Where to Find Free Photos Online - Part 1

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Sunday, March 6, 2016
As an artist, or even a blogger, it's really important to keep within the law of Copyright Infringement when using photos. The way I see it, you wouldn't want somebody stealing your own work would you? When that's something you've experienced personally, it sure changes your mind about saving a photo from Google images, let me tell you.

Saying that, there are quite a few sites out there that support us struggling artists by offering reference photos for free (yes, for free!) and contrary to popular belief, these images are HIGH QUALITY! Yay! That means; photos you'll actually be proud to use!

Here are some of my favorite sources and some beautiful pictures I think could inspire some amazing artwork...

By the way, feel free to download any of these images by clicking each photo.


This might just be my most favorite site for finding images to use for art reference photos, a blog or website. This site has a ton of free, high quality images available with no attribution required. It's always a nice idea to make a little donation though (or 'buy the photographer a cup of coffee' as they request).

To download the highest resolution for each image, you'll need to create an account but that literally takes two seconds if you sign up via Facebook or Twitter.

Here are a few examples from Pixabay... See how vibrant and gorgeous they are?!

Free Photo Cat Profile

2. Unsplash.com
Next up is another of my firm favorites; Unsplash.com.
The quality of these photographs is UNSURPASSED and while they don't have much of a search feature (not that I can't find anyway), the standard of quality in these photographs is absolutely amazing. Clearly they have quite a selection process.

Unsplash upload 10 free images for you to use every day, however, it's pick of the draw in what you'll find really. There aren't a vast array of categories or options to choose from, however they're perfect for grabbing and saving for later.
By the way, no account needed and no attribution or permission needed at all to use these images. Unsplash also happily boasts that you're welcome to use these lovely images for whatever purpose you see fit - which is awfully nice of them :)

Here are a few examples from Unsplash...

camera phone high quality image free unsplash

mossy tree trunk unsplash free photo

3. Morguefile.com
I know. The name is strange...

Anyway, like Pixabay, MorgueFile has an enormous amount of photos on offer and every category you can possibly think of.

They have a great search feature and also make it easy to view their 'most popular' and 'newest' photos.

While the quality of most of these photos is excellent, depending on what you're looking for, sometimes you may have to sift through a few of the ugly in order to grab to a really good one. Generally, the popular choices like animals, plants and flowers have a HUGE, high quality library.

Also, no attribution is usually required (but it's clearly stated before you hit download anyway) and no sign up is required either.

Here are a few examples from Morguefile...
bald eagle free photo morguefile

free photo pink mum flowers morguefile

4. Deviantart.com

If youre an artist and haven't yet discovered Deviant Art, you're in for a treat. This site is much more than a photo reference library. That is just a small part of what it has to offer.

Users of this site can create a 'profile' where you can display your art, work in progress, tutorials and stock photos for others to share, save and see. Each category can also be broken down into every art medium from colored pencil to digital painting. You can even showcase your art for sale.

I like to browse through Deviant Art quite a bit. There is always something new to be learnt from other experienced, creative people and lots of fresh inspiration.

Onto the photos though... The variety is vast. You could literally spend hours and hours sifting through thousands of images to find exactly the right hand position you need (seriously). To help you, click here for a link to take you straight to the stock photos.

Generally, you won't find fancy photos like on Unsplash. Deviant Art is geared towards artists specifically so this isn't the best option for bloggers but for anatomy and stock photo references of animals, the human body, flowers, and backgrounds to draw from... Ahh, the list is simply endless.

Some members who offer stock photos make a huge effort to create a library of images with costumes and themes, such as mermaids or cosplay.

Attribution is usually always required, although each member has their own rules you should pay attention to as they can vary. Some just require you to share the work you've created with them. Others appreciate a donation to help them dedicate more time to shooting pictures and buying props for different looks.

One of my favorite people who I recommend you check out is FaeStock below. She's the photographer, the model in her photos and an artist! The effort she puts into putting her photography together is amazing!

Here's one of my favorites...

So, what do you think?! The quality that's out there for free use is outstanding, isn't it when you know where to look.

In conclusion, when partaking in these sites, why not think about paying the gesture forward..? Consider taking your own reference photos to contribute towards the art community online. I'll be making another blog post soon with some of my own to share with you!

As a side note, I encourage you to have a think about contributing images of your own towards your fellow art community as you'll be helping out other like minded peeps. In doing so, we're making the web a much more accessible and creative place!

Let me know if these links have helped you out in the comments below.
4 comments on "Where to Find Free Photos Online - Part 1"
  1. I'm very grateful to you for sharing all of these websites where we can get free online high resolution images.Thank you very much for sharing.Keep posting.

  2. This is particularly educational substance and formed well for a change. It's charming to see that a couple of people still perceive how to make a quality post!

  3. I am learning photo manipulation for my blog, so I visit Topimg.com more often and download the desirable images much easily.

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