Unsplash Awards 2019

It’s that time of year again 💥

Alex Begin
Oct 8, 2019 · 8 min read

Today, we kick off the third edition of the Unsplash Awards — and we could not be more excited to celebrate all of the amazing contributions from this past year.

The Unsplash Awards are one way to give back to you — the community that’s built up Unsplash to what it is today. Since Unsplash first started in 2013, our community of contributors has grown to over 120,000 in size, which constantly amazes us. And while you’ve ranged from professional photographers to hobbyists— you’ve all had something in common: You’ve been happy to generously contribute your work to move creativity forward and push the boundaries of what’s possible in this open photography movement we’re busy building together.

We can’t wait to celebrate each and every one of you this year.

This year’s Awards

From now until October 31st at midnight PST, the Unsplash Awards are officially open for business. You can now submit your photos to 10 categories — some old, some new, all designed to bring out the best of Unsplash. And once the submissions come to a close, we’ve enlisted the help of some amazing judges to help select the featured photos.

  • October 8th — October 31st : Submissions open. To have your photography featured in a category, go to awards.unsplash.com.
  • November 1 — November 26th: Submissions close and judges go through the selections for each category.
  • November 27th : Announcement of featured photos. Finalists will be featured on the Unsplash Awards site, the Unsplash blog, and will be celebrated on our social media channels. All finalists will also receive an official badge on their Unsplash profile.

Unsplash Awards Categories


Through photography, we can continue to push creativity forward by showcasing our surroundings in new, intriguing ways. This category challenges us to incorporate unlikely textures, experiment with new formats, and reevaluate how we look at the world around us.

Official Judge: Stephanie Zou
Marketing Director,
Stephanie is a SF-based product marketer at Figma. Previously, she led product marketing at Zendesk and Intercom. She loves uncovering stories about people and companies creating amazing things with technology.

Current Events

Photography is a powerful tool when it comes to reflecting our reality back to us— capturing moments in history from around the world that can help educate and inform. From political protests in London about the climate crisis to pride celebrations in Toronto — this category covers the latest important events and movements.

Official Judge: Joel Tellier
Design Director,
Joel is a multi-talented Artist with nearly 20 years of experience in multimedia, marketing, digital, motion, and print design with a passion for story. Currently as the Design Director at VICE, he provides leadership in creative conception, strategy and creative direction of multichannel brand experiences, leading a visual team as well as video production companies, photographers and copywriters in collaborations globally.

Earth & Space

Our relationship with Earth is complicated and ever evolving. With the plastic problem we’ve produced to the impending climate crisis — the world around us requires our attention and care more than ever, which has renewed an appreciation for our planet and the miracles it holds. This category celebrates our planet and beyond — exploring seascapes, wildlife, shifting landscapes, starry skies and more.

Official Judge: Naoufal Kadhom
Creative Technologist,
Naoufal is a cross-platform UI Engineer based in Oakland, California. At Netflix, he works at the intersection of product design and software engineering, where he helps drive product innovation and growth. When he isn’t working — or traveling — you’ll likely find him barbecuing at Lake Merritt.

Food & Wellness

Elaborate dinner parties. A morning jog as the sun rises. Soothing Sunday baths to end the weekend. All of these practices represent a celebration of the mind, body and soul. This category is all about what wellness means to you — whether that means decadent pastries, a glass of wine after dinner, or a trip to the gym.

Official Judge: Alexandra Nikolajev
Creator Manager,
As the Canadian Creator Manager at Pinterest, the visual discovery engine — Alexandra spends her days contributing to our joint mission to give everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. With a background in digital advertising and content development, she is passionate about all things online and am inspired to discover new trends and viral moments that impact our everyday culture.

Interiors & Architecture

What do our spaces say about us? From brutalist buildings to peaceful bedrooms — our environments evoke specific moods which often dictate how we interact with our surroundings. This category explores what we can see in both exterior and interior spaces, and what is often hidden from plain view.

Official Judge: Sebastian Speier
Design Lead,
Sebastian Chen Speier is a Creative Director and Product Designer in New York. He is currently an Experience Design Lead at Airbnb, focusing on Airbnb Luxe. Formerly, he was a Design Lead at Instagram and a Design Director at Nike.


