Once a composition is designed, I often combine several photos in Photoshop. This Quail Whimsey is about five different photo references combined:
Quail Whimsey Colored Pencil Painting 9x 12" ©Sue Betanzos
• Paint My Photo - Free site. The photos are donated on a wide variety of subjects. Just make sure to credit the photographer when you post images of your art.
• Pixabay.com - Free site. Photos are donated on many subjects. Credit the photographer if you post images of your art from their photo.
• Morgue file - Free site. Make sure to credit the photographer when you post images of your art.
• Unsplash.com - Free site to download hi resolution photos.
• Stocksnap.com - Free site for hi resolution photos to download.
• Photos for artists - Free site. A Great Facebook site with tons of donated photos on everything. It's a closed group so you have to ask to join and be on Facebook.
• WildlifeReferencePhotos.com Only 5.00 per high resolution image - what a deal. Compare to the usual 20 - 40.00 for most stock sites. Nice photos with correct animal names to search from.
• Birding - Arizona and the Southwest. Facebook group site. One of my favorite sites for bird photos. A Facebook closed group, you can ask to join. Everyone is very nice and some may give permission for photo use.
• The Hummingbird Whisperer Facebook group site with nice hummer pics. Some may give permission for photo use.
I have my eye on a Cannon power shot sx50 via ebay and Amazon, but it takes much more than good equipment for excellent photos. It's worth it to go to the experts when you want a great photo.