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A good PowerPoint presentation relies more on visuals and less on text. You might not always find the best photos or clipart on your computer. Another option is to take pictures with your camera, but what you need in a picture may not be near you.
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Create your own images? Not everyone can create high quality images (me included). Instead, use free clipart and photos. Remember that when an image is "royalty-free," it doesn't mean it's completely free. It means you can use it many times without paying a fee for every use. You may have to pay a one-time fee.
You may have heard about Creative Commons licenses. These often allow you to use a person's image, but the restrictions depend on the type of license the owner has selected for the image. Some require including their name and link. Others let you use the image in any way you want as long as you don't make money off of the image.
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Photos vs. Clipart
People tend to see photos as more professional than clipart. But you may have a good reason for using clipart. A good place to start is with Microsoft's Gallery. Don't be surprised if you recognize some of the clipart because some come included with Microsoft Office. Don't see the clipart? You probably didn't load the clipart collection when you installed Microsoft Office or another Microsoft application. Just dig up the CD and run add/remove programs. This lets you add more Microsoft Office components.
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Get Your Free Clipart Here
Master New Media lists 16 pages of sites that offer free clipart and photos.
Flickr's advanced image search http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/ also comes with a Creative Commons-license filter.
You can always do an online search for "free clipart" or "free graphics" and receive millions of results. Unfortunately, many of these sites contain annoying heavy-duty ads and images that are not professional looking. The key is to communicate your message with the right image that fits your message.
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