How Do I… Find an Image?

The Knowledge and Library Service from Health Education England (HEE) have a page of advice and explanations about using copyright materials in presentations and training. Well worth a read to make sure you’re using images correctly. It covers images in the public domain, creative commons licences and more.

Places to find images

Wikimedia Commons: A collection of 88 million+ images and media files. Anyone can contribute so there’s lots on there to choose from. Think about your search terms before you start to narrow down the results.

Open Access Medical Images: A list of sources for public domain and Creative Commons medical images curated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Unsplash: a collection of public domain stock images which can be used for free. Not strictly health related, but there’s a great deal of other topics covered.

Age Positive Image Library: from the Centre for Ageing Better. A free library of 400+ positive and realistic images of older people to provide alternatives to the stereotypical “wrinkly” images of older people. Take a look at the guide and terms of use document.

Pixabay: a huge general interest public domain image site with photos, illustrations, vectors and more. Beware the links to other platforms with images that you have to pay to use.

Public Domain Vectors:  65000 free to use clipart images and icons released in the public domain.  Vector images are usually icons, and easier to modify and resize than standard images.

How to reference an image

It is as important to properly cite and reference images as it is the journal articles, books and other information sources that you draw upon when writing an article, patient information leaflet, teaching handout, or any other publication. It is important to give credit to the work of other people, and if you do not, you could find yourself accused of plagiarism and/or copyright infringement.

How you reference an image depends on the referencing style you’re using- if it’s for an assessed piece of work, please consult the referencing guide of the college or university where you’re studying. If it’s for a published article, please refer to the referencing guide from the publisher.

If you’re referencing for an in-house publication at GEH or SWFT, such as a training resource or patient information leaflet, you can follow the guidance from our Harvard Referencing Quick Guide.

Images from the internet

Include the following information when there is an author:

Author/creator, (Published Year), Title of image. Available at: web address (Accessed: date).


Auledas (2021) COVID-19 pop-up vaccination centre in Chester. Available at:  (Accessed: 2 November 2021).

Include the following information when no author/creator information is available:

Title of image, (Published Year). Available at: web address (Accessed: date).