A picture speaks a thousand words, as the saying goes. Images help your audience learn, and can explain difficult concepts, while also inspiring your audience and making your design more engaging.

In this unit, you will learn

  • How to find free photos
  • How to upload your own images
  • How to edit images
  • How to use graphics
  • The influence of images on emotions
  • How to effectively use images as backgrounds

How to find free photos

In Canva you can use the Images tab to browse through millions of high-quality stock photos, or if you’re looking for something specific, use the search bar. Free images and elements will always have a Free tag in the bottom corner of the thumbnail display.

Here's a quick clip showing you how you can find free photos for your designs.

How to upload your own images

When you’re sharing or telling a personal story, using your own images will let your audience connect with your design on a deeper level. To upload an image, drag and drop a photo from your computer and put it straight into your design. You’ll find all of your uploaded images in the ‘Uploads’ tab or in your uploads folder.

In this video, you can see how truly simple it is to make your designs personal by uploading your own images.

How to edit images

Few images are perfect for your design as they are. Maybe the image is the wrong size or the wrong color. Simple adjustments like cropping, resizing, and filtering can enhance their effects in your design.

Cropping removes parts of a photo and can help change the framing or focus of the image. Resizing an image will ensure that it sits perfectly in your design—remember that you can't make an image bigger without affecting the quality.

Filters can change the tone of your image with little effort.

We've put together a little clip to show you how to resize, crop, and filter your images.

Select the photo you’d like to edit, to resize proportionally hold down on a corner of the photo and drag to resize. To crop, click Crop from the toolbar or double click the photo,  hold and drag the corners of the photo to fit the size and view you need, click Done or hit Enter to finish.

There you go!

How to use graphics

Graphics add an element of fun and visual interest to your designs. Graphics are illustrations, icons, shapes, lines, that sit under the ‘Images’ tab on the Canva object panel. As with text, you can also style graphics in several different ways.

You can customize the size, color, transparency, and placement of your graphics. Similarly, the styling options that appear will depend on the type of photo or illustration.

Watch the video below to learn more about adding and styling graphics in your next design.

How to use images as backgrounds

Professional or personal photos can be used in many different ways for the background of your design. They hold the theme and content of your design to make it more visually interesting. Drag and drop the image into your design to apply it as a background.

Here's a short video showing you how you can add background images to your designs.

When using images as backgrounds:

  • Take advantage of clear space: Use images with clear space to place your text, but remember that design is deliberate and you don’t want elements floating on the page.

  • Use shapes: A way to avoid drowning your text in your background image is to use shapes. Placing shapes behind your text will ensure it is easy to read.

  • Adjust the transparency: Increasing the transparency of your background will decrease the noise (detail), making the elements in the foreground (such as text) easier to read.

  • Apply a blur: The detail within an image can make it hard to read your text. Blurring is another effective technique to offset your text from your background.
dessert table set up