Introducing: A Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library

Diversity in visual representation matters.

As many site creators know, it’s daunting to find images to represent the message you’re trying to put out into the world — especially if you don’t have the equipment or time to make your own.

At WordPress.com, we’re constantly striving to make it as easy as possible to create beautiful websites that represent who you are and what you stand for. We’re excited to announce that we’ve been working hard with Pexels and other diversity-focused image-library partners so that everyone with a WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected site can realize their vision with the right stock photos.

To use these images, just head to your Media Library and select Free Photo Library before searching for any image you need. You can also do this from the Add Media option within a post or page:

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Free images representing a wide range of experiences

In January 2018, we collaborated with Pexels to integrate their free stock-image library into WordPress.com. Since then, every user has had access to thousands of free, high-quality images at their fingertips! Knowing how diverse our community is, however, we didn’t stop there.

Stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, and often excluded photos of people of color, people with disabilities, or non-binary individuals. Pexels is working to change that, and since partnering with them we’ve helped incorporate diversity-focused libraries to their collection. Ultimately, we believe it’s on us to help find a solution to this problem, and avoid generic stock images that often perpetuate stereotypes.

Our first partner in this effort was the Women of Color in Tech Stock Photos library (WoCinTech for short). We were thrilled to work with them, as they were an earlier driver for these efforts. Christina Morillo, one of the project’s co-founders, had this awesome message to share:

We started this collection to address the lack of visible representation of women of color engaging in technical tasks in stock images. Our mission was always twofold: Disrupt stock images and further representation of women/non-binary people in technology by making the photos accessible to all creators. We are thrilled to partner with Pexels and WordPress.com to further this mission and help creators like you represent who and what you stand for.

Since adding their brilliant photos to Pexels, we’ve seen their stats soar with more than 70,000 downloads and 28 million image views:

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These statistics show how great the need and desire are for truly representative images online. What started out as a passion project of the WoCinTech group has now reached more than 70,000 people in the span of a month. Since we introduced the free stock image library, WordPress.com users have already downloaded more than 1 million photos.

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Going forward, we’re thrilled to work with Pexels to bring other diverse image-library partners on board, and to expand the selection of images you can access.

We need your help

We’re continuing to add more image libraries! This is where we could use your help:

  • Suggest in the comments below image libraries that we should reach out to that will help expand our offerings.
  • If you’re a photoblogger, upload your images to Pexels and immediately have them available for other WordPress users to find.
  • Become a part of future diversity-focused photo challenges on Pexels like this recent one from Pride Month.
  • If you’re a blogger or site owner, make an effort to use more diverse images when sharing content on your site.
  • If your company provides images for customers to use, we recommend integrating with Pexels to give your customers access to a library dedicated to diversity in images.
  • If you run an image library offering diverse images, comment below and we’ll get in touch with you!

Happy WordPress-ing! 🙂

Photos by Christina Morillo of WOCinTech from Pexels


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55 Comments

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  1. Intentergy

    Wow! This is a terrific tool and resource for WordPress users. Thank you!

    Liked by 8 people

  2. endlesslyrestless

    I like the idea. And, as a photoblogger, I’m open to sharing my images. But I the license rules are too open (for me).
    I’m happy to share, attribution would be nice (not necessary), but editing of my photos seems a step too far.
    I’d like to hear what others think.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Anne McCarthy

      For others reading, here’s the photo license to review: https://www.pexels.com/photo-license We hope you keep an open mind to sharing and helping this mission!

      Liked by 6 people

    • minababe

      Here is my two cents: if you’re only shooting photos for giggles, fine. But if your work is good enough to be licensed, don’t do it. Put your photos up on your own photo blog, and decide for yourself which ones go free and what the terms are. You don’t need a third party site.

      Take it from me: I’ve been on the web since 2000. Pexels is another one of these startups that hopes to exploit (and make money) off both pros and talented amateurs by encouraging them to give their photos away for free, as well as their legal rights as photographers.

      Everyone contributes their best work thinking it’ll all go swell, until two years later when a major stock agency like Getty snatches their work, copyrights it and licenses it to hell and back, or the photo ends up being used by a major news media outlet or is advertised for a product that sells for millions.

      So, that’s my advice. If you like the idea of sharing your work with others, do it on your own terms. Dont be guilt tripped into contributing to Pexels, either, because the world isn’t owed high caliber photographs for free “just because.”

      Liked by 18 people

      • Michael Flatt

        I swear I was thinking the exact same thing. I’m not trying to pretend my images are something they aren’t, but I’ve got some huge pages following me on other sites for a reason. Thanks for sharing..

