It sounds counterproductive, even silly, to even consider the idea of giving away photos free, but actually there are plenty of reasons why I've chosen to. Not every photographer would want to do the same but I thought I'd tell you a little more about the choice I've made.
As a professional styled product photographer, my photographs are a big part of my job. I style and shoot products for brands to use on their website, social media or for general marketing purposes, and it is incredible for me to be at the level where I can sell my photography in this way.
But not all my photography is taken purely as part of brand shoots. Sometimes I photograph things for fun or just for myself. I love my camera, so it's no surprise that when I'm out and about, I'm constantly snapping beautiful scenery or styling up something a bit more personal to me. Plus, my triathlete husband is always travelling around the world to compete in races and I often go with him. Unsplash is a great place for me to share all this wonderful imagery I have taken.
If you've not yet heard of it, Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing free stock photography. All the images can be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You don't have to ask permission from or credit the photographer or Unsplash (although of course it's nice to).
With 242,764* downloads of my images so far, I think it's safe to say that there are some people out there enjoying my images as much as me which is absolutely incredible! My most downloaded image has more than 42,500* downloads, which actually blows my mind. I feel a bit embarrassed to say "look at how many people are using my images" but in 2019 I'm trying to embrace it and shout out about it and maybe, just maybe, you'd like to use them too which would make me extremely happy.
You can view my Unsplash profile here (and you can download/use the images on there if you wish)!
Anyway, today I'm going to talk through a few reasons why I give away my photos for free. If you have any thoughts on the subject, or you simply want to ask me a question about how Unsplash works, then I'd be more than happy to chat in the comments below.
1. Why waste your talents?
I think one of the main driving forces behind me jumping on Unsplash was because I didn't want my creativity to go to waste. I snapped these images purely for myself, yes, but that doesn't mean they should be used once then never seen again. That seemed pointless to me. It's natural to want to share your photography and Unsplash felt like the perfect platform to do this.
2. You might get more work
I often get tagged by people using my images on Instagram, so this is great coverage for my services as a photographer. I particularly love it when people take the time to thank me for my images, and I've actually gained paid work this way. Potential clients either come across me on social media or via Unsplash itself, so there is some reward for giving away your photographs for free. I think putting yourself out there in this way makes you appear more trustworthy and secure in your skills, so people are more likely to come to you.
3. It's a good source of free imagery
It's people like me that have built the stock image site to include almost a million photos, making it an incredible resource for small businesses without the budget to purchase photography. I use Unsplash regularly when looking for image content for my social media management clients who don't have the budget for their own photography.
4. It's unlike any other platform
This leads me nicely onto my next point. One the biggest reasons I use Unsplash to share my own photography and use free images is because the quality is amazing. It's a community of professional photographers who take the most stunning visuals with their cameras, and it's wonderful to be a part of it. Unlike the generic feeling you get from sites like Shutterstock, Unsplash collects really unique imagery and I love scrolling through all it has to offer; it's so inspiring! Top tip: check out the homepage for the latest and best images on there right now.
5. There's an etiquette that everyone can easily understand
By uploading images to Unsplash, all photographers are agreeing to Unsplash's licence which means anyone has permission to use those images. You don't have to ask first when using images directly from the Unsplash website, this request has been granted already. You don't have to tag the photographer either, however it's a lovely gesture of thanks and I always smile when my phone goes off and I see someone using my image. You can view the full Unsplash licence here.
On another note... just a quick reminder: using another person's image WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is an absolute no no... Never, ever regram or share an image created by someone without permission. Simply thinking that it is OK to share a picture because you are tagging them is still breaching Copyright law. Simply ask the owner of the image who'll quite likely say that it is fine to share their image. It is polite, engaging and if you start chatting to them, it might even lead to something. Overall, it is just nice to acknowledge the makers of an image, after all, it's taken lots of time to create!
*As of 29/01/19
Hopefully you found this an interesting read. If you've got any questions or have thought about giving your images away for free, let me know as I'd love to chat. All the images featured on this blog are available for you to download and do what you like with here. I plan to add lots more images to my Unsplash account in 2019 so if you like my style of photography, you may want to keep an eye out. ❤