Many times we find ourselves in the need to reference an object or a difficult pose, and most times we do not have that availability at home! Who has a stash of weapons, horses, muscular guys and gorgeous vixens at home? Not me!
This is when the stock photographers fulfill a wonderful role, they give us the great opportunity of referencing almost anything we can think of. The next problem arises in the cost of stock photography, most times we cannot afford (I know *I* can’t) the many dollars that would cost to buy photographs from different photographers. For example, I have referenced from about 20 photos for one image (lighting, hair, landscape, pose, clothing, environment, frame) because I like to not just copy as it is. And this is when the Deviantart community shows how wonderful they truly are. Of course you will find the odd exhibitionist that spreads her legs, take a shot and calls that ‘stock’ and ‘art’, and while the art argument would never find a resolution, the stock argument does.
Stock photography has to be good quality, have good lighting, and if possible a neutral indistinct background. Fortunately there are a lot of good stock artists in Deviantart, artists that put a lot of effort into providing good quality needed stock… for free!! Now, each artist has their own rules, and you should check for them, usually they are in the front page, in the journals. Some of them allow for commercial usage, while others do not. An exception to the neutral background is, of course, nature stock.
Let me give you a list of stock artists that can be useful for you:
Almudena (Also objects and places)
Ana (Also objects and places)
William (also places and objects)
White Wing (also female)
Animals, plats, flowers and places
If you have a stock account and would like to share, post it in the comments, I will add it to the list.