        Liked by 7 people

  3. Perseide💫

    Thank!!!!! I’s wonderfull!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Womanist Empowerment Network

    thanks for the link.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. LateNightGirl.org

    Thank you for this, really great.

    I love Pexels, yet, for my personal taste I find many of the photos quite “sterile” and am often rather looking for more raw and authentic pictures that reflect life, away from the clean and smiley images.

    It takes me often a very long time to find a more realistic and rough photo that I try to use for what I am writing about.

    Are there any plans to get more of a balance to the clean-cut photos? Or does anyone know where to find more “realistic” photos, spontaneous shots, rough, raw, with contrasts …?

    Other than that it’s really great and “beggars are not choosers” and I appreciate free photos, so don’t really want to critique too much.

    LNG

    Liked by 6 people

    • LateNightGirl.org

      P.S. free photos I am looking for is what I mean.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Anne McCarthy

      Of course :). I really appreciate your question. As a photography lover, I’m curious if you can share an example of a more “realistic” photo. Depending on what you’re looking for, I might check out flickr – they have different licensing but you might find less stock image type photos there :).

      Liked by 3 people

      • LateNightGirl.org

        Hi Anne,

        thanks for your fast response.

        Examples of pix on Pexels that I like, and have used one or two already are these: https://www.pexels.com/search/depression/

        Examples of pix I am not too keen on as they portray this happy, successful, innovative image, which of course we experience today, but when I hear friends speak about their work and office experience they don’t see it as slick pictures for advertisement banks etc like to use.
        And what makes this page so frustrating is that I put into search “workplace bullying” and out comes this:

        https://www.pexels.com/search/workplace%20bullying/

        Uhm….

        Or I try to find a picture of a shouting boss, and all of these are so acted where I am looking more for authentic ones, even if those are acted, but at least if they’re acted authentically where the real distress is seen when a boss is being abusive to their staff. That would be grand!

        Acted too much: https://www.pexels.com/search/shouting/

        Thank you 🙂

        LNG

        Liked by 2 people

        • Anne McCarthy

          Thanks so much for these examples and for taking the time to make what we’re doing better. I’ll pass these less than ideal search results along to the team at Pexels :). They’ll be happy to get the feedback and chance to improve those results.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Thread Lift

    This is great! I was just thinking to myself the lack of diversity there is in my options when using stock photos! Great timing 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Anne McCarthy

      Nice! That’s fantastic to hear. This is just the start – we’re still working to expand the breadth of photos on Pexels going forward. If you have any searches for images where you want to see more diverse options, just comment here!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. imayogagirl

    Fabulous post!! I will be going to this resource often to find the great photos you mention! I am a fitness and yoga and healthy lifestyle blogger and love to incorporate my own photos with ones which would otherwise be unavailable.
    Thank you!! xoxo, Michelle

    https://imayogagirl.com

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ayesha Khan

    Wow that’s amazing 👌😊

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mireya

    Ok, this sounds great and I love it but I am an artists and I wonder how this would work for me. I guess I could use a few of these.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Susan Gutterman

    What am I doing wrong? The only option I have when I open media library is still to select from my own photos.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. snarmadhaa

    This is wonderful! Thanks so much, you guys. Appreciate the effort you all put in to make WP so awesome.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Ann Marquette

    Thank you for this awesome news.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. tierneycreates

    This is exciting, I will find some cool images to upload to this project!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. M W Flatt

    This is tres cool! I’m brand new to this realm and I’ve definitely got some images to upload!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Ali

    This is fantastic, and I think I have noticed improvement in this recently. It is so important, but often completely ignored and overlooked.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Observatoire du MENSONGE

    Hi,

    It is super but I haven’t that inside my dashboard… How I can get this ?
    Thanks

    Liked by 4 people

  17. larrypaulbrown

    I’ve been using PEXELS for a week or two and I love it.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. shrinkuk

    Just given this a test and works like a treat.. thanks. Although I’m a Liverpool lad I’m now living in Namibia and certainly will upload some of my picts of the oldest desert in the world and photo’s of the Bushmen and Women which are fascinating, then your users can help themselves.

    Thanks WordPress and ‘yes’ I will be buying a web site very soon, just tiring up a few collaboration agreements with business partners. Thanks again this is a great idea and move from WordPress.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. RasmaSandra

    Thank you. Sounds good to me. I always need images. I would not mind sharing some of my own too.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Paula

    I can’t remember how I discovered Pexels, but I have been using them lately and really love the quality of the images. I enjoy just browsing. However, I could binge-browse, so I have to watch the time. ;>)

    Liked by 4 people

  21. theflipsideofdevelopment

    This is so cool! As a nonprofit and grant research professional, I am always struggling to find photos to go along with my blog posts,without having to deal with copyright and other issues. Thanks so much for making me continue to use wordpress for all my blogging needs.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. K. D. Dowdall

    Thank you WordPress. This is a wonderful thing!

