Using Stock Imagery Like the Pros and Where to Find it!

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 1Image from DeathToTheStockPhoto.com

Before the internet and e-commerce sites, the world of stock photography was an intimidating and wallet-draining world of printed catalogs and rights-managed images with few suppliers— Getty Images and Corbis being the two biggest. Royalty-free imagery that could be bought outright and used in most any situation was a significant advance, although initially, it was still quite costly.

These days, there are hundreds of sources for stock photography at all price levels—even for free—so, you have few excuses for using low resolution, cheesy or outright stolen imagery.

But Wait, Why Do I Have to Pay for Imagery in Presentation Anyway?

Okay, let’s get this issue out of the way. There are many who believe that when it comes to presentation, one has the right to use any image from any source without permission or payment. Well, if you’re a 12-year old making a slideshow to convince your parents that you really deserve a dog, and those slides will never leave the confines of the family room, then I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably okay using anything you can find online, much in the same way that that 12-year old could make a similar collage from cut up magazine photos. But when you start venturing out beyond the family room, things are a bit different.

The fact is that you simply do not have the automatic right to use an image just because you found it on the internet. Photography, like most artistic creations, is generally owned by someone. Yes, there are “Fair Use” cases such as parody, news reporting and educational instances where you might not need to pay to use a normally licensable image, but I’ll leave that determination to you, your lawyers and possibly the courts.

If you are engaged in business and have paid for the hardware and the software to help create a presentation slide, then you are in a position to also pay for stock imagery. And as we’ll see, it does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

Reverse Image Searches

If you find an image on a stock site, that image is for sale. But if you find an image through a Google search, things get murkier. Just because someone else has put up an image on their website, doesn’t mean they have done so legally. Just because an image has been used legally by a news site, doesn’t mean you can take it for your own different use. There are images that are truly free (such as public domain and Creative Commons imagery which we’ll discuss shortly), but most images on the web are owned by someone. The best thing to do is to research the original source or find out if the image is for sale on a stock site by using a reverse image search such as TinEye. A reverse image search will show you everywhere the image is used online, and very often, this will lead you to a place where you can legally license it.

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So, how much will it cost? I’m going to categorize sources for stock imagery into three categories: Expensive, Cheap and Free.

Expensive

“Expensive” is a relative term. It might seem pricey to purchase three images for $1,000, but if those images are used for a huge days-long employee conference costing well into the six figures and become a part of themed title slides, then $1,000 isn’t that much. Spending $2,400 for an annual subscription to Shutterstock may seem like a fortune until you consider that price entitles you to 750 downloads a month. $0.27/image all of a sudden seems quite the bargain.

Into this “Expensive” category, I put sites like Shutterstock, Thinkstock, and iStock. Sites such as these offer subscription plans or image packs (i.e. five downloads for $50) and some like CavanImages do offer a la carte downloads, although this model can get pricey at up to $500 per shot.

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Also in this category are sites for rights-managed imagery such as Getty and Offset, but in general, I would suggest staying clear of this for presentation. Unless you really know what you’re doing, it gets complicated and expensive and is best left to more commercial ventures like advertising.

Budget

The next category down is what I call “Budget” sites. These operate similarly to the “Expensive” sites some with subscriptions, image packs, and a la carte, but at far more discounted rates. At Dreamstime, 123RF and BigStock, you can purchase images for as little as $1 each. Images are $1 at Canva as well, but here you can actually create presentation slides along with banners, posters, and other items.

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What differentiates the above two categories? Mostly quality and choice of imagery. It is possible to find a beautiful professional image at one of the discount sites, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Free

Lastly, we have sources for completely free imagery. MorgueFile is one of the biggest, but you can also find free imagery at FreeImages and FreeRangeStock. EveryStockPhoto is a search engine that helps discover free imagery around the web.

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Some sites also operate on a “freemium” model, giving you access to certain content gratis, and asking payment for other. DeathToTheStockPhoto.com is one such site where you can subscribe and be sent packs of themed images a few times a month (about a dozen in each set), but access the entire historical archive costs $15/month. DeathToTheStockPhoto.com has beautiful, professional imagery that I’ve used, but the downside is that their library is very limited.

Also in the free category is public domain imagery such as the historical archives at The New York Public Library and Library of Congress. And then there is Creative Commons Imagery—content that creators have designated for public use generally with various caveats such as providing attribution. There are multiple levels of CC licenses, and it is still up to you to determine if you are allowed to use the image under the specific CC license. CC imagery can be found via an advanced search at Flickr, at Compfight and Wikimedia.

Stock Imagery Plug-ins for PowerPoint

Using stock imagery in presentation legally has become much easier in recent years. In fact, both Pickit and Shutterstock have created official add-ins for Microsoft Office that allow you to search and insert images all from within Office applications.

Shutterstock-Add-in-BOOKSHOP-768x424 (1)

To see the plug-in in action, take a look at the video below.

Read more about these options here.

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Where Can I Find a List of Stock Imagery Sources?

If you would like a more comprehensive list of sites and resources for stock imagery and other graphic assets, you can download a list from my site PresentYourStory.com after subscribing and getting access to the downloads page.

