Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Technical requirements for presentation images, part of PowerPoint: Using Photos and Video Effectively for Great Presentations.
When it comes to selecting photos, there are some technical considerations. Let's explore some of the things you need to keep in mind when you're choosing your images. One of the first things I like to point out, is make sure you have enough resolution. This refers to the total amount of pixels inside the image itself. When you are viewing and selecting images, many companies will provide the resolutions to you as part of the choice when you download. Often with stock photos, you'll pay more for higher resolution photos. These days, the largest you're probably building a presentation is 1920 by 1080, which is the resolution in pixels of something like an HDTV set.
So, if you're building a PowerPoint presentation in 16 by 9, this is likely the top size. Having a little bit more than that's not a bad idea. If you're using a scanner, this'll come into play. Or, really, anything that you shoot with a digital camera these days is going to have more than enough resolution. What this really comes down to is when you're doing something, like a simple web search, and you're copying and pasting, or grabbing files that you don't really have the access rights to. Make sure that you get the high-resolution files or even the medium-resolution files, things that have a width and height of about 2,000 pixels, and you'll have plenty to work with as you build.
Additionally, you'll want to make sure they're in the correct color space. Now, this is a technology term you might not be familiar with, but consider this. In the world of print, images are often CMYK, cyan, magenta, yellow and black, which refers to the colors that are used in professional printing. When we build a presentation on a computer for the screen, we're working in the RGB color space, which uses, red, green and blue light. It's also called the additive model. And what happens here is that those elements combine.
If you're dealing with photos that come from a still camera or pulled from a video file, chances are they're RGB. Same with most things on the web. And you can see that coming in here and it works fine. However, if you are dealing with things from a professional report or presentation, those files might have been converted to CMYK. So, make sure you check them. PowerPoint will try to help you out with this, but if you're requesting files, or you're working with a graphic artist, always specify that you want the graphics to be RGB. Make sure the pictures are in focus, or that the parts that are in focus are the ones that you want.
As we learned earlier with depth of field, focus might be used artistically within the image. However, it's very easy to be in a hurry and take a picture that's not quite sharp. And, you'll want it to be an optimized file format, preferably something like a JPEG or a PNG file, that is both a good balance of both quality and file size. Sure you can bring in files like TIF or PSD, but the extra file size is going to bloat your presentation, making it difficult to collaborate with others, and it can create instability, as your computer will need a lot of RAM in order to load the presentation.
Ideally, the images you work with are optimized. I'm a big fan of using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for this, but there are other image editing tools out there. Plus, most of the images you pulled out from stock photography sites are going to be JPEG anyways, so this should work and most of that problem should be solved for you already.
- Working with photos
- Using the Photo Browser
- Adjusting images in PowerPoint
- Cropping and masking
- Building a slideshow
- Inserting video
- Prepping images and video for PowerPoint