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Swipe File Friday: Flickr + Compfight — Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Swipe File Friday: Flickr + Compfight

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

You’re aware that your audience will remember six times more about your talk when you add pictures.

And we’re not talking about clip art. That’s so 1980’s.

So where do you find some good pictures to add to your presentation?

Flickr + Compfight

Flickr on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Flickr is a social photo-sharing web site. Flickr users take and upload all manner of images, tag them, and sometimes make them available for use by others with a Creative Commons license. Some Creative Commons licenses are “attribution-only;” that is, you simply need to acknowledge the creator of the work in order to use it. You can do this by adding a slide at the end of your presentation that indicates the creators of those images. In other cases, the Flickr photographers may allow only non-commercial uses of their images. Whichever license is used, it’s always a good idea to respect the copyright.

Flickr has a search tool on the site but Compfight is a far better search tool–and it’s built especially for finding photos on Flickr.

Let’s say you wanted to find a picture of a dog for your presentation. You start at Compfight and type “dog” in the search box. On the results page that opens up, you’ll find a sidebar to the left that lets you filter the results by license type. Just click “Creative commons” and Compfight shows you only those photographs that are available under the Creative Commons license.

Searching for “dog” images that were Creative Commons licensed returned almost 715,000 pictures when I wrote this post. Surely there’s one in there that will work for your presentation.

Compfight on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

There are lots of other choices for good presentation images as well. We’ll profile some of those options in upcoming Swipe File Friday posts.

Drop the clip art from your slides and add impact with real photographs from Flickr and Compfight.


  1. Natalie says:

    Bookmarked! Thanks for sharing this great resource – I’m always looking for photos that I can use for my new blog (because I don’t always have time to take them myself 😉 or nice ok-for-commercial-use images to use on the corporate intranet that I run. The CC Search (http://search.creativecommons.org/) doesn’t always retrieve the quality of photos I am looking for, so I think this will be a helpful addition to my search tools.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. michael says:

    You’re welcome, Natalie.

    The one sticky wicket (IMO) with Creative Commons is the definition of “noncommercial.” If, for example, a person were to use a CC-licensed image in a fundraising presentation for a nonprofit organization, would that be considered commercial use? Or if a teacher (who is being paid by a school) uses an image in a presentation, is that commercial use? Or is using an image on a corporate intranet, even though the image may not be connected with actually selling a product, considered commercial use?

    I’m not a lawyer, but the legal code in the CC-licenses seems fuzzy in instances like these. If an intended use might fall under a category like this, I’d contact the image creator to ask for permission.

    • Yes, indeed that is a sticky one! I check the terms of CC-licenses carefully and try to keep it all legit, but I do wish the definition was a bit clearer for non-legal people like me!

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