Choosing the right photo can make all the difference when you are trying to communicate a concept. Whether you want to use it on your website, as part of your proposal to a client, on a social media post, or in the context of an article — having the right photo is a fantastic way to catch someone’s attention.
You also want to make sure you have the legal right to use the photograph. You cannot simply do a Google Image search and pick something that looks good. Obtaining legal rights means you pay a fee to the owner of the picture. Some stock photo sites provide this service. These stock sites are always a viable and safe option.
An even better option is to have access to a free stock photo service.
How Unsplash Works
That is exactly what Unsplash.com can do for you. This site curates over 200,000 high-resolution images. And every one of them is free to download and use however you like. While free stock photo services sound like a good idea, the quality of the images is often just so-so.
Unsplash only accepts the highest quality images that show strong photography technique and are at least three megapixels in size. Every image submitted is reviewed, and many are rejected if the image does not have good quality lighting or composition. A growing community of thousands of photographers is contributing their images to the site.
Using the Unsplash Site
The first step is to create a free account. Once you have your account created here is how to get the most of out of using the site.
Step 1: Discover photos
- Browse your personalized Following Feed.
- Browse the hundreds of new photos added daily to Unsplash.
- Browse photos that are added to Collections curated by the Unsplash community.
- Use the search bar to find something specific.
Step 2: Share your photos
While not required, you can add your images to the site if you want. Anyone can submit photos on Unsplash. You do not need to be a professional photographer to share your photos on Unsplash. Millions of photos are browsed and downloaded every month. Some are remixed into some very creative pieces of art. Photos are submitted by pros and beginners alike.
Step3: Access Unsplash’s Community Hub
Check out the Community Hub to read up on everything being created at Unsplash. You can also follow individuals and be notified when they upload a new photo.
Unsplash also hosts a variety of gatherings ranging from photography expeditions to skill-building workshops. You can join your city’s Unsplash event, or reach out to their team if you would like to host your Unsplash event.
Is Use of These Photos Really Free?
Yes. Here is the actual license agreement on the site:
“All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.”
This means you can use the photographs for any purpose — both commercial and personal. Blogs, art, book covers, t-shirts, and more — paid or unpaid — they are all allowed under this license. It is recommended that you give credit and a link back to the original photographer if possible, but it is not mandatory.
How will they stay in business? They hope to leverage the connections made among their audience of creative professionals. What a terrific way for photographers to showcase their talent. Who knows what might be possible?
Take a few minutes and browse through the collection. I think you will be as impressed as I am with the quality and broad range of photographs available.
What service are you currently using to find high-quality photographs?