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This is the "Online Image Websites & Search Engines" page of the "Finding & Using Online Images" guide.
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Use images to support your presentations, engage your audience, and to punctuate or demonstrate your topic when writing papers and assignments. Learn where to find online images and how to use them legally and ethically.
Last Updated: Jun 9, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Online Image Websites & Search Engines Print Page

Getty Images

Getty Images offers an embed images program, allowing users to quickly share licensed content through blogs, websites, and social media.



Image Search Engines & Websites

There are many search engines that allow you to search for images on the web. You can find images to support your presentation or to tell a story; however, finding images on these websites or using these search engines does not guarantee that the work is copyright-free.

It is your responsibility to be certain that you are using images legally.

Several of the sites listed below hold large numbers of images free of copyright.  Some of these sites offer images with licenses that are royalty free and are rights managed.  Royalty free in this context does not mean that the image is free to use or in the public domain, but it is free of royalties (paying each time you use an image).

Review this chart which explains licensing types.

  • Bing Images
    Bing doesn't offer an advanced search feature. Rather, the user begins with a keyword search and then is guided through several options to narrow to the image they want based on topic, size, layout, or colour among others.

    NOTE: Bing is NOT a website, it is a search engine. You cannot use images you find on Bing but must continue to search for the copyright holders site. You must learn what attribution the copyright holder requires for the image before you use it.
  • Canva: 74 free stock photo sites
    "We know that amazing, high-quality images are essential to great designs. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in Canva’s library of over 1 million stock images and illustrations, it’s easy to upload your own. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 74 terrific sources of high-quality, free photos."
  • Copyright Free Photos
    Newly relaunched site offering a dozen galleries of high-quality images. Images are in the public domain.
  • Creative Commons Search
    "Please note that is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations."
    The advanced search allows you to limit your search by license type.
  • Flickr
    Unlike Google Images, which searches all of the Web, Flickr primarily hosts amateur photography and institutional photography, much of it freely available to use.
  • Freedigitalphotos
    "Genuinely free photos" with the option to buy higher resolution images.
  • Google Images (Advanced Search)
    One of the most widely used search engines. However, pay attention to note the permissions to use the images you find here.

    NOTE: Google Images is NOT a website it is a search engine. You cannot use images you find on Google Images but must continue to search for the copyright holders site. You must learn what attribution the copyright holder requires for the image before you use it.
  • Gratisography
    All images taken by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design, and free of copyright restrictions.
  • IM Free
    A curated collection of free resources, organized by categories.
  • Image After
    Public Domain images which can be searched or browsed by category.
  • Image Sources at UBC
    This directory of image sources can help you find images that make it easy to satisfy copyright requirements.
  • Life of Pix
    New pictures added weekly. Gallery is browsable by categories, such as beaches or construction.
  • Little Visuals
    Users may sign up to get seven new images sent to them each week. Can browse tags, but otherwise difficult to search.
  • Morgue File
    "Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not!"
  • Photo Pin
    PhotoPin helps bloggers find photos for their blog and makes adding them to their post fast and easy.
  • Picsearch
    Search by keyword or browse their directory. Users can only view the thumbnails when searching for a specific image. The thumbnails are accompanied by references to the original page it was indexed from. This enables the users to visit the original page and obtain the appropriate permissions to use the image.
  • Pixabay
    Searchable and browsable public domain images made available by users across the globe.
  • Shared Shelf Commons
    This iis a free, open-access library of images. Search and browse collections with tools to zoom, print, export, and share images.
  • SplitShire
    A collection of free-to-use photos taken by web designer Daniel Nanescu.
  • SuperFamous
    Photographs are available under a Creative Commons 3.0 license, and are the work of Folkert Gorter.
  • Unsplash
    Ten new images are released every ten days. Users may subscribe to stay on top of new content.

Reverse Image Search

Do you have a picture that isn't quite what you want?

Or perhaps you just want to be able to choose the best from several similar images?

Some Internet search engines  now allow for uploading an image that you already hold and getting results for similar objects or colors.

Tin Eye is a reverse image search engine. It finds out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.


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