Choosing the right photo can make all the difference when trying to communicate. 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 need to make sure you have the legal right to use the photograph. You should never do a Google Image search, pick an image that looks good, copy it, and use it. Typically obtaining legal rights means you pay a fee to the picture owner. Most stock photo sites provide this service. These stock sites are always a viable and safe option.
An even better option is access to a free stock photo service like Unsplash.
How Unsplash Works
That is precisely what Unsplash.com can do for you. This site curates thousands of 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 robust photography techniques and are at least three megapixels in size. Every photo 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 ideas to the site.
Using the Upsplash Site
The first step is to create a free account. You can get the most out of using the site when you create an account.
Step 1: Discover photos
- Browse your personalized Following Feed
- Browse the hundreds of new photos added to Unsplash daily
- 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. You do not need to be a professional photographer to share your photos on Unsplash. Millions of pictures are browsed and downloaded every month. Some are remixed into some very creative pieces of art. Photos are submitted by pros and beginners alike. Anyone can submit photos on Unsplash.
Step 3: Access Unsplash’s Community Hub
Check out the Community Hub to read up on everything 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 our 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.”
The license allows you to use the photographs for any purpose — both commercial and personal. Blogs, art, book covers, t-shirts, and more — paid or unpaid —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 available quality and broad range of photographs.
What service are you currently using to find high-quality photographs?