Google Images: Free to Use

This post is about finding images through Google that are safe to use, share, and sometimes modify.

Finding Images

  1. Type your topic
  2. Select Images
  3. Next go to Options (it looks like a cog)

Google Images1

From the Options pull-down menu select Advanced search.

Google Images2

Selecting Usage Rights

You are now on the Advanced Image Search screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and find the usage rights panel. It’s defaulted to not filtered by license. From the pull-down menu select one of the four options where you can use, share, or modify. Once you have made a selection, hit the Advanced Search button.


Google Images3


After you have selected an image visit the page to look for any restrictions. Quite often creators want an acknowledgement and that’s all.

Google Images6


Look for statements that say an image can be used, shared, or modified. Sometimes there might be language on the site that says all photographs can be used for educational purposes. Remember all Federal and State Government websites are copyright free.

Google Images5

Google Images4


Here is the pattern for citing a work of art (painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, or other medium).

Artist, A. A. (Role, e.g., Photographer). (copyright year). Title of work [Medium: Painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, etc.]. Retrieved from http:// xxxxx

NB. Images from well known software programs, e.g., Microsoft Word or PowerPoint do not need reference list entries or citations. Describe in the text where the images came from.  These programs are so well-known that citations and reference list entries are not necessary.

American Psychological Association (2012-05-25). APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (Kindle Locations 769-774). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

Google Images8
Ward, J. (1993). R L Transport Corp Hino NYA-759 in J Abad Santos near Solis Street, Tondo, Manila, Philippines [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Reference librarian at Bank Street College Library.

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One comment on “Google Images: Free to Use
  1. […] a bit of work it’s possible to gather Google images that are free to use. It’s also possible to do the same in flickr, which often comes up in a Google search. If you […]

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