Why does diversity matter when it comes to imagery on your website

Diverse imagery on your website matters[ 8 min read ]

Why does diversity matter when it comes to stock photography on your website?

Diversity matters  because it reflects the reality of the world we live in. When people see themselves represented in stock imagery, it helps them feel seen and valued. It also helps to break down stereotypes and assumptions about different groups of people…and it can help your business, too;

  • The world is a diverse place, and stock imagery should reflect that. When visitors see images that reflect their own identities or experiences, they are more likely to feel welcome and engaged with the content. Additionally, it demonstrates that the website and its content are relevant and accessible to a wide range of individuals, regardless of their background.
  • Inclusive images help challenge and break stereotypes that might be perpetuated by a lack of diversity in media. When people see people from different backgrounds represented in a positive light, it helps to challenge negative stereotypes.
  • Websites that use diverse images are often perceived as more trustworthy and credible. Including a variety of people in images can make the website appear more genuine and demonstrate that the organisation values diversity and respects its audience.
  • It’s good for business. Studies have shown that brands that use diverse imagery perform better financially than brands that don’t. This is because diverse imagery appeals to a wider audience.

Where to find inclusive free stock photography?

A lot of the free stock photography websites don’t tend to show much variation when it comes to abilities, ethnicities, age or gender preferences – although, granted, it’s not as bad as it used to be when website owners had to pay for any kind of diversity; a lot of smaller businesses did not necessarily have the budget to be able to do this regularly and so were forced to use the freely available non-diverse photos.

But if your business audience isn’t what’s considered ‘typical’ in mainstream media, then where can you get images that will appeal to them for your website and social media/marketing? The good news is that times have changed and these days you have some options.

When you’re searching for stock imagery, try to use search terms that reflect diversity. For example, instead of just searching for “people” you could search for “people of colour” “women in business” or “people with disabilities”.
And, don’t be afraid to get creative with your search terms. For example, if you’re looking for images of a diverse family, you could search for “multicultural family”, “blended family” or “mixed-race family”.
Also look for stock photography websites that specifically focus on diversity; I’ve had a hunt around and I’ve managed to find a few places that are offering diversity and for free!, which I’ve listed below for you.
Or, if you really can’t find diverse images that go with your brand, why not commission a photographer to create some for you, or take them yourself?

Places to find free diverse stock photography, stock video and stock illustrations


nappy.co screenshot

“Beautiful photos of Black and Brown people, for free.” as their opening line states. This website has some wonderful, impactful images of people of colour involved in a range of activities so you’re bound to find something that fits your genre of business.


humaaan.com screenshot

This site offers lovely illustrations of diverse humans covering ethnicity, age, and abilities. And it lets you customise them as well – all for free. The creator Pablo Stanley deserves a medal for all his hard work and generosity.

The Unmistakables

https://www.theunmistakables.com/despora screenshot

The Desi collection from The Unmistakeables contains stock photography of people from South Asia – and these images are massively diverse as well – not stereotyping them into one ‘look’.

UK Black Tech

UKBlackTech.com screenshot

As UKBlackTech says, ‘representation is important’ and as the name suggests, they’ve provided stock photos of black people, in a range of genders and ages, using tech to try and encourage more diversity in this sector.


WOCintech on flickr screenshot

And likewise, WOCinTech have done the same but concentrated on Women in tech, another minority group.


iwaria.com screenshot

This site offers free stock photography of African people – again, very diverse in activities and ages, showing off the diverse culture.


picnoi.com screenshot

Picnoi is a site providing free photos of people of colour and new images are added regularly. Much like some of the other sites, there’s a wide range of activities, ages and genders.

Black Illustrations

blackillustrations.com screenshot

Here there are a range of different styles of black illustrations. These ones aren’t free but I would be amiss to not mention this site as it includes so much from ‘startups’ to ‘black history’, at very reasonable prices.

Affect the verb

affecttheverb.com screenshot (disabled and here collection)

This is there ‘disabled and here’ collection which includes photos with a range of disabilities, and also includes some LBTQ+ disabled photos which might be hard to come across elsewhere.


disabilityin.org screenshot

Here you can find disability inclusive photos showing a range of genders, disabilities and ethnicities in work environments.

Ageing Better

geingbetter.resourcespace.com screenshot

Here you can find a range of ‘age positive’ images and they’ve categorised them into things like ‘work’, ‘health’ and ‘digital inclusion’.


mixkit.co screenshot

Mixkit offers diverse photo and video stock so you’re bound to find something for your next project.

The Noun Project

thenounproject.com screenshot

The Noun Project covers a lot of different aspects of inclusion from ethnicity, to gender, and includes activism and covid19.

Gender Spectrum at Vice

genderspectrum.vice.com screenshot

This is a great site for gender, LBTQ+, and relationships as well as ethnicities and most of the images have a younger feel to them.

Incorporating diversity in website images is not only a matter of social responsibility but also a savvy business decision to strategically improve user engagement, expand market reach, and enhance the overall image of the brand or organisation.
By celebrating diversity and inclusivity in website design, we create a more equitable and welcoming online environment for everyone.
But do check the licences of all of the photos before you use them to ensure a. You can use them for the purpose you want to use them for and b. You don’t need to attribute the photographer or stock website in any way.
…….And if you know any sites that are missing from this page, please do let me know!

Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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