Updated: Mar 4
One of the things I have struggled with as a designer is accessing quality stock images for specific projects. While access to free stock images has grown tremendously, there are a limited number of stock images featuring people of African descent and other people of color. Stock images are important because they provide high-quality photos that can be used for product shots, marketing materials, and web design projects.
I have found the following keywords, followed by the subject, are good ways to narrow your search: African, African American, Black business, Black fashion, etc. The results you get also depend on the site you are looking on. Pexels, for example has beautiful, colorful, and bold stock images of people under the "African" search, while sites like Pixabay have more landscapes and animal images at the top of the "African" search results.
Here are some of my favorite sites to find stock images:
Easy Access & High Resolution
Pexels is usually my go-to site whenever I need to access free stock images that are more aesthetically African. There are more images of men and women wearing natural hairstyles and African prints. The photographers that post on this site seem to be more on-trend than other sites I have found. The best thing about this site, and the others, is that you can donate to the photographer and follow them!
More than just Stock Images
Jopwell is a startup company that assists in diversity hiring. Along with assisting minorities with networking and recruitment, they also have great, realistic stock image collections that feature internships, professional parties, events, and the everyday interactions of your professionals. One thing I like about their images is that they are not drowned-out with filters.
3. CreateHer Stock Images of Melanated Women
Images of Melanated Women
CreateHer Stock is such a beautifully curated platform, celebrating melanated women. The images are high-quality, clean, and reflect the lifestyle of women of color in a pure way.
More high-quality Photos
Pixabay is another good platform to find free stock images. You may notice this as well as Unsplash in integrated into many online design platforms, so you don't have to go far to include these images in your design project.
The photographs on Unsplash are nothing short of high-quality. Like Pexels and Pixbay, Unsplash has thousands of colorful and vibrant images that be can be used for any project.