Issue #127 February 6, 2007

PowerPoint Tip - Taking Pictures for use in PowerPoint

Photographs are becoming more and more common in presentations and for good reason. Photos can cut to the emotion of a point far better than text or clip art ever can. And with the popularity of digital cameras, it is now easier than ever to use our own photos as part of our presentations. When you are taking photos, keep these ideas in mind.

1. Frame the photo Most photos have the subject of the photo, whether it is a person or an object, in the direct center of the frame. It is often more interesting to have the subject off center in one of four spots in the frame. Imagine the frame of the photo is divided by four lines into nine boxes like a tic-tac-toe board. Try to have your subject at one of the spots where the lines of the grid intersect. This will make for a more interesting shot and put the subject in context with the background.

2. Make sure the subject is in focus With our photos projected on to large screens, any blurriness is magnified and what looked OK on our monitor may look too fuzzy on the screen. Make sure you use the focus lock feature of your camera to lock the focus on the subject before you snap the photo. This is especially true when using the framing technique described above.

3. Watch for lighting The single biggest issue I see with photos taken by most people is that the lighting is poor. Don't be afraid to use the flash on your camera to add light to a picture, even outdoors. In many cases a flash will take care of the shadows created by the natural light and make the fine features even more prominent. Many cameras have the ability to force the flash or use a fill flash mode to do this. If you want more tips on taking great photos, contact a local camera store or college to see what classes they offer. Once you have those great photos, you can learn more on how to use them effectively in your presentation, including the way to make sure those multi-megapixel photos don't balloon your PowerPoint file and make it slow to run and impossible to email to others. It's all in my "Using Digital Photographs in PowerPoint Presentations" web tutorial recording available at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/wtphotos.htm .