When I was researching online personal financial services, I discovered a few reviews for one service that seemed to fit my needs.
I didn’t have a lot of requirements:
- Browser-based as well as an app
- Automated investments
- Low fees
- Helpful advice on reaching my financial goals
After reading three reviews, all which were highly rated, I visited their website.
Only to discover all the photos on their site were young people who appeared to be in their mid-20’s. All white.
I was disappointed.
And I contacted the company to ask:
Do you only offer your product to people in their mid-20’s who are white?
Because that’s what all your visuals on your website show.
Their customer service manager replied quickly, assuring me that wasn’t their only target audience.
And invited me to talk with with two members of their user experience team.
Later that month I participated in a usability test for their service.
Today, their website displays imagery of those who are young, old, and people of color. I was glad they listened to me and made changes in their imagery!
But it brought up another issue: my own use of stock photos on my site and on client sites.
Do You Use Stock Photos on Your Site?
While we can all agree it’s best to use your own photos on your website, sometimes you or your client don’t have access to photos for your content.
However, I’ve noticed major stock photo sites lack photos of diverse people.
Many photo sites have a large number of photos with white young people, but few photos of people of color or people who are older than 40 years old.
That’s when I thought: I’m guilty of the same issue. Few photos on my site are of people who are older or who are people of color.
My goal is to change that on my website.
And to do it, I need to learn about other photo sites that offer diverse photos.
Where Can I Find Diverse Photo Sites?
Thanks to an online design group I belong to, one of the members raised the question a couple months ago, asking for sites that offered diverse photos.
Other members replied with recommendations, many sites I never heard of.
I offered to collect the recommendations and publish them in a post. Here it is!
Note: some of the sites I’ve included are premium stock photo sites, where you pay a fee for the photos. Other sites offer photos for free.
As with any stock photo site, read the licensing agreement so you understand how the photos can be used.
Stock Photo Sites with Diverse Photos
In no specific order, here are the recommendations.
On nappy, you’ll find high-resolution photos of black and brown people you can use for free. From photos of people to places to work, you’ll find all the photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
If you’re not familiar with Creative Commons Zero license, it means you don’t need permission to use photos on nappy. Nor do you need to give credit. However, giving credit to the photographer is the right thing to do.
And if you’re a photographer, you can upload your own photos to be included in their collection.
Note: for some reason, their submission process requires you to have an Instagram account. Not sure why.
2. Blend Images
A premium stock photo company, Blend Images was founded by a group of commercial photographers to offer diverse premium stock imagery.
Blend Images is now part of Tetra Images, where you can search specifically for diverse photos.
Pricing for the royalty free images (you pay once and can use the photo across any platform) are based on image file size.
Photos for web use are considerably less than print photos. According to their website,
Our images are model released and property released for commercial usage.
3. Women of Color in Tech (#WOCinTech) Photos
Created in 2015, you’ll find a wide range of women of color in technology in the 500+ photo collection of the #WOCinTech Flickr account. The photos were part of a September 2015 photo shoot.
4. The Jopwell Collection
Consisting of 100+ free stock photos, the collection features leaders in the Jopwell community, from students, editors, techies, recruiters, marketers, student leaders, and more.
Photos are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
5. Death to the Stock Photo
Started in 2013 as a monthly newsletter (I remember, I was on their mailing list!), Death to the Stock Photo has grown to become a stock photo agency offering original diverse photos with a 14-day free trial membership.
They offer three premium memberships:
- Brand: for small businesses, start-ups, social media managers,etc.
- Freelancers and Agencies: for designers, agencies that do client work
- Larger Brands and Organizations
single business option or the freelancer/agency option.
All memberships offer unlimited downloads, access to 4,500 photos, voting on which visuals are added to the library.
6. CreateHER Stock
Launched in 2015 and created for bloggers, creatives, and influencers, you’ll find more than 3,500+ images at CreateHER Stock.
CreateHER Stock offers four premium plans:
You can get a peek into the type of images CreateHER Stock offers from their freebie collection of 185+ photos.
Since 2018 when I first included them in this roundup, I’ve learned, Pexels has expanded their photo collection to include more diverse photos of people of color, older people, women, and people with disabilities.
Which I discovered when I conducted a search on “diversity” that resulted in 700+ results.
A search on “people with disabilities” resulted in over 1000 photos and close to 4,000 videos.
Thanks to one of people on Pexels’ team, I learned they’ve partnered with Jopwell, nappy, and WOCinTech to offer more diverse photos.
All photos and videos on Pexels are free to use. No attribution is required, but credit to the photographer is appreciated.
Our communities are diverse.
For your next blog post or web project, take time to choose photos that show diversity with images of people of color, people with disabilities, women, and men.
The seven sites I shared offer thousands of images for you to choose from.
Do you have any sites that offer diverse photos? Share them in the comments.
Originally published August 18, 2018. Updated with new resources on June 22, 2020.