The 15 best places to find diverse stock photos for ethical, style-savvy businesswomen & bloggers

diverse stock photography
12 min | Diverse Stock Photos Series Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my 4-part series on diverse stock photos! You’re obviously here because you want your brand to be more inclusive and representative of the global village that you serve. By using photos with people of colour*, you’re taking the right steps towards social justice.

In Part 1 I discussed:

  • Why it’s time for you to use stock photos featuring people of colour
  • Why representation matters
  • My criteria to establish diversity for this series
  • When to use free vs paid stock photos
  • The different licences – free vs royalty-free vs rights managed
If you haven’t already, or you’re not sure if photos with POC* are suitable for your brand, read Part 1: Why it’s time for you to use stock photos featuring people of colour in your business.

I put this series together because I couldn’t find a collated or curated collection anywhere in mainstream publications read by non-POC. While a tiny handful of blogs were helpful in my study, most were targeting POC &/or they only featured a few sites. I wanted a definitive list and spreadsheet I could refer to.

Please note, that while I searched for other marginalised communities, this series focuses on women of colour in stock photos which are suitable for female-identifying, socially conscious, ethical and creative business owners & bloggers.

 

So, what’s up in Part 2?

PART 2: The 15 BEST places to find diverse stock photos for ethical, style-savvy businesswomen & bloggers This post

  • Why support businesses founded by people of colour?
  • 10 fantastic paid stock image sites founded by people of colour & featuring POC
  • 1 special mention for stock photos of Native American people & culture
  • 4 excellent free stock image sites founded by people of colour & featuring POC

 

And I can’t wait to share Parts 3 & 4:

PART 3: 8 marketplaces for stellar diverse, affordable & creative stock photos {+ 9 premium sites}

  • The 9 most creative & diverse premium stock photo sites
  • The 8 most diverse, creative and affordable stock marketplaces on the internet

 

PART 4: The top 17 freemium and free stock photo sites, in order of diversity

  • Series recap
  • 17 great free + freemium sites, in order of diversity
  • Where to find more great stock photos
*When I say “people/women of colour”, I’m referring to non-white people, including, but not limited to: First Nations/Aboriginal people {ie Native American, Maori, Pacific Islander, Inuit, etc}, African diaspora, Black, African American, African, BAME {Black Asian minority ethnic} Latinx {incl Hispanic}, Asian, Middle Eastern, mixed race, biracial.

 

If you care about diversity, share this post.

 

49 top places to find brilliant diverse stock photos

 Bookmark this post or  download your copy of 49 Brilliant Places to Find Diverse Stock Photos & more in the Members’ Only Vault.

Don’t want to subscribe? Access the spreadsheet without opting-in.

 

Why support businesses founded by people of colour?

There are many of ways you can be an ally to POC. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down {see the links directly below}, hiring and buying from companies owned by POC are tangible actions you can take to make a very real difference in their lives and the onslaught they face daily in a white-privileged world.

If you’re white and you want to understand how to be a true ally, please read this fantastic post Holy shit, being an ally isn’t about me! How I learned being a white liberal doesn’t make me a good ally {they’ve got more great posts, including how to talk to your kids about race in their Real Talk: WOC & Allies Medium zine}.
If you’re new to some of this terminology, check out Everyday Feminism for the best resources on intersectional feminism and posts written by POC, LGBTQIA, and more.

Promoting companies &/or sharing articles, blogs, posts, etc is helpful too, but when you’re looking to hire or buy goods & services, watch out for your conditioned and subtle prejudices.

 

Join me: Take the pledge & share online

Today I pledge: I'm going to use more diverse & POC photos in my business. Will you join me? #diversitymatters Click To Tweet

Pledge to use more diverse & POC photos in my business

Pledge to use more diverse brand photos

Pledge to use more brand images with people of color

 

Let’s get to it!

Want to make sure your stock photos are respectful and representing POC how they want to be represented?

Use these resources and support small, independent businesses founded by POC.

{All of these sites, though small in quantity of photos, get two stars for their 100% POC catalogues + look out for the four free sources at the end!}

I don’t have a favourite as yet and your visual needs may well be different to mine, so, in no particular order…

 

1 | TONL 

People of colour stock photo resource

The newest on the block, TONL was founded by, Nigerian-American social entrepreneur, Karen and, Ghanaian-American photographer & creative entrepreneur, Joshua.

TONL is more than a stock photography site with gorgeous and empowering photos, their mission is focused around visibility, diversity and storytelling – their Narratives section is a delight to read, with first-person life stories from some of their models.

They have hundreds of royalty-free photos priced individually at $20 each and monthly subscription options are:

  • $29 for 15 photos {$1.93 per photo}
  • $75 for 45 photos {$1.67 per photo}
  • $105 for 75 photos {$1.40 per photo}

Go to TONL 

 

2 | CreateHER Stock 

Diverse stock photography sources

 

Run by founder & brand designer Neosha Gardner and photographer I’sha Gaines, CreateHER Stock produces creative, empowered and authentic images featuring WOC + minimal and styled flat lays for the modern businesswoman.

