Photos can be added as background images to PowerPoint slides. This works best if you use the same image on every slide. It gives consistency to the presentation.
Tip : if you are changing to a different topic in the presentation, it can be helpful to also change the background photo. This acts as an alert to your audience that you are now talking about something different.
Ideally, the photo needs to have its brightness and contrast adjusted so that text shows clearly over the top. The photo should not dominate the slide.
It is best to keep the photo's original size (i.e., do not crop it). Use a graphics program to remove or hide any “extra” objects you do not want to appear. For example, a power pole that looks as if it is growing out of someone’s head, power lines, a plane overhead, etc.
Photos that are landscape orientation work best, since Powerpoint slides are usually landscape oriented. Photos that do not fit are resized automatically. This may affect proportions. A photo with portrait orientation will be stretched horizontally.
Photos that are 640x480 pixels work well. Also photos from the Internet that are designed to use as Windows desktop wallpaper. Check copyright restrictions before using these in a presentation. If they include text on the photo, leave it in place (for example, the URL where the photo is located, or the photographers name).
Another way to use photos in Powerpoint is to create a self-running show. The show consists of a series of photos.
You can include several photos on each page, or one per page. You may wish to include graphic animation, wordart, clipart and other effects as well. Set timings to be Automatic, every 7 seconds (or so). Choose to Loop continuously to end.
See below for a step-by-step procedure for creating a photographic slideshow.
These photos can be on the theme of the presentation, different views of your company’s building, staff hard at work, or landscapes (nature, dolphins, sunsets, forests, gardens, etc.).
Run this slideshow as people are turning up to the presentation. When you are ready to start your "real" presentation, stop this slideshow by pressing Esc.
Another use for these slideshows is at a trade show. It may be showcasing your products by showing photos and providing information, prices, ordering details, etc. I have seen these displayed at trade shows and in the window of real estate agents. If you have seen something similar, maybe you can improve on their efforts <smile>.
Create a Photographic Slideshow
This is only one method. There are other ways of approaching this. The method offered below will get you started. After creating the show, you may want to make your own changes or additions.
The first step is to decide on the topic of the photos. It may relate to the topic of the main part of the presentation. Or it may be a series of relaxing photos of a rainforest, sunsets, dolphins, flowers, or other nature themes. These tend to have a calming effect on your audience. It may also serve to draw their attention to the screen rather than chatting to each other <smile>.
Other suggestions are:
- Photos from one professional photographer.
- Photos of products from your company.
- Photos of your work area, where the project was completed.
- Results of the project, if these can be graphically represented.
- Photos from the past, all taken in the same year or decade, to show how things have changed. This can include computers, city scenes, fashions, advertisements, or even magazine covers.
- Staff members who worked on the project you are talking about.
- A series of funny photos – animals, or people.
- Photos with an “oil painting” effect applied, using a graphics program. You may want to then add a frame around them, and even a couple of lines to represent the string they are hanging by.
Do not be afraid to mix black & white with colour photos. Or modify your photos so half of them is in black & white and the other half in colour. Another option is the black & white version on one page, and the colour version on the next. It can look effective to draw a semi-transparent autoshape on top of a photo, which acts like a filter. There are many possibilities. And you don’t always need a graphics program to achieve these special effects.
The presentation does not even need to be photographs. It may be line drawings, cartoons or other artwork.
Photos need to be low resolution. If putting one photo per slide, they should fit onto a slide cleanly (without extra white space at the sides, top or bottom).
Below are instructions for one way of setting up a presentation. This works if you have a wide range of photos and other graphics you can use, and where the size and dimensions of each photo vary considerably. It also allows you to add text and other objects to the slides.
Make sure you know the location of your photos and any other graphics.
If necessary, make changes to the images before adding them to the presentation. This includes resizing, cropping, editing out objects, brightness, contrast, adding a frame, etc. You may want to resize your images so they are all the same size.
Then you can get to work in Powerpoint.
- Open PowerPoint to a new blank presentation.
- Change the layout of the title slide to Blank. For best results, use Blank layout for all slides in the presentation. While the placeholders will not show in the final presentation, they can be distracting while setting up your show.
- If you want to add a background effect, it needs to be subtle, and not one that overpowers the photos. For example, a single pastel colour, or a two-colour gradient fill. Remember to Apply to All. This ensures the slideshow is seamless. It should appear as though the entire show is created using only one slide.
- Click Insert - Picture - From File. Select a photo for the first slide. Position it in the top left corner. If needed, resize it. It should not take up the entire slide.
- Click Insert - Picture - From File, and select your second photo. Place it in the lower right corner of the same slide. A slight overlap is fine, but do not hide any significant text or objects on the photos. Note that you can use Draw - Order and choose which photo should be in front (on the Drawing toolbar).
- Animate the second photo to Appear, 2 seconds after the previous photo.
- Duplicate the first slide.
- Delete the second photo on the second slide. Replace it with a different photo in the same position. Choose an animation effect for this photo (eg Box In, 2 seconds after previous).
- Duplicate the second slide. This time, you may want to leave the second photo in place, and repeat the first one. To keep the slide show looking seamless, leave one photo in place on each slide, and replace the second photo. Add animation effects.
- Save your presentation often during this process.
- Repeat until you have at least 10 slides. Remember the last slide needs to include the first photo from slide 1, in the same position (top left corner) and the same size.
- Display the Transition Effects task pane. Select No Transition. Choose to Advance Slide Automatically After 10 seconds. Apply to all slides.
- Click Slide Show - Set Up Show. Choose to Loop continuously until Esc. Click OK.
- Save your presentation.
- Run the show. Make any necessary adjustments, and run it again to check the results.
After running the slideshow, you may see places where it could be improved. For example, some slides may look better with three or four photos. You may want to add text to some or all slides to describe the photos or provide other information. Text and other objects added to a slide may be used to create a balance in layout.
Decorative effects can be added to the blank spaces between photos. Search the clipart that comes with Word for borders, dividers, frames, decorations and corners. Note that you can ungroup clipart and only use a part of it in your decorative effect. For example, choose a border, ungroup it, and use each element of the border on a different slide. However, don’t overdo the number of items on a single slide. Remember to leave plenty of “white space”.
Photos can be used effectively in PowerPoint. This article has covered one method of using them to great effect.
Setting up these slide shows can be time consuming. Remember to give yourself a break from the keyboard, and remember to look into the distance occasionally to reduce eye strain.