• Stock Images

Vince Vaughn and Friends Highlight How “Cheesy” Stock Photos Can Ruin Your PowerPoint

by Adam Noar

cheesy stock photo for powerpoint

Have you ever found yourself working on a PowerPoint presentation and needing photos or some sort of imagery to finish your work? Most likely you had to search through hundreds of pictures to find a genuine picture that truly represented or captured your idea. Since visuals are one of the most important elements of a presentation, you need to make sure you are choosing or creating the right ones.

If you must use stock photos for your presentation, do so with extreme care. Most likely you will encounter hundreds of generic, cheesy stock photos during your search.

The boardroom executives “happily” cheering for the presenter. The energized team crowding around a conspicuously brand-free laptop (as seen in the image above). The earnest young executive, presenting an upward-trending line graph. Go-getters, on the go, getting it done with laughably out-of-date mobile phones. These are all examples of cheesy corporate stock photography.

All you have to do is spend a few minutes searching for “business stock photos,” and you’ll discover a whole new weirdly world of pantsuits, handshakes, and overly enthusiastic co-workers.

Common elements of generic, cheesy stock images are:

  • subjects with big, cheesy smiles
  • people who look fake
  • over-the-top enthusiasm
  • forced acting
  • poor metaphors for teamwork
  • silly, overused props

This is NOT what you want to use in your next PowerPoint presentation.

Cheesy stock photos have been the butt of jokes for quite a while. That’s why Twentieth Century Fox and iStock by Getty Images have teamed up to create a set of ultra cheesy stock photos featuring the cast of Unfinished Business: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, and Dave Franco. cheesy powerpoint stock photo

cheesy powerpoint stock photo

cheesy powerpoint stock photo

cheesy powerpoint stock photo

To download the images in hi-res click here

Twelve images are being made available for free download—for editorial use only—over three weeks. The first four are available here.

These photos poke fun of the generic, cheesy stock photos often used. These images were captured in a typical office setting, everyone appears to be dressed perfectly in business suits, and everyone looks extra happy. It looks like these photos were photoshopped using actual cheesy stock photos (like the one seen below).

“We hope these images bring a smile to people’s faces as they recognize classic business stock concepts with a twist,” said Craig Peters, General Manager of iStock by Getty Images in a press release.

chessy stock photo real

So where do you find quality images for your next presentation?

iStock and Depositphotos are good places to look for quality images. Both are paid websites. If you’re looking for something free check out deathtothestockphoto.com

I recommend looking for images that depict real events, real people, and real emotions.


Presentation creators often turn to stock photos — staged, royalty-free pics of anonymous people and/or objects in everyday situations — when better alternatives aren’t available or are too expensive.

Stock photography is fine as long as you don’t fall into the trap of using cheesy stock photos.

By leaving out the cheesy stock photos you will be on track for delivering a presentation that truly stands out from the crowd.

cheesy stock photo for powerpoint

Here’s my question for you …

What do you find to be the most difficult part of finding images for your presentations? Sound off with your comments below. I make sure to read and reply to every single one!

Presentation tips  - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!



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    I am of a black ethnicity and its particularly hard to find stock photos to support that. Bigstockphoto has been my favourite go to place for some time now and they do alright but I think that all of these websites are not sensitive to that. Many have but don’t tag it along ethnic lines so its hard to find. But hard for a presentation to be credible when I am working in an environment black people. This is the internet and it would be good if these sites appreciate that their business is not confined to the USA.




    I”ve read most of your articles and find them extremely good though I have already learnt much of what is there – the reinforcement is good. But this article I found particularly useful. I was struggling with stock images but didn’t realise I was not alone. Thanks in bunches for the tip on the other website to try.

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