Skip to Main Content

Google for School

Google Images

About Google Images 

Google Images is a search engine specifically for locating online images. In addition to searching by keyword, Google Images also offers the option to search by image. If you already have an image and want to know where it comes from, who it is, etc. you can click the Camera icon to search Google Images for that particular image.

Search Filters in Google Images

When searching Google Images, you can filter image results using Tools. Filter images by Size (Large, Medium, Icon), Color, Type (Clip Art, Line Drawing, GIF, etc.), Time, and Usage Rights (Creative Commons licenses, Commercial & other licenses). Use the "Usage rights" filter to find images that have license information attached to them. Google filters images by license based on information provided by the sites that host those images, or the image provider.

  • Creative Commons licenses: These images are usually free to use, but require that you credit the creator. They may also have limitations on how, or in what context, you can use them. For example, an image’s license might state that you can’t modify it or use it for commercial purposes. Follow the steps below to search for Creative Commons images. For more information about the Creative Commons licenses, click here.
  • Commercial or other licenses: These images have non-Creative Commons licenses and can be from either free sites or commercial sites that require payment.

Note: It is important to take proper steps to ensure that your selected image was uploaded by the original copyright holder who has the right to apply licenses. Not all images found in Google Images may be licensed for use. Follow the suggested steps below to confirm an image's ownership and license information.

Searching for Creative Commons Images:

  1. Enter your search term into the Google Images search bar.
    Google Images search box
  2. Click on Tools.

    Google Images search results with Tools option circled.
  3. Click on the drop-down menu under Usage Rights and select Creative Commons licenses.

    Google Images search with Creative Commons license selected.
  4. Click on an image to see more detail and then click on Visit. This will show the image on its original website. By viewing the image’s original website, you can make sure that the image is legitimate and that it has been licensed correctly. It is important that you check the terms of the license to make sure that the license is legitimate as sometimes people will take an image from another website and make it available on their own site under Creative Commons.

    Image of a graduating student selected in Google Images results.
  5. On the image’s original site, check for details to confirm that both the image and license are legitimate.
    • Is the site legitimate and reputable, or does it look like it might allow users to upload any content without checking copyright?
    • Is there information about who created the image and who it belongs to? This will also help you to attribute the image.
    • Is licensing information easy to find and clearly labelled?

      Image selected from Google Images with Creative Commons license information circled.
  6. Click on the link to the license information to see more details about what the license allows you to do (and any conditions that may apply).

    Creative Commons website showing license information.