Jeez, there are sure a ton of ways to find images on the Web, as well as many places where you can find lengthy link lists to image collections.
I’d lay odds that most people, including myself, just use Google Image Search when they need to find an image. However, there might be instances when you want to use another tool — perhaps you’re a language teacher searching for just the right clip art or photography to illustrate a verb, maybe you have very young students and are concerned about what they might find on Google, possibly you’re particularly teaching about copyright issues, or you want your students to easily connect an image to a writing exercise and have them send an E-Card. (Google has recently added an option in their advanced image search feature — go to the bottom left under “license” and choose “labeled for reuse”)
I thought a “The Best…” list might be helpful in one of those, or other particular, instances.
So here are my picks for The Best Online Sources For Images (not in order of preference):
Search by Creative Commons provides excellent explanations about what Creative Commons licenses are, and offers a way to search throughout the web for images that have them.
Flickr Storm is search tool
to find Flickr images offered for use with a Creative Commons license (be sure to click “Advanced Search” to make sure your results include only those with a CC license).
The University of Victoria Teaching Clipart Gallery has three thousand images specifically designed for language-teaching.
The Japanese Language Course Support Site is a smaller, but useful, source of language-learning images.
Pics 4 Learning is specifically designed for teachers and students, and has thousands of images that can be used freely.
Clip Art ETC from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse offers over 38,000 pieces of clip art for students and teachers.
(Mathew Needleman also suggests Morgue File because “it has quite a few images and it’s not blocked in school”)
I’m also adding a direct link to Darren Draper’s excellent post (including additional resources) called The Educator’s Guide To The Creative Commons.
Here are two more simple ways to search for Creative Commons images:
PicFindr lets you search many photo sites simultaneously and, in addition to defining the image you want, you can define the restrictions for use. For example, I typed in that I was looking for a picture of a lion for educational use, checked the “none” box for licensing requirements (which means anybody can use it — even without crediting the photographer) and got several hundred images to choose from.
I’m adding Wikimedia Commons to this list. It has four million images, and their reuse agreement states:
almost all may be freely reused without individual permission according to the terms of the particular license under which it was contributed to the project. Depending on what you want to do with it, you probably do not need to obtain a specific statement of permission from the Licensor.
Seems about as broad as you can make it…
I learned about 25 Places To Find Awesome Stock Photos from Lucy Gray, and decided to add some of the sites on that list to The Best Online Sources For Images. The “25 Places” post has concise and accurate descriptions of the sites, so I’m just going to quote from them. I’d also encourage you to check-out their entire list:
Free Foto: “Freefoto is made up of 117,600 images with over 150+ sections organized into 3,285 categories. There’s a search function, and usage is completely unrestricted. All you have to do is include an attribution link back to Freefoto.com.”
Free Digital Photos: “Free Digital Photos has a good search function, which is very important when you’ve got this many images under one resource. Photos are nicely grouped into categories for easy and quick browsing.”
Public Domain Photos: “Public Domain Photos is exactly that: a photographer’s domain for public display, all arranged by corresponding categories. There’s a really good search function available, as well.”
Free Historical Stock Photos: “Free Historical Stock Photos contains various historical images, including many by Matthew Brady (Civil War) and Dorothea Lange (Great Depression). This site also includes paintings and vintage posters. The images are gracefully categorized and easily findable with the use of a search function.”
Photos 8 is the newest addition to this list. It has thousands of high quality public domain pictures and is easy to search.
100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Images is another incredible list of resources.
World Images, according to its site, is a “database that provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains almost 75,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. WorldImages is accessible anywhere and its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes.”
Mashable has just posted a great piece, 26 Places to Find Free Multimedia for Your Blog. I’ve already included in this post many of the resources they list. However, they also listed some sites that are new to me, especially the ones that have freely-available video. I’m also sure that a ton of additional sources will be accumulating in their comments section. Because of that, for now, instead of just selectively adding some of their sites to my lists, I’m going to include a link to their post here.
All Our Stock has a bunch royalty-free images, and looks pretty good to me.
