Have you ever gone to a stock photography site to find an image of a woman for an ad? If you are like me, after about an hour you lose your will to live.
Here’s a recent example:
I was looking for a 30-something woman in workout clothes standing in a confident position. Not sexy, not in a revealing top, just attractive and confident, hands on her hips, facing the camera. I used terms like “woman workout.” You would think I would have hundreds of good choices.
I found exactly 2 barely usable images.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Trying to find contemporary, non-stereotypical, non-sexualized or non-frivolous images of women in stock photography is ridiculously hard.
LeanIn.org and Getty offer new images of women
So you can imagine my excitement when I read in the New York Times that LeanIn.org, Sherly Sandberg’s organization, and Getty Images are pairing up to change women’s portrayal in stock photography.
To try to remedy the problem, Ms. Sandberg’s nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, is to announce on Monday a partnership with Getty Images, one of the biggest providers of stock photography, to offer a special collection of images that it says represent women and families in more empowering ways.
“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ms. Sandberg said in an interview.
The new library of photos shows professional women as surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers. Women in offices wear contemporary clothes and hairstyles and hold tablets or smartphones — a far cry from the typical stock photos of women in 1980s power suits with a briefcase.
You can go see the Lean In collection of images here. You’ll find more authentic images of women and men.
This is a positive move forward not only for marketers, but for women in general.
“One of the quickest ways to make people think differently about something is to change the visuals around it,” said Cindy Gallop, who started the United States branch of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the advertising agency. “The thing about these images is they work on an unconscious level to reinforce what people think people should be like.”
Here’s hoping my future stock photo searches will be far more successful and uplifting.