We need to make use of quality image sources that are good, free, and easy to search through. The trick is to know what sources to recommend to students.
It’s not just about copyright – its about being practical, and showing students the wonderful world of possibilities beyond Google images or taking anything they find that is not actually in the public domain – a vital point as more students and teachers move into online environments of blogs, wikis and more. Including images with postings enriches the experience for the reader and can also help to illustrate or support the writer’s viewpoint.
FlickrCC – my top favourite – and Australian too. This tool searches Creative Commons images from Flickr – no need to use the Flickr advanced search option (though you can do that too). What I love about it is the way it displays a large selection in one view, and the way it randomly chooses a different word to display images each time you visit. That has thrown up some real favourites for me too. FlickrCC lets you edit images right away – though I don’t often make use of that function as I do like editing with Aviary online editing that is available in Flickr.
Flickr itself is free, though you will have to register if you want to upload and edit your own images. Be sure to set the copyright setting to suit your intended use of Flickr. The default setting excludes Creative Commons shared use, so do make sure to change your settings appropriately. The other CC thing to watch out for is the Request to Licence from Getty Images. This is one that can trip you up, as this can sit right alongside the generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) licence, in this way indicating the importance of choosing the right level of licensing to suit your needs without causing confusion for others.
Flickr Creative Commons compiles images that Flickr users who chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.
FlickrStorm – let’s you search photos on Flickr that are made available through a Creative Commons license
Compfight – a beautifully simple interface! Tailor your search for commercial or creative commons; original and even safe search.
Veezzle – a search engine which finds free stock photos by crawling dozens of websites. If you’re looking for high-quality images, but don’t want to pay for them, check out this new search tool!
Creative Commons CC Search – Find content you can share, use and remix – which of course includes images!
Something extra special for working with Flickr Creative Commons images
Often, you are in a great need for some pictures to freshen up your webpage and would like to include one of these images. If you want to do this, there are quite a lot of steps necessary:
- Make sure you understood the license correctly
- Get the correct HTML code for the IMG tag
- Link the image back to the Flickr photo page
- Give the author of the image proper credits (Attribution)
- Link to the Flickr profile of the author
- Link to the license the image is licensed under
The solution you’ve been waiting for is offered by ImageCodr.org. There is no longer any need to do all this manually. You simply enter in the URL of the picture page (as seen in your browser) and ImageCodr.org will generate the ready-to-use HTML code.It will also display a brief and easy license summary, so you don’t get in legal trouble because you missed something.
Others image tools worth trying:
- Bigfoto.com offers pictures from around the world, including America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Pacific.
- Clip Art for foreign/second language instruction. Basic but still valuable.
- Deviant ART – Very popular community and also very good photos to be found there, but yes, don’t forget about license and asking authors first for their permission.
- EduPic Graphical Resources is a growing collection of images and graphics created and curated by a dedicated teacher.
- EveryStockPhoto is a search engine for creative commons photos, located in Vancouver, BC. They aim to be a community for designers, developers, photographers and other media publishers who want better, easier access to license-specific media on the web. This is a single integrated search, allowing users to bookmark their photos with private and public tags, and increasingly we will be offering advanced searching options, rating systems and other tools.
- Foter.com allows you to search, manage and add free stock photos to blogs, forums, websites and other online media. Foter has over 190 million free Creative Commons images from many online sources and the entire system is also available as a WordPress plugin and offers seamless use within the WordPress platform.
- FreeDigitalPhotos.net has over 2000 free images that you can use in commercial and noncommercial work. You are not allowed to sell, redistribute, or claim these images as your own. You can browse by category or search for exactly what you need.
- FreeMediaGoo.com has a large collection of images, audio, textures, and other visual mediums that you can use for free with some restrictions. You do not even have to credit the images. The site also features some amazing digital images if you are looking for something different.
- FreeFoto.com says it is the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet (link back and attribution required).
- FreePhotoBank is a free stock photo site. Feel free to download pictures (up to 2048 pixels, Creative Commons licence) but don’t forget to link back to FreePhotoBank !
- FreeRange – All images are at least 2400 x 1600, and photos can be used for commercial or personal projects. Beautiful images for your creative presentations. Just sign up for membership.
- FromOldBooks – Over 2,330 high-resolution images scanned from more than 100 different old or rare books, with extracts!
- The Geo-Images Project attempts to make images (mostly photographs) that are useful in teaching geography more widely available. Navigate via map points on the globe, and capture images around common themes. Love the one on transport! and community is cool too!
- Image*After is a large online free photo collection. You can download and use any image or texture from our site and use it in your own work.
- ImageBase – Pictures are free to use and really high resolution. Includes Powerpoint templates.
- Life Photo Archive – Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today.
- Photo Pin – Free photos for bloggers and creatives. (skip the sponsored images at the top).
- Pixabay – Find and share stunning images. Offering over 65.000 manually approved public domain images
- MorgueFile.com offers stock photographs in high resolution digital. With over 55,000 images, divided into several categories, they are sure to have something you can use. The thumbnails are small, but your search results display quickly, and the photos are of top quality. (The term “morgue file” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. This is the world wide web’s morgue file)
- OpenPhoto – 20 different categories, with high quality nature, technology and architectural photos. Range of sizes, and Creative Commons options.
- Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an educational setting. Lesson plans also included.
- Sprixi – Images have liberal licences such as Creative Commons or are in the public domain
- Stock Exchange offers high quality images taken around the world by amateur photographers. If you have an interest in photography, you can even submit your own pictures. There are various searching options and over 100,000 images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the fine print, but most pictures can be reused immediately.
- TurboPhoto provides free stock images from 10 categories all of which are in the public domain.
- UVic’s Language Teaching Library consists of about 3000 images useful in the teaching of basic vocabulary in a variety of languages. Its purpose is to provide a set of those graphics most basic and useful for low-level language-teaching, and at the same time, to make them as easily searchable as possible. Transparent an matte images included.
- Wikipedia: Public domain image sources – though in this case you will need to check the copyright.
- Wylio is an all-in-one picture finder and re-sizer made specifically for bloggers.
- Yotophoto is now indexing well over a quarter million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and various other ‘copyleft’ images
For a full Photography Toolbox you shouldn’t go past Mashable’s 90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources.
You may also enjoy reading the Complete guide to Finding and Using Incredible Images in Flickr. Includes an excellent explanation of Creative Commons and images.
If you have other reliable favourites, updates or variations, I would be glad to add or edit them in this list.
Photo: Are you ready?
Original post: Find free images online – my list!