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Where to get free images of (real) black people for your projects

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I once had to work for a client, a young woman, consultant, based in Abidjan (Côte D’ivoire). I was looking for free photos to introduce her services on her website. Since my client was black, I needed to be as close as possible to reality and therefore find pictures of black hands typing on a keyboard. I can’t tell you all possible and imaginable requests I have tried on Google and endless scrolls in free stock images banks. It was that day I realized that there was a problem, a problem for which no one could be held responsible, but that many professionals and entrepreneurs had to meet.

In this post, I decided to review different possibilities for those who would one day be confronted with this kind of situation because of a limited budget or time-related imperatives.


Attention – This images might be free of rights but remain subject to rules regarding their use. It is therefore necessary to take the time to learn about licenses before using them (modification, commercial use, credit, etc.)


Here are where to find royalty-free images of real black men, women and children:

1. By using words “African American” in all your favorite image banks: Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexel

Black people, in modern context, on (free) image banks, are quite often and always related to African Americans. Requests related to Africa will certainly refer you to images of Safaris, and those related to “African people” to people in traditional clothes or in rural areas. There are still exceptions and some nice surprises.

Here you are:

2. Free websites with Stock Photos With People of Color

Nappy.co – A site that gathers photos of men and women in every day life: at work, eating, doing an activity or traveling. Some images are directly submitted by users, while others come from general image banks.

Iwaria – Focus on the African continent, but not only safaris. This site has the merit of showing Africans in their daily lives, both in rural and urban areas.

Women of Color In Tech – A project on Flickr dedicated to black women working in digital.

UKBlackTech – Another initiative similar to WOCinTech above but this time British and with a more limited collection.

3. Paid photos banks with free content

Wilfried ESSOMBA-KEDE
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Where to get free images of (real) black people for your projects