Most of the images you see when you google for images are NOT available for public use. You can filter either Bing or Google to only see shareable images. To do this for Google first select the wheel-like Settings icon at the
top right of the images browser window. Once you click on that you’ll get a page where you can adjust the settings. Towards the bottom look for “Usage rights” and set it to “Free to Share” or “Free to Share or modify”. Then you should only see images you can use.
If the image you are interested in is NOT listed as “free to share”, you can attempt to contact the owner. By following up at the site where the image is posted you may be able to obtain written permission, but please do not assume permission.
The sites below do generally allow free usage for universities, but check carefully as some items in their collections may not be for free use or may require some kind of attribution.
For photos you take yourself there are still some guidelines for legal use. See Taking Legal Photos.
The website of the Creative Commons project searches Google, Flickr, and other collections for media with a Creative Commons license. The CC license allows anyone to use a work without permission, under certain conditions set by the creator. Attribution is usually required, and some works may not modified or used for commercial purposes.
The Wikimedia Commons contains more than 8 million freely usable images, audio and video files and is the main source of images for Wikipedia. Although almost all images are free to use without permission, some may be subject to conditions such as attribution or non-commercial-only use. Check the license of each image before use. Notice that many of the photos are not particularly high graphical quality.
This site contains a free photo archive as well as articles on photography, a collaborative photo ops assignment, and a community discussion forum. These images can be used and modified.
PDP has 10,000 photos to use without condition. Note that the images at the top are free but that there are also ‘sponsored’ images starting at $1 for web size. These images, from fotolia.com and dreamstime.com, do cost. Just keep an eye out for which section of the site you’re in.
stock.xchng is a free stock photo site owned by Getty Images. It has 300,000+ photos, and advertises paid stock photos from iStockPhoto below free photos.
More Resources on Campus
Creative Commons and Public Domain Resources by ATUS / CIIA.
Here’s the Ultimate Directory for free legal images!