A friend recently shared an article about stock photo sites that feature people of color. I’d never heard of any of them. I got excited! The go-to sites in the graphic design industry mainly show white people as defaults. Though mainstream sites are slowly diversifying, photos representing black and brown people in everyday situations are still limited. So I googled to see what else is out there. I found these emerging sites that offer more diverse images.
Free stock photo sites
The mission of nappy.co is to help startups, brands and agencies be purposeful about representation in designs and presentations. The images are free. And they’re beautifully shot. “The more you use them, the more we’re helping improve the representation of black and brown people in media.”
2. Women of Color in Tech
This gallery of images on Flickr is free with attribution. The project has ended, but the photos of women engaging in technical tasks are still available.
Paid stock photo sites
3. BRWN Stock Imaging
BRWN was “born out of the underrepresentation of black and brown people on other popular stock photo websites.” Images are $25 for web and $45 for print resolution.
The mission of TONL is “to transform the idea of stock photography by displaying images of diverse people and their stories around the world.” Although there are some activity or group shots, it looks like the site currently specializes in individual portraits. A la carte images are $20, or choose one of the monthly subscription plans.
Founded in 2015, Colorstock features “images of Black, Asian, Latinx, and other ethnically-diverse people at work and at play.” All images are $20. If you want exclusive use of a photo, you can retire it from the catalog for $250.
PicNoi is a growing collection of diverse stock photos with a unique pricing model. Download all the images in the collection for $49.99. After initial download, users get all updates every two weeks for up to a year after the initial purchase. Anyone is encouraged to submit images to the collection.
As a designer, it’s hard enough to find photos of people that look real instead of staged, who are the right age, who are doing the right thing in the right setting, with the right color palette, mood, and lighting, that makes the point the photo needs to convey. If I want that photo to show people other than Caucasians, I often have to give up some of those criteria to include people who aren’t white. I’m glad to have more choices.
Designers and marketers, let’s use these sites and share them—the more popular they become, the more resources they’ll have to expand their libraries. Photographers, submit your images. And if anyone has suggestions of other sites, email me!