Presentation Tip: Finding Free High Quality Images

A key part of a good presentation is finding and using the right images.  The Internet has made this incredibly easy… easy to steal images, that is.  When searching for images, most people go to the search engine of their choice and do an image search.  This makes sense as it is an incredibly easy and intuitive way to find images.  The problem with doing this is that (1) you tend to find a lot of junk, and (2) you are often taking images without regard for copyright and attribution.

There is a better way, however, and the following are some of the resources I use when finding images for presentations:

But first, a bit about Creative Commons…


One thing to look out for when finding images are those that come with a Creative Commons (CC) license.  Individuals that want to share their work and let others reuse it, but still want to put some restrictions on them, use a CC license.  The video below does a great job of explaining how CC works.  The benefit of using CC images is that often times, the individuals that take the extra step to add a license to their images are often the ones uploading higher quality images.

If you go to the Creative Commons Search page, you can do searches through a number of sites, including Flickr, and it will provide you with only CC-licensed images.  The Creative Commons search is also not just limited to images, but you will also find other forms of media including video and audio.

Some Reasonably Priced Stock Images


Using a professional stock image service such as Corbis or Getty Images will often produce results that include pictures that could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. There are a number of good stock image services, however, that provide reasonably priced images that you can buy.  One of my favorites is iStockphoto.  The benefit of using a stock service like iStockphoto is that (1) you pay the artists (nearly) directly, (2) they often have higher quality and a broader range of images, and (3) you can often find series of images that look visually similar (this helps in creating a consistent look/feel in your presentations).  Another little tip for iStockphoto is to check to see if there are coupons before you buy.  UPDATE: iStock was purchased by Getty and their prices have increased substantially. I can’t reccommend it anymore. 😦

Another Resource


This final resource isn’t just about images, per se, but entire presentations from which to draw inspiration.  Slideshare is a site where individuals can upload their slide decks and presentations to share with the world.  Think YouTube for presentations.  It’s a great place to get ideas and some of the uploders even allow you to download, remix, and reuse their content.


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