The internet is awash with fantastic images. The problem is finding images that are not breaching someone’s copyright, which is often the case. For student projects is also good practice to have them attribute the source of their images.

Here’s a few ways of getting images that let you find ones you are actually allowed to use.

Google Image Search

Google Image Search is excellent for finding images and is often the first place people check, but in it’s default setting it has a scattergun approach to copyright, pulling images in from everywhere. It is possible to change the settings of the search to look for images that are able to be reused. Go to Google Image Search, and below the search box click on Advanced Search.

Then under “Usage Rights“, select “Labeled for Reuse“. Images that are then returned in the search should then be able to be reused in projects and on blogs safely. Always remember to credit the original source of the image though.

Flickr Commons and Wikipedia

Both Flickr and Wikipedia maintain libraries of creative commons/public domain images that are well worth a look. Flickr hosts images for many publicly-held photo libraries from museums around the world.

Wikipedia Commons :

Flickr Commons :

Flickr Search Engines

To help find creative commons images, there are several tools now which will let you search Flickr for CC images. My Favourite is FlickrCC – enter a tag to search for and it will return a load thumbnails. Click on a thumbnail to see more information and to visit the original page on Flickr.

Alternatives to FlickrCC Include:


Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers. Unlike many Internet sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.


Veezzle is a free stock photo search engine. The site pulls in images from many different stock photo sources, as well as Flickr. Click on the “download in HQ” button to view the image in its original site/page to be able to attribute correctly. Worth a look.

The Open Clip Art Library

The Open Clip Art Library is a good source of open-source/public domain clip art resources. Registration is required for some of the features of the site, but it’s free to join.  You can browse without registering.

Also check out School Clip Art

Searching for images on your IWB – a warning!

A quick tip if you are doing an image seach live – on your IWB – in front of a class. Although you might be searching with the best of intentions – sometimes even the most innocuous search can throw up images that you may not want the students to see. Some search engines have a “safe search” filter, and the school filter may block them, but it’s always best to cover yourself just in case.

Check your Projector remote for a Blank or a Freeze button (most should have at least one or the other) and freeze/blank the screen while you do the search on the computer. You can see the search on the regular monitor and check that nothing untoward is being displayed.

For more on Copyright and Creative Commons check here and here.