of these reasons, you can and you should use stock pictures from websites that will provide inspiring, high-quality, compatible, and copyright-free pictures.
So here we are listing a few websites where you can find such pictures for your presentations, that should help you make an impression wether you use PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides.
1) Power-user + Pexels (FREE): millions of pictures directly in PowerPoint (not available on Keynote or Google Slides)
Pexels is one of the most famous stock pictures websites out there. It hosts one of the biggest libraries of images, with probably millions you can use to make any presentation stand out.
Pictures are imported from a large community of photographers around the world, as well as from several sources of free pictures. It's good to know that Pexels also has some nice free stock videos.
Pictures are free to use, both for personal or commercial projects, and are not required to credit the photographers when using photos from Pexels. You are also allowed to edit and modify the photos. Oh, and you don't need to create an account.
Pexels offers an API that allows third-party applications to access their vast library. This is great for presentation designers, because it means that you can now browse those pictures without even leaving your presentation!
You can use the Power-user add-in to browse the entire Pexels library from PowerPoint. It's highly efficient for 3 reasons:
You don't need to leave PowerPoint at all and waste time browing on the Internet
Pictures are directly inserted on your slide, so you don't need to download them on your computer then insert them in PowerPoint
Pictures can be inserted with a choice of sizes pre-optimized for PowerPoint, to cover the entire slide, to take the slide height or the slide width, etc.
Pictures are 100% free! Attribution is not required and you can edit the pictures as you like.
Aside from the pictures, it's good to know that you will find thousands of visual assets with Power-user (not all included in the free version though):
500 beautiful templates for PowerPoint
6,000 vector icons
250 maps that can be colored basedo on Excel data
Powerful charts such as Waterfall, Mekko, Sankey, Tornado or Gantt
A logo search engine
... as well as great features such as an Agenda builder and many formatting tools
2) Shutterstock (Premium)
Shutterstock is a global provider of high-quality licensed images, videos and music. Content is produced by a community of contributors and then distributed to end-users through the marketplace.
Shutterstock was founded in New York in 2003 and is now one of the main players on the web for stock photos, with over 100,000 contributors and 200 million assets!
Intially based on a subscription model, Shutterstock assets can now be purchased a la carte, giving you more flexibility to get only some pictures for a specific projet or presentation.
There are different license type, so make sure you choose the appropriate one for the usage you need.
It is especially appropriate for business-related presentations, since it hosts more quality content about business than any other website.
3) Unsplash (Free)
Unplash is a free website for photos, where a community of over 100,000 contributors freely share their creations.
Contrary to Shutterstock, it is less business-related but more artistic-minded.
The Unsplash license is similar to Creative Commons CC0 license, except it does not allow to compile pictures from Unplash on a competing website or to re-sell unlatered copies of photos from Unplash.
But you are fully allowed to copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. So yeah, you can do pretty much anything with them.
4) Pikwizard (Free)
Pikwizard has a smaller library than some of the other websites here, but it's still 100,000 pictures completely free with no attribution required. These pictures look great and Pikwizard has many photos of people, which can be rare on other free stock photo websites.
Also, one of the key elements differentiating Pikwizard from other stock websites, is that it has an online picture editor (called Design Wizard) that allows you to make some simple editions like adding overlay text or shapes on pictures and videos.
5) iStock (Premium)
iStock is one of the mayor players on stock photos, and started back in 2000. Like the others, it is based on a community of contributors who share their content and get a percentage of the fee in return.
iStockphoto has one of the largest database of pictures and even 250,000 videos. Stock assets can be purchased with 1 to 3 credits, each credit costing from $10 down to much less, depending on the volume and subscription plan.