Finding Clipart, Images and Visuals for Presentations

Though the BBP method relies heavily on visuals to tell a story and make an impact, finding the right images doesn’t come easy. You could take pictures yourself, but you can’t always capture what you need or the way you need the photo.

Many freeware applications allow you to draw your own images, but who has the time? You have enough to do in creating and practicing your presentation.

Some images that come with a royalty-free destination aren’t necessarily free. Royalty-free just means you can use it many times without pay every time you use the photo. Instead, they might have a one-time only fee. Pay once, use the photo as many times as

Photos with a copyleft (symbol is backwards to copyright indicate the owner of the photo or clipart gives up some or all rights. Many use the Creative Commons licenses, which indicate you can use the image — but with some restrictions, such as attributing the owner.

No fretting needed. Plenty of online resources exist for finding visuals free for your use and re-use. Free also means freely using the images without paying royalties or one-time publishing rights.

Beware the free photos and images site may contain ads and pop ups. But that’s a small nuisance for finding the right images to tell your story without touching the pocketbook. Some might require attributing the owner by including a name and Web URL. Be sure to read the terms of use.

Microsoft has a gallery of clipart, drawings, and photographs available free. Some of the images in Microsoft’s gallery are the same as the ones that come with Microsoft Office. However, the gallery provides more images and you may not want to load all of the pictures from the Office CD. And of course, they work well with Microsoft’s software including PowerPoint.

The following sites contain a decent collection of good or high quality pictures. If you want more, Master New Media has a huge guide of places to find free images and visuals.

  • Stock.xchng ( is what many consider the resource for free stock photography.
  • morgueFile ( is an archive of public images for both and commercial use.
  • Flickr ( has a Creative Commons page explaining how you can use their pictures. The page briefly describes the four Creative Commons licenses.
  • Image * After ( contains over 19,000 images and textures.
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3 Responses to “Finding Clipart, Images and Visuals for Presentations”

  1. Terry Gault says:


    Thanks for the post. This is an issue that I have run into quite a bit in my line of work.

    Let me share my own advice on getting images for power-point, similar to what was said here.

    As noted, finding images for PowerPoint slide shows can be a time consuming process.

    That said, it can be time well spent if you are using PowerPoint correctly, making images and graphics the focus rather than text.

    PowerPoint is misused by the VAST majority of corporate users. Edward Tufte (described by The New York Times as “the Leonardo da Vinci of Data”) believes that PowerPoint is responsible for degrading the effectiveness of corporate presentations. In his words:

    “Rigid slide-by-slide heirarchies, indifferent to context, slice and dice the evidence into arbitrary compartments; producing and anti-narrative with choppy continuity.

    In a sense, we are using a linear, hierarchical, left-brained format to communicate a layered right-brained narrative.

    It’s clear to me now that learning to utilize the right-brained big picture tools of story and metaphor is a requisite to excellent communication.

    Finding the right image to capture a visual metaphor or to tell a story can be a tricky business. That’s why I was very interested in an article in the April issue of Business 2.0, titled, “You Ought To Be In Pictures.” The article focuses on the business of licensing images and lists several image sources.

    There are “The Goliaths”:

    * Corbis
    * Getty

    And “The Davids”:

    * Fotolia
    * Dreamstime
    * Shutterstock

    I would add to that list:

    * Concept Images

    Of course, Google’s image search is a great resource for images but one has to be careful about violating copyright laws, especially for corporate presentations. Also, Google can be far more time consuming as the images are usually not labeled or tagged with the searcher in mind.

    In any case, thanks for the post

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