Digital storytelling #5 – Finding royalty free images on the Internet

Submitted by Fiona Beal
If we want to use already created clipart images to create a story we will need to be looking mainly for royalty free images. Here is a collection of resources to peruse.

Larry Ferlazzo is a great curator of the web – he has a whole list of ‘Best of series…” sites which you can find here. So here are Larry Ferlazzo’s picks for The Best Online Sources For Images (not in order of preference). I think it is best to go for royaltry free/public domain pics.

Here’s a list of places to look for pictures. Some have comments at the side

The Sites


1 100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Images is another incredible list of resources.


180+ Resources sites to download Royalty Free Stock images


25 Places To Find Awesome Stock Photos from Lucy Gray,

Larry Ferlazzo says “decided to add some of the sites on that list to The Best Online Sources For Images.  The “25 Places” post has concise and accurate descriptions of the sites, so I’m just going to quote from them.  I’d also encourage you to check-out their entire list.”


Mashable has just posted a great piece, 26 Places to Find Free Multimedia for Your Blog

Larry Ferlazzo says, “I’ve already included in this post many of the resources they list.  However, they also listed some sites that are new to me, especially the ones that have freely-available video.  I’m also sure that a ton of additional sources will be accumulating in their comments section.  Because of that, for now, instead of just selectively adding some of their sites to my lists, I’m going to include a link to their post here.”


30 Websites To Download Free Stock Photos


4 Free Photos .

is another website that offers a good selection of public domain images


All Our Stock.

has a bunch royalty-free images



Here are two more simple ways to search for Creative Commons images


Big Foto 

It has a large selection of royalty-free images.


Burning Well


Clip Art ETC

from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse offers over 38,000 pieces of clip art for students and teachers.


Copyright Free and Public Domain Media Sources

provides a nice collection of image resources.





is one more source of clip art for use in schools.


ELT Pics

is a project initiated on Twitter to collect photos helpful to English Language teachers.
16 eleven sources of copyright or royalty-free images.


Finding and using public domain photographs

comes from Public Domain Sherpa, and contains quite a few sources of good images that are new-to-me. In addition, the site offers helpful advice on using each source.


Flickr Creative Commons 

is another way to find Flickr images offered for use with a Creative Commons license.
19 Flickr Creative Commons Search tool.


Flickr Storm

is search tool for the same photos (be sure to click “Advanced Search” to make sure your results include only those with a CC license) — just perhaps in slightly more engaging way.
21 Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin Larry Ferlazzo says, “seems to be a pretty impressive site for clip art that’s free for non-profit use. The art seems a cut above many other clip art sites I’ve seen, and appropriate for many subject areas (that’s how they are categorized).”


Free Digital Photos:

Larry Ferlazzo says, “Free Digital Photos has a good search function, which is very important when you’ve got this many images under one resource. Photos are nicely grouped into categories for easy and quick browsing.”
23 Free Foto: “Freefoto is made up of 117,600 images with over 150+ sections organized into 3,285 categories. There’s a search function, and usage is completely unrestricted. All you have to do is include an attribution link back to”


Free Historical Stock Photos:

“Free Historical Stock Photos contains various historical images, including many by Matthew Brady (Civil War) and Dorothea Lange (Great Depression). This site also includes paintings and vintage posters. The images are gracefully categorized and easily findable with the use of a search function.” (Larry Ferlazzo)


Free Images

has 6000 original stock photos — all you have to do is credit the site when you use them.
26 Free Media Goo


Free Stock Photography


Google free images.  You can get fuller text description of how to use this option at Google’s site.

One can search for images on Google that are licensed for “reuse.” Google says if you use it, its “results will only include pages that are either labeled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged.”


Heritage Explorer You can read more about it at the Kent ICT blog.

has hundreds of thousands of British-related images available for free educational use. 



is ….a visual library of history, art and science that is free for educational use. You can download images and use them in classroom environment in any way that you want. Currently there are more than two thousand high-quality images and new content is being added every day.


Image After

is a great place to find free stock images (you can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog).

