Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Using Google Advanced Search to Find Free-to-Use Images

There's been lots of discussion on the Internet lately about blogs and the risk of using photos pulled from the web and copyright issues. Google Chrome has an advanced Images search option that helps you narrow down photos by usage rights. What follows is a simple tutorial.

Step one: Search Google Images for something. I typed in Taco Stand.

Then I scroll over to the right to this row of buttons:
Click on the gear on the far right and you get these choices:

Click on Advanced Search - you'll go to this page:

Scroll down the page and you'll see these options:

Click on the bottom choice, Usage Rights and you'll get these options:

Since my site is not a commercial site (nothing for sale), I click on free to use or share. If you want to change the photo, click on free to use share or modify. Here are the results for Taco Stand after my search. I can feel confident using any of these photos on my blog.

I hope this helps - sometimes the photos are limited or weirdly related to your search, but it is a really helpful tool and for me, sometimes easier than going to a stock photo site.


  1. Thanks for the tip, Jaye. Pictures just make posts look so much better sometimes.

  2. Great tip, Jaye. Had no idea about this. Thanks!

  3. Excellent tip, Jaye. I cleared my blog of any images that weren't my own or book covers because I couldn't get a clear idea of what might be infringing on someone's copyright--even after using sites recommended to avoid such a thing.

    This is very clear and easy to follow. Obviously, you are a teacher. :-)

  4. This is super helpful! Thanks!

  5. Great suggestion, Jaye. My only question is: Can you trust Google?

    1. Good question, Angelina. Too be super sure - then click on Free To Use or Share, Even Commercially. Then when you click on the thumbnail, you can go to the images original site to see which type of license it is. An attribution license means it's free, but must be linked back to the original user. Also when you click on a thumbnail and the picture comes up, to the right is photo information. If it has copyright information, your answer is there, or if it says "May be subject to copyright" then you might need to take this extra step.

  6. Hi Jaye!

    Another site is Dreamstime.com. They have a small free section that photogs post to as a way to get their work out there. You have to create an account to download the un-watermarked image. I've also found that this site offers many low-cost options if you want more to choose from. Their usage terms are less strict than others I've read (e.g., iStockphoto).

    I'm still incredibly leery of of sourcing Google for images. But it's good that people are doing everything they can to respect copyright. It's a great discussion to continue!

    Happy Wednesday!


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