I'm really proud to say that today I've passed a milestone in my photo sharing history on Unsplash, my photos have been downloaded one million times. One million!
I love taking photos and sharing snapshots of my life with other people. I've no desire to get into photography professionally, for me it's simply something that makes me happy. To see those figures above makes me incredibly proud, around 1 in 100 people who come across my photos on Unsplash download them. If I want to, I can utilise that proven exposure for working with brands. Just as brands pay Instagrammers to post a photo with their product in on their feed. This in an unexplored and untapped side to having an Unsplash profile but I can see how it could be a future money maker for some photographers, after all these aren't photos once seen and then lost in a feed, these are photos that if approved on Unsplash are searchable and downloadable - meaning infinite organic exposure for a brand. See a gap, something that no one else is doing and fill it. Do it first and do it well.
100,000,000 is a number that I can't even begin to get my head around, even more so when you consider that those are view on Unsplash alone. Mind blowing when you consider how that will multiply when you consider their future journeys around the internet and indeed, the real world.
Other photographers in the Unsplash community have written posts before me, sharing their experiences (I've added some links at the bottom of this post if you are interested in reading them). For each person, sharing their photos means different things, and so I thought it was time that I shared what it means to me.
The thing that I love the most about sharing my photos is that the moment, when I captured a shot, still lives on in some form. The journey of the photos vary, I'm seen then being used on social networks, in blog posts, on the BBC website and in physical form as book & album covers. To think that people can still see a moment that I captured months and years afterwards, people in different countries, some who I know, some I have yet to meet and some I'll never know really means something to me. A wonderful example if photos living on are those of Les Anderson, being re-used and remixed.
When I started out blogging, I did so with no expectations just because I loved it. Over time I started earning money and receiving opportunities from my blog. Six years on and my blog has taken me to around the world, literally. Sharing photos on my Unsplash profile is also something I do with no expectations because I love it. But that's not to say that it won't lead to opportunities in the same way that blog has, it has so much potential.
In terms of the photos, I share photos every week that vary in subject matter. I shoot and share a blend of photos that I've taken in my day to day life and some that I shoot especially to fill 'gaps' on Unsplash. For example in the run up to Christmas, I have shared festive shots, same at Easter. In the Unsplash community emails and the Slack community we share search results that give little or no results, I tend to use these stats to help me decide what to shoot if I'm running low on inspiration.
I've been working on the Community team at Unsplash for a year now and every single day I wake up, pour myself a coffee and sit down at my computer, genuinely excited to see the photo submissions that have come in overnight.
I'm inspired every day. That's a pretty cool thing to be able to say.
I'm inspired by the talent of the photographers contributing .The generous spirit of people giving with no expectation of receiving something in return just to help other people warms my soul. Seeing the many different creative ways that people use the photos is to the creative mind what eating popping candy is to the taste buds - surprising, exciting, fun.
I hope that this doesn't come across as a showy-offy post, it's just genuine joy at photos that I have taken reaching so far. To all my fellow Unsplashers - kudos and respect always x
How Unsplash made me a photographer - by Nathan Anderson
Giving my images for free - Samuel Zeller
Sharing what I shoot with Unsplash - Drew Coffman
273 reasons why I decided to distribute my photos for free - Martino Pietropoli