Where to find copyright-free images

If you need a picture for a non-commercial purpose such as a personal or educational website, a blog, stationery or party invitation – any project where sales are not your objective – try a Creative Commons search.

Creative Commons is not exactly a search engine. It provides access to the results of different directories that have compiled copyright-free databases. You can use it to find copyright-free articles, images, music and video.

1. Link to http://search.creativecommons.org/#

2. Make sure the two boxes at the top are not checked:

3. Type your search term in the text field and click “GO”

4. After the images load, click on either the Google (image) or the Flickr (image) heading at the top of the page. They will each bring up different images for your topic.

5. When you see an image you like, click on it to open its largest version. You can size it down later for your project, but it’s always good to start with the largest.

6. When the largest version is open, use your right mouse button to click the image and save it. Be sure to remember where you save it! You’ll need to browse and find it in your computer again when you’re ready to use it.

NOTE: Many Flickr images cannot be copied this way. You’ll find you end up with just a tiny spaceball.gif. You may need to do a screen capture to get a copy of the image. However, if you are getting a spaceball, the photo is likely protected by copyright and you came to it by mistake. Check with the photographer to be sure.

If the image requires attribution, please follow the requirements of the person who submitted the image. Often they will request only a link back to the source.