Reaching people through online courses is a phenomenal approach in today’s online education environment, as it’s easier and faster to start, nurture and maintain the life-long learning trend. In doing so, one has to be as creative as possible. We all know that pictures are worth a thousand words and by having an online course you cannot overlook their importance.

As an online teacher, you should not limit your students’ learning experience by not using images to correlate with the content of your course. With the use of images, learners will have a more visual learning experience.

As soon as you understand all this, you need to consider the photos to include in your online course. There are a lot of issues to consider, but the most important one is plagiarism. When you use someone else’s photos there are some rules you need to abide by, which will spare you legal consequences if you take them into account.

When using images, you have to consider the copyright law and give credit to their authors. This is only fair if we want the internet world to grow its original content. By respecting authors’ copyrights, they will feel appreciated and they become more willing to create content, benefiting everyone both online and offline.


Read more: What you need to know about copyright for online courses


31 Free resources to use in your online course

The most common go-to source for images is Google Images. The trick, though, is that most of the results fall under CC1 to CC6 licenses and only some of them under CC0. To find the free pictures you want for your course you have to go to Advanced Search and choose the option not filtered by license, even commercially.

If you want to avoid all the hustle and bustle of checking the types of copyright pictures have, you can use free online resources which will provide just the images you need for your online course. Here are the most used:

  1. Pixabay. Here you can find both copyrighted and free images. You are allowed to copy, modify, distribute and use the images they provide for free. You can select from 1.7 million images out of which 988.923 are free to use without worrying about copyright issues. There are 20.512 search results for the word business, 19.091 for technology and 10290 for cooking.
  2. Canva. If you are looking for high-quality stock photos this website is for you. Canva also offers you approximately 60.000 templates to choose from and adapt according to your needs. Images are divided into Free or Premium or both.
  3. Unsplash. This is the place to find free images ‘powered by creators everywhere.’ It gives you the possibility to search through photos by category, being able to choose from topics like Texture & Patterns, Nature, Arts & Culture, Business & Work and many more.
  4. Gratisography. According to their own words, Gratisography offers ‘the world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures, comprised of the world’s best, most creative images – photos you just won’t find anywhere else. All completely free to download without copyright restrictions.’
    If you need specific images from categories like Business, Fashion, Food and People this is the website for you.
  5. Negative Space. ‘For personal or commercial use, all of our CC0 licensed images are completely free to use!’ When in search for CC0 images either for personal or commercial use from categories like Sport, Transport, Landscapes, Architecture, Typography, this is another perfect site for you.
  6. Picjumbo. You can download free stock photos, backgrounds and free high-resolution images for personal and commercial use.They have great pictures from categories like Women, Office, Backgrounds offering a more specific search than other sites.
  7. Life of Pix..Beach, Black & White, City, Desk, Sea, Urban are some of your choices on this site, which will make your life as an online teacher a lot easier.
  8. Pexels. Using their own words, Pexels is ‘the best free stock photos & videos shared by talented creators.’ It’s wonderful because it lets you search photos by color and you have access to a lot of collections.
  9. Startup stock photos. It falls under CC0 copyright license and it gives you access to a wide variety of images to choose from, for everybody from bloggers to publishers, designers to developers and creators to startups.
  10. Pics4learning. ‘Pics4Learning is a curated image library that is safe and free for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting.’ It has beautiful images on categories such as Tools & Machinery, Careers, Education and Space.
  11. Freepik. This website has an amazing feature that allows you to search by license type, orientation and color. You have 1.244.219 resources to pick from and 161 collections.
  12. Burst. If your course is on topics such as Beauty or Flowers, this page will provide you just the free pictures you want.
  13. Free Images. You can find great images on Games & Cartoons, Health, Home & Design, Signs and Symbols, Sports & Fitness.
  14. Kaboompics. This website is popular among bloggers and it has amazing resources from categories like Home Decor, Travel and Lifestyle which you can filter by color and orientation.
  15. StockPic. It’s great for commercial use and it offers a wide variety of photos which you can use for free. The only thing you cannot do is redistribute them.
  16. Free Range Stock. Perfect for courses focused on Architectural Details, Letters & Numbers or Sky & Clouds.
  17. New old stock. Here you can dive in a pool of vintage photos from the public archives, free of known copyright restrictions giving your course a historical vibe.
  18. Foodiesfeed. “Foodiesfeed is a resource of awesome naturally looking food photos that are completely free to download.” If your course is food-related, here you can find all the food related pictures you will ever need for your course.
  19. Re:splashed. This website offers 1162 free HD images for your web and design projects. You’ll find pictures specifically from Web & Design domains.
  20. Public Domain Archive. This page provides new 100% free stock photos, every week. Everything you need for your creative projects, all public domain images!
  21. Free Digital Photo. Their own description says it all: ‘Download free and premium stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications and much more. All our free images are of high quality, produced by our community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators.’ This website is good for business, personal and educational use.
  22. Epicantus. You can search or even request for specific photos. Finding images that carry the right message usually takes hours. That’s why all of them are free for personal & commercial use.
  23. Morguefile. With over 350.000 free stock photos you will definitely find the perfect photos to use creatively for your course.’This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits.’
  24. Picography. Picography has been a source of images to millions of people for the past 3 years. It provides gorgeous, high-resolution, free photos.
  25. DesignerPics. You have 250 images per category to choose from. The photos are high-resolution and don’t require attribution.
  26. Free Nature Stock. The photos this website offers are licensed under CC0 and you can use them freely with no obligations. The stock is updated daily, so you have fresh pictures for your course anytime if it’s related to Nature.
  27. Jeshoots. This page offers thematic photos on different subjects, placed in collections. The thematic of the photos is so diverse that you will definitely find exactly what you need.
  28. Stocksnap.io. You can choose from hundreds of high resolution images added weekly which are free from copyright restrictions.
  29. Snapwire Snaps. This website gives you access to 7 new photos every 7 days.
  30. Dreamstime. A free stock photography site with high-quality digital images at affordable prices. Uploaded by photographers from all over the world, the images are reviewed and approved by experienced editors. Their database provided new images every day.
  31. Pikwizard. There are already over 100,000 completely free images (without attribution) on the site, and they are adding new images to the library daily as their ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images. The best part is that you can find a lot of pictures of people, which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites.

Final words

Images are part of our world, both online and offline. Your online course makes no exception. Make the right choice of meaningful and content related pictures to complement your course and to make your learners more engaged. Remember to check for copyright free images to avoid any legal consequences.

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