Pexels increases search visibility of free stock photos with LGBTQ+ themes

Pexels, a multimedia library that shares diverse, free stock photos and videos, is increasing the visibility of content that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. The website has recently announced a major update to its search algorithm for its users to easily find images depicting gender diversity.

The move comes after Pexels signed in March 2018 a partnership with Nappy, a library of photos featuring black and brown people. This agreement paves the way for photos representative of diverse cultures and races to be included in Pexels’ free stock images.

Since its launch in 2014—and even after it was acquired by Canva in 2018—Pexels has been on a mission to further improve its search results to provide more well-rounded offerings.

In line with the celebration of Pride month in June, Pexels announced that it is permanently making adjustments on its algorithm for all relationship-based search keywords to deliver more diversity across genders and sexualities, giving presence to all types of relationships.

“As one of the premier free photo and video libraries, we understand the power a photo or video can have,” said Pexels Head of Community Monica Silvestre. “Media has the power to make or break ideologies, challenge the status quo, and humanize experiences. Images fuel stories and create movements, and it’s our responsibility as a global platform to act as a force for good; a force that helps power progress. This is why we’re improving our learning algorithm. The next time someone searches for “couple” or “love,” they will find refreshing content that reflects life as it really is around us—straight couples, same-sex couples, interracial couples, non-binary folks, and more.”

Pexels’ updated algorithm is focused on inclusivity and prioritizing LGBTQ+ imagery, democratizing all images, not requiring a user to delineate between same-sex or other descriptors. Pexels continues to be a pioneer in supporting underrepresented communities. The company hopes to empower its own community to tell better stories and inspire other stock photo sites to do the same.

Pexels has also amped up its initiatives to partner with creators and companies that prioritize images and videos that challenge relationship norms and offer LGBTQ+ perspectives. The team said it will continue to adjust how its algorithm learns, making it intentionally calculate equal representation in order to offer its users choices they might not have previously considered. At the same time, it encourages more photographers and creators to upload their LGBTQ+ photography and content to the free platform.


*All images from Pexels