Project Description


Using images can enhance visual communication or simply add an aesthetic touch to your project. With the breadth of digital images available for use in our personal and professional lives, it can be perplexing to find, organize and use digital photos.

Sharing & connecting

There are many free apps and software programs available to create, edit, and store digital photos. Here are some examples:


Instagram is a popular visual social media tool and app for smart phones where you can upload photos from your mobile device. To enhance an image, there are filters that can be applied to your images. and they can also be geotagged (mapped to a particular location). An increasing amount of individuals and organizations are using Instagram to promote themselves and their work, and to connect with similar organizations or the community.  Consider these examples and click on a couple of images to learn more and see comments of others:

  1. Science Sam (Women in STEM)
    PhD Researcher – building a personal brand and working to increase public trust in scientists.
  2. New York Public Library (NYPL)
    On a mission to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen communities.

Other Photo Hosting/Sharing Options

  1. Flickr
    An online photo-hosting site where you can host your images and you can use licensing, such as Creative Commons, to let others know if they can use your work, and in what ways.
  2. Photobucket
    An online image editor where you can store, edit, organize and share your images.
  3. Google Photos
    Google Photos allows you to host, organize, and share your photos.

Finding & Using Images

Image Search Engines

Image search engines, such as Google Images, can be a useful tool to browse for images on the open web. Use image search engines to inspire ideas or to obtain a quick visual identification. You can also find out more about an image you already have by doing a Google Image Reverse Search.

Image Sharing Sites

Image sharing sites can host and manage your photos, but they are also a great tool to discover photos as well. Often times, it is easy to identify images that are cleared for use. For example, the advanced search on Flickr allows you to limit your results to find Creative Commons content that you can legally use.

Stock Image Websites

Stock photography websites supply photographs generally licensed for specific uses with a fee structure. Occasionally, they offer some free content. For example, Getty Images allows use of some of its images online by embedding the images with a link back to the site.

GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums)

Many galleries, libraries, archives and museums are sharing their digitized collections online, many of which are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licenses for use. Try checking out some of these image rich collections:

  1. The British Library
    Over one million images available under Creative Commons via Flickr.
  2. Metropolitan Museum
    Almost 500,000 open access images.
  3. Rijksmuseum Images
    High resolution images of paintings in museum collections.

Ethical Considerations!!

While many of these tools and resources are image-rich, always be careful about using material you did not create yourself.  You can use Creative Commons licensed material, but you have to be mindful about meeting the conditions of the license.  You might be better off creating your own images …

Creating & Editing Images

Many of us use our own photos as images in our work, and you can make your own photos look more professional or interesting with minimal effort.  First, take advantage of your phone’s built-in photo editor to crop, brighten or sharpen your photos.  You can also use editing tools available from within Instagram or other photo apps/sites.

To really have some fun, try the free site “Big Huge Labs” which lets you turn your own photos into movie posters, magazine covers, motivational messages, jigsaw puzzles and more!


Step 1

Using the advanced search on Flickr, change the “Any license”option to “All creative commons”, and then search for a photo of something that interests you.

Step 2

Turn your photo into something creative and fun using the “Big Huge Labs” site.  For example, turn it into a movie poster with a creative movie title or make your own photo calendar.