Inserting an image using the preset Picture Placeholders seems like a super shortcut, until things get frustrating with why images do not insert the same way every time a Picture Placeholder is used. The reason, almost always, is knowing there are two types of Placeholders – and each handles images differently.
Here is an explanation and example using a Content Placeholder vs. Picture Placeholder – and as a side note, neither option works the way I feel it really should…
Inserting an image in the Content placeholder, identified by this icon, offers the option of inserting various elements: Tables, Charts, Smart Art, Video, and Images.
Inserting an image in the Content placeholder adjusts the layout to the size of the actual image. If you insert a small image, the placeholder shrinks to the small size image. If you insert a large image, the image will at maximum be the size of the slide and the placeholder will grow to that size. The downside is the preset position and size on the master layout is ignored and the slide content needs to be manually repositioned and sized.
Inserting an image in the Picture placeholder adjusts image to fill the size of the layout. The downside here is the image is often cut off and needs to be repositioned and resized using the Crop tool.
While both Placeholder options are pro’s and con’s, at least now you have an idea of what PowerPoint is doing and what to expect.
-Troy @ TLC