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Getting set up for study: Images/Media

A guide to help you get started at Ara Institute of Canterbury

Images and Media page - sources and referencing

This page covers sources of free images and media and how to reference them. For more information on copyright and referencing have a look at the above tab called  APA Referencing

Downloading images

All Public Domain and Creative Commons images can be saved to your computer and reused in your own work, whether it is a PowerPoint, blog, wiki or other instance.  It is always best practice to reference your images even if they are in the Public Domain. You can also hyperlink your image to its source page. See Best practices for attribution for tips on referencing your images. Carleton University also have a great guide for citing a screenshot.

Below is an example of good attribution or referencing of an image from Wikimedia Commons which was captured with Snipping Tool and reused here. Note that text and image are hyperlinked to the source page.


 "Everything is Going to be Alright" artwork by Martin Creed, Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michal Klajban - CC-BY-SA 4.0

How to get automatically referenced images in PowerPoint and Word

1. Click Insert in the top ribbon

2. Click Online Pictures

3. Search for an image

4. Keep Creative Commons Only ticked

5. Click the image and choose Insert

6. Your image shows with hyperlinks to the source and the Creative Commons Licence below it.


This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0           

Free Video (Always reference in an academic setting)

Using Google images

Everyone tends to "Google" images. To avoid copyright breaches, follow this process: 

1) Search in Google images

2) Click on Tools

3) Click on Usage Rights

4) Select Labeled for reuse - these images are usually from the Public Domain or Creative Commons.

5) Click on the image to see the terms of use and get the URL of the source page.

Free Images (Always reference in an academic setting)

Images and photographs

  • Unsplash (Librarian's Favourite) Free photos, wallpapers, textures and patterns. Each image comes with a downloadable reference. Select "Free" from the license drop down.
  • Canva photos Limit your search to "Free" to find re-useable images 
  • CC Search Creative Commons images.  Provides easy referencing tool.
  • Digital NZ  A great source of New Zealand material. Check the copyright statement to see if you can reuse it.
  • Flickr Commons  Images uploaded by museums, galleries and libraries which claim no known copyright restrictions on these images. The "Commons" search box is lower down on screen. Don't use the regular search box at top of screen. Rights statements. 
  •  Search by subject or color 
  • Reference these images. They can be modified.
  • Heritage Library Fun beautiful vintage illustrations from the past.
  • Contains an online image editor.  
  • Openverse  Over 600 million items for reuse [Formerly CC Search].
  • Pexels Free stock photos & videos you can use everywhere. Each comes with a downloadable reference. 
  • Piqsels Images released under Public Domain licence.
  • Pixabay Free photos, vectors and art illustrations. Referencing appreciated.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Images  When you find an image, go to "More details about this file" for notes and several download size options. Most images are free to use with referencing. Terms of use.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Photographs  Useful for examples of photographic style or technique. Most images are free to use with referencing. Terms of use.
  • More Public Domain Image Sources 

Clip Art and Icons

  • Over 2 million free clip art images.
  • Brusheezy Free Photoshop textures, patterns and brushes. 
  • Freepik Free, editable graphic designs suitable for posters, menus, cards, etc. Include the attribution "Designed by Freepik".
  • Google icons Icons (symbols) used in Google applications.  Open access files allow icons to be downloaded and altered.
  • The Noun Project  Icons and images. Sign up to be eligible for free downloads (image credit will be included).

Free Sound (Always reference in an academic setting)

Note : All Ara computers can access Audacity which is software you can use to record your own sounds.