You’ve heard it before: Keep it simple. Often, it’s easier said than done. But by ridding ourselves of the excess and stripping things down to the bare essentials — we often see more clearly than every before, inevitably shifting our visual narrative and renewing the purpose of our photography. This category invites you to embrace all things pure and simple.

Official Judge: Max Kaplun
UX Design Lead,
Max is an art director hailing from NYC currently residing in lovely Montréal where he leads the UX team at SSENSE. Prior to that, he worked on digital products at Glossier and branding e-commerce at Dynamo.

Mobile Photography

Take a step back from your cameras, your lenses, your editing software. With this category, we’re ditching the fuss and the frills and instead focusing on the creativity that you can harness with one tool alone — your smartphone. How does your process transform? Submit photos shot and edited on iPhone, Android, Flip and find out.

Official Judge: Nina Mehta
Design Manager,
Nina is a Product Design Manager at Mailchimp in Brooklyn as the first design leader outside it’s Atlanta HQ. She looks for projects where she can absorb complexity and put screens in the background. Nina brings her design, strategy, and research experiences from San Francisco, Berlin, Tokyo, London, and now Atlanta to her work every day. For fun, Nina writes, listens to techno, and coaches friends on the Konmari Method.

People & Diversity

People, relationships and emotions — captured. Photography has the power to represent the realities of the world around us, and lift up those who often go underrepresented. We therefore welcome submissions that look to challenge the norms of stock photography and media representation as a whole, while giving a voice to individuals and groups within our communities.

Official Judge: Amber Venerable
Visuals Director,
Condé Nast
Texas native and Howard University educated, Amber Venerable is a Visuals Director at Condé Nast doing everything from concepting to casting and art directing.

Products & Brands

Behind every business or product is an idea — but the ability to share that idea in a way that resonates with everyone around us is equally important. That’s where photography comes in. From commercial shots to editorial images, this category celebrates the very best of product photography.

Official Judge: Melissa Chai
Art Director + Marketing Manager,
Melissa sits on the PR + Marketing team managing social media and press events at Etsy Canada. Based in Toronto, she oversees international influencer strategy. With 8 years of marketing under her belt, Melissa specializes in creative experiences. Outside of her role at Etsy, she freelances as an art director, stylist and content producer while on a strict coffee and ice cream diet. Melissa’s creativity is fueled by her love for travel, architecture, design and photography.

Street Photography

From early morning commutes to neon-tinted nights, our streets have become the fabric of our shared history. Whether you live in a crowded city or a deserted town, our streets have the ability to tell the story of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. By capturing the gritty street scenes, the candid portraits, the known landmarks — street photography has the power to translate a singular moment into a larger narrative that tells the story of people and place.

Official Judge: Viviane Labelle
Footwear Innovation Concept Creator,
Viviane Labelle is a French-Canadian designer & maker based in Portland, Oregon. She is currently working as a concept creator in the Innovation Kitchen at Nike where she creates original footwear concepts and dreams up the future of sports. In 2016 she obtained an ISPO award for a ski glove she created during her previous role as a soft goods designer. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Apparel Design from Université of Québec in Montréal.

Unsplash Community

This special category recognizes key Unsplash contributors for their involvement in the community throughout the year — from creating inspiring collections to giving others feedback on their photography.

Someone from the community come to mind? Well, we want to hear from you! To nominate an Unsplash community member, simply fill out this form.

Ready to submit?

  1. From the Unsplash Awards website, select the category that you’d like to participate in and tap the Submit a photo button.
  2. Select up to 3 photos per category (note: only photos that were uploaded in 2019 will be visible).
  3. Press the Save button to save your selection. You can come back and edit/update your selection at any time until October 31st.
  • Want to submit a new photo? Simply upload the photo to Unsplash and once that’s done — run through the steps above.

Unsplash Friends & Partners

In support of the spirit of the open photography movement and the Unsplash community, we are so proud to have the following partners participating in the celebration of the Unsplash Awards:

Thank you!

Unsplash owes everything to the collective community of people who believe that sharing their work in support of creativity is worthwhile. So to every member of the Unsplash community, thank you for everything. 🙌

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

Alex Begin

Written by

Community at Unsplash

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

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