When you’re prepping your preso and adding those final touches, generic stock images can get the job done, but they’re nothing to write home about – let alone make you sign on a dotted line.

We’re not saying images make or break a presentation, but heck – if there’s an easy way to include epic royalty-free pictures that don’t require a graphic design degree, we’re all for it. So, without further ado – here are our top pic(k)s for picture-sourcing tools that everyone should have in their back pocket.

1. Pexels

Pexels Landing Page

Royalty-free images do not have to equal uninspiring, and Pexels is proof of just that. Pexels offers a wide variety of pictures and videos that are easy to download without creating an account. Each photo and video includes additional information about the number of downloads, shutter speed, dimensions, camera type, editing software, and colours, if applicable. What we like about Pexels is that you can download the picture in its original or per custom size. 

If you’re digging what a specific photographer is doing, you can join the Pexels community for free and follow, collect and share work by that particular photographer or artist.

2. Unsplash

www.unsplash.com landing page

Think of Unsplash as Pexels younger cousin that’s slightly more hip. If you’re not too fussed about video content, Unsplash has your back with images that show generic stock photos of how to do their job right. Although Pexels and Unsplash share some similar images, they’re a powerhouse duo. We recommend using the two interchangeably. What you can’t find on Pexels, you’ll find on Unsplash.. 

3. Flaticon

www.flaticon.com landing page

Sometimes you don’t need a professional photographer. Cue Flaticon. Flaticon is your go-to tool for sourcing and downloading free icons and stickers for your projects. You can even take it up a notch and download animated icons at no additional costs *Insert Missing Link stamp of approval icon here*.

But the real game-changer is that Flaticon allows you to search for icons within ‘packs.’ This means you can search and download icon packs with the same look and feel. If you’re a stickler for continuity, this feature is a must. You’ll need the Pro account if you’d like to download the entire pack at once. Alternatively, you can stick to the free version and simply download the individual icons within the collection. It may take a bit longer, but you’ll save a few bucks.

4. Google Images

Good old trusted Google. Sometimes a quick Google Image search can hit the jackpot. Emphasis on the “sometimes.” The golden rule is to remember that if everyone else is using a picture – don’t use it. Why? Because your audience will take one look and feel as uninspired by it as the millions of other audience members who have also seen it repeatedly. 

Although we’re not major fans of Google images (you’ve been warned), if a sneaky picture has crept into your heart and is an absolute YES, we’re not here to judge, but we will tell you how to use it better. Firstly, you must look for images marked as ‘creative commons.’ This means they’re free to reuse. You can find this under the ‘TOOLS’ > ‘USAGE RIGHTS’ dropdown using Google’s advanced search. 

Secondly, become well-acquainted with the ‘SIZE’ dropdown, also found under ‘TOOLS.’ This helps you find images that aren’t blurry and fit your size specs. 

Google Images Advanced Search Tools

5. Nappy.co

Nappy.co landing page

Let’s be real; most picture-sourcing platforms still have a long way to go regarding including more diversity and people of colour. Nappy.co provides high-res photos of people of colour to startups, brands, agencies, and everyone else. Representation matters, and Nappy.co helps you find images representing everyone, and we’re here for it!

No background? No problem!

You don’t need a course in photoshop to remove that awkward background in your picture. However, if you’d like to remove the background from your image quickly, a simple Google Image Search that includes ‘.png’ in the search phrase does the trick. It tells the Google gods only to deliver results that have removed backgrounds. Alternatively, free tools like Background Remover allow you to upload your picture and remove the background in a click or less, leaving you with a neat cut-out and the freedom to place it anywhere you choose (this could get interesting).

The deck is not the preso; YOU are! 

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that the deck is not the preso. You are. The deck is simply the pictures in a kids’ book – there to add flavour and help your audience remember, but only as valuable as the words and the person saying them. So you’ve got the pictures down, but that only gets you to a certain point. 

Keen to see how you can master the message, prep the preso and stand and deliver in one fell swoop?