Preparing Picture Perfect Presentations by Sheila B Robinson

Greetings dear readers! I’m Sheila B Robinson, AEA365 Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a few more tips on preparing presentations.

Finding the right photo to illustrate a concept is challenging. You probably already know to avoid cheesy stock photos but of course, we don’t all agree on what is cheesy – well, except for a few: shaking hands to show collaboration; a dartboard to illustrate goals; and those squishy looking marshmallow no-faced cartoon people. Please don’t use these!

Hot Tip: Where do you find good photos for your presentations? A google search of “free stock photos” returns nearly 90 million results, and new sites emerge all the time. Getty Images is the cream of the crop and if you have a substantial budget, you can get the most stunning photography here.

Hot Tip: Think about inclusivity when it comes to photographs of people. I love this quote from Representation Matters, one of the recommended sites below: “Traditional stock photography sites offer images that almost always feature young, thin, white, able-bodied people. Does that really reflect the dizzyingly diverse array of people we see around us every day…?” And so, my list of favorite photo sites includes ones that specifically focus on diverse groups.

Rad Resource: My favorite (mostly free) photo sites (in alpha order):

Lessons Learned:

1.) Each site works differently.  Each features a different number of photos from a few hundred, to a few hundred thousand, and some tend to take a little longer to explore and sift through (e.g., Flickr) than others. Some feature more landscapes and architecture than people (e.g., Unsplash) and one (Librestock) is an aggregator that searches other photo sites.

2.) Obtaining and using stock photos (and icons). Many have free photos available as well as paid ones, and subscription options. Two important points to keep in mind are:

  • “Royalty-free” does not mean the photograph is free to you. Read up on what this concept means.
  • Each of these sites feature photos or icons with different types of licenses (e.g., Creative Commons) and parameters for use. Some allow manipulation of the photo, while others do not. Some allow for commercial use while others do not. Each site has a place where you can read about these to understand use and attribution requirements. You must give attribution where it is required!

Coming Soon! A new Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) tool and webpage with more extensive guidance on finding and using pictures in presentations  are currently in development and will be available later this fall!

Do you have a favorite photo site not on this list? Add a link in the comments and tell us why it’s your favorite!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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