USP 460 - Community Development Field Seminar: Finding Reusable Images

Find Creative Commons Images in Google Images

The Google Image search engine offers filters for you to find reusable images with Creative Commons licenses. In order to make use of this filter  follow these steps.

1. Search the images search engine using keywords.

2. On the results page click on tools.

Google images search box with the list of options underneath it. Red arrow pointing toward the word tools.


3. Under "usage rights" select "all creative commons images."

Google image search results page. tools selected, usage rights drop down activated, and a red arrow pointing toward all creative commons images

4. Click on the image of interest.

google images search results page with an image of a ring of 7 fists selected

5. Visit the image's source page and verify its license before saving and reusing it.

Public Domain & Creative Commons Licensed Images

Licenses you may use without seeking permission

You may use materials licensed with the following licenses without seeking permissions from the copyright holder.

  • Public Domain - public domain licenses are those that are "public." In the United States usually means that the work was created by a government entity, or that the material is old enough that its copyrights have expired.
  • Creative Commons licenses - creative these licenses come in a variety of flavors. Some are very permissive, others are not. Be sure you follow what a rights holder has indicated on the license. For example, the image in the Google Image Search example on this page is a creative commons non-commercial no derivatives licensed image. This means that I may not reuse the image for commercial purposes, nor may I make use part of the image to make a new work, or a derivative work. (i.e. no Photoshopping!)

Regardless of the license of the image you are using, you should always cite where you found the image, and name the rights holder. For more on these licenses, see the Copyright & Fair Use page of this guide.