It’s that time of the year again when teachers are busy putting together end of year class and school magazines. Children love to embellish their writing with clip art, photos and lots of visuals. When it’s not practical or possible to use their own digital photos then we have to make sure that whatever visuals they use are licensed as public domain or Creative Commons Attribution. I rely on a handful of websites that provide great copyright friendly images. Images that are licensed as public domain do not require any citation. When a creator gives his or her image a public domain license, he or she waives all rights to the image, including the right to attribution. A Creative Commons Zero License (CC0) is another way to state that the work has been put into the public domain. Images with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license can be shared and reused as long as attribution is given.
The Noun Project
The Noun Project has a huge collection of free symbols and icons. You can find clear and simple images to illustrate just about any idea. You have permission to use The Noun Project’s images in your own projects because they are covered under a Creative Commons Attribution or a Public Domain license. If an attribution is required, the citation is attached to the downloaded image. Downloading from The Noun Project does require a free account, and downloading currently does not work on tablets or smartphones. A recent update to the site now allows you to download any icon in any colour.
OpenClipart is filled with public domain graphics that you can freely use for any purpose. The children often use images from OpenClipart in slideshows or projects. You can download any images from the site as a high resolution PNG. These are mostly transparent and will blend right into whatever project you’re using it for.
All photos at Unsplash are licensed as Creative Commons Zero (CC0), making them public domain. Anyone can use these photos for any reason, and no citation is required. The high-quality photos on Unsplash can make great backgrounds for slides or graphics. Photos on Unsplash are at least 2048 by 1536 pixels large, making them high resolution. Unlike some sites, you do not need to log in before downloading high resolution photos from Unsplash.
Pixabay is filled with public domain photos and graphics that you can freely use for any purpose. You can download any photo from the site as a high resolution JPEG.
Pexels has high quality public domain (Creative Commons Zero License) stock photos that you can freely use for any purpose. You download photos from the site as a high resolution JPEG and no login is required. Many of the photos on Pexels are also available on Pixabay.
Boasting over 34,000,000 freely usable media, including images, videos and sounds, Wikimedia is a must if you are looking for free to use images, videos or sounds.
Photo for Class
This free site searches Creative Commons licensed images, and the images are filtered to be appropriate for school. Downloaded images have a black bar added to the bottom with the attribution. No need to keep track of where to photo came from because that information is attached to the photo itself.
Pond5 Historic Media
Pond5 is a website that sells stock media for projects. However, they have a section with free historic photos and videos at pond5.com/free. In fact, the historic photos are licensed as public domain, so you can use them in any project, and you don’t have to include a citation. An account is required to download the free media.
Once you register for a free membership at Freerange, you have access to thousands of high-resolution stock photos at no cost. All of the website’s images can be used for personal or commercial projects.