Where To Find Images You Can Use In Your Teaching

Word cloud containing words like CC, Creative Commons, non-commercial, licenses, rights, share, work, etc.
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Many faculty like to use photos in their presentations, but finding images that are open to the public is difficult and of course we want to model to our students the ethical use of web images.  Here are some suggestions.

1. Google Search

Many faculty get their images from a Google search and you can find images you can freely reuse using the Google search engine. However, it’s best to use images that have been designated by Google as “Labeled for reuse” Here’s a brief animation to show you how to find such images:

Gif Showing How to Use Google Image Search



While Google’s image search using “labeled for reuse” is fine, but the choice of the images probably won’t be very satisfying. So why not search a bunch of great free photo sites all at once?  For this, give StockSnap a try.  This site will allow you to search quite a number of sites where you can download images that are free to use.


Image from StockSnap homepage


Images with Creative Commons Licenses

Flickr, Vimeo and Wikimedia contain open resources that are searchable by media type and can be screened for Creative Commons licenses to ensure they are open to use.


Flickr provides a Creative Commons-licensed photo collection which makes the filtering process easy. Here’s how to search for a licensed image in Flickr:

1) Go to flickr.com/creativecommons.

2) Click See more under each license collection.


3) Enter your keyword in the search bar.

4) The license information is at the bottom of each photo. It’s a link! Click it for more info on the Creative Commons website.


Image from Flickr with Attribution License circled


All Creative Commons licenses require that you attribute the images you download and use. Your citation should include:

  • title of the photo
  • name of the creator
  • a link to the website where the image is hosted
  • the type of Creative Commons license attached to the image.

Here’s an example of the format:

[Title of the photo] by [creator of the photo] licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Wikimedia Commons

All photos here are either released under Creative Commons licenses or in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons’ simple structure lets you easily find image license information. Here’s how to search for a licensed image in Wikimedia:

  1. Go to commons.wikimedia.org.
  2. Type your keyword into the search bar:
  3. The license information can be copied after you click the Download button.

Image of Wikimedia Licensing


Vimeo provides a separate Creative Commons-licensed video collection which makes the filtering process much easier. Here’s how to search for a licensed video in Vimeo.

Go to vimeo.com/creativecommons. The video bel9w shows a search on the term “moon”. Once you have found the video you like, click the Share icon and select either the link to the video, the email function or copy the embed code so you can put the video right into your web page or LMS.

Animated Gif of Vimeo Creative Commons Process

Hope you found this information helpful!