How to Find Free Images Posted on February 12th, 2009 by

Creative Commons logo. Image by St. Murse ( Used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license (

Have you ever been writing a blog post or putting together a website and thought that all it really needs is a couple of decent photos? If you don’t have the time or talent to take photos for your pages, you might feel like you are out of luck. On the contrary, there’s good news for you–an ocean of free images awaits you on Flickr Creative Commons search.

What is Flickr?

Flickr is an easy and very popular way for people to share their images on the web. According to Wikipedia, in November 2008 Flickr claims to be hosting more than 3 billion images. Thankfully, Flickr makes it easy for users to select Creative Commons licenses for their photos and many Flickr users choose to do so.

Side note: Gustavus Athletics has a Flickr account, and there is a growing Gustavus Flickr group.

Wait, what is Creative Commons?

From the Creative Commons website,

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

This means that there are many things floating around on the Internet that you can probably use without going through the typical hassles that copyright licensing creates, depending on the specific flavor of Creative Commons license given to the work and how you intend to use it.

Sounds good, but how do I find the free images?

That’s easy. Go to Flickr’s advanced search, enter your search terms at the top, check the box at the bottom labeled “

You may also want to try Behold, a search engine that “attempts to catalogue CC images with quality comparable to that of professional image archives such as Getty Images or Corbis, by using the social structure of Flickr and image content analysis”.

Alternatively, if you prefer to browse, Flickr has collected all of the Creative Commons-licensed content in one spot.


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  1. […] that you don’t have any good images for your posts? This guide might help you find a free image to use.   Tweet Categories: New featuresTags: blog, blog posts, blogs, google, images, search […]