Finding Images Using Openverse

Do you want to add media to your site? Ever worry about the legal licensing? When we’re done, you should be able to find a photo you want to use, know where to look for download options, and a little bit about the licensing rules. Let’s get started.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain the difference between the WordPress Photo Directory and the Openverse projects.
  2. Find and download a photo from Openverse.
  3. Explain licensing requirements for contribution and use.

Comprehension questions

  1. Do you want to use photography in your design projects?
  2. What are the benefits of using Creative Commons licensed photos?


Hi everyone. Today we’re going to look at Openverse, what it is and how to use it to find the download photos. When we’re done, you should be able to find a photo you want to use, know where to look for download options, and a little bit about the licensing rules. Let’s get started.

First, what is Openverse? Openverse an open-source project dedicated to indexing and providing Creative Commons licensed photos and audio files. These can then be used without payment in your design and audio projects.

Unlike the WordPress photo directory, which is one of the sources for Openverse’s catalog, Openverse does not store any of the files in its own library. Instead, it acts as a dedicated search engine for finding these photos and then links to the original source for downloading. A listing of sources can be found here on the open verse site. Images found on open vers adhere to Creative Commons licensing. That means they can be freely used without payment. However, the type of Creative Commons license will dictate any attribution requirements. You can learn more about the different licenses at And we’ll look at where to find an individual photos license in a moment.

Let’s look at finding and downloading a photo. First, you’ll go to and click in the search field. Type in your search term and hit search. To narrow your results to only images as open verse shows, images and audio files. Click on see all images. With just your images selected, choose the image that you would like to download. I’m going to go with this first one or two alligators.

Scroll down and the first thing you’ll see is the licensing info for this image. This license is a Creative Commons by nc 2.0 license, which requires you to credit the creator and use this for non commercial uses only. To easily credit the creator, a box has been created on the right hand side that allows you to quickly copy the text.

To download the image, we’ll click on this button that says go to images website. The source website page for the photo selected will now open in a new tab. Depending on the source, the download options will differ. This one happens to be from flicker and so the download options are buried in this menu with the down arrow. Clicking on the down arrow will allow me to choose which size image to download.

Once I’ve downloaded the image to my computer, I can use it in my projects. Need to make sure not to forget to credit the creator and follow this Creative Commons license. Recent updates to and the Jetpack plugin also allowed media to be selected directly from Openverse. With Jetpack version 10.8. And above installed, you can insert an image right from within the site. I already have Jetpack 10.8 installed on this demo site. So if I go to add a new post. When I choose a block, I can choose an image block. And rather than uploading an image or inserting from a URL, I can click select image which gives Openverse as one of the options. If I click on Openverse, I can then do the search that I would like to do. I’ll stick with alligator in this case. And my options from Openverse are now loaded directly.

I can choose one of the images and hit select and after a few moments, that image will be added and a credit will be added to the bottom caption of the photo. Depending on the license, this may or may not be necessary. And if it’s not, you can always go ahead and delete it

Thank you for joining me for this workshop and I hope you now have a better understanding of how to find and use Openverse photos for your projects

Workshop Details


Marcus Burnette

Marcus Burnette is a web designer and developer, amateur photographer, Do the Woo podcast co-host, virtual event moderator, and team co-rep for the Photo Directory Team.

Marcus is also the creator of The WP World ( and WPAI Universe (

As part of the GoDaddy Pro Events and Community Team, Marcus is passionate about helping agencies and freelancers build eCommerce sites for clients with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro and GoDaddy’s premium WordPress and WooCommerce platforms.