Sources of free stock photos featuring people of color

Black woman on a MacBook

Several years ago, I wrote about some sources of free stock photos featuring people of color. Things (and some site URLs) have changed since then, so I thought a newer version of the post was in order.

One source of some of these links below was the beauty/fashion blog “Comfy Girl with Curls,” which also lists some other sources. Some of this might also overlap with my post about free stock photos featuring LGBTQ people.

Creative Commons

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols Visits NASA Goddard for MLK/African American History Month Keynote Event by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)

Site: https://search.creativecommons.org/

Creative Commons’ site offers a search feature that pulls up various Creative Commons licensed photos from multiple websites. You can also filter photos by the type of license or source.

Some hopefully helpful pre-filtered options:

  • “People of color”; licenses: public domain (CC0) or attribution only (CC BY): link
  • “African American,” same license terms as above: link
  • “Asian American,” same license terms as above: link
  • “Latinx,” same license terms as above: link
  • “Native American,” same license terms as above: link

Iwaria

Black African man at desk

Photo by Iwaria (Iwaria / CC0)

Site: https://iwaria.com/

Iwaria is a stock photo website based in the African country of Benin, and is meant to feature photos of Black African people in various situations (family, work, cuisine, etc.). The photos are available under a Creative Commons public domain (CC0) license.

Pexels

Man in denim jacket

Photo by Atef Khaled (Pexels / cropped from original)

Site: https://www.pexels.com/

A popular source of free-to-use images for commercial and non-commercial purposes, under Pexel’s own license.

Pexels has some photos filtered by a few categories:

PicNoi

Woman with smartphone on street

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (PicNoi / cropped from original)

Site: https://picnoi.com/

PicNoi is a website offering free stock images of people of color. The photos are available under a Creative Commons attribution (CC BY) license.

Pixabay

Black man in scarf

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Site: https://pixabay.com/

Like Pexels, Pixabay offers a variety of free photos featuring people of color for commercial and non-commercial purposes under its own license.

A few categories available:

UKBlackTech

British woman at laptop

Photo by UKBlackTech (UKBlackTech / CC BY / cropped from original)

Site: https://ukblacktech.com/stock-photos/

UKBlackTech is a group in London that promotes diversity in the UK tech industry. It offers a selection of photos that are free to use under a Creative Commons attribution (CC BY) license.

One tip: I had to right-click on the photos to open them up in a new tab, then deleted the dimensions in the URL (“1024×768” or similar) to get the full-sized photo.

Unsplash

Site: https://unsplash.com/

Similar to Pixabay and Pexels, Unsplah offers free-to-use photos under their own license.

A few categories available:

Women of Color in Tech (WOCinTech Chat)

Black woman on MacBook with coffee

Photo by WOCinTech Chat (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)

Site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wocintechchat/

Women of Color in Tech offers on its Flickr page photos of women of color using computers, holding meetings, and so forth. The photos are all available to use under a Creative Commons attribution (CC BY) license.

Creative Commons itself ran an interview with the page’s owners, Stephanie Morillo and Christina Morillo (no relation).

YouTube video

I’ve created a slideshow video version of this post, summarizing everything in a very short YouTube video:

(Updated 9/30/21)

Photo by WOCinTech Chat (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)

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