The top 17 freemium and FREE stock photo sites, in order of diversity

diversity in stock photos
8 min | Diverse Stock Photos series Part 4

Welcome to the final post in my 4-part series on diverse stock photos! We’ve covered a LOT of ground so far and I’m delighted to be finishing with a longish short list of sites where you can find freemium & free stock photos.

As a women of colour*, this series is of personal importance to me, but as a businesswoman, encouraging other biz owners to use diverse stock photos is CRUCIAL to changing the way people are viewed because of the amount of melanin in their skin.

If you’ve not been following along the series, click the links below to catch up:

 

Series Contents

PART 1: Why it’s time for you to use stock photos featuring people of colour {+ free vs royalty-free licensing}

  • 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

 

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

  • 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

 

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

 

Which brings us to…

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

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

 

NOTES

During each post, I link to my Ultimate List of 121+ Diverse Stock Photo Resources spreadsheet.

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.
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.

 

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.

 

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

 

17 free{mium} sites with great stock photos of people of colour

Before I jump into the list, it’s important for you to know that the vast majority of free sites will have adverts – often affiliate ads for other paying stock photo sites, as their commission will help maintain their free image sites.

Free sites will usually be built on blogging platforms which don’t have the same customised search facility as paid-for stock sites, so can take longer to search through. The other issue is the lower levels of diversity.

However, there are some great free and freemium stock photo sites out there – here are the most diverse & creative ones.

I discounted sites:

  • with average and poor creative-quality images
  • which had too many adverts or ad which made it confusing to download the free images
  • which linked to another {original} site for download
  • were showing images I’d seen elsewhere

I’ve got 58 stock photo sites with FREE photos for commercial use on my spreadsheet list, 8 {14%} of which are dedicated to POC only.

The following sites on my shortlist have all high-quality royalty-free images and are listed in rough order of diversity + creative quality.

 

1. StockSnap.io – Free 

diverse and free stock photos

  • (2.7k) “African American woman”
  • Built by the design app developers behind Snappa
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

 Go to StockSnap 

 

2. Unsplash – Free 

free photos person of colour

  • 200,000 photos from 41,872 photographers
  • 464 “African American woman” collections
  • I’ve collected 130+ photos of WOC into a collection
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

Go to Unsplash 

 Go to my Women of Color Unsplash collection {132 photos} 

 

3. CreateHER Stock – Freemium 

  • 100 free photos for subscribers
  • 1300+ photos $7 per month
  • Mix of styled flat lays + WOC stock
  • Attribution required
  • You can also hire Neosha at her design studio HUNCreative &/or Ishak at her Texas photography studio I’sha Gaines

Go to CreateHER Stock  

 

4. Color U Bold – Freemium

  • 50 free photos for subscribers
  • 400 photos + 50 new ones every month for $20pm/$45pq/$95pa
  • Mix of styled stock & flat lays with WOC
  • $5 per photo or $25 for colour-themed bundles in her Creative Market shop
  • You can also hire Jasmine to shoot custom stock photos
  • Attribution may be required

Go to Color U Bold  

 Access Color U Bold’s free photos  

 

5. #WOCinTech – Free 

  • Hundreds of photos of black women working in office environments
  • Real women, not professional models
  • Laptop/hands typing closeups
  • Attribution required

 Go to #WOCinTech  

 

6. The Jopwell Collection – Free 

  • Hundreds of photos of black people working in office environments
  • Real people, not professional models
  • Attribution required

  Go to The Jopwell Collection  

 

7. nappy – Free

  • 50+ black women stock photos
  • Fashion-forward photos
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

 Go to nappy  

 

8. Picnoi – Free 

  • 40+ black women stock photos
  • Natural and styled photos
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

Go to Picnoi  

 

9. Pixels in Colour – Freemium

  • Up to 40 free images for subscribers
  • Prices range from $20 – $80 depending on usage
  • 40+ black women stock photos
  • 40 black businesswomen stock photos
  • Natural and styled photos

Go to Pixels in Colour  

 

10. Salam Stock – Freemium 

  • Muslim experience: positive, balanced and realistic
  • 200 free photos
  • 1500 – 2000 Muslim women and businesswomen
  • Prices range from $2 – $45

Go to Salam Stock  

 

11. Raw Pixel – Free 

free diverse photos

  • Focus on diversity via their World Face project
  • Handful of: WOC, business WOC, LGBT & mature women
  • Model releases in place for legal protection
  • Images from $5+ in their Creative Market shop
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

 Go to Raw Pixel website {FREE} 

 Go to Raw Pixel Premium on Creative Market 

 

12. Death to the Stock Photo – Freemium 

diverse stock photo source

  • High res photo packs every month with approximately 5 – 10 photos for subscribers
  • Can download last 4 projects on their website without subscribing
  • Premium users access 1500+ photos & video clips for $15pm or $145pa
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

Go to Death to the Stock Photo 

 

13. Fancy Crave – Freemium 

multicultural stock photos

  • All photos by Igor Ovsyannykov
  • Some diversity – use the collections to search
  • Free to download on his website
  • 14 free weekly for subscribers
  • Packs from $3.99+ for 10 – 30+ photos
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

 Go to Fancy Crave 

 

14. Startup Stock – Free 

  • Business-focused images
  • Can support the photographers by donation
  • Attribution not required, but great if possible

 Go to Startup Stock 

Sites with greater paid-for diversity, than free diverse photos

15. Media Bakery – Premium 

  • 20 free photos every fortnight via their Tumblr account
  • Not as diverse as paying site
  • Paying site:
    • Rights-managed and royalty-free on
    • $49 – $500+ per image
    • Can search via ethnicity

 Go to Media Bakery Tumblr 

 

16. You Work for Them – Medium 

  • Marketplace founded by designers for designers in 2001
  • 1300+ free photos, graphics, fonts & more for subscribers – scroll to footer to subscribe for 1000+ free elements
  • {400 – 1,200} black woman photos to buy
  • 828 mature woman photos + under 100 each for LGBT & disability
  • $15 – $575 per image depending on usage

 Go to You Work for Them 

 

17. Snapwire – Medium 

  • 7 free photos every week via their Tumblr account
  • Brief submissions & marketplace available on paying site
  • Royalty-free
  • Photographers get 50 – 70% commission
  • 437,000 contributors
  • $5 – $500 per image /$99+ sub

Go to Snapwire Free Tumblr 

 

Want more FREE stuff?!

I have many more fantastic FREE stock photo sites on my Diverse Stock Photo Resources spreadsheet + guide {access them below}.

The reason they aren’t in this post is because they don’t show a much or any diversity. But we often need fantastic photos of places – cities, landscapes, flora & fauna – or close-ups of textures, objects, etc, so I created a spreadsheet you can download as your go-to resource for diverse and gorgeous photos.

I’ll write a separate post + guide on flat-lay styled stock photos soon as a companion to this post, but many of the sites in the guide have these types of images too.

 

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.

 

PHEW – that’s a wrap! What a series – thanks so much for reading it all the way through!

I hope to see more skin tones celebrated across the world – online & off – until we reach a point where we’re just called the human race.

There are endless numbers of stock photo sites out there and new ones popping up all the time – have I missed a great one you love? If it has strong diversity, leave your recommendation/s in the comments below.

Leave a Comment