A Diversity Problem in Stock Photography

If humanity is so diverse, then why is stock photography so white ... where are all the "real people" hiding?
stock photography diversity minority black asian fat ugly

Table of Contents

People come in every shape, size, color, sexual orientation, gender, and a million other “classifications.”

Major stock photography sites (ie., Shutterstock, iStock, Adobe, Getty, etc) do a great job of providing filters to narrow down exactly what type of model you want. The problem is, the majority of the photos on these sites feature thin, young white people. This means when you do a search for something else, your results are slim pickings.

Where to find minorities, LGBT, overweight stock photography

An example of stock photography’s diversity problem

To better demonstrate the difficulty a web designer might have finding diversity in stock photography, I did a simple search for “business people.”

As you can see from the results below, entering that keyword phrase into Shutterstock reveals nearly 4 million images. The photos on the first page are high-quality and would look great on any professional website.

If we apply the filters “Hispanic” and “female,” our total number drops by 99.3%.

While that still leaves us with 27,000 photos to choose from, the first page of images seems to be of a much lesser quality than the generic search results. This means more time searching page after page after page looking for the perfect photo.

A search on Shutterstock for business people
A search on Shutterstock for “Business People”
A search on Shutterstock for hispanic woman business people
A search on Shutterstock for business people with the filters “Hispanic” and “woman”

Where to find high-quality stock photos of “real people”

As a web designer, I spend a ton of time searching for the perfect stock photography. Because I’m sensitive to the diverse nature of internet users (and humans in general), I always try to include a wide variety of models on my websites.

However, using mainstream stock photography sites can be difficult – as you saw from the above example. So, where do you go to find high-quality photos of real people? Here are a few of my favorite resources:

What about free stock photography sites?

In addition to the amazing fact that these sites offer FREE stock photography, they also tend to have a slightly more diverse collection of models. Be sure to sign up for each of their newsletters, as they send high-quality photos to your inbox each week.


The importance of diversity on a therapist’s website

Having diverse photos on websites for therapists is crucial for several reasons, and it goes beyond just aesthetics. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Representation and Inclusivity: Diverse photos showcase that a therapist is committed to inclusivity and welcomes clients from all backgrounds. When potential clients see images that reflect diversity, they are more likely to feel that the therapist is open, accepting, and culturally sensitive. It sends a powerful message of inclusivity, which is vital in the therapy profession.
  2. Relatability: Diverse photos help potential clients relate to the therapist. When individuals see images of people who resemble them or their own experiences, they are more likely to connect on a deeper level. This relatability can break down barriers and encourage clients to seek therapy, knowing that they won’t be judged or misunderstood.
  3. Reducing Stigma: Therapy can still carry a stigma in some communities. By displaying diverse photos, therapists can help reduce this stigma by showing that therapy is for everyone, regardless of their race, gender, age, or background. It can make therapy feel more approachable and less intimidating.
  4. Building Trust: Trust is a cornerstone of the therapist-client relationship. When clients see diversity in a therapist’s photos, it can build trust by signaling that the therapist values and respects all clients equally. Trust is essential for clients to open up and engage effectively in therapy.
  5. Reflecting Reality: In a diverse world, it’s essential for therapists to reflect the reality of the people they serve. Diverse photos show that the therapist is attuned to the complexities of human experiences and is prepared to address a wide range of issues from a culturally competent perspective.
  6. Legal and Ethical Considerations: In some cases, therapists may need to comply with legal and ethical guidelines that promote diversity and non-discrimination. Having diverse photos can help therapists align with these requirements and avoid potential legal issues.

In essence, diverse photos on a therapist’s website not only enhance its visual appeal but also play a pivotal role in creating an inclusive, relatable, and trustworthy online presence. They send a clear message that therapy is for everyone, regardless of their background, and can encourage a broader range of clients to seek the help they need.

At Goodman Creatives, we create inclusive websites that cover the spectrum of the human experience. To learn more, reach out today and schedule a free consult.

Got Questions?

Ask me anything about this article … or, reach out to see how I can help you get a steady, predictable stream of therapy clients you love with less effort and stress.

Share This Article

About the Author:

Greg Goodman

As a therapist business coach, web designer, copywriter, and marketing expert, Greg has been helping mental health professionals get a steady stream of clients they love since 2006.

In his career, Greg has helped everyone from associates to established solo partners, group practices, and beyond. He even had a 6-year stint as the head of a large mental health clinic in San Francisco where he kept 43 caseloads full.

In addition to his work helping therapists, Greg is a passionate photographic storyteller, traveler, husband, father, and human being dedicated to personal growth and making the world a better place.

Fill your therapy practice with a steady stream of clients you love!

Scale your practice to $300k and beyond using a proven formula that has worked for scores of therapists just like you.

Our toolkit includes an integrative mix of coaching, web design, and marketing services.

When we collaborate, you can expect transparency, integrity, accountability, honesty, compassion, innovation, and open communication at every step.

Latest Resources

Free Download

fill your therapy practice ebook

Free Download

The Ultimate Therapist Website ebook

book a 30-minute clarity call

After filling out the form, you will be taken to my online calendar to schedule your phone consult.

Join the waitlist

The next onboarding session of the Profitable Practice Program will be announced shortly.