As educators we are often in need of photos, diagrams, and images we can use to supplement or enhance our course material.  This usually has us googling for images that may or may not be permissible for our use. Fortunately there are a variety of places where you can find openly licensed images.

Image Repositories

In this challenge, we will explore repositories that contain CC-licensed content, and we will also introduce some repositories that use their own open licences!! 

Images with CC licences

Openverse – allows you to search for CC content from across the internet. And, it provides ready-made attributions! Please watch this video demo (1:42):

Watch “Openverse Demo” on YouTube

Images with other open licences

Unsplash – photos that are free to use, no permission required but attribution appreciated. Uses an Unsplash licence.

Pixabay – images that are free for commercial use, no permission required but attribution appreciated. Uses a Pixabay licence.

Pexels – stock photos that are free to use and adapt. Attribution is not required, but is appreciated. Uses a Pexels licence.

Even though attribution is not required for these images, we still highly recommend that you include an attribution. Not only does this give credit to the original creator, it also helps any downstream user understand exactly where you got the image and if/how they can reuse/adapt it.

Please watch this video demo (3 min) to learn about the repositories, their licences and easy attribution!

Watch “Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels demo” on YouTube

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in OER

Inclusivity can be demonstrated through diverse imagery as we strive to create welcoming experiences. Try to use photos and graphics that represent all people so everyone can feel that they belong. Here’s a list to help (please open accordion menu):

Image Repositories promoting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (click to open accordion menu)

The open licenses vary per site so please be sure to check their agreements directly.

Disabled And Here

“Disabled And Here is a disability-led stock image and interview series celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).” Images available under a CC BY 4.0 license
The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary

“The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.” Images available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


“[W]e launched nappy … to provide beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people to startups, brands, agencies, and everyone else. Nappy makes it easy for companies to be purposeful about representation in their designs, presentations, and advertisements.”Images available under a CC0 1.0 license


This collection was created to address “the problem of not having visible representations of women of color engaging in technical tasks in stock images.” Images available under a CC BY 2.0 license

Anthro Illustrated

“Anthro Illustrated offers free digital illustrations of diverse anthropologists for non-commercial use.” Images available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license


“We are a coop of stock image photography. We recognize that most other FREE stock image sites have very few or no images of people of color. We sought out to create a space where publishers, bloggers, website owners, marketers, designers, graphic artists, advertisers and the like can easily search and find diverse multi-racial images.” Images available under a CC BY 4.0 license


“[A]collection of stock photography featuring plus-size office workers—available at no cost—to increase the representation of plus-size office workers in media” Openly licensed with an Unsplash licence.


Stock photos from Africa. Images available under a CC0 1.0 license

Redefining Women

Diverse icons of women. Hosted by the Noun Project. Images available under a CC0 1.0 license

“Queer in Tech”

“We created this photo set to promote the visibility of queer and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people in technology, who are often under-represented as workers powering the creative, technical, and business leadership of groundbreaking tech companies and products.” Images available under a CC BY 3.0 license

Images of Empowerment

“[L]ibrary of images celebrating women’s lives and their work in 11 countries around the world”. Images available under a CC BY-NC-4.0 license

Wikimedia Commons LGBT Category

Collection of open images organized under various LGBT categories. Images available under different CC licenses

This accordion menu is a remix of:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in OER by UMGC is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Stock photos focused around diversity, equity, and inclusion by EBeatie at BCcampus is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Your Challenge

  1. Find an openly licensed image you would like to use for one of your courses. You can use any of the repositories shared above, or any other you might know about!
  2. Post your image and the attribution to this Padlet. Depending on the repository or search engine you use, you may or may not receive a “ready-made” attribution. Remember, if you need to create your own attribution, you can use the Open Washington attribution builder 

Made with Padlet

Optional – Dig Deeper

Searching Google for open images

Many of us begin our search for images with Google! If you’re wondering how to filter your google image search for openly licensed images, read on!!!  

  1. Go to Google
  2. Type in a search term for an image you would use in one of your courses, click on “images”, and then click on “Tools”
  3. Then click on “Usage Rights” and select “Creative Commons licenses”. This will filter the images for those that have open licences.

Here is a one-minute video that demonstrates those steps:

Watch “Searching Google for Images” on YouTube


This challenge was inspired by, and adapted from, The Open Education Challenge Series by Leva Lee and Tannis Morgan is licensed under a CC BY 4.0.