Issue #154 March 4, 2008

PowerPoint Tip: Photo Best Practices

Last week the Presentation Xpert newsletter published one of my new articles on using product photos in sales presentations. If you want to read the full article, you can go to Today I want to expand on a couple of the ideas in the article. One of the tips I shared is to resample your photos before inserting them on a slide. This is something I have discussed before and the purpose is to keep the file size small while maintaining high quality photos. One question that also comes up that I didn’t discuss in the article was what file format to use when saving pictures to be inserted on a PowerPoint slide. Most digital cameras save photos in the JPG format, which is a compressed format that maintains quite good quality. If you get professional photos taken, they may be provided in the TIF format, a high quality format that is not compressed much. My suggestion is to use the JPG format to save photos before inserting them on slides. It gives you good quality so your photos are clear and the smallest file size so your presentation file can stay compact. This is easy for photos already in that format, but may require you to use a photo conversion tool like IrfanView if the photos are provided in another format (get IrfanView at Another tip I shared was to make sure you add a callout to your photo so that the audience knows what part is the most important part of the photo. The callout consists of both a graphic highlight, like an arrow, and text that explains why that spot is important. The issue comes in finding a color for the arrow that can be seen across a picture that has many colors in it. If you pick a black or dark color arrow, it will be see in the light regions of the photo but lost in the darker areas. With a white or lighter color arrow, the opposite is true. So how do you find an arrow that can always be seen? My trick is to use a block arrow. This shape, on the drawing toolbar as one of the autoshapes, allows you to set the border color and the fill color. So I draw a block arrow and format it so that the border is a thick black line and the fill color is bright yellow. This way, one of the two colors always has contrast with the area of the photo below. If you see a photo in your company brochure that would really work well in your presentation, check out the tip in the article on using the Snapshot tool of Adobe Acrobat to grab the photo from the PDF version of the brochure. Many people have found this tip to be a valuable time saver. If your sales organization could improve its results this year in a tough economy with better sales presentations, contact me about holding a customized Think Outside The Slide session for your sales professionals and their support staff. On the web at, you can get the full outline and watch a 10 minute video of a recent presentation so you can see the value these ideas provide.