Submission Guidelines

Our full submission guidelines can be found here.


How do I upload a photo to Unsplash?

To upload a photo, click on the link on the homepage that says ‘Submit a photo’ (or go to https://unsplash.com/submit). If you’re not logged in already, it will prompt you to create an account or login.

Once you’re logged in, follow the instructions to upload a photo.

Please note, we only accept .jpeg files that are at least 5 megapixels in size. For example, a standard landscape orientation photo, 5 megapixels is at least 2500 by 2000 pixels in size.


How to remove a photo once uploaded

To remove a photo, once uploaded, log in to your account and visit the Manage Photos section.

This section of your account enables you to:

  • Add a title or description to your photo
  • Change or update the location
  • Submit additional tags for consideration
  • Delete a photo

Please note: When a photo is deleted from Unsplash, we will do everything we can to prevent its further distribution, including preventing it from being viewed and downloaded through Unsplash. However, the Unsplash License is irrevocable, so copies of the photo that were downloaded before deletion may still be used.


Editing the story, title or tags of a photo

To edit the title or story of your photo, log in to your account and visit the Manage Photos section.

This section of your account enables you to:

  • Add a title or description to your photo
  • Change or update the location
  • Submit additional tags for consideration
  • Delete a photo

Editing the visibility of a photo

You can change the visibility of a photo from the Manage Photos section of your Account Settings.

By default, photos appear on your profile.

You can hide a photo from your profile while remaining in searches by unchecking the box displayed in the Visibility tab for any photo.


Understanding our submissions process and how we promote photos

Familiarising yourself with our recently updated submission guidelines will help you understand what will and won’t be accepted (and may save you time!)

At present we receive around 2,500 photo submissions daily. Every photo submitted is given one of 5 states:

Unevaluated — This is the first state that all photos automatically receive upon submission. Unevaluated is a temporary state, given to a photo until it’s been assessed. A photo maybe unevaluated for anywhere between 24–48 hours.

Flagged — This is an automatic state. Photos that do not meet our guidelines will be removed and an email will be sent out to explain why.

Approved — This is an automatic state. All photos uploaded that meet our guidelines are automatically made available on your Unsplash profile.

Searchable — This is a manual state. Our Editorial Team features a selection of the best quality photos on Unsplash to be discovered by the Unsplash Community. These photos will become searchable.

Promoted — This is a manual state. Our Editorial Team features a selection of their choice of best quality photos on Unsplash to highlight to the Unsplash Community. These photos will be discoverable and also highlighted in our homepage Editorial Feed.

If your photo is featured on the homepage you’ll receive an email notification, unless you have opted out of ‘Milestones & Notification’ emails in your account’s Email Settings.

You can check the status of any photo you have submitted by visiting https://unsplash.com/account/photos when logged into your account. The state is displayed beneath each photo.

What we’re changing!

We know that search must rely on a minimum quality and utility threshold, as experiments have repeatedly validated that our community doesn’t want to search through thousands of mixed quality results each time they search.

To address this we’ll be splitting search results into two sections: a high confidence section and a less confident section.

In the less confident section, we’ll include results that have a lower relevancy score. This will translate into photos that might match the search query or are less used (indicating that they may not be as high quality). By default, the results will only show the high confidence section. For searchers who want to see all results, they’ll be able to click a button or toggle to show the lower confidence results.

Photos that outperform their expected use for their relative position in the results will increase their relevancy and move out of the ‘less confident’ section. This is very similar to the process used to rank results in other search systems (like Google and Pinterest), as it’s possible to predict the mathematical relationship between the position in a search list and the expected engagement.

Updating our system to do this isn’t something we can do overnight. It’s only even become theoretically possible with some of the recent changes we’ve made to update our search system, which is why we never considered it as an option when originally designing the states system.

Until we build this, we’ve updated the ‘Manage photos’ screen in contributor settings to show the ‘state’ of a photo. This at least makes it clear whether a photo appears in search, approved, or in review.

Once we update search to reflect the new system, we’ll remove the ‘searchable state’ as all photos will be searchable.

You can read more about this here: https://medium.com/unsplash/making-unsplashs-submission-system-more-transparent-54b202bd168d

Please note: Because of the high volume of photo submissions, we are unable to give feedback on individual photos. However, we have an active Slack community with a #feedback channel where you can ask for feedback from the wider Unsplash community if you wish. You can join this community at chat.unsplash.com.


Why submit photos to Unsplash

We can’t tell you what the benefit might be for you specifically, but we’ve learned from talking to some of the other photographers that they submit photos for a few different reasons. These generally include:

  • Giving back. A lot of the photographers want to give back to a community that’s given a lot to them. For example, your computer, the internet, your smartphone, most websites, wouldn’t exist (entirely or, at least, in their current form) it weren’t for the open-source movement.
  • Visibility. Another reason photographers submit a few of their photos is that they have a large number of photos that just sit on their personal hard-drives or on Flickr. They’d rather share them and have them seen by a large community, than gather dust.
  • Exposure. Sharing photos on Unsplash can give significant exposure for a freelance business or personal work. We’ve heard a lot of stories of people hiring freelance photographers through Unsplash (something we’d like to make easier at some point in the future).
  • We do not actively encourage professional photographers to join and upload all of their photos. We’re designers, developers and photographers ourselves, and we know that giving everything away isn’t a sustainable way to make a living from your profession.

Here are a few articles written by contributors within our community that might give you further insight:


Do I need to be a professional photographer to submit photos to Unsplash?

Definitely not.

You don’t need to be a professional to contribute photos to Unsplash, in fact a recent survey of our community revealed that the majority of people contributing to Unsplash are hobbyist photographers.

Millions of photos are browsed and downloaded every month, and remixed into some of the most creative pieces of art. These remixes happen thanks to all those that submit their photos to Unsplash — whether they’re a pro with a camera, or just a beginner with an iPhone. Anyone can submit photos on Unsplash.


Why do you ask for a photo’s location?

Adding the location where a photo was taken is completely optional, but it’s a great way to include additional context for your photo. To protect your privacy, if you don’t want your photo’s location to be displayed publicly, select the “Don’t display publicly” checkbox when uploading.


Why do you ask for a photo’s EXIF metadata?

Adding optional EXIF metadata is a great way for other photographers to discover more information about your photo, including details about what camera, lens, and settings you used to take a specific photo.


Feedback

Because of the high volume of photo submissions we are unable to give feedback on individual photos.

We have an active Slack community with a #feedback channel where you can ask for feedback from the wider Unsplash community if you wish. You can join this community at chat.unsplash.com.


Does Unsplash share my photos anywhere else?

We do not upload photos uploaded by Unsplash photographers to any other website. The Unsplash API does distribute photos for integrations with select websites like Trello, Invision, Naver, and Weebly. However, these integrations require attribution and have been officially approved by Unsplash based on type of use.

There are some websites that scrape content from Unsplash and re-upload it to their own platforms. We don’t support these activities because they go against the spirit of the Unsplash community.

Here’s more on the reason why websites that scrape content, duplicate Unsplash, and create false user accounts without permission go against the values of the Unsplash community. We don’t maintain these libraries so we have no control of any licensing issues associated with Unsplash photos. The best thing to do is to always download Unsplash photos from Unsplash.com or Unsplash-owned properties.

Should you find an Unsplash photo on another stock photo site, please contact our Support team so we can continue supporting and empowering the Unsplash contributors.


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