32 Public Domain Pictures
33 Image Base. Richard Byrne has posted about this site for public domain photos called It’s worth reading his post about it.
34 Ken Thomas has lots of nature photos in the public domain.



has thousands of royalty-free images that can be used for anything — at no charge — without even having to give them attribution. You have sign-up for the site, but registration is free


Morgue File

Mathew Needleman suggests this site because “it has quite a few images and it’s not blocked in school”


NASA has begun releasing collections of great photos

that can be used with no copyright restrictions, and more are on the way. You can read more about it at the Los Angeles Times.


Nations Illustrated

has 8,000 images from around the world, and also provides an E-Card feature.



is a new site for free images. Paul Houle, its founder, writes: Although I started it just last July, Ookaboo already has 510,000 images of 283,000 topics… and it gets better all the time because it adds 8,000 new images each day. Unlike many “free photo” sites, all images in Ookaboo are public domain or creative commons and can be used freely for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. I think it’s perfect for students and teachers to use for schoolwork, handouts, web sites and other creative projects.


Open Clip Art Library

has thousands of examples of clip art that can be downloaded and used for free.


PD Photo

has many photos, with the vast majority being in the public domain.


has 160,000 copyright-free images available.



is a new search engine for Creative Commons images. It has a very nice interface, and I especially like it because you not only get the photos, but it also gives you the exact attribution to copy and paste. Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip, and you can read more about the site at their post.


Pics 4 Learning

is specifically designed for teachers and students, and has thousands of images that can be used freely.



lets you search many photo sites simultaneously and, in addition to defining the image you want, you can define the restrictions for use. For example, I typed in that I was looking for a picture of a lion for educational use, checked the “none” box for licensing requirements (which means anybody can use it — even without crediting the photographer) and got several hundred images to choose from.



a site that has millions of images that can be used on your blog — for free. You can read more about it at Raman Job’s blog
47 Picture Of A is a new site where “all photos are completely free to use and are open source!.


Photos 8

is the newest addition to this list. It has thousands of high quality public domain pictures and is easy to search.
49 Public Domain Photos: “Public Domain Photos is exactly that: a photographer’s domain for public display, all arranged by corresponding categories. There’s a really good search function available, as well.”


Search by Creative Commons

provides excellent explanations about what Creative Commons licenses are, and offers a way to search throughout the web for images that have them.


Simple CC Flickr Search

Search for Creative Commons images: and


Smithsonian Images

provides access to that incredible collection, and also allows you to use any of them as E-Cards.
53 Stock.xchng
54 Stockvault
55  Teaching students about Creative Commons and appropriate use of images. Kathleen McGeady’s excellent post on
56  The Educator’s Guide To The Creative Commons. Darren Draper’s excellent post (including additional resources)


The Japanese Language Course Support Site

is a smaller, but useful, source of language-learning images.


The Noun Project

collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way.” It’s really quite an impressive collection.
59 The Royalty Free Clip Art Collection For Foreign/Second Language Instruction from Purdue University is another place to find images useful for teaching English Language Learners.
60 The University of Victoria Teaching Clipart Gallery has three thousand images specifically designed for language-teaching.




Wikimedia Commons

 It has four million images, and their reuse agreement states Public Domain Pictures

63 World Images, according to its site, is a “database that provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains almost 75,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. WorldImages is accessible anywhere and its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes.” (Larry Ferlazzo


WP Clip Art

has a whole lot of attractive clip art that “…may be used for commercial as well as personal projects without attribution or linking.”



is a new site for bloggers to find photos for their blogs. In seconds, it finds a Flickr Creative Commons photo, resizes it to exactly what you need, and provides an embed code, which automatically includes an attribution to the photographer..


Here’s the main link to Yale Digital Commons.

Yale University has one of the larger collections of art, objects and documents of any organization in the U.S. Now, digital images and audio files of the collection are free to access by anyone in the world online, according to an announcement by the university’s communications office.Yale Digital Commons has debuted with just under 260,000 images and no licensing agreements.. 

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