Creating Effective Visuals for Your Presentation (Webinar Preview)

Presentation expert Nolan Haims talks about creating effective visual for your presentations, how images and text are balanced in a presentation using a new image-first model of designing slides, and places to get stock images from.

Register for the full webinar here: Creating Visual Presentations


Now let’s get into some of the fun stuff. Let’s get into creating effective visuals. Let’s talk about what we see most. What we’ve seen most is the old model. We’ve already seen that a lot. But the old model of presentation is where, and let me know if this sounds familiar, we type, type, type, type, type, type on a slide on the left side. And then, bullet point, bullet point, bullet point. And then we look at the slide and say, “This needs visual interest.” And so you go to Google, you steal an image and you put it on the right side of the slide, right? Well, that’s textual thinking. That’s not the way brains want to operate.

The new model, the far more effective model is, let’s start with an image to explain what we’re trying to communicate, and then if we need text, and we usually do (graphic design is the interplay of text and image), if we need text, we’ll bring it in, but only in a supportive way, to clarify only what people need. That’s the new model. It’s image first. It’s image forward.

If we look at this fairly basic slide here, is it the old model or the new model? It’s the old model, right? It’s text first and then, “Oh yeah, let me go grab an image that says poverty.” But just using what you see right here, how could we redesign this slide to be image first, text second? How could we make it the new model?

It’s very simple. There are lots of ways, but you just take that image and make it the slide, and blow it up so that it becomes image first and then, “Oh yeah. There’s some text here. Oh yeah, that supports the image.” Now by blowing the image up, that communicates first and foremost. We see her feet. We see her hands. She’s holding some money. The image says poverty and the text supports that. And then Procter & Gamble comes in here somewhere, I forget why.

Let’s talk about imagery. I always put this now upfront because when I would put it at the end, people always said, “Yeah, but where do I get imagery?” So let’s talk about it first. Let’s get it out of the way. Where do you source imagery from? Where do you get imagery from? The first place to get imagery from is your own collection, your own corporate or organization’s collection. Ask around. If you have owned imagery — your own products, your own events, even imagery that your company or organization has purchased, stock imagery, and says, “Yeah, you can use this. We have an account, you can use it” — then use that.

But if you want to start playing in the stock world, if you want to start going out to the stock sites yourself, let’s talk about that. You can do it. You have a copy of this, my stock imagery and icon resources. This has a whole bunch of creative resources, even beyond images and icons. There’s PowerPoint templates and infographic sources, all sorts of things. Things are categorized. Every single item is hyperlinked, and I try to keep this updated, because they’re always changing. People are buying each other and new sites come and sites go, but this has everything. And you can always get a new version of it, the current version, from That’s my website. That’s our QR code, if you want it. But go here. It’s everything, from expensive imagery to cheap imagery, to free imagery, and resources, and icons, and fonts, and all sorts of stuff.

Niche imagery, like…there are sites just focused on diversity, where you can get people of color, and there’s a great site called Broadly Gender Photos, if you’re looking for things like that. There’s so much out there. There are sites just for food imagery. You go to and you’ll find a whole bunch of food imagery.

But let’s talk about some of the sites we know and we hear of. Yeah, there’s iStock and there’s Shutterstock. I used to have a subscription to Shutterstock. Now, for the last few years, I’ve gone with iStock. I pay a decent amount of money for it in a year. It’s a cost of doing business for me, but there are all different programs. You can get credits and you get 25 images a month, or 50 a month, or 10 a month and various things. There’s à la carte… Everybody has all these different pricings that you can always choose. Yeah, these are going to cost money, but they’ve got millions and millions of images. And so when I need an old man riding a bicycle in the forest, chances are iStock’s going to have something like that, that I can go get.

But you don’t have to spend a ton there. There are what we call budget stock sites, things like 2020 and Dreamstime where you can get imagery, again, on image packs and different plans. But basically you can get images for just a couple of bucks each, sometimes even less than that. But there are sites where you can get imagery for $0. You can go to one of my favorite sites. Even though I pay for iStock, my favorite site is still Amazing, amazing, well curated, awesome high quality imagery that is completely free. And I go there all the time. I’m not going to find that image of the guy in the bicycle because they don’t have 20, 30 million images, but they have some good stuff. If you just need a sunset, you do not need to pay for that. You do not need to pay Getty or Shutterstock for that. You can get something from Unsplash or other places like Morguefile. Morguefile is a little older, still free, but tends to be maybe a little stocky, or not as elegant.

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