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How To Use Color Overlays With Photos in PowerPoint

Stay on brand and make your text pop by using color overlays with your photos.

Learn 3 methods in PowerPoint that are quick and easy to incorporate.

Let's get started.

Add a shape with a transparency fill

The first strategy is to use a shape with a transparency fill

Once you have your picture on your slide

Add a rectangle from the Shape drop down option on the home tab

Draw over about a third of the image

change the color fill if you want

Set the outline to No outline

To use a custom color scheme it helps to have those colors already selected

I created another video on how to choose a color scheme so make sure you check that out

Then change the transparency setting between 20 and 35 percent

The darker the color the more transparent your setting can be

Now add your text

Even though you can add a fill to a text box

I prefer using a shape because I can resize it to the height and width I want

Text boxes can only be resized horizontally and not vertically


In the comments let me know how you use filled shapes and images together

Recolor tool

The next strategy for adding a color overly to a photo is using the Recolor tool

Use this option when you need to align your photos with your color scheme

Watch my video on creating colors schemes in PowerPoint to learn how to do this

Select the image on your slide

In the Picture Format tab

click the Color button

In the Recolor section you will notice that the color options match your color scheme

Chose the option you want

What I like about this option is that the image stays crisp and viewable

Now you can add your text

The disadvantage of this option is that depending on your image

it can be hard to get a good contrast between your text and image

Using a shape with the same fill color as the picture help create contrast

You can even add transparency to the shape if you want

Color Saturation

The third strategy for adding a color overly to a photo is using the Color Saturation option

Select the image on your slide

In the Picture Format tab

click the Color button

In the Color Saturation section choose zero saturation

This will change the image to grayscale

Now add a rectangle from the Shape drop down option on the home tab

Draw over the entire image

change the color fill if you want

Set the outline to No outline

As I mentioned earlier, it helps to have your color scheme ready

From the Shape Format tab open the Format Pan

Display the Fill option

Then change the transparency setting to about 35 percent

With the image coloring at grayscale

it allows the shape color to be predominant

Here is an example of the same shape and transparency

over the image without the zero saturation settings

with this image the difference is subtle

Here is an example with an image with bold colors

The visual impact is very different between the two

It is important with color overlays

your images are playing a supporting role

so you don't want them to dominant over your text or message

Now add your text

With the three examples

Each provides a slightly different visual effect

and allows you to stay on brand with your custom color scheme

Stay on brand and make your text pop by using color overlays with your photos.

In this video, I will show you 3 methods in PowerPoint that are quick and easy to incorporate.

Let’s get started.

The first strategy is to use a shape with a transparency fill [have example displayed]

Once you have your picture on your slide

Add a rectangle from the Shape drop down option on the home tab

Draw over about a third of the image

change the color fill if you want

Set the outline to No outline

To use a custom color scheme it helps to have those colors already selected

I created another video on how to choose a color scheme so make sure you check that out

Then change the transparency setting between 20 and 35 percent

The darker the color the more transparent your setting can be

Now add your text

Even though you can add a fill to a text box

I prefer using a shape because I can resize it to the height and width I want

Text boxes can only be resized horizontally and not vertically

In the comments let me know how you use filled shapes and images together

The next strategy for adding a color overly to a photo is using the Recolor tool

Use this option when you need to align your photos with your color scheme

Watch my video on creating colors schemes in PowerPoint to learn how to do this

Select the image on your slide

In the Picture Format tab

click the Color button

In the Recolor section you will notice that the color options match your color scheme

Chose the option you want

What I like about this option is that the image stays crisp and viewable

Now you can add your text

The disadvantage of this option is that depending on your image

it can be hard to get a good contrast between your text and image

Using a shape with the same fill color as the picture help create contrast

You can even add transparency to the shape if you want

The third strategy for adding a color overly to a photo is using the Color Saturation option

Select the image on your slide

In the Picture Format tab

click the Color button

In the Color Saturation section choose zero saturation

This will change the image to grayscale

Now add a rectangle from the Shape drop down option on the home tab

Draw over the entire image

change the color fill if you want

Set the outline to No outline

As I mentioned earlier in the video it helps to have your color scheme ready

From the Shape Format tab open the Format Pan

Display the Fill option

Then change the transparency setting to about 35 percent

With the image coloring at grayscale

it allows the shape color to be predominant

Here is an example of the same shape and transparency

over the image without the zero saturation settings

with this image the difference is subtle

Here is an example with an image with bold colors

The visual impact is very different between the two

It is important with color overlays

your images are playing a supporting role

so you don’t want them to dominant over your text or message

Now add your text

Let’s take a look at the three examples

Each provides a slightly different visual effect

and allows you to stay on brand with your custom color scheme

About the Author

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Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. Being passionate about seeing people shine and be heard, she leans into her 20+ years of public speaking experience and uses what she has learned from presenting, both in-person and virtually, to small groups all the way up to 5000 people. Jennifer draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help holistic coaches master virtual presentations to grow their business. Her unique immersive program provides practical strategies and methods to build confidence, engage audiences, and generate authenticity and authority.


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