About Representation Matters

We see them every day. They're in ads, magazines and websites. They're stock images - the pre-taken photographs and illustrations that businesses use in their marketing, advertising and blogging.

Watch these photos pass by for a few days, and you'll notice that they only represent a very narrow range of the human experience. The (mostly professional) models in these photos are almost always white, thin and able-bodied.

Big stock photo sites now offer group photos with the obligatory one or two people of color, but how often do you see a doctor, or dancer, or banker who's plus size or has a disability?





This narrow ideal affects us. A recent study found that "70% of teen girls agreed that magazines strongly influenced what they thought was the ideal body type." Also, "Numerous correlational and experimental studies have linked exposure to the thin ideal in mass media to body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and disordered eating among women."

The more we see unrealistic, idealized people in advertising and the media, the more it makes us doubt the worth of our own bodies, skin colors, looks and orientations.

Thankfully, the world is changing. Customers are demanding better from the companies they interact with, and more businesses are focusing on diversity and inclusion in their stock image use. This expansion is good for all of us: Companies are able to appeal to more potential customers, and we all get a healthier mix of representation in the media-driven atmosphere in which we live.

Representation Matters is the world's first and best site for high-resolution, royalty-free, diverse stock images for commercial use. You'll find images focused on inclusion and diversity in all walks of life, perfect for bloggers and graphic designers and priced for small business owners.

FAQ
About Lindley

Hi there! I'm Lindley Ashline, and I'm a professional photographer who specializes in working with larger people of all ethnicities and genders. I also run Sweet Amaranth, a Seattle-based boudoir and portrait studio.

I'm here in part because I spent ten years telling myself I couldn't be a photographer.

As a child, I was bullied. I wasn't even fat -- that came later, when puberty and my German peasant genes kicked in -- but a variety of mean kids found a variety of things to tease me about instead. It was a very difficult period of my life.

When those peasant genes kicked in and I spent high school as a size 18, the bullies had found other things to do, but I carried that terrible shrinking feeling in the pit of my stomach with me. It found a new target: my body.

Me at 17ish, in the beginning of the baggy-clothing era

I spent my teens and early 20s wearing the cheapest, baggiest clothing I could find, semi-consciously ashamed of my body and certain I needed to hide it. But someday, when one of my diets finally worked, I'd be "good," worthy of wearing normal clothes, worthy of being seen.

It was a pretty miserable existence.

At 27, I discovered body positivity and my entire world changed. It was the first time anyone had ever told me that I might just be a worthy human being even with my fat body. That I didn't have to hate myself. That I didn't have to dedicate my life to changing my appearance.

I realized that I could be beautiful.

Have you ever heard someone say "Oh, I'd just rather be behind the camera" or something similar to get out of having their photo taken? That was me. My photography developed (pun intended) in part so I never had to be in front of the camera.

When I decided to no longer treat or think about my body negatively, I realized how sad that was. I was using my talent to hide from myself, avoiding being in front of cameras for a decade. There are very few photos of me from that time period.

I started deliberately seeking out the spotlight, even in small ways. I finally took those voice lessons I'd been too afraid to start. I took hundreds of selfies (sorry, Facebook friends). I had portraits taken by a professional photographer. I pursued photography as a career myself. (Yes, I'd spent years believing I was "too fat" for my dream career.)

This is me in 2016, at 36. Celebrating after moving 3,000 miles. Being awesome while unskinny. Knowing people were staring and not really caring because I was having fun and being myself.

Now, I'm a crusader for the worth of *all* bodies.

Representation Matters began as an offshoot of my body positive portrait work. To be honest, it started as a bit of an impulse project; I thought I'd throw together a small collection of plus size stock images and see what kind of response they got.

The response? Overwhelming. There is such a need for this work. I'm glad to be the one here fulfilling it.

Got questions, or want to chat? Email me (lindley@representationmatters.me), or sign up for my mailing list and get occasional free photos and updates.

About Representation Matters
Are these images right for me and my business?
Some of the people who buy images at Representation Matters are:
  • Graphic designers
  • Outfit of the day (#OOTD) bloggers
  • Diet recovery coaches
  • Body positivity and fat acceptance bloggers
  • T-shirt designers
  • Body image and body acceptance coaches
  • Magazine publishers (both paper and digital)
  • Eating disorder recovery specialists, therapists and centers
  • Health at every size (HAES) and intuitive eating (IE) coaches and trainers
  • Diverse and inclusive workplaces, and those working to improve diversity
Who's in these photos?

Most of the people in these photos are not professional models. They have no training in modeling and are the kind of people you pass in the street and have over for dinner. You know. Regular folks.

As often as possible, the people in these photos have the actual traits displayed or described in the photos. That man using a cane has an actual disability. That woman described as struggling with mental illness has actual anxiety and depression. That black software developer is an actual programmer. That plus size weightlifter is an actual powerlifter using real, ridiculously heavy weights.

OMG, I know that person!

Some of the models who've posed for Representation Matters are sort of famous on the Internet. I try not to ask them for their autographs.

What if I can't find what I need?
Hop over to the Contact page and let me know what you're looking for, and I'll try to work it into an upcoming shoot. If you need something specific on a timetable, shoot me an email (lindley@representationmatters.me) and I'll give you a quote for custom work.
I want to model for stock photos!

If you're in the Seattle metro area (or willing to travel to said lovely geographic location) and want to be a stock photo model, email me (lindley@representationmatters.me) and we'll chat.

I want a portrait or boudoir session with you!

You should check out Sweet Amaranth, my Seattle-based boudoir and portrait studio! Portrait info is here, and boudoir info is here.

I want headshots/photos for my website!

Email me (lindley@representationmatters.me) and I'll send you my commercial/headshot portrait rates.

