Many stock photo sites offer the same kind of imagery all around, with little diversity in photos across race, gender ability and body size. But that’s not what real life is like. Many people might feel underrepresented or not represented at all in these photo collections and in the media – both online and offline. So, in this blog post I have gathered some excellent sources for culturally diverse stock photos that can be used for commercial or editorial purposes. Some are free, others are paid resources.
TONL lets you “find culturally diverse stock photos that represent the true world we live in”. On the site you can simply search for photos via a site search, as is the case with most online photo libraries. However you are also able to go through their curated collections which put a focus on things like traditions, family, sport or technology. You can either pay per image or subscribe to one of their four plans. These require you to pay a monthly fee that allows you to download a fixed amount of photos. Custom plans are also available.
Broadly provides the “Gender Spectrum Collection”, which – in Broadly’s words - “is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés”. All images are distributed via the Creative Commons license and photos are sections into different topics such as work, health, technology or even moods. While the amount of photos isn’t as large as on sites such as Unsplash, the collection really is a step in the right direction and will hopefully grow over time.
As founder Neosha Gardner explains, “searching for authentic stock photography that featured women of colour” was quite challenging for her, so she created the solution herself. At the moment there are 180+ downloadable photos available under a standard, non-exclusive license. This means they can be used for personal purposes, but not for commercial work or resale. A premium collection of images is supposed to be available soon, as well.
I use stock photos mainly for web design projects (I'm a freelance Webflow designer/developer). Haven't heard of Webflow before? You can check it out and sign up for an account here (yes, that's an affiliate link).
Know some additional paid or free photo resources online? Let me know!