One of the free images supplied by Representation Matters

Credit: Representation Matters

What is it?

Representation Matters is a royalty-free stock image website with a focus on inclusion and diversity.


Free and paid subscriptions, plus stand-alone purchases.

How is it of use to journalists?

Stock image sites can be a journalist's best friend when it comes to finding a picture that best illustrates your article.

Usually, journalists turn to trusty resources like Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels. But there is one stock image site which is a little different from the rest.

Representation Matters offers images which go against the standards that are typically portrayed and reinforced in stock imagery: young, white, thin, heterosexual and able-bodied people.

The models and actors seen on this site represent different types of ethnicity, sexuality, disability and body positivity.

So, how can you get started?

Representation Matters has both free and paid subscription options, or the option to buy images without signing up.

By signing up for free, you can access three free images per month, no strings attached. These are sent straight to your inbox and are free to use commercially. (The image used in this article is one example).

It really is as simple as that, but it does mean you will have to wait for the images to come to you.

But if you need an image right now, it is probably best to explore the site and find the right image for you. It works just like any other stock image site.

Hover over the 'browse' option on the main menu bar, and it will filter the search remit by contributor, photos, illustrations, session or the ever-reliable search function. The latter is probably your best port of call.

From search, use keywords to find the image you want. Alternatively, there is a frequently-used keyword section at the bottom of the homepage, which can be a useful menu to pick themes from or get an idea of what is available.

Screenshot of keywords

Hit the category you want, and it will display all media under that keyword. With 52,000 images on body positivity alone, you can go scrolling through the results until you find something suitable. But you may want to narrow your search.

  • Tip: use quote marks for specific terms, i.e. "disability in sports".

  • Or, use a '+' or '-' before each word for any terms you want to include or exclude, respectfully. I.e. +disability +women, or +disability -men

By clicking on a resulting image, you will find options to share, comment, or select the dimensions you want to download the image in.

You can proceed to buy this as a one-off purchase, but there are also pricing plans available which will allocate you a discounted amount of credits to purchase images from the site. It is worth knowing that different resolutions are worth different credit amounts. Happy hunting.

Know your copyright law

There can be a lot of confusion around copyright, particularly on social media and online, so it would be worth noting that while these images are royalty-free, this does not necessarily mean they are free to access. In fact, it is a common misconception, according to the site's very useful guide to licences.

In addition to some FAQ's, this provides some essential reading for anyone unsure about the legalities of copyright content and the ins and outs of licensing content.

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