The Best Places To Find Diverse Stock Photos For Your Marketing

/The Best Places To Find Diverse Stock Photos For Your Marketing

The Best Places To Find Diverse Stock Photos For Your Marketing

Recently a few big stories have been circulating about marketers trying to advertise products and services to people of color,  yet no actual people of color were found in the advertisement.  Now to some of you that may not sound like a big deal, on the surface. But in one case, we’re talking about an entire line of shirts marketed to a Black audience with ads like that look like this:

A “Strong Black Woman” t-shirt…featuring a pretty, young white model?  How about an “Unapologetically Black” tee featuring a random handsome white guy? Attractive models or not, the mark was seriously missed. Would it make sense to feature a shirt with the slogan: “Strong, Powerful Cat” with a dog wearing it in the photo? Or a poster that says:”The beauty of Michigan” yet it’s a picture in L.A. with a visible “Welcome To California” sign in the background?

“Black Girl Magic” with no Black girls in the ad?

I mean…ok?

We would wager that none of this was done maliciously. It was likely not even done intentionally, and we say that because this is a problem we have witnessed ourselves time and time again.

Here is the problem: the online retailer did not have many actual Black models to be used in the stock photos. Therefore the marketer who put the garments up for sale on the retailer’s site ended up with “Black Girl Magic” shirts on random models who weren’t Black.

Which left many people scratching their heads.

This is a big no-no which is why the story was spread so widely throughout social media and then picked up by news websites all over the world.

But what’s a small marketer to do when they are trying to get started on services like Zazzle and Teespring but neither service has a sufficient crop of stock models in which to feature their designs? These marketers don’t know how to use Photoshop in order to manipulate photos, nor do they have enough time and money to pay someone to do it for them.  As a marketer who has felt these pain points once upon a time myself, I eventually found the answer in a few different additional services.


When it comes to showcasing items such as books, t-shirts, mugs and software for promotional purposes, our absolute favorite is Placeit .

Placeit is a service equipped with a ton of great images of diverse people which can be used to show your latest design and/or project. It not only features a vast amount of people of color in stock photos, but also provides videos and ways to customize the image easily. Not only does it stock a diversity of people in terms of race and ethnicity, but also of various ages, size, body shape, etc. In full disclosure, we do receive a commission by promoting Placeit. But as you can see, we use it and love it.

We needed to produce a video ad for the t-shirt brand ForThoseWhoGrind.

We purchased a sound file from Audio Jungle and then a video and several photos directly from Placeit.  After putting the video together in only 25 minutes with our favorite video editing software, and placing the shirt designs on each stock model, we were able to assemble this video for the client:

More shirts were sold in one day from using this video on Instagram and Facebook, than a week’s worth of social posts.

It’s almost ridiculous how easy this was to do.

Placeit features such a diverse collection of images and videos that can be used for so many things, that we can’t recommend them enough. Got an app or website you want to feature in a demo reel or video ad?  Placeit makes it easy.

Here is how it all works:

  1. Sign up for an account on Placeit
  2. Choose your subscription level
  3. Find a product similar to what you are marketing ( mugs, tees, book covers, etc.)
  4. Upload your design
  5. Position it on the stock product
  6. Download the image or video
  7. Use in all of your marketing material

What Placeit Is Not

Placeit is not a replacement to your preferred marketing product vendor such as Zazzle or Teespring. It is also not a site for selling your products directly. The goal of Placeit is to be able to create your own product images without having to hire models or set up video shoots. Once you are seeing some success and your budget has grown, you will probably prefer hiring your own models and setting up your own shoots, but until then you can enjoy the ease and affordability of Placeit. It is definitely our personal go-to for when we need diverse models for advertisements.

If you are simply looking for images to use in your advertisements and marketing that do not require product placement, Color Stock is fantastic option.

Color Stock

The team behind Color Stock have a great goal in mind; to make it easier for marketers to find awesome photography featuring an ethnically diverse collection images, and for photographers to be able to easily sell the use of their work.

” Colorstock is a culturally intelligent stock photo marketplace of connecting emerging photographers to brands, marketers, and content creators.

Brands like Slack, Vice, NYU, Color of Change, and the YWCA use our images to change the visual narrative”


Recently purchased by Adobe, Fotolia is a subscription service that has stock images and videos for almost anything you need.  You can purchase single images or purchase a monthly subscription which will enable you to download a specified amount of images each month. The best part? Unused downloads roll over to the next month. This is great for times you find yourself needing a few more images than usual due to a particular assignment.

Fotolia has been one of our primary stock image resources for all projects for years and we don’t see that changing any time soon.

Now we understand that some of you reading this may be thinking: “But using these additional services will cut further into my profits and I can’t spare a cent!”

To that I would say that a business worth doing is a business worth doing correctly.

If you have a business but not willing to invest in its growth, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board. Trust me, we were there once, waaay back in the day. Though it wasn’t until we began invested in our own practice did we begin to see the quarter after quarter growth that we continue to experience today.

Growth that you too can see.

We hope this information helps!

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Charismatic Creative Social Media Specialist with over 15 years of consultative sales, marketing and website design experience. James spends the majority of his free time studying current best practices and then turning them inside out to improve them. He also spends times cursing at his gaming systems because he is terrible at first person shooters.

By |2017-08-07T19:08:43+00:00August 7th, 2017|Marketing|