8 resources for diverse stock photos

4 min read
Shayna Hodkin
  •  Jun 20, 2019
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Same old, same old isn’t cutting it anymore.

Diverse imagery is part and parcel of inclusive design. When creating experiences that are supposed to welcome people of all stripes in, the photos you work with can’t leave most of your users out.

Check out these eight stock photo resources that will set you up for design that speaks to people of all walks of life—and shows it, too.

1. The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary

Diversity takes a lot of forms, and one widely-ignored one in particular is gender identity. Broadly, Broadly, Vice’s gender and identity blog, curated a collection of stock photos featuring people of color and LGBTQ-presenting individuals and couples just being—at the office, at a party, in the kitchen, and wherever else your life takes you.

2. #WOCinTech Chat

#WoCinTech Chat’s goal is simple: to bring attention to the community of women of color in tech fields. This Flickr-curated collection is free under the Creative Commons license, with one stipulation: that all photos be credited with a link to the collection and/or the hashtag #WoCinTech Chat, bringing them more followers and more eyes on their community.

3. UKBlackTech

UKBlackTech didn’t see a lack of BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) presence in stock imagery—but everything they found looked so American. The UKBlackTech organization paired up with Deborah Okenla, founder of Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS) and Andy Ayim of startup support studioTwiiged to create their own collection of race-diverse British stock photography for the tech industry. The photos are available for free use under Creative Commons licensing so long as UKBlackTech or are credited.

4. Representation Matters

When 70% of teenage girls say that magazine representations of women impact their self-esteem, how can we stay silent? Representation Matters hosts diverse stock images for commercial use (for pay, though royalty free). Their collection is focused on diversity and inclusion across all walks of life: race, size, disability, and gender orientation included.

5. Nappy

Nappy is a collection of free photos of Black and Brown people spanning exercise/physical activity; food; work; and the nouns, people, places, and things. Nappy’s search function lets you get super-specific, so if you’ve been looking for a man smiling in a sharp suit, it’s finally your shot.

6. CreateHer Stock

Featuring both free and “premium” photos, CreateHer Stock is described by its founder, Neosha Gardner, as a “grassroots resource and digital space.” Gardner hit her breaking point in 2014 when she couldn’t find photos of women of color—women who looked like her—for a blog post. Her collection encompasses thousands of photos, with a monthly email featuring new photos added to the site.


“Creating an inclusive culture takes both commitment and action.” That’s the TONL call to action—and it’s reflected in their curation of photos encompassing diversity in size, race, religion, and activity. TONL Narratives is a collection within the project encompassing different aspects of daily life, mostly focused on physical activity. Though the photos aren’t free, you can either pay per photo or buy a subscription pass.

8. Picnoi

The founders of Picnoi describe their service as a “co-op of stock image photography,” filling the hole where diverse stock imagery should be. Their collection is completely free, and they don’t even ask for accreditation—though, between you and me, throw it their way. They’re providing a great service.

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