If you do not take all your own photos, or need supplemental images for your work, you will want to find pictures with licenses that allow you to use them in your work.
Luckily, there are a bunch of places on the internet where you can find high quality images to use. Below you will find a list of sites that provide either CC0 (Creative Commons 0) or royalty free images that allow for commercial use. Typically, free sites will offer CC0 images, while paid image banks will often offer royalty free images with some restrictions.
Sites offering images under the CC0 licence:
The following sites offer their photo content under the CC0 license, which means the creator has attributed the image to the Public Domain. You can read more about the CC0 license at the Creative Commons website.
Pixabay offers half a million searchable photos and vectors under the CC0 license.
All images are available with a CC0 license, making the available for any use including commercial projects.
Searchable CC0 images uploaded by Morgue File members.
Offers a large selection of searchable CC0 images.
Provides high resolution CC0 photos without usage restrictions. Images are displayed blog style. They release 10 curated images every 10 days.
Fun and quirky photos released with a CC0 license.
Another great site offering stock photos with CC0 images.
Offers free images through an email list. Also offers a premium option for full access.
Blog style presentation of CC0 images by Jay Mantri.
A large searchable CC0 image collection.
Free stock photography by Daniel Nanescu. Although Daniel does not specifically mention CC0 license, he does say that the site provides “high-resolution photos that you can freely download and use for personal and commercial purposes”
Free CC0 stock photography in blog format. Includes a search function.
Free images are available for download. They are displayed in blog format. Pic Jumbo also offers a Photoshop plugin that allows you to browse their images right inside Photoshop (only works with CC2014 and CC2015).
Sites offering royalty free images:
The following sites offer very large collections of royalty free images. Royalty free is not the same as CC0 license. Royalty free images are typically offered for a download fee and have various restrictions based on the website policy. As far as we know here at ShiftArt.com, the following sites offer royalty free images without restrictions that would affect usage in art. Even selling art using these images seems perfectly within their basic licenses.
However, please note that these sites can change their licensing parameters at their will. We suggest you always read a paid site’s license restrictions prior to using them in your artwork, especially if you intend to offer your work for sale.
Lifetime Stock, currently in beta, offers a host of file types, including pre-extracted models and object, pre-masked .psd files, and great textures. Starting at $9.99/mo with annual purchase.
Pixel Squid offers free 3D spin-able and isolated objects for Photoshop. They also make a free Photoshop plugin that allows you to spin their 3D objects right inside your work space!
Access 48 million royalty free images. Plans starting at $14/month.
15 million images to browse. Their license does not restrict use in art and does not require attribution unless used in editorial or new related content. Plans start at $40/month and include 10 downloads (@ $4 ea.). Higher level plans bring the price per image down.