Why I give my photos away for free.
I get asked sometimes why I post most of my work for free on Unsplash.
The answer is simple. What if you could get your work in front of millions of people? What if in doing so you were able to make new creative friends, clients, and collaborators? Isn’t that worth more than the small monetary value stock sites are offering photographers?
Don’t even get me started on the fact that I hate the images on iStock, ShutterStock, and the countless other stock sites out there. I don’t even want to be a part of that world. I want my work displayed alongside brilliant and talented creators. I want people to do whatever they want with my photos. That’s the whole point. I’m not taking these photos to make money. I put photos on Unsplash that I love and whether or not you like them or hate them doesn’t really matter. These photos were and are for me, so the fact that other people love them is just icing on the cake. I’ve had to stop myself sometimes while shooting because it’s easy to get stuck in a trap where you start to create with an agenda. “This would make a great Unsplash photo” — I’ve said this before and it scared me. I can’t create this way, and you shouldn’t either. I wrestle with the idea of being a selfish creative quite often, because it sounds negative. Make things that you love, and that make you happy. I guarantee in doing so you will find an audience. The minute you stop creating things that make you happy in favour of trying to satisfy what you think people want, you will become miserable. You will still be successful, you might even be more successful but you won’t be happy.
Every week someone either tags me on Facebook or Instagram with a new piece of work done by a company or another person using my work. It’s amazing. I hadn’t looked at my stats in a little while but if you see the numbers below you’ll see just how powerful Unsplash is, and how many people can benefit from a photograph.
I’ve made new friends, collaborated with artists, been published in a book, had one of my photos turned into a journal, been featured in countless ads, and I was even recruited to shoot a TV show intro from one of my shots.
All of this is worth more than money and the best part is, I’m happy.
Download some shots for free, I’d love to see what you create.