Making your research accessible

Finding the Right Photo: Part Two

By 12 May 2011

Back in February 2010, we posted a blog on Research to Action called “Finding the Right Photo” which aimed to address the problems many development researchers face in finding suitable images as visual aids for their work.

The ease and accessibility of digital photography means that many researchers do not have any problem taking shots to accompany their work. However, there may be occasions when high resolution, good quality images are required and this post hopes to offer a list of helpful resources for researchers to turn to in their hour of need.

The original ‘Finding the Right Photo’ post linked to the most widely recognised stock photo sites on the web, such as iStock, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Fotolia, 123rf, and BigStockPhoto. These sites allow you to buy a wide range of photos from their image-banks but the shots are often generic, commercial and wholly unsuitable for the often sensitive development subject areas.

There is also the option of hiring an experienced researcher to source images for you from a specific brief. The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies provides this list of agencies who specialise in photos of the developing world.

But if you are running low and time and budget, Research to Action has compiled a list of great online development photo galleries that have a wealth of beautiful images available.

Copyright for images from these sites vary, but many allow you to use their images for free if it is in a non-commercial capacity and the photographer is properly cited.

Online Development Photo Galleries:

UK Collaborative on Developmental Sciences

Wellcome Images

Commonwealth Foundation

World Bank




Global Food Security


International Red Cross

United Nations

Forced Migration

Child Africa

Getty Images

DFID on Flickr

WhoIsHostingThis free stock photos links

There are also some fee-based sites:


African Media Online

Photo Voice

If your budget really cannot stretch to including images at all, then Every Stock Photo is a search engine for free photos across the web.

This image is from the UKCDS gallery. Taken by Sumaiya S Kabir, it shows drought prone Shapahar Upazila of Naogaon District, Northern Bangladesh.

If anyone has any other resources to add to this page please let us know, we will be happy to include them.