Free Reference Photos For Artists: Natural Wonders


Freshly Curious - Over 700 Free Reference Photos for Artists - Courtesy of

The following photos are free to use in your creative projects. Artists can use them as reference photos and writers can use them to illustrate their blog posts. The only restriction is that you must provide an author credit using the following caption (with a link to when you publish your lovely end result:

[Photo or Photo Reference] courtesy of

Creative Commons License
All photos on this page are by Charlie O’Shields – Doodlewash® and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International LicenseThe use of Freshly Curious free photos is not allowed in projects that have inappropriate content such as but not limited to any material that is pornographic or incites or promotes violence, racism, any discrimination, prejudice or intolerance toward any individual or group, religion, sexuality, gender, political view.
  1. Vicki Rowley 5 years ago

    These are great! Good challenges for light and dark for me.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Awesome!! Hope you’ll find something here you’ll love to paint, Vicki!!

  2. Pamela Smith 4 years ago

    Wow,what an opportunity to use bright colors..

  3. Wonner Naus 4 years ago

    Hi Charlie,

    I was a professional photographer in a former life. Are you interested in contributions, or is there another way to share reference images?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks for reaching out, Wonner! 😃 I hadn’t thought about that… I don’t have a way set up currently to submit other images, but it’s a great idea. I’ll have to look into a way to add that!

      • Leslie Muennemann 9 months ago

        YES! Especially macro even if partial. Watercolorists need variety.

  4. Beautiful images! such an inspiration…thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much!! I hope you’ll find something you can use here! 😃💕

  5. Fantine Ponter 4 years ago

    Thanks Charlie! Plenty of challenges on this page!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww yay! So glad you enjoyed these photo references, Fantine! 😃💕

  6. smzang 3 years ago

    Wow! Charlie, you are so very talented. This photography is an absolute joy!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks you so much! I hope you’ll find something here that might inspire a bit of poetry! 😃💕

      • smzang 3 years ago

        There are many poems in those photos you’ve shared. the first one is up with your link front and center. (A Walk in the Park)

        My thanks for the inspiration and the use of your photo.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

          And it’s awesome!! Just commented! 😍And I spied a painting as well? hehe… Yay!! Gorgeous!

          • smzang 3 years ago

            See why I am constantly praising you. I love learning, and you are an awesome teacher.

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

            That’s probably the coolest compliment ever! I’m not a true teacher at all really… just a happy enabler! 😉 But, I’m currently working on a project to help enable a bit more. Stay tuned!

          • smzang 3 years ago

            Can’t wait!!

  7. June Hadaway 3 years ago

    These are all very beautiful and artistic. Thank you for sharing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Hope there’s something fun to find there for a reference!

  8. Janna Coleman 3 years ago

    These reference photos are excellent Charlie. I was doing a page of flowers and didn’t realize these were on here. It took quite a while to find what I wanted online. This has made it much easier. Thank you for sharing

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Oh wow! Yay! I’m so thrilled to hear that Janna! 🙂 I was daily photoblogger as my first blog years ago, so I’m offering up all of those photos for reference here! Glad you found something helpful! 😃

  9. renee pastolove 2 years ago

    This is a super collection! Thank you for the inspiration!

  10. Samantha G. 2 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing these with us! I have been practicing details and so many of these work perfectly for me. Thank you thank you!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww yay! So happy you enjoyed the photos, Samantha! My pleasure! 😃💕

  11. Grace Rankin 1 year ago

    Amazing views of these flowers

  12. Morgen Machen 1 year ago

    Whoa! These are incredible! I love to paint natural realistic subjects and this feels like Christmas morning ! If I post a painting based on one of your photos to my watercolor group , would it be alright to include your original? Should I use a link in the credit?

    Also, I’m excited to see what you post using the November 2020 prompts!

    Thanks so much !

    • Morgen Machen 1 year ago

      Never mind the question about credit; found the answer just after posting..however , my statement about your awesomeness still stands 😉

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

        hehe! Okay! I responded as I’m just going through comments in order! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Morgen! So happy you enjoy these! Yeah, you can share the photo… just add a link and credit [Photo or Photo Reference] courtesy of 🙂

  13. Burnell McKenna 1 year ago

    Wonderful photos! Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try

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