How Unsplash made me a photographer
Unsplash doesn’t help me get more clients. It doesn’t push thousands of people to my website to signup for a newsletter or buy some photos. Unsplash doesn’t create a constant flow of clients emailing me about new and exciting jobs.
Unsplash did more than that for me. It helped me become a photographer.
No structure, no ideas, no photos
Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you I’m too hard on myself. It’s difficult for me to judge my own work sometimes and it leads to be being pretty harsh. It doesn’t go away, despite how much I work on it. I was close to not publishing this article last week because I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ — that’s silly right? I did hit publish and I did it because I had to. I didn’t really have to. I could have had no article last week and nothing would’ve happened. I made a goal for myself to post every single week and I don’t want to break my streak.
In march of this year, I needed something like that for photography. The problem is, photography is different. It’s not realistic to assume I’m going to go out to some new place and take amazing new photos every single day. Not to mention that you’d also need ideas every day. With that, it’s harder to establish rules for how you can hold yourself accountable. I find it harder to do one significant task once a week than to do something small every single day. So I needed help.
Personally, I find it harder to do something big once a week then to do something small every single day.
Forcing Choices & Consistency
Unsplash lets you upload 10 photos every 10 days. Let me rephrase that: Unsplash only lets you upload 10 photos every 10 days. I had no real way to judge my own photos and since I’m a terrible judge of my own work, I let Unsplash do the judging.
10 photos every 10 days means I can create a new goal and have consequences for missing my goal. I don’t have any consequences for missing my writing days and guess what? I’m not great at it. What Unsplash does is force a choice. I can’t delay more than one day and I can’t let myself take giant breaks.
When I started, it was rough. I had difficulty choosing photos to upload. I’m sure I also bothered plenty of friends when I asked them to make the decision for me and tell me their favorite one. By constantly having that deadline, I got much better at choosing photos. I also confirmed that I’m bad at judging my own work.
Some photos I would never have published unless I ‘had to’:
Inspiration like fire 🔥 🔥 🔥
Unsplashers take amazing photos
As someone who is always curious and a beginner at lots of things, I’m always trying something new. Without Unsplash providing regular photo inspiration, I never would’ve tried new things
Oh and drones. I’ve already talked about how fellow Unsplashers pushed me to try drone photography. Let me re-iterate my point, though: I would’ve never even tried to take these photos without Unsplash.
Also, it is about the numbers.
I know I’m now supposed to say “it’s not about the numbers” but it is actually about the numbers. All the numbers.
Billions of weekly views to Unsplash.com
10k+ API Requests per-minute
60M+ Searches a month
Thousands of Photographers
6 Team Members
1.5 backend team members -> Seriously
1 incredible website
People use Unsplash so much because it’s amazing. It’s only amazing because of the people that choose to be Unsplashers.
Everyone has a reason for uploading to Unsplash and I’m so grateful for all those reasons. Sometimes it’s site traffic, client referrals, or trying to truly give back to the community. If it weren’t for all the amazing photographers, Unsplash wouldn’t exist.
~8 Months of Unsplashing (March 28th — December 11th)
236 Photos Uploaded
26,375,658 views // 264,058 downloads to date (~8 Months)
8,359,470 views // 76,372 downloads in the last 30 days
I’d also like to point out (and show you) that I don’t have any of those 10million view photos. In fact, I only have 3 that crossed the 1M barrier. They simply add up.
Eight months ago I joined Unsplash. I wanted to push myself to take more photos and, as importantly, do something with my photos. Unsplash turned me into a photographer. I would’ve never called myself one a year ago, and I’m happy to call myself one now.
Thanks, Unsplashers, and thanks, Unsplash team. ✌