They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but have you ever thought about what the images you use say about your organization? 

Why Inclusive Images Matter?

Many different sites offer free images for you to use in your project, but they often have one thing in common: they don’t seem to reflect the diversity of the world we live in.  Interested in what the 2020 census revealed about the U.S. population? 

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you:

  • 38.4% of the U.S. population do not identify as white
  • 26% of U.S. adults live with some form of disability, while
  • 15.9% of Gen Z in the U.S. (those born between 1997 and 2012) identify as LGTBQ+.

Yet, if you search ”business meeting”, you’ll often end up with pages and pages of images that represent a pretty narrow sector of our overall population.

Images help capture your audience’s attention. You may have created the best inclusive content, but if this inclusivity isn’t represented in the images you use, you may inadvertently alienate large sections of society.

But thankfully, there are now many websites out there offering free high-quality inclusive images for your content. You can find 10 of our favorites below.

1. Picnoi 

Picnoi offers a wide range of beautiful stock photos that feature people of color, all free to download.

2. The Gender Spectrum Collection

The Gender Spectrum Collection offers a wide variety of free stock images that feature trans and non-binary models with a range of ethnic backgrounds that shun the traditional cliches. 

3. Pexels

Pexels is a mainstream free stock photo site that is determined to increase the diversity of its photos. Since 2018, Pexels has made many changes to its search algorithms so that searches return a more diverse range of images. Pixel also has several curated collections, including this tremendous LGBTQ+ collection.

4. Affect the Verb

Affect the Verb celebrates disabled, Black, Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) through a collection of great stock images separated into different areas, including LGBTQ+, community, living and social justice. 

5. Women of Color in Tech

Women of Color in Tech provides excellent stock images of women of color in various technology and business-based roles, all hosted on their Flickr account. You can find out more about the story behind the pictures on the WOC inTech blog.

6. Canva’s Natural Women Collection

Canva’s Natural Women collection contains images that they have curated to challenge both gender norms and societal standards of female beauty. Be sure to select ”free” from the search drop-down menu to find the free images!

7. Disability IN

Disability IN provides a small disability-inclusive stock photo collection created to provide companies with diverse images for their marketing material. 

8. Nappy

Nappy is a refreshing break from the traditionally staged stock photos, offering a collection of natural images of people of color engaged in everyday activities.

9. Jopwell

The Jopwell Collection is a set of high-quality images which showcase ethnic diversity. As well as the original collection, they also have released collections focusing on the Latinx community.

10. All go

All go provides a collection of images featuring plus-size people in different settings, including work, the pool, and at home.

Perhaps there’ll soon be a time when you don’t have to proactively seek inclusive images for your content. In the meantime, the list above can serve as a resource in helping you make your content more inclusive. Together we can create content more reflective of our diverse world – one image at a time.

Further reading and resources:

  1. 20+ Websites to Find Free Images You Can Use
  2. 5 Actions Steps to Create Inclusive Content