15 Sites for Finding Images and Clip Art for Education

Middle school students work on desktop computers
(Image credit: Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages)

Digital image libraries are essential to today’s teachers and students. Yet while stock image sites such as Shutterstock, iStock, and Getty Images offer an impressive selection of high-quality images and vector illustrations, these sites are typically beyond the budget of most school districts. 

Fortunately, the image and clip art sites below provide an extensive supply of moderate- to high-quality visuals for cost-conscious schools. Most of these sites are completely free, and most have a clear license/FAQ page explaining what uses are allowed or prohibited. 

15 Sites for Finding Images and Clip Art for Education

  1. Find Icons
    A comprehensive source of more than 500,00 free vector icons and icon packs that allows users to search by keyword, size, style, color, or popularity. Bonus features include an image converter and discount codes for the stock image site iStock. 
  2. Flickr Commons: The Commons
    The Commons, from the photo-sharing site Flickr, serves as a free catalog of the world’s public photos with no known copyright restrictions, contributed by dozens of government and academic bodies. Comments from Flickr members provide context and additional information for many images. Safesearch option available. 
  3. FreePhotoBank
    This stock photo site offers hundreds of free stock images, all having a Creative Commons Attribution alone license. The pictures of FreePhotoBank are free to download, use, and modify with attribution. Search by image category tiles, such as buildings, flowers, or animals. 
  4. Freepik
    With photos, vector images, Photoshop (PSD) files, customizable icons, easy-to-edit illustrations, and a beta online template editor, Freepik is a one-stop shop for free images and image tools. Free and premium content.
  5. Gratisography
    Gratisography is a great resource for creative and quirky stock photos and vector images, highlighting unusual finds such as “Walking Hands,” “Scared Man,” and “Rhino Party.”  It's not only fun to browse, but also provides a clear, plain-language explanation of what users can and can’t do with the photos. 
  6. Kaboompics
    A professional-looking site featuring free high-quality photos in diverse categories, from lifestyle to technology to healthcare. A nifty perk is that each photo includes a free downloadable complementary colors palette. 
  7. KIdaha.com
    A fun, kid-focused clip art site featuring human and monster characters. Paid and free content. 
  8. NegativeSpace
    A stylish and professional-looking site offering a wide variety of free, high-resolution Creative Commons CC0 photographs as well as free virtual backgrounds for videoconferencing and remote teaching. Be sure to check out the awesome abstract and outer space photos!
  9. OpenClipArt
    One of the oldest free clip art sites offers a collection of more than 160,000 vector graphics, all in the public domain. Download as PNG or SVG files. Includes a handful of NSFC (Not Safe For Classroom) works. Artistic students or teachers can create an account and upload their own artwork.
  10. Pexels
    A top resource not only for free stock images, but also free stock videos. Pexels hosts photo and video challenges for multiple categories, with professional photography equipment awarded to winners. Create a free account to collect your favorites and contribute your own images and videos. 
  11. Photos For Class
    This education-focused site provides everything teachers and students need to find and use Creative Commons photos for school assignments. The four-step filtering process ensures that all images are appropriate for kids—and they make it easy to properly attribute photos.
  12. Pics4Learning
    A safe, curated image library for classroom assignments, school websites, or any education-related project, Pics4Learning’s images cover a diverse spectrum of subjects, from American Sign Language to Fractals to Weather. Contribute your own JPEG or PNG images. 
  13. Pixabay
    In just ten short years, Pixabay has grown to be one of the best-known and most comprehensive image sharing sites. Here visitors can explore and download collections of photos, illustrations, vector images, videos, and even music. All are free to download and free to use under the Pixabay license, which is a modified  Creative Commons CC0 license. Pixabay shines in another way as well—its blogs and forums keep users apprised of the latest news and tips to make the most of the site. 
  14. Unsplash
    Thousands of free, sometimes ordinary—but often eye-popping—images include categories such as nature, current events, technology, and many more suitable for education use. All are free to download and use according to the Unsplash License. A fun feature for contributors is the “Made With Unsplash” page, which showcases creative remixes of its images. Unsplash provides strong support for its contributors, so it's a great place for young photographers to get started sharing their work. 
  15. Vector Characters  
    A relatively simple site, Vector Characters focuses on character-based vector art in categories such as man, woman, child, robot, etc. For adding a touch of whimsy or humor to any school project, check out the Fruit Vector, Monster Vector, and Animal Vector categories. Free and premium content. 

Diana Restifo

Diana has been Tech & Learning's web editor and contributor since 2010, dedicated to ferreting out the best free tech tools for teachers.