Diversity Photos Launches Program to Increase Minority Representation in Stock Photography

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In collaboration with Adobe Stock, Creative Empowerment Program to provide thousands of new multicultural stock photography images by diverse photographers to the advertising industry.

Black friends in isolation pod gather outdoors for a kickback

Diversity Photos / Melissa Alexander

To thoughtfully enact change across industries, we must have a pool of diverse creatives actively participating and owning their narratives, their images, and most importantly, their stories.

Diversity Photos today announced the launch of its signature initiative, the Creative Empowerment Program, to diversify the selection of stock photography images by increasing the pipeline of minority photographers. From August 2020 – February 2021, the program conducted its pilot phase during which four diverse photographers participated in over 35 photoshoots, creating more than 4,000 multicultural images. Creatives for the official program kickoff will be selected this Spring.

“We are excited to launch this first-of-its kind program because we know that to thoughtfully enact change across industries, we must have a pool of diverse creatives actively participating and owning their narratives, their images, and most importantly, their stories,” said Nicole Carter, Co-Founder and CEO of Diversity Photos. “We aim to economically empower underrepresented photographers by giving them access to an additional revenue stream and to diversify their portfolios. Through the Creative Empowerment Program, we equip them for success by providing them with the skills, knowledge, and investment needed to create impactful stock images and video.”

The Creative Empowerment Program is a holistic intensive experience designed from the ground up by Diversity Photos and Adobe Stock to prepare participants for success in the business of stock photography. Unique in the field, the program combines financial investment with education in the form of hands-on mentorship and instruction —co-created and lead by industry veterans from Diversity Photos and Adobe Stock and informed by client experience and data insights. Instruction includes workshops on the business of stock, and portfolio reviews with experienced, industry-leading curators.

Each participant in the Creative Empowerment Program is also allocated funding to implement large-scale photoshoots, and paired with onsite mentors to ensure their success. Finally, participants receive guidance about how to submit their work for copyright protection through the United States Copyright Office, protecting their creative property.

With the large volume of data accessible to brands regarding customers’ buying preferences, engaging consumers with relevant, authentic images and messaging is in high demand. In Adobe’s recent State of Creativity study, 71% of creatives surveyed say it is challenging finding stock content that is diverse and inclusive, and over half have seen a desire for content that is more culturally relevant.

“Given the diversity of the American population, it is critical that images in the media landscape accurately reflect and are inclusive of all of our communities—and creatives are really taking notice, especially in the current pandemic reality,” said Sarah Casillas, Head of Content, Adobe Stock. “Our own research shows that 91% believe the events of 2020 inspired them to incorporate more real-world issues into their creative work, while 90% agree topics in visual culture are evolving faster today than ever before. Initiatives like the Creative Empowerment Program are critical to helping us close the diversity and inclusion gap in media.”

Beyond investing in creatives, the Creative Empowerment program also invested back in the local economy by hiring diverse models and caterers, working with local photography rental stores and shooting at locally owned businesses. The pilot, inclusive of community support, was made possible by Adobe Stock, the Empowerment sponsor, and CQ Fluency, the Community Advocate sponsor. Pilot participants included photographers Melissa Alexander, Mhandy Gerard, B. Alyssa Trofort-Wilson and Lynsey Weatherspoon.

For more information on becoming part of the 2021 Cohort or to become a program sponsor, visit diversityphotos.com/programs.

About Diversity Photos
Diversity Photos is a leader in the creation of visual content that authentically represents the global community and assists brands in combating biases in media and data. A collective of world-class diverse creatives, Diversity Photos develops insightful and culturally relevant media, with a focus on photography and videography, for brands and businesses across sectors and industries.

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Nicole Carter
Diversity Photos
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