Help finding royalty free photos

I’m doing some ink sketching from photos I found on the Internet. I’m thinking of trying sell some of them but I realize there are some royalty or permission issues.

So what I’m looking for is a website that posts pics that are free to use for reference in art with no copyright issues. Probably older or historic photos. I realize I might have not used the correct terms but I hope my meaning was clear.

  1., search for a term, click “more tools”, “usage rights”, “labeled for reuse + modification”, or maybe a more permissive one and then email the author

  2. wikimedia commons requires images be public domain or creative commons (like above, just give credit and usually you’re fine, but you can email creator if you want to):

  3., search by license (upper left)

  4. works of the US federal government are generally public domain and copyright free. this includes nasa, army photographers, various science agencies, etc.

  5. basically just tag “creative commons” or “public domain” onto an image search

  6. anything out of copyright – many big libraries, especially university ones, have archives of old photos or microfilms. a few of them will have them online. the internet archive also has a bunch of old stuff, much of which is public domain now:

but with all of the above, do your owndue diligence. if you, say, find a photo of Spiderman that someone erroneously labeled as free for re-use and then get sued later on for copyright or trademark infringement, well, god help you

Become my friend on Facebook and have at my photo album. Admittedly, there are very few photos at all, because I don’t place a very high priority on them, but I can guarantee that not a single one has Royalty. I don’t even know any royalty personally, although I’m sure they would find me a very satisfactory acquaintance, on account of I wouldn’t be constantly pestering them to let me take pictures of them. I imagine that crap gets old reallly fast.

Thanks for the help and reply, Reply.

Fair use. If you are transforming the work to create a new work of art you need not pay. However, application of this principle depends in part on the ability of the original copyright holder to sue. Their pockets may be deeper, whatever the merits of the case.

Look for creative commons images with licences like ‘attribution’, in which case you need only credit the original artist or ones that allow transformative works. Depending on what you want, you may want to avoid share-alike licences, which mean you must put the same licence on your work as on the original.

Regarding Reply’s case #4, start looking around here for collections of MANY US Gov’t older/historic photos:

I would just be looking for a particular image and search for that. Once I find a few images I will bring them into my image editor and arrange them so it becomes my own picture.