12 Must Have Resources for Free Public Domain Pictures to Use in Class

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January 23, 2014
Images speak louder than words. We all have recourse to images as visual aids in our teaching but the search for such images is not always an easy one. Most often, you spend a decent amount of time looking for pictures only to be disappointed that they are copyrighted . This is where the importance of having a ready made list of public domain image sources comes in handy. I have gone through some of the resources I have reviewed before and compiled the list below.

1- Pic4Learning

Pics4Learning is an open project where anyone ( particularly photographers ) can join in and add their photos. The library counts thousands of free images which are all approved for classroom use. These images are also indexed and stored into different categories making it easy for teachers and students to browse and search through them. Have a look and share with us if you know of other similar copyright friendly image resources.

2- National Gallery of Art

For those of you looking for free downloadable and re-usable images of art, the National Gallery of Art has more than 25.000 art images to offer you. Each image is accompanied by a snippet of information on the original artist behind it together with an option to browse through related works.

3- British Library

The British Library has recently released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images are taken from books dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th century. The images were initially owned and digitized by Microsoft and then later on were given to the British Library to be released into the public domain.

4- Wikipaintings

Wikipaintings is a great resource not only for Art teachers for all other teachers looking for some highly quality images of public domain artworks. Wikipainings is a project that aims to create well-structured online repository of fine art. The artwork featured in this platform includes both classical and contemporary art.

5- Public Domain Pictures


PublicDomainPictures.net is a repository for free public domain images. Material can easily be browsed by various categories, including professional or seasonal photos. Image tags allow an easy search.


This is a database of 18,083,944 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute. Media files can be surfed by topic, location, type, author, license, and source. Each of these categories has subcategories, to refine the search.

7- Pixabay

Pixabay is another great resource for high quality public domain pictures. You can register with pixaby and save yourself the trouble of having to type in captcha each you want to download a pic.

8- Public Domain photos

All photos on this web site are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial.

9- Morguefile

The morguefile contains photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects by visitors to the site.

10 - Flickr

This is another great resource of free images and similar to Google Images, Flickr offers a search functionality that you can use to look for only public domain pictures. Refine your query in Flickr using advanced search to look for and find free images.

11- Image After

ImageAfter is a large online free photo collection. You can download and use any image or texture from this site and use it in your own work, either personal or commercial.

12- EveryStockPhoto

This is a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo's license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and allows you to rate, tag, collect and comment on photos.

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