Templates have a bad reputation. We associate them with lack of skills to make something from scratch. We link them to our unwillingness to stand out from the herd. We accuse them of being – “generic”.
Let’s boost them up. Templates are among the more productive devices ever invented. The good ones can help you brainstorm with mind maps, track your projects, manage money and finances, and overall organize your life. Come to think of it, what would a white collar office worker do without his or her everyday Microsoft Office templates?
But when it comes to photos and photography, shouldn’t we talk about the templates in Photoshop instead of Microsoft PowerPoint? No… and here are a few good reasons why.
Why Use PowerPoint Templates for Photos?
Share your photos. For our most popular preoccupation with photos – sharing.
Simply for effect. A good presentation is for impact. A professional template adds gravity. A stylish one enhances the photo.
Work smart. Save time. Microsoft PowerPoint templates are molds for standard layouts. Why reinvent the wheel – save time with pre-made photography templates. Focus on other things instead.
Showcase creativity. A long-term photography project turned into a PowerPoint slideshow is an idea.
Searching for PowerPoint Templates
The most common use of Microsoft PowerPoint with photos is their use as photo albums. PowerPoint ships with some default templates, but none of them are specifically for photos. But don’t close it down yet — you can create your own… or you can use the free templates in the Office Online template & themes gallery. The numbers and variety are enough to fit your photo into a suitable template and put together a slideshow for your audience.
Our job today, is to eliminate your decision fatigue. Launching PowerPoint 2013 brings us to the first screen:
Use the search bar on top and type in “photos” to rummage through the heap of the template gallery. The categories on the right help to sift through the haystack and get to the template that fits your purpose. There are enough choices available – from the strict photography templates to even for something as “esoteric” as a utensil design set. Select multiple categories at a time or just browse through one.
Microsoft PowerPoint also displays search results from other Microsoft Office applications in – e.g. a template for designing a menu with photos (from Microsoft Word). Selecting them will open the host application. So, ignore them.
Also remember, you can take a template from another category and re-purpose it for your need. Just keep your creative eye open.
The template snapshot describes the template and how you can use it. Many of the photo templates come with sample images which are placeholders for your own. Select the pictures, delete them, and insert your own from the Insert tab on the Ribbon. Customize the captions with your own text to describe the photos.
You can tweak your slides further by applying Themes from the Design tab with a click. A theme is a predefined combination of colors, fonts, and effects. Different themes are suitable for different slide layouts.
You can pin your favorite templates to the New screen.
The 10 Best PowerPoint Photo Templates
Good presenters know not only what to present but also how to present. These ten professional looking templates do some of the handholding.
1. Stay Minimal With the Classic Photo Album
The Classic Photo Album is a minimal theme which I personally find very suitable for black and white street photography. Use this to create a personal portfolio. Limited to the two colors, it doesn’t distract from the photos you use the template for. If you want to go with color, customize the default theme with background, colors, number of images, alignment of the thumbnail, and more by using the Ribbon.
2. Be Flashy With the Contemporary Photo Album
From the minimal to the vibrant. The Contemporary Photo Album template gives you the ambience for all those vacation photos you took during the recent Greece trip. Bright, sunny, and colorful Hawaiian shirts come to mind. Throw in a few photos of colorful beach umbrellas and your friends should start planning their own trips as well.
3. Say It With a Wedding Photo Album
The elegant Wedding Photo Album is a compilation of 17 slides in different layouts. You will find other wedding album templates in the gallery, but there’s a quiet style about this one. Or maybe, I am just partial to the timeless appeal of black and white photos. For more choices, search with “wedding photo album”. But I think you will come back to this one.
4. Valentine’s With the Pink Heart’s Photo Album
We are not very far from the day of red roses and redder balloons. So, the Pink’s Heart Photo Album finds its due place here. Valentine’s day can be celebrated as a couple, or as a family. At least, the sample pictures in the layouts prove it.
5. Classroom Help With the Biography Report
Studying the biographies of achievers is required reading in many grade levels. Be assured that there’s a class presentation there somewhere. This is not for your photos…but for profiling the life of famous men and women in class. Biography Report is a relatively simple template with space for photos and biographical information. Embellish with famous quotes and the papyrus like background should set-off the words well. Background and font colors can be tweaked.
6. Elementary With the Schoolyards Kids Education Album
This picture book styled template is perfect for anything child-related. As parents or teachers, you can use the Schoolyards Kids Education Album template for school lessons or to visually explain something. The variety of photo frames available in the slides can be a fit for all the kiddie photos lying around in that folder of yours. According to the description, this template is suitable for widescreen displays.
7. Reunion on the Family Tree
Family Tree With Circular Photos is a single page template. But even a single slide could be the perfect template for an amateur genealogist with the patience to trace the lineage of ancestors. Photo placeholders help to put pictures to names. Duplicate the slide and get both the paternal and maternal sides of the family there. Plan it out before the next family reunion and give that presentation.
8. Process Diagram With Photo Blocks
Ever found it tough to explain a process to someone? Take the help of visual learning with Process Diagram with Photo Blocks. As the name says, the simple single-slide template is divided into four blocks where you add photos, titles and descriptions. For a more complex process, add more blocks or more slides.
9. A Trio of Animation Slide Picture Collection
Animation Slide: Picture Collection is the first of its type on this list. Each slide can hold three pictures, one of which comes to the forefront when clicked. Replace the pictures with your own and create multiple slides with a trio of photos. Instructions come included.
10. Static Picture Effects for PowerPoint Slides
This is less of a template and more of a short tutorial on the different creative ways to present your photos. Each slide covers one photo presentation style and the slide notes come with instructions on how to duplicate the effects. Of course, you can use the layout as it is meant to be used or use it as a quick instructional guide for a truly personalized photo album. If none of the above cut the tape for you, try it out with the walkthroughs here.
Let’s Not Forget Office Online
Office Online (which consists of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Online) doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of its big brother. You many not use PowerPoint Online for crafting that killer presentation, but it’s a free alternative to Microsoft Office.
While most of the online photo templates are crossovers from the Office suite gallery, there are some exceptions which I couldn’t find in the offline suite. For example:
Maybe there is a template you spotted that’s just right for your offline PowerPoint presentation. It is simple to download a template from the online gallery to your desktop. OneDrive acts as the bridge between the online and desktop versions of Microsoft PowerPoint. You can save your presentation to a web location just as easily with OneDrive, and access it from there with Office 2013.
- Log into Office Online with your Microsoft account. Go to the Templates Gallery and choose the design.
- Open the template as a new PowerPoint Online presentation. The file is saved to your OneDrive account.
- Navigate to File > Save As > Download. The file is saved to a temporary folder (the browser’s default download location).
- Open the template file with PowerPoint for Desktop.
Other Sources for Free PowerPoint Templates
I am sure you are also interested in a few non-Microsoft sources for free Microsoft PowerPoint templates and backgrounds. Search with a keyword like “photos” or “photo album”. I am not sure if there is an absolute best site, but here are a few suggestions…
Do Templates Make Your Job Easier?
There are understandably some gaps in the variety. Not everything can be covered, I missed templates for creating collages or triptychs. Or you may not even need a template if you use one of these online picture collage makers. Even a 2015 photo calendar to illustrate your life. A gallery powered by user-submissions is definitely on my wish list. What about you?
Do you find the available templates good enough for your photo shows? Would you rather pay for a more professional bundle, or better – design your own?