The lack of diversity in stock photos has become an increasingly important topic in the design world, especially for companies looking to become more inclusive. North America is home to an extremely diverse population, and it’s critical that this be represented in your company’s design efforts. When your designers are putting together images that represent your company and its customers, it’s important to be able to offer an accurate representation of who your customers actually are.

The case for using diverse photos in marketing materials

While it might not seem like an issue at face value, not going the distance to represent an accurate picture of your potential customer base can be damaging to your brand, as you’re effectively ignoring members of other cultures and races. Leaving large portions of your audience out of your business’s design isn’t just alienating, but it’s just plain ignorant. If possible, your business should be using photos that accurately reflect the population – for example, if your company is based in America, at least a third of the photos used in your marketing should include black representation to reflect the demographics of the nation. 

Many companies take advantage of stock photo libraries to aid in the creation of visuals, but unfortunately, many of those stock photo libraries are just plain bad. When customers see themselves represented in marketing materials, they’re more likely to respond to it in a meaningful way, leading to increased customer loyalty and minimizing the chances that your business receives backlash for not being inclusive.

Using diverse stock photos ensures that your entire audience is represented at all times, your business’s reputation won’t be at risk of being harmed by not being inclusive, and that your business isn’t accidentally excluding major parts of its customer base.

Next time your designers are creating company visuals, consider the following diverse stock photo resources:

#WOCinTech – Flickr

Pricing: Free

The #WOCinTech stock photo collection on Flickr prominently features women of colour in various tech jobs. The photos are available to use for free, with the stipulation that your attribute the photos to #WOCinTech Chat or

Body Liberation Photos

Pricing: Paid, various prices

Inclusivity means representing people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. The body liberation stock collection offers a wide range of diverse photos of plus size men and women enjoying various activities and hobbies, body image and acceptance photos, and even photos revolving around visible disabilities, mental illness, faith, fitness, healthcare, LGBT+ relationships, self-care, and so much more.

CreateHer Stock

Pricing: Paid, starting at $10/month

The CreateHer Stock photo collection features thousands of images representing black women in authentic ways. The collection is a grassroots resource for use in content creation, lifestyle, and business. Pricing begins at $10/month, with larger plans available for multiple users. CreateHer Stock has also made a number of stock images available for free, available in the Freebies section of the library.

The Gender Spectrum Collection – Vice

Pricing: Free

Vice’s Gender Spectrum Collection aims to represent people of all identities, including transgender and non-binary individuals. These curated photos transcend the usual cliches, putting focus on people of color and LGBTQ individuals and couples living their lives, enjoying unique careers, relationships, talents, and passions. These photos are available to use for free, and Vice has provided recommended use guidelines for usage.

Haute Stock

Pricing: Paid, starting at $99 quarterly

Haute Stock is a stock photo subscription service specially tailored to women entrepreneurs, helping you save time, money, and stress. There are countless collections available to subscribers, including styled seasonal photography sets, office tech mockups, food styled photos, and much more. The price is certainly higher than most other collections, but the quality and delivery appears to be second to none.

Lean In Collection – GettyImages

Pricing: Paid, various prices

Hosted by GettyImages and curated by, the Lean In Collection is entirely dedicated to representing powerful depictions of women, girls, and those who support them. Featuring more than 2,500 images, the Lean In Collection is the perfect way to find stock photos representing female leaders in both work and life. A portion of proceeds goes towards supporting the mission of, and towards grants for showcasing female empowerment.

Mocha Stock

Pricing: Paid, various prices

Mocha Stock offers a full library of high quality images and videos that represent and feature people of colour. Some of the collections available for use include business, photos celebrating women, family, illustrations, and more. All photos are paid and royalty-free, letting you use them in any of your marketing materials.


Pricing: Free

Nappy features a full stock photo library of images prominently featuring black and brown people. A wide range of categories include people at work, enjoying and making food, travel, and enjoying many different activities. The best part? Nappy is available for free, letting you download high quality photos at your leisure without any complicated pricing structure.


Pricing: Paid, various prices

The stock image library at Photoability features thousands of inclusive images that represent those living with visible disabilities, including photos of daily life, creative images, illustrations, leisure, and more.


Pricing: Free, entire database for $59

Picnoi aims to fill the void created by other free stock photo websites – many of these libraries failed to represent people of colour. That’s where Picnoi comes in, offering a space where designers can easily find high quality stock photos representing people of many racial backgrounds. Photos can be used for free, and the entire library of images can be downloaded for $59 to help support the cause.


Pricing: Paid, various prices

TONL describes itself as the premier source for diverse stock photos, offering a wide range of photos curated by a mix of voices in order to improve representation. Collections include taste, technology, tone, tradition, travel, trust, and more.

ion8 is an all-in-one business consultancy with a diverse team of digital marketing and design experts with the skills needed to craft inclusive content to help your business connect with every part of your audience. For more information about the many ways that ion8 can transform the way you do business, contact us today.