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Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Free Artist Reference Photo Sites

Getting great photo reference is an essential part of a representational artist's research. If you are like me and don't have a high end camera with good telephoto lens, you rely on another's talent in this area if you want wildlife close ups.

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

While I like taking my own photos for small things, here are my top sites and some are free, for great photos:

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.

Flicker.com - Social media site. A wonderful site to look at amazing photos. Search your subject and Ask the photographer if you can use a photo you love. Always give the photographer credit.

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.

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