1 of 27

Slide Notes

The use of images can greatly enhance your talk, but it's not as easy as just putting up a picture instead of words.

Images have their own syntax. They require a clarity of message, and an understanding of perspective and placement. In a presentation, how an image will relate to the text on the slide is also important.

Here are my tips for using images well in your next talk.

Enjoy.

How To Effectively Use Images In Your Next Talk

Published on Aug 04, 2016

Images can enhance your talk, but it's not as easy as just putting up a picture instead of words. Like a good wordsmith, effective use of images requires thought, a clarity of message, and an understanding of how the image will relate to the text on the slide. Here are my tips for using images well in your next talk.

Enjoy.

PRESENTATION OUTLINE

Presentation

How to use images in your
The use of images can greatly enhance your talk, but it's not as easy as just putting up a picture instead of words.

Images have their own syntax. They require a clarity of message, and an understanding of perspective and placement. In a presentation, how an image will relate to the text on the slide is also important.

Here are my tips for using images well in your next talk.

Enjoy.

Visual Metaphor

Ignite thinking with a
Photo by djwtwo

EMOTION

Convey
Photo by Robby Ryke

ACTION

Inspire
Photo by kriddick1908

LAUGHTER

Spark

THAT CAN RUIN A PRESENTATION

But it's not just bulletpoints
Photo by matthileo

Visuals can be distracting too

When presenting important information with slides, it's all about the signal to noise ratio: loud or busy images with no connection to the idea being conveyed is just noise.
Photo by neofob

Impact

While some slides need
If the image on a slide is meant to convey an idea itself a bold image that conveys the idea can be front and center.
Photo by Thomas_Cat

Simplicity

Others need
Not all ideas need to be represented by an image. Some core concepts benefit from a simple clean background without an image causing distraction.

Text only slides give your audience a break, and when used at the right moment, slides like this can have a visual impact all their own.

For Big Ideas

Reduce the visual noise

Humans can only visually focus on one thing at time. It's tempting to present a big idea with a big loud background slide. In fact the opposite can be much more effective.
Photo by VinothChandar

NEGATIVE SPACE

By choosing images with
If you do use an image to support a slide with important text, consider one with plenty of negative space like this one to keep distractions to a minimum.

The image can even be placed to draw your eye to the text as in this case rather than pull your focus away.
Photo by daspader

SOFT FOCUS

Or with
Images do not always have to have meaning, but can suggest a mood or support the text in an abstract way. Soft focus or blurred images force the eye back to the text rather than draw it away.
Photo by B Tal

When Framing Your Image

Framing is an important skill when using images. How you place the image on the slide can dramatically change the impact or meaning of the image.

Compare this series of sunflower slides...
Photo by dave.see

Think Big

Images like landscapes where the points of focus are far away (as in the last slide) have less impact. Consider reducing the visual noise increasing the impact of your image by tightening the focus.
Photo by Andreas Helke

Remember

And
Photo by a4gpa

Placement Matters

Studies of human responses to images have shown that having a slide off center with the focus to one side is more appealing to the human eye.
Photo by vale ♡

Rule of Thirds

Use the rule of thirds:

Divide up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, then position the important elements in your image along those lines, or at the points where they meet.
Photo by colemama

Matters

Where you place the text also
Where you place the text matters. Text can enhance the meaning of the image or obscure it...
Photo by ericmay

Perspective

Keep text & image in
Make sure the relationship between the text and the image support the idea being conveyed.
Photo by ericmay

Keys to Success

Avoid being too literal
Images chosen by pulling out a key word from the slide to hang a visual image on can leave your message flat by making it all one note.

The Message

Instead choose images that add something to
Instead focus on the message. What idea do you want people to take away from the slide.

The human mind delights in variety and flavor. Don't miss an opportunity to take your message to a higher level by forgetting about trying to match the image to the text.
Photo by cjmartin

THOUGHTFULLY

Choose your images
With so many choices it can be hard to edit. When in doubt simplify and focus on the message not the image or the text.
Photo by Julien Haler

A LONG WAY

And they will carry your presentation
Photo by LukeDetwiler

Untitled Slide

It's over go home...

Your still here?
But if you want more check out these references. I have no affiliation or financial interest in any of these....

Check out this article at 99u.com:
http://99u.com/articles/7039/how-to-create-a-captivating-presentation

Check out these tips from presentation design wonks Ethos3.com
https://www.ethos3.com/2016/07/how-to-spot-a-bad-stock-photo/

Presentation Zen author Garr Reynolds has a selection of before and after slides here:

http://www.slideshare.net/garr/sample-slides-by-garr-reynolds