How I Deal With Racially Biased Stock Photography in My Work

If you didn’t know, I’m owner and president of red vine web studio, where we build websites and create digital marketing campaigns and copy to help businesses grow online.

A few years ago, I had a client – an incredible African American woman – share the realities of being a business woman with me.

She told me she wanted her new website to feel inclusive of all ethnicities, cultures, and genders. And for the project, part of my job was to find and incorporate imagery that would fulfill this vision.

I started my search…and reality hit me like a ton of bricks.

All I found – in stock image after stock image – was white people.

In fact, even after actively searching for people of color, I was still having issues finding any diverse imagery.

As a white female, it was normal not to have noticed – and of course that’s part of the problem.

In fact, I remember apologizing profusely to my client on behalf of the fact that it shouldn’t be as hard to find her culture and skin color as represented as mine is. She simply shrugged…she was used to it.

But I made a decision that day.

I was going to start being more aware and mindful of something as small as imagery for my clients.

And I have ever since.

Whenever I provide clients with imagery for their websites or blogposts, I always give a wide array of ethnicities, heritage, and genders. I make a mindful effort to seek out stock photography that isn’t the average white male or female to portray on my clients’ sites.

This project happened a while back, but an article I read recently really sparked my writing this post, thanks to the ladies at Heart & Hustle podcast. The short of the article is partially what I’ve described above: a white woman gets a dose of reality when she researches poses for her upcoming photoshoot. Essentially, she’s inundated and overwhelmed in the same way I was: with white supremacy, in all its stock photography glory.

So how am I making a change? By showing that beauty and the human condition is more than white skin…it comes in an array of colors and complexions. And it’s all beautiful.

It’s a small change, but an important one.

In fact, I challenge you to start being more mindful about issues such as these in your everyday life – and even your work. What you find may surprise you.

Update: If you don’t think this topic is a relevant one, guess again. Check out this incredible video by the Huffington post about the changes in female representation in stock photography.

Born/bred in MD. Raised in ME. Transplant to FL. Entrepreneur, wife, mama, writer, puppy momma, Scorpio, fitness/nutrition enthusiast, eternal optimist.
I’m a strong, passionate, intense woman who has a thirst for life, knowledge, love, and the never-ending question of the meaning of life. I figure I’m bound to find it sooner or later.

35 responses to “How I Deal With Racially Biased Stock Photography in My Work

  1. I simply want to tell you that I am just all new to weblog and truly savored this web blog. Likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You certainly come with really good well written articles. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your blog site.

  2. I imagine this has gotta be some type of evolutionary characteristic to determine what type of person someone is. Whether they are out to get vengence, if they are mean, someone that you need to be cautious about. People would need to understand how to work with to them.

  3. I’m happy I found this weblog, I couldnt uncover any data on this topic matter prior to. I also run a site and if you want to ever serious in a little bit of guest writing for me if feasible really feel free to let me know, i’m always look for people to examine out my site. Please stop by and leave a comment sometime!

  4. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I could I desire to counsel you some interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write subsequent articles regarding this article. I want to learn even more issues about it!

  5. Surprisingly! It truly is as if you study my thoughts! A person seem to understand so a lot relating to this, exactly like you authored the book in it or even something. I feel which you can perform with some images they are driving the message property a bit, besides that, this really is good weblog. The outstanding study. I’ll undoubtedly review again.

  6. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  7. Hullo here, just became mindful of your blog site through Bing, and found that it is pretty informative. I’ll truly appreciate if you decide to continue on this post.

  8. I simply intend to tell you that I am new to putting up a blog and thoroughly adored your site. Likely I am going to remember your blog post . You definitely have wonderful article information. Like it for share-out with us your favorite internet article

  9. Faytech North America is a touch screen Manufacturer of both monitors and pcs. They specialize in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of Capacitive touch screen, Resistive touch screen, Industrial touch screen, IP65 touch screen, touchscreen monitors and integrated touchscreen PCs. Contact them at, 121 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 205 3214

  10. It’s almost unattainable to see well-aware americans on this subject, then again you come across as like you are familiar with those things you’re indicating! Excellent

  11. Emery EPS is a Search Engine Optimization company that provides SEO Services. Their proprietary SEO strategies help struggling websites and aspiring business owners to rank their websites higher in multiple search engines like Google , Yahoo and Bing. They provide local and gmb map ranking for businesses in Coasta Rica, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Houston, California and many other local areas. Find more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *