Using Photos on Blogs Part 1: Find Great Free Photos

This post is part of a series on Using Photos on Blogs

  • This is part 1: Using free photos on your classroom blog.
  • Coming up next is part 2: Using Stock Photos on your class website…

A picture is worth a thousand words. Which would your students find easier to read:

  • a textbook filled with paragraphs and paragraphs of text, or
  • a textbook broken up with colorful photos, large font headings, and interesting graphics?

The right picture can capture the reader’s attention. This is true whether you’re using photos on blogs, textbooks, or ads.

(We haven’t done a very good job of using photos on blogs like this one. It was supposed to be a holiday goal during the winter school break, but some how we’ve run out of time! )

More and more people are surfing the internet using a mobile device (i.e. iPads in the classroom.) There are some great apps out there (i.e. Flipboard) which you can use to collect articles from websites, social media feeds, etc. into one place. The articles where people used photos on their blogs tend to stop us (even if it’s just for a moment.)

Our students are growing up in the digital age.

  • This is the generation where two-year-olds know that after you take a photo, you can instantly see it on the back of the camera.
  • We have a generation of students who have no problems cutting and pasting images online.

I wonder how many students (and teachers) know that just because you find an image online using Google search, it doesn’t mean that you have permission to use that photo.

Using Photos on Blogs – Part 1: Find Great Free Photos

  1. How to find great (and free) images to use on your class website or student blogs (using Flickr)
  2. Using Photos on Blogs Legally – Three important things to remember when finding free photos for your class website using Flickr and Creative Commons.
  3. This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?)


1. How to find great (and free) images to use on your class website or student blogs (using Creative Commons and Flickr)

If you’re looking for free photos to use in your class website or student blog, then you probably want to look at Creative Commons licensed photos.

When people publish their work using a Creative Commons license, they keep their copyright but they can choose how other people can use their work. Creative Commons gives people a lot of control over their work:

  • You can decide if you want people to use your work and make money off of it (i.e. allow commercial uses of your work.)
  • You can decide if you want to let people modify your work (and you can also allow people to modify your work as long as they share their mash up with the same license.)
  • You always need to give credit (attribution) back to the person who created the original work.

You can find a lot of great, interesting photos on Flickr. (Flickr is an online photo sharing service that allows users to easily license their Flickr photos with Creative Commons licenses instead of your typical copyright:  All rights reserved.)

  • If you need free photos for a commercial website, then you need photos licensed under a creative Commons Attribution license. There are over 30 million photos published on Flickr under an attribution Creative Commons license (which means you can use it for anything, as long as you give credit back to the original author.) Click here to search Flickr for interesting photos with a Creative Commons attribution license.
  • If you need free photos for student blog or class website and you’re not making money from your site and you’re not changing the photo, then chances are you need photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivatives license. There are almost 60,000,000 photos on Flickr’s with an Attribution – Noncommercial – No Derivatives Creative Commons License. This means that teachers and students can legally use these photos on their blogs or class website for free as long as they give credit back to the original photographer, they’re not making money from the site, and they’re not changing or modifying the photo.Click here to search Flickr for interesting photos with a creative Commons attribution – noncommercial – no derivatives license.

Use Interesting photos from Flickr when you’re using photos on blogs

If you’re trying to find great photos from Flickr, try clicking on the “interesting” option when you have a list of search results.

It really makes a difference. By default, Flickr will return photos that are relevant to your search term. Just by clicking “interesting,” Flickr will return a different set of photos that really are, well, more interesting.

2.Using Photos on Blogs Legally – Two important things to remember when finding free photos for your class website using Flickr and Creative Commons.

If you’re introducing your students to Flickr, you might want to give them these two pointers to make sure that they’re using Flickr correctly.

Tip #1 When they find a photo that they think they want to use, make sure to check the license on the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

  • If it says “all rights reserved,” then the image is copy written and you can’t use it on your class website or your student blog.
  • You want an image that says “some rights reserved.” Click on the link and it will show you which Creative Commons license it is published under.

This is important because it’s very easy to get lost when you’re using the Flickr search engine.

  • Even though your students might start searching using the Creative Commons filter, it’s easy to make a wrong turn and end up on the general Flickr search engine.
  • All of a sudden, your students have found great photos, but because it didn’t say “Creative Commons” when they were searching, they probably found a photos with a regular copyright and so they can’t use it.

Tip #2 You need to make sure that your students give credit to the original photographer.

All creative Commons licensed work require you to give credit back to the original author, but there’s no standardized way to give attribution with Flickr photos.

  • Usually, you include the author’s name and a link to the Flickr page where you got the photo.
  • Some photographers include more specific requirements as they are allowed to do so by the creative Commons attribution license. These instructions are usually included in the photographer’s profile or in the photo description.

Stay Tuned… Using Photos on Blogs Part 2: Finding Great Stock Photos

Next time find out how to find great photos for your (class) website using stock photography. (Lets be honest. Even though you can find great (and cheap) stock photos for as low as $0.99 per photo, you’ll need to buy hundreds of dollars of photo credits to get that price. Even though teachers will want students using photos on blogs to spice up their text, the average teacher isn’t going to shell out hundreds of dollars for stock photography.

So, why talk about stock photos? Because it’s a chance for your students to learn about media literacy: how do people (or companies) find those great photos? How much do those photos cost? Should a school, non-profit organization, or politician use photos of real students or people in their constituency, or is it okay to use stock photography?

Image Source: Flickr / Per Ola Wiberg

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

[adrotate block=”3″]
  • There are 998 words in this post. Dragon made 13 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.7% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional – punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.3% in this document.
Example of Word Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5
  • The image that you just snapped. = The image that you just left.
  • when we talk = only talk
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. = A picture is worth 1000 words.
Example of Punctuation / Capitalization Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5
  • Creative Commons. = creative Commons.
  • Stay tuned next time = Stay tuned Next time
  • your students give credit to the original photographer. = your students. If credit to the original photographer.

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