Millions of ‘free’ photos

Ok, I admit it.  There have been a few times that I’ve been in a pinch and needed an image for a presentation quickly.  In the past, I’ve gone to Google Images, did a quick search and just grabbed one that seemed to fit my needs.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t have done it.  I’m guessing that at least a few readers can empathize with me, having done something similar.

Well, I’ve resolved to stop doing that.  From now on, I’m going to make sure that I only use photos that I have the rights to use and give proper credit. 

One resource I’m going to start using extensively is Flickr’s Creative Commons section.  For those of you unfamiliar, Flickr is an online photo management site that has a huge number of interactive features and emphasizes the social aspects of photo sharing.  They make it real easy for people to add a Creative Commons copyright designation to their photos as well, giving people certain rights to use their photos.  In a nutshell, it makes it real easy to say things like, "You can use my photos and edit my photos, but give me credit when you do and don’t use them for commercial purposes." 

Every photo that I’ve uploaded to Flickr (nearly 3000) have a Creative Commons license, allowing people to use them and play with them, so long as they give me credit. 

Flickr has a huge directory of photos, organized by what rights people have.  Need a photo for a PowerPoint but you don’t plan on edit it?  Go here.  Need a photo that you might need to edit a touch, but you won’t be using for commercial reasons, head over here.  Need a photo for that you can use for commercial purposes, just giving that person credit?  Then this category is for you.

Quick and easy.  The smallest category has well over a quarter million photos, while the largest tops over two and a half million.  There’s over 2.5 million photos that you can use and edit, so long as you give credit to the photographer, don’t use them for commercial purposes and make sure that any new works you create from those photos retain a similar license (so you can’t edit it and then use it for commerical purposes). 

For those of use who have made similar resolutions, care to share any other great resources for finding images and clip art that you actually have permission to use?


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  1. ArtGuy said:

    Yotophoto ( ) is a decent resource for royalty free images, including ones that are public domain, Creative Commons, or some other kind of license.

    When you type in a keyword it searches multiple sites for photos, but I’ve notced that while it does search Flickr’s Creative Commons section it doesn’t show ALL the pictures that A Flickr Creative Commons search would show. As a result I tend to use Yotophoto and Flickr at the same time when hunting for images.

  2. Jennifer Gingerich said:

    I’m surprised at how many teachers don’t know about Pics4learning ( Hall mentioned this site in his webinar. You can feel pretty safe sending your students there to search. The citation is listed along with every photo.

    I recently stumbled across the Web Museum ( A great site for works of art.

    Finally I like to look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day ( I have never used these in a presentation, but my kids love to see the picture and read the astronomer’s explanation.

  3. Susan Plack said:

    Thanks for the links to images we can use. I went to Flickr this morning to check it out. Is there an easy way to download all these images with the credit ON the image?

    How are you putting your credit’s into your PowerPoint presentations?

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