With 1300+ photos from just $7 per month and 100 free for subscribers, CreateHER Stock is the most accessible from a monthly price POV and great if you’re looking for stylish flat-lays.

You can hire Neosha at her design studio HUNCreative &/or I’sha at her Texas photography studio I’sha Gaines.

Attribution required.

Go to CreateHER Stock 

 

3 | Color U Bold

Diverse stock photo websites

Photographer & blogger Jasmine is all about brightening-up styled stock photos and flat lays over at Color U Bold. As a daring introvert who loves bold colours, she developed her passion for photography into a fully-fledged business – and she makes sure her models are diverse.

You can buy tasters over at her Creative Market shop at $5 per photo or $25 for colour-themed bundles of 12 – 20 images.

Or, for just $20 a month {$45 per quarter / 75% off at $95 per year}, you get a library 400+ photos + 50 more every month. You can also hire Jasmine to shoot custom stock photos for your business.

Go to Color U Bold  

Access Color U Bold’s free photos  

 

4 | Mocha Stock

Black people stock photography website

Mocha Stock has, by far, the largest catalogue of royalty-free photos of black people and they also offer video and illustration – 1300+ images of women and over 1000 of businesswomen.

Founded by Sequoia Houston, owner of LA-based agency Sur-Ryl Marketing, Mocha Stock launched in 2017, born out of Sequoia’s frustration at the lack of diversity in stock photos.

With monthly {$99 for 10 photos}, annual {$999} and credits {$11+} pricing options, Mocha Stock is committed to diverse and authentic content for brands and businesses.

 Go to Mocha Stock 

 

5 | Colorstock 

 People of colour stock photography

In 2015 Jennifer Daniels founded Colorstock, the first stock photography site to feature ALL people of colour – Black, Asian,Latino, mixed race and other ethnically-diverse peopleauthentically.

With hundreds of photos {175+ of women}, and collections including social justice, arts & “Perfect for Bloggers”, Colorstock can help you tell a natural visual story with real people.

They have a simple pricing model to give value to their photographers: $20 per image or $250 to make the image exclusive.

Go to Colorstock

 

6 | Brwn Stock Imaging

Coloured people stock images

Run by founder & photographer Porsha Antalan and brand strategist Mahogany Brown, BRWN Stock Imaging aims to “capture the vibrant beauty” of black and brown people to address their underrepresentation on popular stock sites.

Porsha is a fine arts-trained photographer based in Atlanta and you can hire her through her Femqua Productions site.

Brwn Stock Imaging features several photographers, with all of their images exclusive to them. Their hundreds of shots are empowering, from everyday to fashion-forward photos. Prices are kept simple at $25 for web-size and $45 for web + print-size.

Go to BRWN Stock Imaging 

 

7 | Pixels in Color 

Diverse stock images

After struggling to find high calibre photos of black people, Onye decided to add more diversity to the stock photography world by founding Pixels in Colour.

Their catalogue is currently small, but mighty with 40+ women photo. Pixels in Colour also hosts a free digital classroom for budding photographers and their stock photos are great for lifestyle & blogger markets.

Prices range from $20 – $80 depending on usage and there are up to 40 free images available to subscribers.

Go to Pixels in Colour 

 

49 top places to find brilliant diverse stock photos

 Bookmark this post or  download your copy of 49 Brilliant Places to Find Diverse Stock Photos & more in the Members’ Only Vault.

Don’t want to subscribe? Access the spreadsheet without opting-in.

 

8 | Klaud9 

Diverse Asian stock photography

Based in Singapore, Klaud9 is the brainchild of Isabel Gonzalez and is led by a young team of photographers and creatives with a mission of sharing the best unique photos of Asia.

They run photography challenges, provide a free curation service, offer the option for submitting briefs and have the largest number of photos in this POC section, with 57,000 photos of women, 9,200 businesswomen, 3,200 mature women and 170 disability.

Klaud9’s search filters are very detailed, including location, age and ethnicity + photographers earn up to 60% in royalties.

Prices options are in Singapore Dollars {1SGD = 0.76USD}:

  • $24 – $606 per photo {$9.90 for 500px wide}
  • $89 {5 medium photos} to $2499 {50 large photos} bulk buy packages
  • Extended licences up to $400
  • Market freezes from $600 {6 months} up to $6000 {in perpetuity}.

Go to Klaud9 

 

9 | Picha 

African stock photos

Picha means “image” in Swahili and Picha offers curated royalty-free photos from African countries, by creatives for creatives.

Founded to provide everyday and styled photos of real African people, as well as flora, fauna, food, city and landscapes.

