Tag Archives: creative commons

More Free Photos

free photo example: hands of people working together on a projectFrom Flickr via OSU Open Photo (License)

OSU Open Photo is a fantastic “collection of high quality, openly licensed photos from around the web” put together by Ashley Miller at Ohio State.  Images include original sources and licenses.  Most of the photos relate to higher education, technology, and people in contemporary educational or work settings.  The photos are tagged and searchable.  There are also links to other resources for finding free photos.  Although there are larger collections out there, this set is useful because it is so nicely curated.

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How did he do that?

photoshop paradox

How did he do that?  Is that the first question you asked when you looked at this picture?  Look again.  Notice all of the people in the picture (and in the picture in the picture) are the same person.  Notice, too, that the person in the foreground is holding the picture being taken in the background.  To really blow your mind, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the picture taken by the photographer in the background.  Click on either picture to link to larger versions for closer examination.

Impressed?  I was.  There are lots of examples of photoshopped dopplegangers on flickr, but few are this intricate.  With most others, it’s easy to see how how multiple images could be merged into one because the different images don’t interact and sometimes don’t even overlap.  When I look at these two pictures, I’m intrigued by how they were made.  Which image was taken first?  How many images were included?  These questions got me to thinking: I bet ESL students would have the same questions.  And it would be linguistically challenging to analyze these two photos (possibly by first priming them with something simpler) in the target language.

Next time you want to generate some discussion in your class, consider showing your students these images.  (They’re licensed under the Creative Commons, which virtually eliminates any copyright concerns.)  The discussion could lead to students planning their own doppleganger photos.  Even if they don’t have the photo editing skills or resources to pull it off, planning out the scene and even taking some of the photos required to make their own composite image could be a very interesting exercise.

photoshop paradox


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Free Photos

deconstructed camera

Deconstructed camera from flickr.com

About a year and a half ago, I posted some links to online resources for royalty-free photos.  Lately, I’ve been reading Presentation Zen (an excellent book and blog for improving your presentation skills) and thought I’d share some additional resources found therein.  If you need photos for your website, newsletter, or classroom, you can use these resources to find lots of images you can use without fear of violating copyright law.  (Of course, I’m not a lawyer, so read the fine print.)

Camera image from morguefile.com


morguefile.com –  A “public image archive for creatives by creatives” contains lots of great stock photos.  For the sake of comparison, I’ve done a search for “camera” on each site.  See the results for morguefile.com and the terms of service.

camera image from imageafter.com


imageafter.com – Images from “the raw base for your creativity” are not always as professionally stock looking as some other sites, but one nice feature is you can sort images by color.  See results for “camera” and terms of service.

camera image from sxc.hu


sxc.hu – Stock.xchng is my personal favorite.  Get access to thousands of very professional-looking, high resolution photos when you sign up for a free account.  See results for “camera” and terms of service.

camera image from compfight.com


compfight.com – The best way I’ve found to search for photos on Flickr that are published with a Creative Commons license.  Results run the gamut from stock-looking to very creative, including the image at the top of this post.  This is a good place to look for something different.  See results for “camera” and read more about Creative Commons.


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Royalty-free photos

There are many educational situations in which we might need a good, photographic illustration (in-class activities, websites, header images for blogs like this one, etc.). But, we can’t just publish something we’ve copied from the web. We need photos that people have agreed to share.

Computer terminals inside a modern library.

Computer terminals inside a modern library.

The best site I’ve discovered so far for royalty-free photos is Stock.XCHNG (sxc.hu). After signing up for a free account, users can search a huge database of high-quality and high-resolution images such as “Modern Library,” uploaded by Fred Kuipers. I’ve used these photos extensively to add visual interest to Ohio TESOL Journal. The license agreement essentially allows for free, non-profit use of most photos. This is pretty close to a creative commons license (though I’m not a lawyer and can’t articulate any differences that may exist between the two.

Another way to find royalty-free photos is to use the advanced search on Flickr (Yahoo’s photo sharing service) and check the appropriate creative commons box(es). There are a lot more photos to choose from, but you will usually find less-professional-looking photos. With a little digging, I was able to uncover Chicago-Kent College of Law Reading Room by s5hiara. I’ve often found that if I like photos from one user but not a specific photo, I can click on their name and find more. s5hiara was no exception; I found several more pictures of library in her profile.

The interior of the Chicago-Kent College of Law Reading Room

The interior of the Chicago-Kent College of Law Reading Room

Unfortunately, I did have to dig through countless snapshots before finding something useful to me. (Around page 9 of my search, I came across a user named Old Shoe Woman who had uploaded a dozen snapshots from an educational technology conference in Georgia — not what I was looking for!)

Incidentally, I first got the idea of trolling flickr for creative commons photos from the Radio Lab website. More on Radio Lab in another post.

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