As a public speaker and writer, I am always looking for good photos for presentations and articles I write on this website. What do I mean by “good”?
I look for images that reflect what I’m trying to say, add to the story, amplify the message. And I look for images that don’t perpetuate or contribute to stereotypes of what types of people do what types of activities.
As a disability rights lawyer, I search for images of disabled people that are respectful and demonstrate that people with disabilities work and play like their non-disabled peers. I also look for pictures that reflect the racial diversity of disabled people. Far too many stock photo searches of “disability” turn up white patients, a vast majority of children, and other images that scream “not independent”
The image I’ve chosen for this post is from Disabled and Here, a free stock photo site “celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).”
It’s part of the list list posted here of sites I’ve found that offer the kinds of images I’m looking for. (Not every site meets my needs every time.) You can also find images on standard sites like PixaBay, Google Images, Canva, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Pexels, and others using a “disability” filter. The list here is of smaller collections expressly focused on diversity.
Please contact me with sites missing from this post.
Free diverse stock photo sites
- Disability:IN Inclusive Stock Photography (small collection showing racially diverse disabled people at work.)
- Disabled and Here I went to this site when looking for a picture of two people sharing food. I wanted to illustrate the idea that in Structured Negotiation the parties share information without the frequent battles and conflict of litigation. I found the image of two Black women on a date, both disabled, sharing a piece of cake that illustrates this article. This picture led me to research showing that sharing food together contributes to positive negotiation outcomes. In other words, I looked for an image to help me tell a story, and learned something important in the process.
- Women of Color in Tech (#WOCinTech). I love these images for the focus on Black and other women of color in tech, but a search of “disability” or “disabled” in the collection returns no results. I’m including this site here in the hopes that it will be disability inclusive in the future.
- SocietyPix photo database (based in Germany. Free for non-commercial use | contact for charges related to commercial use.)
Diverse stock photo sites requiring payment
- TONL (Premiere Diverse Stock Photos) (search “disability” not “disabled,” as the term “disabled” returns no results.)
- The Disability Collection. This is a project of Verizon Media, Getty Images and the National Disability Leadership Alliance.
- Adobe Stock Images (disability filter)
Thanks to the authors of these two articles who wrote posts similar to this one.
- 7 Sites Where You Can Find Diverse Photos, an article published by Deborah Edwards-Onoro on her Lireo Designs website. It includes links to sites not included in this post.
- Who decides how disability is represented in stock photography? is an article published by the UX Collective in February 2020. It contains additional sources for disability stock photography.