Prices range from $10 – $500 and you can save by pre-purchasing a membership of:

  • $35 per month for $50 credits
  • $400 per year for $600 credits

Go to Picha 

 

10 | Native Stock Pictures 

Native American stock images source

Marilyn ‘Angel’ Wynn has been photographing Native Americans since 1989 and has amassed 150,000+ images in her stock photo collection, Native Stock Pictures.

Marilyn’s photos have been featured in numerous publications, including Time, National Geographic, First Nations and many more. She’s worked as a filmmaker, is available for hire and has been represented by Corbis, Getty, Blend and Superstock.

While Marilyn doesn’t appear to be a POC, I included her in this list because any fees earned are shared 50/50 with her native models as “it takes both of us to create these beautiful pictures”.

You must register and contact Marilyn to licence her photos. Her T&Cs are very tight, compared with some other stock sites, for example, attribution is required for editorial use and copies of publication provided; electronic storage on more than one computer or device is not allowed; written consent is required for sensitive subject matter like health issues, tobacco, etc; you can download low-res comping images for layout purposes but they must be deleted after 60 days.

While this may seem like a lot of hurdles for a solopreneur or blogger, remember Marilyn has these conditions in place to protect her indigenous models – not all photographers are so ethical {eg, see this critique of Jimmy Nelson’s practices in The Guardian}.

Once logged-in you can search via territories, tribes and common searches, such as people, artefacts, dwellings, history etc.

Go to Native Stock Pictures 

 

 

11 | Salam Stock  

Muslim stock images

Founded in Texas, USA, Salam Stock was created by a community of artists to showcase the contemporary Muslim experience using imagery which is positive, balanced and realistic.

With over 100 contributors, photo essays, detailed categories, their Inspire community blog, and thousands of photos from $2 – $45 – plus 200 free – Salam Stock is a great choice for positive images of Muslim people of all ages at work, rest, worship and play.

 Go to Salam Stock 

 

FREE POC stock photography sites

12 | #WOCinTech {free}  

Women of colour stock images

#WOCinTech made news across social media and the blogosphere in 2015 when their Twitter chat evolved to an initiative connecting women of colour to job opportunities, providing scholarships and free tickets to conferences, and inviting women of colour technologists to participate in their #WOCinTech photo shoots.

While founders, Stephanie Morillo & Christina Morillo, retired their blog in October 2016, they’re still active on Twitter and, of course, you can access and use their 500+ impactful, realistic and natural photos on Flickr.

You may copy, distribute and display the images with attribution. Credit #WOCinTech.

Go to #WOCinTech 

 

13 | Jopwell Collection {free} 

diverse stock images

Jopwell are a career advancement platform for POC – Black, Latino/Hispanic and Native American professionals. Founders Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams are committed to creating more diverse workplaces across the US.

The Jopwell Collection features hundreds of photos of people of colour in working and office environments.

Similar to #WOCinTech, you may copy, distribute and display the images with attribution. Credit Jopwell or Jopwell.com.

  Go to The Jopwell Collection 

 

14 | nappy {free} 

black people stock photos

Created by influencer management agency, Shade, nappy features approximately 100+ fashion-forward portraits of young black people.

All images are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which means you can do anything commercially, except sell the originals, re-post on other stock photo website/services, or use the photos to degrade or insult its subjects.

Attribution is not required, however, to get the word out and encourage more people to use and share these pics, a credit, if possible is appreciated. Credit: Photo by [name & link to @photographer] from nappy.

Go to nappy 

 

15 | Picnoi {free} 

diverse stock photos website

Picnoi is a coop of stock photography with a few hundred natural and styled photos in their catalogue available for free.

You can download the whole library + one year’s worth of fortnightly updates for $49.99 &/or you can support their work by donating on their website.

Photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, so you are free to copy, distribute, modify, edit or crop any photo without attribution, though a credit is always helpful.

Go to Picnoi 

 

What’s covered in Part 3…?

Up next I’ll share:

PART 3: 8 marketplaces for stellar diverse, affordable & creative stock photos {+ 9 premium sites}

  • The 9 most creative & diverse premium stock photo sites
  • The 8 most diverse, creative and affordable stock marketplaces on the internet

&

PART 4: The top 17 free and freemium stock photo sites, in order of diversity

  • Series recap
  • 17 great free + freemium sites, in order of diversity
  • Where to find more great stock photos

Or you can skip the series & download the PDF…

49 top places to find brilliant diverse stock photos

Bookmark this post, check out the spreadsheet or  download your copy of 49 Brilliant Places to Find Diverse Stock Photos & more in the Members’ Only Vault.

Don’t want to subscribe? Access the spreadsheet without opting-in.

If you care about diversity, share this post.

 

Which sites make your shortlist? Did I miss any? Let me know below!

Still to come are parts 3 & 4 with even more great places to find photos of POC. Subscribe to be the first to find out when we go live.

Leave a Comment