A colleague asked me how to find Creative Commons images. The best and easiest source is Flickr, where you can now find several million images using each of the different kinds of Creative Commons licence. To search within these images, simply click the “see more” link from each kind of licence.
Before using a Creative Commons licenced photo it’s important that you read the licence properly. There are different licenses, with different requirements. There’s one that’s just “attribution”, which means you can use the image however you like so long as you include a text saying who made the image (took the photo). Others are non-commercial (is your journal non-commercial? Quite likely?), some don’t allow you to make derivative versions (so you can’t make a colour photo black and white, or crop it, or put text over it), some will only let you use the image in a work that is also released under a Creative Commons license, and so on. Often you’re required to link to the license, or to include the full or an abbreviated text of the license near the image you use. See the screenshot up in the left corner of this post? When you’ve found an image you want to use, click on it to get the individual page for it, scroll down till you find the “Additional Information”, and follow the link that says “Some rights reserved”. That links to the exact license, explaining just how you can use the photo. And that’s it!
Creative Commons also provides a search page from where you can search for any kind of CC licenced work.