ABOUT NOLAN HAIMS:

nolan side shotWith more than 20 years’ experience in the field of visual communications, Nolan helps organizations and individuals show up differently and tell better stories with fewer words. Most recently as a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he helped the world’s largest public relations firm consistently win multi-million dollar pitches by communicating more visually. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations, keynote addresses, and pitches for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, top foundations, and all the major television networks. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give presentations that are more effective. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community. In a past life, Nolan was an award-winning magician and juggler and performed with the Moscow Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus before turning to the theater. He directed and wrote professionally, creating stories on stages in New York and around the country.

 

Test Drive: How To Use Pre-sized Templates to Create Graphics

Editors note

Like many of our readers, we have to do presentation design or graphics for our magazine.  With the complex landscape of social media and the lack of standardization, you have to get creative for how you can implement and represent your brand across multiple platforms. Not an easy task.

So take a test drive with us and experience how we created our own branded graphics across branded graphics style and extensions.  We share the steps we took to create banners for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and even the “Editor’s Note” image we created for this article. Using pre-sized templates to create branded banners across platforms is efficient and saves you lots of time (and less gray hair!)

 

For this test drive, we choose to use Canva, an online graphic design platform. They offer a wide range of pre-sized templates, images, and typefaces to choose from. Their drag and drop feature makes it easy to create multiple versions – I like to do that to see visually what I like, and it stimulates others ideas.  So let’s have fun!

I have seen Guy Kawasaki demonstrate Canva and how he uses it at The Presentation Summit in New Orleans and at two other conferences here in the San Francisco Bay area.  His passion and imagination for designs bring alive the power of what you can do. He says, “Canva is democratizing design.” What he means is that Canva is a technology that enables the everyman to do graphic design with customizable templates and industry standard templates for social media and marketing materials   We can now add banners to our social media profiles.  But creating them is simple and easy to do.  That is where the power of Canva shows how smart their technology is.

First, they have already built custom layouts for each social media platforms with the “correct” sizes for each.  All you have to do is customize it for your brand.  First, you choose your platform, and the size is correct for where you need it – no more trying to figure it out in PowerPoint or opening a huge project file in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Just select the specific banner you will need for your social media account and start designing:

SFcanva 1

Putting Canva to the Test:

I selected the Instagram banner so I could create the “Editor’s Note” graphic at the top of this article. Let me explain how I created it.  First, I found the graphic image I wanted to use on Big Stock.

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Next, I uploaded the graphic to the template then added two lines of text to make it mine.  I also played around with some sizes and layouts that I thought would be additional options:

editors note option 2

And then I decided to use a different layout and by using a variety of fonts to personalize it –

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It was easy to do, and it looks very professional. You can drag and drop individual elements so you can find the right formula for what your design goals are.

How we used Canva-designed banners in our social media:

We also used Canva to create PresentationXpert’s social media banner. We created a brand for the social media look then we implemented across all the social media platforms.

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One of the features that made it easy to create banners for Twitter, Google+, Facebook and others. Check them out below:

Sharyn G= Presentatoinxpert

PXpert Google+ Page

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Twitter Banner and Profile

In creating some these banners, I discovered that Canva offers a “magic resize” option which offers you an easy way to create different size and type banners for different projects. It is as simple as clicking a few buttons and “Abracadabra – Resize!”. You can remix and reuse your design project by accessing them in your library.

This is just one example of a “How To” tip I found on Canva’s website and their wealth of resources and idea books to get you started. They offer several “design school” online courses that are great primers for designers. You can definitely enhance your skill set with some of their well-executed ideas.

How does Canva fit with PowerPoint?

emma bannisterGood question.We asked Presentation Studio’s Emma Bannister, who is a member of Canva Experts Design Community. Their members are leaders in the design industry who are passionate about Canva and committed to changing the way we think about design. Here is her viewpoint:

“The presentation layouts in Canva are simple and contemporary. It’s super-easy to click and drag to create professional looking designs. Utilize the numerous royalty free templates (see terms and conditions) or simply using them to kick-start your creativity. All you have to do is change the text to suit your needs! Editing of imagery is simple and efficient (think Instagram). Once your presentation is complete, share finished files via email or social media. Plus you can download a print quality PDF – perfect for hosting your presentations on slideshare.com.

Canva isn’t PowerPoint or Prezi. If you want animation or interactive presentations you won’t find it here. You can’t drag files into PowerPoint. Your only option of reusing assets is to save as a PDF and import the art files into illustrator and then reconvert. Not something I would suggest – why would you need to?

Yet Canva is a great resource for Infographics and typography layouts. If you’re a designer and know what you’re doing, Illustrator has more professional features. But for the everyday user who just needs an idea, and simple tools to create layouts Canva provides so many solutions. Just take a template, and follow your nose!”

Thanks, Emma!  In my opinon, Canva is a great compliment to PowerPoint or any other design platform. The only limit is your imagination.

 

About Sharyn Fitzpatrick:

The Presentation Summit 2013Sharyn has been part of the PresentationXpert team since June 2012.  She is the host and produces all of our webinars in addition to her new duties as editor.  Her journalism background, her love of design and technology gives her a passion for anything to do with presentations.  In addition to PresentationXpert, Sharyn is the Chief Marketing and Webinar Guru at Marcom Gurus which she started the agency in 2000 and is known as the “Webinar Chick” online.  Email her at sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com. Follow her on Twitter, @PXpert and @themarcomguru.

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