“Beauty has always been free. It came in the box with sunlight and eyeballs. It was granted to us upon birth as we first laid eyes upon our beautiful mothers and then mother earth. For those of us with extreme empathy and a wide-eyed approach to seeing the world, finding the beautiful all around us and capturing it is a deep and glorious honor. Yes, you can have that image at the top for free — perhaps not because it has no value, but because I simply want you to see what I can see. "
The above sentence by Swiss photographer Samuel Zeller reassumes in few short sentences the main reason why I do love making some of my images free on @Unsplash.
I have a very limited number of free images probably less than 30 but is something that I feel very passionate about it I love to give something back, share what i see for free plus there are few other practical reasons:
1) I am constantly inspired by the contents and images of @unsplash. Here the spotlight being on the pictures, they have the space they need. Between a fraction of a mobile screen, and a full screen, it’s obvious which is going to better display and enhance the content.
If you have ever visited Unsplash, you’ll agree with me that the feeds are filled with amazing pictures. Pictures that you can take inspiration and learn from.
I am also learning a lot on what people and companies are looking for. Here is not a matter of clicking to give a Like but is what they download and use. So it is good to perfect my craft and develop my skills as far as possible.
2) I started to receive small monetary donations from users showing their appreciation for letting them use my work. They didn’t have to do that. At the same way I do not need to give my photos away for free. But we both did. I also started to receive bookings and made partnerships that I would have not found in normal and traditional way or with my regular contacts, agents and channels. Due to some of the images I have on Unsplash, I got commercial jobs, to take pictures with my drone, work for hotels, touristic resorts, not to mention I got bookings for workshops and photo walks. In other words, I made much more money giving free these images than if I would have ever sold them, and that is for sure!
3) The culture of the new is the major problem with photography online on social media as curator and photographer Andy Adams explain « It’s always about the new which inevitably means the not new drops off our radars way sooner that it should »
Social network like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are for sure a problem for photographers due to this particular reason. They are good for commercial brands because they can afford to hire social media managers and post regularly.
The images I share for free on Unsplash don’t lose value, there is no difference at all between a year old shot and a week old shot. Their value are not based on time. When I do not post new images on Unsplash, even for a month or more I still get a lot of downloads, likes and views.....EVERY day. So I get promoted and is a free advertising. Try not posting on Instagram for a month… ;-)