How to select the best photos for slide backgrounds

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Welcome to the Presentation Hacks: Using Photos in PowerPoint video series! In these lessons, a Duarte designer shares some of the fundamental tools of using photos in PowerPoint.

The best PowerPoint presentations have visuals. Why? Because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, which means you can paint a picture for an audience much faster, with actual photos in PowerPoint.

So often, photos in PowerPoint are used in a way that is distracting to a presenter’s message. 

Whether the photo is too large, doesn’t fit your brand guidelines, or doesn’t contain enough negative space—imagery can play a big role in determining whether your message sticks, or ultimately slips from memory.

To help people better understand how to use photos in PowerPoint effectively, we created a series of YouTube video hacks. In these lessons, a Duarte designer shares some of the fundamental tools of using photos in PowerPoint. 

These are tricks our designers use every day when creating presentations for some of the world’s largest companies. But the best part is, they’re really simple to learn today, and implement in presentations you create every day.

In this first free video lesson, we share the guidelines we follow when selecting the best photos in PowerPoint for slide backgrounds—especially if we’re trying to layer text on top of photos.

Follow these three basic rules when selecting photos for slide backgrounds:

  1. Source low contrast photos
  2. Choose a photo that’s mostly dark or mostly light, not in between
  3. Make sure there’s lots of negative (white) space

You can find royalty free stock photos for free using these sites:

  1. Picjumbo: 
  2. Media Bakery: 
  3. Pexels: 
  4. Unsplash: 
  5. Death to Stock: 

Explore all of the videos in this series:

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Illustrated by Rico Larroque

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