Getty Images and Sheryl Sandberg, founder of the Lean In movement, teamed up to provide more empowering images of women in stock photography. The Lean In Collection has over 2500 pictures, all of them a great improvement over “woman laughing alone with salad” or “woman sitting uncomfortably with laptop” that you might find in general stock photo collections.
VS.Stock photos are often used by marketers, ad agencies, and other media users, in anything from brochures and hard-print ads, to websites or email campaigns. Sandberg has said, “You can’t be what you can’t see” and started this initiative in order to present “female leadership in contemporary work and life”. Just flipping through a few of these photos alone, it’s clear that this project has made more diverse, empowering, and altogether more realistic stock photos of women available. Yes, stock photos are generally run-of-the-mill, and hiring a professional photographer will almost always improve the particular look you are going for, but it’s nice that users of stock photography now have more options. It was done in order to provide more positive perceptions of women in stock photography. I know a lot of people are getting tired of “woman as victim” and empowerment efforts, but even if that’s the case for you, then at least this effort has provided a couple thousand more options for your next project that requires stock photography, especially considering that “woman” is the most commonly searched term on Getty’s site. And it’s not just women that this initiative benefits, they’re providing photos of biracial families, the elderly, fathers in more diverse roles, and heavier set people.