Do you really want to create a drawing or painting but have no reference photos to work from at hand? Are you afraid of getting in trouble for using other peoples' photos you find online?
I want to start this post off by saying that I really enjoy taking photos myself. Most mornings I take my Nikon D60 with me as I go off about my day. However, most of the time I end up taking photos of my students or of work-related things that I don't post about in here. I rarely have time to take pictures for my own art projects.
When I get home from work and want to get on to practicing drawing or painting, I mostly look for reference images on the following free stock photo sites. I am extremely thankful that these kinds of sites exist and wanted to share them. All of these offer a large amount of high quality, attractive images that can be searched for by category. Some of them may require you to register, but images can be downloaded for free.
It is important to keep in mind that if you are serious about pursuing an art career and this is more than a hobby for you, at some point it will be essential to start a bank of photos taken by YOU. I am SO anxious to finish this school year and be able to dedicate more time to my artistic journey!
There are MANY websites that offer great free quality photos for all types of creatives looking to save some time! Here are my 10 favorites so far!
In their own words, they offer: ¨Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.¨
Pexels offers free pictures that can be used for personal or commercial projects. Images can be modified, copied and distributed without even asking for permission or linking to the source. Attribution is not required.
Pixabay offers free images that can be copied, modified and distributed, even for commercial uses, without asking for permission or crediting the photographer.
4. Freerange Stock
Freerange Stock also provides free images for commercial and non-commercial use. They give their collections away hoping that ¨they will be useful and enjoyed.¨
5. Free Food Photos
These photos can be downloaded and used for both personal and commercial uses as long as the user gives credit to the source. It is suggested to share the site with friends.
6. Kaboom Pics
Kaboom Pics offers free photos for bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers, etc. for non-commercial and commercial use. No attribution required. Whenever possible, photo credits and sharing the site with others would be nice.
7. Free Images.uk
Free Images is a resource for photography that is free to use on websites, printed materials, design work and anything else. They do, however, ask for a link back to their site.
8. Fancy Crave
``Got an idea in mind? Make something beautiful from our photos today.´´ FancyCrave offers free images to designers, small businesses, students, bloggers, and online marketers that can be used for both personal and commercial projects. Every single image is free of copyright restrictions.
9. Focus Fitness
Focus Fitness presents us with not only a great health/fitness related stock image site, but an informative blog for people interested in living a healthier lifestyle. Images offered are free for commercial use and require no attribution.
The goal of this website is to offer beautiful photographs for modern creatives. If you're a foodie like me, you can find pictures by food photographers from all over the globe who share their photos under the Creative Commons Zero license.
Canva is an AMAZING (and free) graphic design resource that helps us easily create beautiful presentations, printable documents, social media graphics, infographics, and LOTS more! They are also a great option when it comes to finding reference photographs for your artwork, as they offer an extensive free stock image library. Visit their Free Stock Photo Library here!
Remember that it is extremely important to respect and give credit to other people's work. Give attribution to the photographers whenever you are able to so they can get more exposure! You can also donate money to most of these sites to keep them up and running, so don't hesitate to show some gratitude to their creators as well.
Ok! No excuses my friend! Now go and make some art!
is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites
to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
is a participant in the Shareasale.com Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Shareasale.com partner companies.