The Echo Enduring blog just posted a list of eleven sources of copyright or royalty-free images.I’m adding a few of them to this list:
Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin seems to be a pretty impressive site for clip art that’s free for non-profit use. The art seems a cut above many other clip art sites I’ve seen, and appropriate for many subject areas (that’s how they are categorized).
I’m adding these sites to the list (neither require attribution for their photos though, of course, that would be a nice thing to do):
WP Clip Art has a whole lot of attractive clip art that “…may be used for commercial as well as personal projects without attribution or linking.”
The Clip Safari has thousands of examples of clip art that can be downloaded and used for free.
Kathleen McGeady has written an excellent post on Teaching students about Creative Commons and appropriate use of images.
Wylio is a new site for bloggers to find photos for their blogs. In seconds, it finds a Flickr Creative Commons photo, resizes it to exactly what you need, and provides an embed code, which automatically includes an attribution to the photographer..
Free Images has 6000 original stock photos — all you have to do is credit the site when you use them.
Finding and using public domain photographs comes from Public Domain Sherpa, and contains quite a few sources of good images that are new-to-me. In addition, the site offers helpful advice on using each source.
The Noun Project “collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language, so we may them in a fun and meaningful way.” It’s really quite an impressive collection.
PD Photo has many photos, with the vast majority being in the public domain.
4 Free Photos is another website that offers a good selection of public domain images.
This news seems pretty neat and, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I’m just going to quote from a Read Write Web post (and I’d encourage you to read their entire piece:
Yale University has one of the larger collections of art, objects and documents of any organization in the U.S. Now, digital images and audio files of the collection are free to access by anyone in the world online, according to an announcement by the university’s communications office.
Yale Digital Commons has debuted with just under 260,000 images. The idea is to encompass the whole of the university’s collections in time.
Here’s the main link to Yale Digital Commons.
The real interesting part of this is that the images are being released with what appear to be absolutely no licensing requirements. Yale says:
“In a departure from established convention, no license will be required for the transmission of the images and no limitations will be imposed on their use….”
This is a nice post about the Flickr Creative Commons Search tool.
ELT Pics is a project initiated on Twitter to collect photos helpful to English Language teachers.
Copyright Free and Public Domain Media Sources provides a nice collection of image resources.
Kozzi has thousands of royalty-free images that can be used for anything — at no charge — without even having to give them attribution. You have sign-up for the site, but registration is free.
PhotoPin is new search engine for Creative Commons images. It has a very nice interface, and I especially like it because you not only get the photos, but it also gives you the exact attribution to copy and paste. Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip, and you can read more about the site at their post.
Earlier in this post, I briefly describe how to search for images on Google that are licensed for “reuse.” Google says if you use it, its “results will only include pages that are either labeled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged.”
In addition, Randy Rodgers send a tweet of screenshots showing how to access this feature, and I thought it would be useful to embed them here and also add them to my Images “The Best…” list.
It’s a simple two-stop process:
Visuals For Foreign Language Instruction is from the University of Pittsburgh. Here is how it describes itself:
This site contains hundreds of visual aids (illustrations) that can be used to support instructional tasks such as describing objects and people (i.e., teaching vocabulary) or describing entire events and situations (i.e., teaching grammar).
They can be freely used with attribution for educational purposes.
How to Identify Mysterious Images Online is from MindShift.
Thanks to a tweet by Eric Sheninger, I learned about Photo Pin. It’s a search engine for Creative Commons images from Flickr, and you’re provided with the code you can copy and paste underneath the photo when you use it that provides the appropriate attribution.
I just learned about Image Code from Wesley Fryer. It lets you search Flickr from Creative Commons’ licensed images, get the url address of the photo you want to use, and then turns it into a code you can copy and paste into your blog or website with all the attribution already in it. For example, I searched for lion, found a photo I wanted to use, and here’s what it came up with:
by Chester Zoo
Pretty simple and easy.
Every Stock Photo is an impressive search engine for images and, what’s particularly nice about it, is that it provides the embed code with the necessary attribution for any image you pick.
