In that review I had mentioned that Seth had some fantastic imagery that clearly was not stock. I knew about sites like Flickr where I could get free Creative Commons licensed photography, but the search engines on most of those sites are crap. Seth was nice enough to comment on the post, filling me in on the most useful presentation design tool I've come across this year - CompFight.
CompFight is a Flickr search tool that uses the API to accomplish what the built-in search box in Flickr obviously can't do - intelligently find the images you're looking for. It also has search criteria you can turn on and off like Creative Commons (commercial, only, or off) so you can decide if you want images that are free to use or copyrighted and Safe Search.
Since Seth turned me on to CompFight, I've never looked back. I have spent a fraction of the money on iStockPhoto this year as I have in any previous year. iStock is almost an afterthought now, but it's still the best joint in town (IMO) for vector photography and more "corporate" yet affordable imagery. However, many of the presentations I work on buck the corporate trend and embrace vivid, original imagery. I also use it very often for imagery for my blog posts. If I credited the image to Flickr, you can rest assured I used CompFight to find it.
Here are a few slides that I've created with Creative Commons imagery on Flickr via CompFight. If you're familiar with typical stock imagery, you'll see the difference. Simply click on the image to go directly to the image's original Flickr page.
I hope this tool proves as useful for you as it has for me. I'm not 100% sure of the guidelines and protocol around Creative Commons licenses, so please do your due diligence before using images from Flickr, and do so at your own risk.
Have you used CompFight? If so, what do you think? What other tools have you found useful for PowerPoint presentation design?