The other day my son asked if he could use my image Billboards for a new site he was developing. Yes, of course, no problem.
It got me thinking. If you are prepared to let family and friends, use your images then why not let anyone use your images. I have been fortunate enough to sell some photographs, but that is the small tip of a very big iceberg. Below the waterline, there are thousands of images languishing on my hard drive which will never again see the light of day.
Could these be of use to somebody?
What is Unsplash?
Last week I gave it a try using Unsplash. Unsplash is a website where photographers can share high resolution images, making them publicly available for everyone for free, even for commercial use. Created in May 2013 by a trio of Canadian entrepreneurs. Four months after creation they hit one million downloads, and a year after that they had more than a million downloads per month. Now there are 400,000+ high resolution images hosted on Unsplash, shared by 65,000+ photographers from all around the world.
The image I used was I thought vaguely commercial, in that it had a young man on a mountain bike in outstanding scenery. So how has it done over the past week? Well, I don’t know if this is good or not, but it has had 1534 views and 11 downloads. My work is out there flying free.
Why Use Unsplash?
Imagine designers, artists, writers from around the world can now use my image for album covers, posters, article headers, blog posts, and advertising etc etc. However, this is a disruptive technology which will threaten traditional curators like Shutterstock, and eventually undermine the work of professional photographers. So should we allow our photographs to be given away?
Stock photography is dying, people are paying less and less for images, and let’s face it there is a lot of theft out there. The value of my images sitting on my hard drive is virtually nil. So why should I not give myself the pleasure of giving them away? People in poorer parts of the world, students, new businesses, charities can all benefit.
My photographs will be out there doing good.
What makes you happy is worth all the money in the world, and it makes me happy to give my images for free to those who need them. Samual Zeller