A Great Way to Store & Share Community-Sourced Images!

MorgueFile Daily ChallengesSince we're always looking for free elearning images - and since we all understand the value of sharing assets in the community - I wanted to share what I've learned about an image-sharing community that anyone can join and use.

You probably know that MorgueFile's images are cost-free and attribution-free, but I never realized it was designed to be a take-one-give-one self-sustaining resource - and that anyone can take part.

They caught my eye with their daily mobile challenges, which are a lot of fun (and which I wrote a post about), but I could also see using the site as a way to share elearning-appropriate images with each other. You can search using tags, and I was thinking maybe using one we'd all recognize (in addition to content-specific tags) could potentially be a way to find each other's contributions there?

I know our community members have offered up lots of great photos in the past (including Dianne Hope's gorgeous pics of the Outback), but thought I'd suggest the MorgueFile repository as a way of doing the same in a more easily-discoverable and social way. (Here are my contributions so far, too!)

What do you think?

28 Replies
Jackie Van Nice

Thanks, Adele! I'd never really thought about making my own image repository for elearning - I just grab the camera occasionally for specific projects - but I'd like to be more intentional about it - maybe focus on specific themes or objects so I've got images available for later use. 

Adele Sommers

You know, that's a great idea, Jackie! There are so many visual themes that we all end up searching at length for — which can be especially challenging under tight deadlines. For example, I don't think we can ever have too many indoor or outdoor business background images!  :-)

Jackie Van Nice

Exactly, Adele! If you think about how many sets of eyes we collectively have out there in all sorts of environments - (offices, medical facilities, construction sites, home services, retail, wholesale, international, academic, you-name-it) - we could potentially capture so much! Backgrounds, objects, situations...the list goes on!

Jackie Van Nice

Thanks, Rich! I know!! I can't believe I was missing such an obvious resource, too. I knew MF existed, but never stopped to think about how it could be made into an asset for all of us if we used it in an intentional way.

It begs the question of what sorts of images would be most helpful to our community, too. Everyday objects? Backgrounds? Industry-specific items or situations? It would be nice to have a wish list of what people needed. Then maybe members with access to those items could snap some pics and share.

Adele Sommers

Jackie, this is such a spectacular idea, my head is just exploding with the possibilities! Now, if we could just find a super-fast and easy way to remove the backgrounds from our photo objects, too (faster than the typical image-editing process), we'll have our own little business going. ;-)


Ralf Hilgenstock

Jackie, thanks for your feedback.  I'm just uploading some dozen more pics and think they will be approved during next days. Pictures are from different locations. If location seems to be relevant I'll add it to the keywords. Specially the blurred pics are part of serials. I'll try to have different pictures from the same theme so that I'm free to use them in different situations. You can ask me if you need similar themes. 

David Anderson

Yeah, something like that! I like the idea of individual users curating their own image > category lightbox and sharing them. Maybe a list of recommended categories? Or is it better to go freestyle and let everyone choose the categories they care most about?

Community Curation Challenge:-)

Dianne Hope

Would love a challenge with an Outback theme!!  Sounds like we've found a whole new aspect to the weekly challenges Jackie - and one that gets us all away from our computers and behind a camera.  This certainly makes you think about the world around you in a very different way, doesn't it?!

Ralf Hilgenstock

Thanks Dianne. Great pictures.

Just a question for all: Which orientation of photos makes more sense: landscape or portrait?
When I selected pics, I choosed mainly landscape orientation. As background for Pc screens I think landscape is more sensefull. But what if users use their tablet or smartphone in portrait format?
How does the orientation on a users device  influence our selection of photos.

Ralf Hilgenstock

And just one more question:
What is the role of a photo in a learning object? Is it more an illustrative accessoire, is it for fun? Should it make a good mood? Is it supportive for a statement? Should it explain the content in an other way?
User experience studies says: attention on pictures is much quicker and stronger than to text or spoken words. Photos as accessoires put attention from content to the accessoires and away from the main aspects.
Which photos did we really need?

Jackie Van Nice

All great questions, Ralf! Personally, I don't worry too much about orientation or neutral backgrounds versus objects, etc. The number one thing I tend to look for - after any specifics I have in mind - is that the image is as big as I can get it.

That way I can crop it any way I'd like - whether to focus on an object or choose the orientation I need - and it'll still look good even at full screen. That's one thing I love about MF - you can usually find very large pics to use.

As to the image's role as part of a learning object - that's a very big question indeed! For me, it's no different than anything else on the screen - if it doesn't serve to support what you're trying to communicate, you're better off without it.