Three sources of free photos for everyone

Three sources of free photos for everyone

roses_1_710x420

Photos, icons, illustrations, logos…

Images are great; they can bring your work to life or express a concept in an instant, and there are lots available out there on the internet.  But do you know whether your use of images is legal?  Most people aren’t sure, so here are three ways to find free images that are safe for you to use in your work.

Millions of free images available online for you to share, reuse and adapt

These images are shared using a system called Creative Commons which allows authors to specify they way you can use their work.  All you need to do is check the licence, then use the image making sure you credit the author.  The licences are simple and are based on four elements:

cclicences  narrow

Adapted from Creative Commons: The Ultimate Guide by Foter.com CC BY-SA 3.0


How do I find these pictures?  Here are three ways:

1. Compfight (a Flickr search tool)

Compfight allows you to search flickr and view just those images licensed for reuse

Compfight allows you to search flickr and view just those images licensed for reuse

Flickr, holds over 200,000,000 Creative Commons licensed images!  You could go into Flickr and search for images there, but Compfight.com make the search smoother and simpler.  Just type in what you’re looking for and select to show only Creative Commons images.  Browse the results and download the photo of your choice.  Compfight helpfully displays the licensing details next to the photo for you to include in your attribution.


2. Google Images Search

Google searches the entire internet for images, but you need to do a bit more work to download the picture you want.

Google searches the entire internet for images, but you need to do a bit more work to download the picture you want.

Google.co.uk/images searches the internet for pictures.  Compared with Compfight you’ll find a larger range of images, but you’ll need to do a bit more work to download them and find licensing details.

Filter your search results to show only those available for reuse by clicking on Search tools > Usage Rights then select the licence you want.  Once you’ve found a suitable image, click on it to go to the original web page to download and find licensing details to include in your attribution.


3. Openclipart

Openclipart provides a different type of picture: simple icons, logos and illustrations, all in the public domain.

Openclipart provides a different type of picture: simple icons, logos and illustrations, all in the public domain.

Sometimes you might need an icon, logo or small piece of clipart.  Openclipart.org is excellent for this type of image, and the bonus is that all the images are in the public domain meaning you can use them freely without any attribution at all.


I’ve got my image, now how to I credit the author?

When using Creative Commons licensed materials, you must credit the author of the work.  There is no one correct way to do this, but try to do it the best you can given the information available.  A good approach is outlined below:

attribution

Images taken from Creative Commons: The Ultimate Guide by Foter.com.  The full infographic is informative and a good reference.  CC BY-SA 3.0
 
Roses triptych by Donna Rutherford CC BY-NC 2.0

About the author

I'm interested in the ways that technology can enhance teaching and make learning more engaging and accessible to everyone. I work with colleagues to develop their digital literacies and to integrate technology into every day learning and teaching practice. I provide a range of professional development activities through face-to-face, blended and online methods. I'm a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology.


3 comments on “Three sources of free photos for everyone

  • Hi Anna, I was wondering if you were going to mention your neighbor’s tool, xpert search. But since it’s bust at the moment (I get ‘A problem has occurred accessing the picture (1406712127.jpg)’ having selected an image)… I used to think this was a really useful option to deal with the attribution thing…

  • Hi Mike, thanks for your comment and you’re right, I could have mentioned the University of Nottingham’s Xpert Attribution website, but was keeping things simple. However, your comment is inspiration for a follow-on blog post, so watch this space :-) . By the way, I just tried Xpert and it seems to be working normally, so possibly a temporary glitch?

    • Keeping things simple – always a good plan Anna! The infographic you highlighted does a fair job of that.
      I think xpert attribution does help to simplify the process of how to not only give attribution but help to keep it that way since it becomes part of the image.
      But xpert is still bust for me. At least the search works now but it breaks when trying to knit the image to the attribution bar – “A problem has occurred accessing the picture (1406720931.jpg)” Joy!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Required fields are marked with required


required

required

required