Richard Byrne has discovered an easy way to search for public domain images on the Bing search engine, and he’s got a simple screenshot on his blog that shows you how. Personally, my favorite place these days to find images for this blog is Wylio. It’s super simple to use and works very well giving you the appropriate attribution within its embed code. You get five images a month for free, and then have to pay less than $40 per year for using more. I think it’s worth it.
The Getty Museum just made an announcement:
The initial focus of the Open Content Program is to make available all images of public domain artworks in the Getty’s collections. we’ve taken a first step toward this goal by making roughly 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.
Creative Commons Resources for Classroom Teachers is from Bill Ferriter.
How to get Copyright Free Images is an excellent post by Phil Longwell.
The Edublogger has recently published an invaluable resource, The Ultimate Directory Of Free Image Sources.
“12 million historic copyright-free images” Now Available For Free Online
170,000 Library Of Congress Images Put Online At Unique Interactive Site
Free Stock Photos: 74 Best Sites To Find Awesome Free Images is from Canva.
Unsplash sends you ten free photos every ten days that can be used without restriction.
Download images from Photos For Class and it will automatically include proper attribution.
— popplet (@poppletny) May 12, 2015
— Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) May 8, 2015
— Jonathan Gunson (@JonathanGunson) July 19, 2015
— Jerry Swiatek (@jswiatek) August 7, 2015
Thanks to Daniel Willingham on Twitter, I learned today that the New York Public Library has made 180,000 “digitized items” available in the public domain. On top of that, they’ve created a number of cool tools to search the images and for using them (for example, users can create a virtual “trip planner”).
The Open Parks Network has made tens of thousands of images available to the public in a searchable database. Almost all are in the public domain, but there may be a few that don’t have a “Public Domain Mark.”
Raw Pixel is yet another site where you can download free photos for use.
Policy Viz has a nice list of sites offering free images to use, including several that are new to me.
Stockio has photos and videos that are free to use.
Where to Find Free Images for Students and Teachers is from Kathleen Morris (via Edublogs).
Pastel Pad provides images and clip art usable for personal or commercial purposes without requiring attribution.
These Google Docs Add-ons Make It Easy to Find Public Domain Images is from Richard Byrne.
My Stock Photos is a new site to get photos to use where no attribution is required.
Reshot is a new source of free images that can be used without attribution.
The Library of Congress has quite a few images that are in the public domain. You can see them all at their Free to Use and Reuse Sets.
— Anabel Gonzalez (@amgonza) July 14, 2018
An Easy Way to Find Images for Google Slides Presentations is from Richard Byrne.
Coverr provides videos that can be used for free without any attribution.
Findshot provides free photos for use in online projects.
5 Good Places to Find Public Domain Video Clips is from Richard Byrne.
Find Royalty-Free images at Pixel Mob.
MixKit is a collection of video footage that can be used for free.
Many Pixels is a new source for free-to-use images.
Today we’re publishing a gender inclusive stock photo library available for free. The media needs to do better at representing trans and non-binary people, and that responsibility falls on all of us. https://t.co/qUYae574wg
— Lindsay Schrupp (@LindsaySchrupp) March 26, 2019
Dragula is a new search site for free stock images.
MixKit is another resource for free images.
Photo Creator has a new take on finding images you can use for free – make your own! Here’s a video about it:
Moose lets you create your own stock photos.
GlazeStock offers images that can be used for free.
ClipSafari has thousands of free…clip art available for free.
Evergreen Photos is a new site to get free stock photos to use.
MixKit provides free images for use in videos.
Wunderstock is a new site to find photos in the public domain.
You can find free stock photos to use at Burst.
An Overview of the New Google Images Search Options is from Richard Byrne.
Icon8 is a source of free royalty-free images.
Wunderstock is a new site for stock photos.
— Blog de Cristina (@blogdecristina) September 21, 2021
— Miguel Míguez (@onthesamepagelt) November 30, 2021
My Updated Guide to Finding Media for Classroom Projects is from Richard Byrne.
— Miguel Míguez (@onthesamepagelt) May 15, 2022
Feel free to contribute your own favorites, too, by leaving a comment.