Creative Commons Images and attribution


There are lots of images on the internet. Just because you can download or screenshot an image, it does not mean you have permission to use it. A similar example would be: if you take someone's pencil case in the room without them yelling at you, this does not mean that you are allowed to keep it. Some image owners do not allow anyone to use their images, you are only allowed to look at them on their website. You can find out what you are permitted to do by reading the Terms and Conditions of each website.

However, there are lots  of image owners that have labelled their  images with Creative Commons. Creative Commons means that the person has already given permission to anyone who would like to use their image as long as you follow their requests for attribution and/or use.

The simplest way to find images that you can use is:

1. Go to Google Images

2. Search for the image you want.

3. Click the Search Tools button under the search box and choose Labelled for Reuse from the drop down menu. (this will filter out any photos that do not give permission for their photos to be used.)


When you have an image that you would like to use,  you now need to attribute it. You need to list the name of the:

1.  name of the image owner The name of the image owner is not always a clear first name and surname, it can be a first letter and surname or a web name so the persons privacy is protected.  

2.  site where you got the image

3. licence that they are sharing the image under.  ( You just need to copy the link of the creative commons image sends you to.)

for Example

Rexness, shared under


If the page is a Wikipedia page, they have listed the attribution for you.  Click on the Visit Page button, go to the page where the image lives and click on the image.   Click on the More details button under the image. Click on the button use this file on the Web and this will give you the attribution needed for example:

R Jones at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


You can even use photos from people that you know provided you attribute the photo to them. If you include a photo taken by a friend in your work without attributing it, you are saying that the photo was taken by you, which is not true. If your friend also hands in work with the same image, you would both get in trouble until it is made clear who actually took the image.

To use a friend or family members photos you can write

Image courtesy of Emily Collins


Image used with permission from Emily Collins  

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