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I've always used istockphoto to find images for personas but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find 'real' looking people. I feel that the more real they look the more believable they are. But most of the images on istock are smiling models. Any ideas where I can find a good source of believable head and shoulders shots of real people?

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closed as not constructive by JonW Jan 4 '13 at 8:33

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.… – Pontios Feb 3 at 17:16

Flickr is a good source since you can look for Creative Commons licensed images. If you use your personas as an internal tool within your organization is a great resource.

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Exactitudes is great! Thanks for the tip. – Lisa Daske Jul 27 '10 at 10:40
No problem Lisa. I find it great too! Nice piece of art as well! – Konstantinos Jul 27 '10 at 13:36
It should be forbidden to post that site on a UX forum ;-) – luna1999 Jul 27 '10 at 14:03
Nice share! Thanks. – andrewthong Aug 24 '10 at 22:45

If you're looking for real people try the real world ;-)

Why not just go and take some picture of your users. You're right there's nothing like a cheesy model shot to damage a persona. We use picture from our customer base. When we do user testing we ask if we can take a picture and ask them to sign a release to say they are happy for us to hold on file as a persona image.

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Flickr has millions of photos with suitable licences. You could also try a free stock site such as - the photos won't look quite as artificial as those on iStock.

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Facebook - I know a couple of people who trawl through their friends on Facebook and then just ask them for permission to use their photo. You can't get much more real than that!

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Thats a great idea. But I don't have enough friends...sniff ;) – Damian Rees Jul 29 '10 at 8:06

It's probably somewhat illicit, but online personals are a great place to look. The images tend to be less posed and the search interface lets you winnow down on specific attributes.

Just be smart about how you use them. If you expect the personas will be distributed broadly or publicly, go with stock.

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