Plans & Pricing
What currency is your pricing in?
All prices are in U.S. dollars (USD).
What's a credit?

Credits are the currency used here at Representation Matters. Credits allow you to purchase and download images.

One credit costs $1 or less, depending on how many credits you buy at once. See the Plans & Pricing page for current pricing on credit bundles and subscriptions.

Please note that credits do not cover shipping costs. If you order an item that requires delivery, credits will be deducted for the item itself and you'll need to provide an additional payment method for shipping costs at checkout.

What's a subscription?
Representation Matters subscriptions automatically give you a certain number of credits to spend each month on the best stock image site for social and cultural diversity. That's here, by the way. (Insert your own joke about spending them all in one place.)
Should I buy credits or a subscription?
If you're jonesing for a specific photo or don't use stock images very often, buying credits outright is your best bet. However, if you use stock images regularly -- say, on your blog, website or social media channels -- then you'll want a subscription so that you can snag an image whenever you need one.
What happens to any leftover credits? Will my subscription roll over?

Yes, all credits are good for one year from the time you purchase them (or the time they're sent to you if you've got a subscription).

Any credits you purchase as part of a credit bundle will remain in your account until you use them; there's no expiration date.

How much do images cost?

The cost of each image in credits is the same no matter which subscription or credit bundle you've purchased. Not all credits are made equal, though! Here are some ways you can get discounted credits.

Note that purchases under $10 are charged a 50-cent processing fee.

For digital downloads:

  • Web size: 5 credits
  • Medium resolution: 15 credits
  • High resolution: 25 credits
  • Original image: 50 credits
Can I get a refund?
Since digital items are downloaded to your computer, there are no refunds, sorry.
Search, Downloads & Files
How does the site search work?

Typing into any search box on the RM website will match at least one of the words you enter. For example, typing the words diverse yoga will find all files that match either "diverse" OR "yoga."

If you want to find files that match "diverse yoga" exactly, type in that phrase and include the quotes.

But what if you want to find images of only diverse men doing yoga? Try searching for diverse +yoga +men. To find images that don't include men, try diverse +yoga -men.

Short version:

  • Site search automatically uses "OR" operator
  • Use + and - to narrow your search
  • Use quotes for exact matches
What are the image download dimensions?
You've got four sizes to choose from when downloading images. The smallest - web size - is the perfect size for including with a blog post or on a landing page, and it goes up from there.

Web size: Approx. 640x480

Low res: Approx. 1200 pixels on long side

High res: Approx. 2500 pixels on long side

Original: Approx. 4,000+ pixels on long side

How do I remove the big watermarks across the photos?
As you browse the site, you'll notice that the stock photos have a watermark -- a translucent word across the center of the photo. These watermarks prevent image theft and are automatically removed when you purchase the photo.
What if I need a bigger size photo than what I bought?

Please don't try to stretch the photos to fit; they'll get all pixelated and weird, and no one wants weird pixellations. It gets awkward.

If you purchased a small size photo and need a bigger one, you'll need to go back to that photo's page and purchase it again in the larger size. Two exceptions: if you're upgrading from the smallest size all the way to the largest, and if you're upgrading more than five photos. In those cases, email me (lindley@representationmatters.me) for a discount.

License Terms & Restrictions

RM photos come with a perpetual, commercial use license. The short version: use them as you wish on your website, blog, marketing, or printed materials, but don't claim them as your own work or resell them.

You are also prohibited from using these photos for or to illustrate the following subject areas: negative or critical body messaging, health warnings, or weight loss.

Please see the License page to review the license you'll receive in detail.

"Royalty free" means I don't have to pay for it, right? It's free!

Unfortunately, no -- it's a common internet misconception that "royalty free" just means "free." What "royalty free" actually means is "you don't have to pay the artist a royalty every time you use their work." Take a look at the Quick Guide to Licenses to see which license is right for you.

Can I use these photos any way I want?

The license applied to these photos outlines what you can and can't do with the photos. The short version: use them as you wish on your website, blog, marketing, or printed materials, but don't claim them as your own work or resell them.

You are also prohibited from using these photos for or to illustrate the following subject areas: negative or critical body messaging, health warnings, or weight loss.

Please see the License page to review the license you'll receive in detail.

Do I ever have to pay to renew the license for my photos?

Nope! You'll enjoy a perpetual use license.

Quick Guide to Licenses

All rights reserved:This is a creator's way of telling you that you can't use this image in any way, shape or form. In other words, they've reserved all the rights. You often see this on photos over at Flickr.

Copyright: When you purchase the rights to use an image, you're not purchasing the actual copyright. Except in very specific circumstances, the copyright remains with the creator of that artwork.

Beyond the fact that it would make you a terrible person, this is also why you can't license an image and then claim it as your own work.

Creative commons: This kind of license is one way some creators make their works available for other people to use. There are a number of variations on these licenses, so you can read more about them over at creativecommons.org.

Google: Like "royalty free" down below, the internet has done some strange things to the concept of copyright. No matter what you've seen or heard online, just because you can google up an image and then right-click and save it doesn't make it free to use. Read more about why it's not okay.

Public domain: These works include those whose copyright has expired and those deliberately released into the public domain. 99Designs defines public domain as, "a photo, clip art or vector whose copyright has expired or never existed in the first place. These images can be used by almost anyone for personal and commercial purposes."

Rights managed: "With rights-managed images, your right to use the image is typically restricted, with limitations placed on things such as duration of use, geographic region, industry, etc., as established by your license agreement." (Thanks for the definition, StockPhotoRights.com!)

Royalty free: A license that doesn't require you to pay the creator every time you use the work. These are generally paid licenses, though some websites do offer royalty-free images for, you guessed it, free.

Right now, all images offered at Representation Matters are royalty free.

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