A Picture-Perfect Opportunity for People with Disabilities

May 06, 2014
Tagged with: A Picture-Perfect Opportunity for People with Disabilities

Believe it or not, people with disabilities can now profit from active living, thanks to a brilliant new Web site. All you need is a camera, a friend with some photography skills, and a computer!

PhotoAbility.net is an online, “disability inclusive” stock image provider focused on lifestyle photos of people with disabilities. The goal of the site, launched by Deborah Davis, who sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of 18 and has since used a wheelchair, is to give advertisers the opportunity to help consumers adapt to differences and diminish their discomfort with those whom they see as different. 

Great Expectations

Davis, already an accomplished businesswoman, and her business partner, inclusive-travel consultant Bill Forrester, launched the stock-image site to move mainstream advertisers and editors toward more-diverse marketing visuals.

Davis says of the challenge, “It will take time, hard work, support from our community, and lots of education to move ‘Disability Inclusive Imagery’ into a mainstream concept, and for editors to select these types of photos for their magazines or advertising. It won’t be easy, but the value of increased inclusion, acceptance and human rights that come from positive representation makes it a worthy mission.”

You’re Part of the “Community”

For active people used to things being somewhat less than “easy,” this is an opportunity that should be hard to pass up—especially since the rewards are both socially beneficial and monetary. Even more inviting, they’re achieved doing everyday and high-energy activities.

To be accepted for inclusion in this specialized stock-photo site, the images must be large, good-quality photos. Photos of seniors, adults, and kids with disabilities are all eligible for a shot at immortality.

What Kinds of Images Are Needed?

Take some time to browse the site to see the type of photos they’re collecting. Both candid shots and posed shots are accepted. You’ll notice that people with all types of disabilities appear in the photos. The site has seven image categories:

  • Lifestyle—This category includes weddings, costumes, people in wheelchairs using their vehicles adapted for access, using a mobility scooter, brushing teeth, graduations, parties, girls’ night out, restaurant dining, preparing meals, taking care of the kids, family portraits, in museums, at the theater, on a date, gardening—if you do it, you can capture it on camera and submit it!


  • Leisure—Fill this category with whatever you do for fun, like a stroll on the beach, window-shopping, playing an instrument, recumbent biking, bowling, a trip to the zoo, on the farm, boating, golfing, sight-seeing, swimming, fishing, playing with your pet. When you’re taking it easy, take some photos!


  • Travel—On a train, on a plane, on a cruise to Greece or Spain, in New York or Hollywood, snap those photos if you would! On rainy nights or when it’s sunny, take a camera, make some money!


  • Sport—Athletes with disabilities, here’s your opportunity to share your skills with the world, and keep in mind, it’s not just the event in action that PhotoAbility needs. Loading gear in a vehicle, getting into uniform, preparing your equipment, warming up, winning the event, getting the trophy—everything you do as a participant in a sport is a photo opportunity!


  • Children/Youth—Wherever they go, whatever they do, snap away and submit the photos you like best! You might want to open up a bank account for your kid!


  • Creative—If you or someone you know is an out-of-the-wheelchair thinker, here’s your chance to create striking images for fashion, fantasy, and fun! Take a look at the photos in this category to find inspiration.


  • Professional—Make it your business to snap some shots in your work environment behind a desk, on the phone, on the loading dock, in a meeting, in the cafeteria, working with clients, watching the clock. It all works!


Like any stock image site, there are certain required parameters (image size, image quality, image formats), and you’ll have to register as a photographer. If there are other people who feature prominently in the photo, you’ll need a model release signed and kept on file. They’re looking for real-life situations and high-quality photos. Of course, don’t hide the disability! That’s what makes you and PhotoAbility.net unique!

Author: Susan Hawkins

  • bobl07

    This is such an outstanding idea. It makes you say what didn’t think of this. Continued success to Deborah and her staff.