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Beyond standard stock: 17 alternative sources for culturally diverse stock photos

Expand diversity and inclusion in your stock photo choices and improve representation in your outreach with these diversity-oriented stock photo sources.

painting from mural featuring illustration of colorful clasped hands

For years, the supply of culturally inclusive stock photos has been very limited. It’s not unusual to see the same few photos used repeatedly by different organizations everywhere simply because more options just haven’t been available or affordable in the past. This is particularly true with photos from the typical low-cost stock photo sources nonprofits rely on most for their everyday communications. Perhaps under time or budget constraints, communications people often don’t think to explore beyond their usual mainstream stock photo sources.

But times are changing and people are becoming more aware of how photo choices impact representation. As designers and stock photo buyers are demanding more diversity and inclusion in stock photo representation, supply of culturally diverse stock photos is increasing, too. It’s worth it to set up your bookmarks and check sources often as new photos are being added all the time.

(Perhaps) lesser-known sources

You can always search for specific diversity keyword terms on your favorite mainstream stock photo sites. But you can also cast your net wider with sources like these:

Cultural diversity

Black and Brown people

Empowered women (including women of color):

LGBTQ+

Disability

Body size diversity and body positivity

Diversity Offerings from Mainstream Sources

Most mainstream stock photo sites have also been developing their offerings in this area, sometimes as branded offshoots of their main collections. For example, explore:

We hope these resources give you a springboard for building more diversity and inclusion into your stock photo choices. If you have other gems you think are missing from this list, please let us know your favorites!

For more tips on how to select and use stock photos appropriately, check out our article Making responsible stock photo choices.

Happy Hunting!

Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

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