One of the best parts about working at Unsplash is hearing about how a single image shared on the platform has the power to impact people from all over the world. From a contributor who quit his desk job in pursuit of a career in photography, to someone literally getting a tattoo inspired by an image they loved on Unsplash (yes, it’s happened!), it’s pretty incredible to watch these powerful moments within our community happen on a daily basis.
So much so, that we recently started up a slack channel called personal-unsplash-stories for you to share your own stories. We thought we’d share a few of our favourites with you so far. To read the rest (or submit your own), head over to our slack channel.
Unsplash means so much to me! It gave me the confidence to pursue photography professionally. Since joining Unsplash, my photography has been featured on Buzzfeed, Forbes Travel, Expedia, Expert Photography blogs and so many more places. Thanks to Unsplash, millions of people worldwide have been exposed to my photography. I’m am 18 and currently pursuing an Honour Batchelor of Photography Degree in huge part because of Unsplash.
I wanted to share with you a way that Unsplash has been impacting the community. I was recently contacted by a gentleman in Russia who found my work on Unsplash and was so inspired by one of my images that he implemented it in his latest tattoo. I was blown away and this experience wouldn’t be possible without Unsplash.
The first photo I ever uploaded is also my most successful one — I reckon it was one of the first photographs uploaded in 2016 showing the iconic Shard skyscraper in London, hence it got a lot of attention. A few months later I received a message from a company that was willing to pay for a high-resolution of the photograph in order to print it on a giant mural of 3 meters wide, to be featured in a London restaurant. I was completely mind-blown and obviously honored they wanted my photo on a wall!
Unfortunately, this photo had been taken with a smartphone. Which means I didn’t have a higher res than what I had uploaded. I didn’t even own a DSLR back then! The company walked away and from that point onwards I could only see this picture as my first heartbreak with photography. I had missed my first potential real opportunity.
Since then, for some reason, photography took up more and more space in my life and eventually led me to quit my desk job for a massive and unprepared career change, to be lucky enough to assist and work with professionals in studio or on location, to even have a few recurring clients of my own, and above all to have a never-ending love relationship with, now, a proper camera — all of this in no particular order!
Today, a quick reverse Google search shows the image of The Shard being used on literally hundreds of websites, even YouTube videos, corporate business slide decks, and whatnots. I now look back at this photo and see what was probably the first incentive I ever had to go further with photography with proper equipment. This makes me incredibly proud and eternally grateful for Unsplash.
The short version of my story is that I travel a lot for work. Prior to knowing about Unsplash, I was not really motivated to go out and take photos so my DSLR (Nikon d5200) was barely used. Then after sharing the first 10 photos, I got hooked! I started to read about photography and watch tons of tutorials. I also bought a few secondhand lenses to practice taking certain kinds of shots. Most importantly, I started to take more photos, plan photo walks in foreign cities/countries and shared more on Unsplash. To date, I have posted 127 photos from 35 different countries. I’m quite satisfied to see some of the photos used in various places, including friends’ desktops and being selected by Unsplash Editorials. Now I no longer leave my DSLR at home when traveling and I’ve learned so much about the culture and history of the places I visit!
Giving away my photos for free seemed absolutely radical. Money always appeared to be a priority when it came to stock photography. Nervously, I hit the button to publish on Unsplash and it was one of the best decisions that I could have made. The exposure that came from my first 10 posts far exceeded what I would’ve gotten out of a royalties check for a couple of bucks. Having over five million eyes on my photos in the first week has been vital for my brand and has taken my photography to the next level. Thank you Unsplash!
I was happy to see that one of my images was being used to bring attention to one of the world’s biggest problems: Pollution. It’s been used in a recent article by Global Citizen about pollution control, as well as a local Indian newspaper.
A while back I got a message through Unsplash from a musician named Kevin Love. He used one of my photos as the cover art for his latest album. He was even kind enough to send me a CD with the album jacket. The album is also available on Apple Music and it’s lovely!
I was halfway across the country visiting a church on Sunday and my photo was literally posted everywhere promoting a marriage series they are doing! Like posters in the bathroom, handouts, and massive banners! I was so honoured.
↪ Thank you to everyone who submitted some of their favourite moments. Visit our personal-unsplash-stories slack channel to submit your own story!