    Liked by 7 people

  23. Yacoob

    This is just another reason why WordPress is the most awesome platform to publish on. Words should be strong enough to stand on their own…but humans are visual creatures, so an enhancement like this is very useful.

    Liked by 8 people

  24. Kevin Kolbe

    Yet another reason I’m a BIG WordPress fan! This is so cool and a huge time-saver too. Probably will help with budgets since it may be one less subscription I need to keep up with. THANK YOU!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Kevin Kolbe

    Some ideas for possible other photo partnerships to look into: Unsplash and Gratisogophy. Both have really great libraries.

    Liked by 7 people

  26. Run.Lift.Breathe

    I think it’s cool to include the option to search for stock images with this update to the Media tool. While the diversity bit doesn’t really concern me, I’m sure there are plenty of people who will appreciate that angle. Nice work!

    Liked by 6 people

  27. Bling and Butterflies

    I’ve just had a sticky beak at Pexels, searched for sparkles and love love loved what is on offer. So many more searches and more wows. I pride myself on using only my own photos in fear of getting into trouble for using someone else’s photo and would just like to say a big thanks to WordPress for opening my eyes to other options, guilt free. Such a great service!

    Liked by 7 people

  28. deepanilamani

    Great news. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be able to access the free photo library. As a blogger and a site owner its wonderful to be able to find free images when posting articles. And also to have to chance of uploading my own photographs through Pexels 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  29. johnfotiosblog

    This is great, thanks to WordPress and Pexels and everyone who contributes. This is a great resource for new bloggers who don’t yet have a budget to buy stock photos.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Wealth Advisors

    Not seeing this as an option. is there a different way to access this? I think I’m wordpress.org…is it available for .org users?

    On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 8:18 AM, The WordPress.com Blog wrote:

    > Anne McCarthy posted: “As many site creators know, it’s daunting to find > images to represent the message you’re trying to put out into the world — > especially if you don’t have the equipment or time to make your own. At > WordPress.com, we’re constantly striving to make it as ea” >

    Liked by 4 people

  31. SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

    Indeed, the Free Stock Photo Library is a fantastic new feature! Thank you. 🙂

    I would like to suggest that hovering over any image in the Photo Library should reveal some information about the image such as file size (in Megabytes), file type (jpg, png, gif and so on) and image dimension (width and height) so that we can have some inkling of the image’s specifications before deciding whether to copy it to the media library.

    In addition, the ability to search, sort and filter the images by file size, file type and image dimension can be very useful.

    Happy August to everyone! May you all have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 6 people

  32. Lauren Miller

    This is such a forward-thinking idea for WordPress and will make the lives of so many bloggers a bit easier, being able to import directly from Pexels. It’s a wonderful addition and just reaffirms that you care about your users. God bless!

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Derek Brown

    I’d like to follow-up on something minababe said, but from a little different angle.

    I have an agency, we’ve manage over 1,500 WordPress sites, and have built many more than that. Part of this involves the stock photos we use on their sites. We license from Getty and others but are always looking for more cost effective approaches.

    Over the years I have on a couple of occasions been contacted by Getty claiming rights to an image that we’re using on a client website. We are hard core about usimg propertly licenses images, we spend over $1,000 a month with Getty alone. None of the stock photo sites have good audit trails of image provenance and our transaction history. Getty will say “show us a screenshot of the download” – this is for one image of thousands over 5 years or something. Guilty until proven innocent.

    So with that background here’s my question: If Getty comes along a few years from now and says an image belonged to them, I assume there’s no real recourse for my business either with WordPress.com, or Pexels, or the supposed original photographer. My license with Getty provides for some indemnification in the event someone other than Getty claims copyright from an image I licensed from Getty, but it seems there’s nothing of the sort here.

    One other angle, again a tangent of minababe. There was a case a few years back where Getty bought a collection of open source images, and then started finding uses of those images that predated the acquisition, but demanding money. Getty has bots that crawl the web, and I suspect bots that send demand for payment letters. They just harass people, no one has the documentation they require, so you just pay.

    OK that was half a rant on Getty, don’t get me going more or you’re get the whole rant 🙂 But my question is still about my liability of using these free images at some point in the future.

    Thanks for any insight on this.
    Derek

    Liked by 4 people

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