Skip to Main Content

School Library System: Creative Commons

Picture File Formats

These are the most frequently used file formats for photos and image files. 

.bmp     Bitmap: This is a pixel-driven file and can look very boxy when enlarged.

.jpg       Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG): Named for the group that invented it, this file is good for most photos

.tiff        Tiff: This file format doesn't use any compression, so the files usually wind up very large. Good for print, but not for web use.

.png      Portable Network Graphics (Pronounced: Ping): The only file format that can save with a transparent background.

.pxd      This is a layered Pixlr file format - save this way to be able to reopen it and adjust it later. Save in another format to use online.


Online Photo Editors


Other very limited options are:


Some of these require upgrade purchases if you want to do specific things (like change a picture background) or require you to sign up for a free trial which charges you after 30 days if you don't cancel, so be wary.

External Links

Sound clips to go with those photos?


Copyright Free:

This term means that the work is not protected by copyright. It has either expired, or purposefully been put into the public domain.

Creative Commons:

This is a non-profit organization "devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share." (Wikipedia). It provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses that standardize the way people can share and give permissions to the wider public to use creative works. (See below for more information.)

Fair Use:

An exception to copyright law that allows you to use copyrighted material.

Public Domain:

The public domain refers to all the creative works that do not have any exclusive intellectual property rights. This may be because they have expired, or been forfeited by the rights holder. A work in the public domain may be used at anytime by anyone.


Royalty-free usually means that you pay a one-time fee to use copyrighted material, rather than an ongoing fee. An example of this, is the ability to use music that we have purchased from Soundzabound.


Creative Commons

Royalty Free Images

You can search for royalty-free images at many different sites. Here's a sampling of what is out there:

Photo Use Quiz

Use this form to evaluate whether you should use the photo or find something else.