My Favorite Free Image Sites & Two Examples of References with Finished Illustrations
Do you want to practice drawing or painting, but have no reference photos to work from on hand, and no time to take any? 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. I like creating paintings based on my own original photos as much as I possibly can in order to ensure my artwork is 100% my own.
This said, even as a working artist, I have limited time to organize my own photo shoots. It's totally understandable that we may not have time to take quality photos of our own. In these cases (or when you're doing studies you're not really intending to sell) it's perfectly okay to look for references online. As long as you make sure you're playing by the rules!
In this post, I give examples of works created by famous artists that used photographic references and I share essential tips that will help ensure you won't get in trouble for using other peoples' photos for your art-making purposes.
In my blog post titled How to Take Your Own Art Reference Photos, I explain why it's important for artists to start creating their own original art reference library and give some excellent tips to consider when taking photos you're intending to use as art references.
It's absolutely essential to stem from excellent photos when we're drawing or painting!
I'm extremely thankful that these kinds of sites exist and that there are such talented photographers out there willing to share their work with us.
All of the sites I'll be sharing today offer a large amount of high-quality, attractive images that can be searched for by category. Some of them may require you to create a login, but images can be downloaded for free.
With these beautiful reference images, you'll have no excuse not to practice drawing or painting!
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.
PicWizard offers an immense selection of free stock photos, including lots of images of people and landscapes that we can use for our drawings or paintings. They are constantly adding new amazing photos that we are free to use, even without attribution.
10. 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 forth and make some art!
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