Open Discussion: Where are all the good stock photos?

Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray the week has been good to you and I want to thank you for stopping by this weekend.

If you’re new to our blog, I’d like to welcome you. Saturday’s we take the time to have an open discussion on various issues that authors of diverse Christian fiction face. Today’s topic: Where are all the good stock photos for minorities?

Have you ever done a search for minorities on a stock photo site? If I type “black women” in the search box, I won’t get many good options. In fact, I’m more likely to get a Caucasian female dressed in black. I’ve found the best thing to do is use the phrase “African American” when I’m looking for certain images.

Even then, I’m disheartened by some of the images that come back from the search. Are African-American women only seen as sexual objects? Some of the photos look like they were taken during a music video production.

And for some reason, many photographers seem to believe the consumers only want urban images. You know the kind where the person is posed in a thuggish style, looking like all they’re missing is a gun.

As a writer of contemporary romance, I’m constantly frustrated by the selection of stock photos. I want the romantic hugged-up pose. Or the soft smiles between two couples. Or *gasp* a beautiful wedding dress picture. But I literally have to weed through thousands of photos in order to find what I’m looking for. And when I’m done, I’m left with a limited amount to choose from. If I want to pick a photo that has never been used on a book cover, my selection is drastically limited. Because, all of us who do write diverse Christian fiction, are searching for the same-style that fits our genre.

I read an article in Madam Noire that talked of the subject. Here is a list of sites that have diverse images available:

Please share what sites you use! Also, do you have any suggestions on how we can improve the amount of diverse images available?

Written by Toni Shiloh


10 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Where are all the good stock photos?

  1. I have had good luck on Shutterstock. In addition to the starting search bar, you can eliminate words. When I needed a picture of an AA man for my current novel, I started my search with AA young man. It had over 164,000 results. I eliminated the words: old, retired, mature, sexy, bare, and white and got 85,000 hits. When you mouse over each picture, it shows you some of the keywords used. I further eliminated businessman, athlete, sad, woman, boy, and girl, and I still had 26,000 images. Sometimes, it’s easier to say what you DON’T want (as you listed above!)
    I haven’t found another stock company with such a good search functionality.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. And Caucasian weddings – with no words eliminated has over 260,000! Hispanic weddings have about 2900. Asians fair better with over 81,000. What can we do to get more for AA and Hispanics?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m using DepositPhotos(dot)com right now. I used 123rf for my first book and I was pleased, but DepositPhotos had a sale and I’m with them for the foreseeable future. The good thing with both these sites is that you can adapt the pictures to your needs. For example, for my first book cover (His Last Hope), I got a graphic artist to combine two pics and I ended up with a picture no one else has. We used the body from one pic and the head from another pic (same model). There are lots of pics of AA men and women on both. I have used Pixabay for free pics for my giveaways (e.g. short story ‘cover’).


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