Nappy - Free stock photos of Black and Brown people

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Shade has joined the fight for Black representation in the stock photo scene by creating a website solely dedicated to free stock photos of Black and Brown people.

What is Nappy?

Shade, an influencer marketing and talent casting agency, created Nappy to fill the diversity gap in many popular stock photography websites like Unsplash and Pexels.

Nappy’s key selling point is that their site only features photos of Black and Brown people. That means no Caucasians, Asians or Hispanics. Some would say it’s racist to have a website solely dedicated to a specific ethnicity, but I consider it a much-needed niche in the stock photography industry.

The Search for Stock Photos of Black People

Black groom and groomsmen walking on beach
Photo by @Julius on Nappy

I’ve always had an issue finding stock photos of black people to use in my projects. As a Jamaican digital design and web development agency, the majority of wwworkshop’s patrons are from the Caribbean. Our clients don’t want to see Sally holding a cup of coffee in Starbucks or Chad working on his computer. They want to see people that look like them and their customers.

Sure, it would be easier (a lot easier) to employ a photographer, but most times, hiring a dedicated photographer is out of the budget. So, I’m stuck scouring the internet for hours for pictures of Black people. If I get lucky and find a good one, it’s either too stylised or locked behind an expensive commercial licence.

I forget when I discovered Nappy but I’m glad I did. I’ve been using the website for a year now to find high-quality stock photos of Black people and have yet to be disappointed by the quality. Whatever the subject, Nappy has a suitable photo for it.

Nappy's Features

Aside from the great catalogue of photographs highlighting people of colour, the website also boasts several useful features that makes browsing and downloading a breeze.

An Easy To Use Interface

If you've used stock photo sites like Unsplash then you will feel right at home when using Nappy. The homepage features an infinitely scrolling list of photos that can be clicked on to reveal the photo's details.

Nappy stock photos homepage with 3 beautiful POC women
Nappy stock photos - Beautiful photos of Black and Brown people, for free

Clicking on a photo will reveal the photographer's information, licence details, a favourite button to and of course, the download button. The developers were also sweet enough to add a donate button to support the photographer.

Nappy stock photos interface featuring BIPOC woman smiling at camera
Nappy's photo detail page. Photo by @RootedColors

Search Functionality

Like other stock photography websites, the search feature uses a combination of metadata and tags to show photos that match the keyword.

Nappy's search results page
Nappy's search results page

Explore Feature

Don't want to use the search feature? Use their Explore tab to find photo collections ranging from "For Brands" to "What's New".

Nappy's Explore tab highlighted with a black dropdown menu with categories
Nappy's Explore feature

A Diverse and Supportive Community

Nappy’s photos are all submitted by their community, and they don’t require any attribution, but it is strongly encouraged. If you want to contribute to Nappy’s push for diversity, submit some photos of your own.

All photos on are entirely free to use in personal and commercial projects but don’t take my word for it, here’s what they say:

All photos posted on Nappy are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license so feel free to do your thing. That means you can download these photos, modify them, share them, distribute them, or use them for whatever you want for free. In fact, we encourage it. The more you use them, the more we’re helping improve the representation of black and brown people in media.

-The Nappy License | Nappy

Final Thoughts

Portrait of handsome Black man smiling while playing with his hair
Photo by @RootedColors on Nappy

To summarise, Nappy is an amazing website that helps Black creators and brands to have more diverse and inclusive stock photos on the internet. All the images are entirely free and they seek no attribution or money for the work they’ve done. I applaud this move and I recommend to not only Jamaican graphic designers and web developers, but also anyone who is designing a product for a predominantly Black or Brown community. You can learn more about their mission here and you can follow them on Instagram @shademgmt.


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