If you are building a brand, you know that images are part of the story. Sure, you could have a website full of text but that doesn’t tell the complete picture. Photos showcase your brand. It gives it vibrancy . And if nothing else, it tells a story.
But more importantly, if you are a business that values diversity and inclusion, having imagery that reflects that is absolutely key. Diverse and inclusive photos give insight to your brand. It can demonstrate that you are a brand that is reflective of your greater community.
Photos have the power to shift perceptions, reflect reality, and challenge stereotypes. Inclusive marketing certainly impacts consumer behavior. Having high quality, commercial use stock photos should be part of your plan as you design your brand marketing.
What is Commercial Use?
When you use photos online or in print, you need to make sure they are for commercial use. Commercial use is the ability to use a product or service in a manner that is financially beneficial to you. This definitely includes photos. In other words, you need to have legal permission to use the photos. If you just take photos off the internet without going through the proper channels, you open yourself up to a host of legal problems if you get caught. Instead, you need to make sure you are allowed to use a stock photo (read: photos you didn’t personally take ) that can be used on your site.
The good news is there are plenty of sites where you can get photos legally with relative ease.
Where Can I Find Diverse & Inclusive Stock Photos?
For a long time, it was really difficult to find high quality, stock photography that was reflective of the world we lived in. But fortunately things are changing and better photography is becoming more available and accessible. If you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while, here are some 8 websites to find diverse and inclusive stock photos that reflect your brand.
iStockPhoto offers millions of high quality photos and videos for use. From a choice standpoint, you will have a great set of options. If you type search terms of what you are specifically looking for ( ex. Young woman with hijab), you most likely will find an option.
If you are on a budget or just started your business but still need access to a wide selection, UnSplash is the place to start. You can find some good, diverse royalty free options without spending any money. Just like iStockphoto, you can use the search option to find what you need.
One of the earliest sites that featured predominantly stock photos of Black and Brown folks, you can find an array of options from work to fun to everything in between. If you are looking for a site, where you don’t have to wade through content to find the representation you need, this is the site for you..
Tonl created the mission of displaying images of diverse people and their stories around the world. There are vibrant collections that showcase and represent underrepresented groups in stock photography.
The Gender Spectrum Collection features images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This site seeks to help media better represent members of these communities as people.
If you are looking for professional photos of diverse populations, you may want to start with Jopwell. Jopwell, itself, isn’t a stock photography site. It is a hiring startup that connects Black, Latinx and Native individuals with jobs and internships. However, they offer some great photos that can be used as long as the organization is credited.
Launched in 2015, founder Neosha Gardner built the brand as an answer to her own problem – finding high quality stock photos of Black women. If you are looking for high quality photos of Black women, this is the place to start.
Inclusion also includes different body types. Body Liberation Photos is one of the few websites for high-resolution stock images of large bodies for commercial use. You’ll find images focused on inclusion and diversity in all walks of life.
Finding great photos that are both high quality and inclusive might take some work. However, in today’s world, if you want to be competitive and attract more clients, it’s worth it to create an online presence that is reflective of the types of customers you want to attract.