You don’t need to keep giving your rights up photographers; you can still have self-respect.
The motivation for this piece comes not only from the message that I’ve been actively preaching about Unsplash and the companies supporting them, but also because I’ve noticed that a ton of new photographers who enjoy showcasing their work on Reddit just don’t know any better. And so it is my genuine hope that everyone shares this message with every other photographer that they know. This isn’t at all a sponsored post for Behance–we’re pretty strict about our editorial policies and transparency in a journalism world where so many aren’t. I don’t want to call this a public service announcement, but instead I want to call this my beckoning to photographers to stop giving up their work and their creativity for free.
Stop using Unsplash.
For those of you who don’t know, Unsplash is a platform that encourages photographers to give up their work on the platform for free. Those who use the images get full commercial access to the images, get to manipulate them however they wish, and don’t even have to credit the photographer. I’ve heard of agencies say things like “So are we going to Unsplash this?”
The uncouth words I have for them are best kept off of my own blog.
For some of you, you start to say “Oh well you’re just taking a pic.” Well, no; you’re not. Or at least, every photographer should be striving to create something completely unique and different in order to push the industry forward and though I hate saying stuff like this, I’ve genuinely begun to think that we are all individually responsible for this. Instead of necessarily spending hours and hours in Photoshop and Lightroom, we should be working and striving to do what we can in-camera. Post-production should be a tool, not a crutch.
“The uncouth words I have for them are best kept off of my own blog.”
For those of you who believe in Global Warming, and I genuinely hope that you all do, I sort of want to relate it to this in an almost as urgent matter. Every single one of us has to do something to prevent it. And by you giving up your images and your rights, you’re not helping the problem. You, and perhaps others, will sit there when stories come up about theft of images and clamour for blood. But if you’re actively giving up images for free, you’re no better at all.
The solution? I’ve genuinely always believed it to be Behance. Behance is a company owned by Adobe, and in the mind of this photographer, Behance is Adobe’s best and everlasting gift to the photography world ahead of what Lightroom has decayed into. Behance is a community where photographers can showcase their work. You can submit as creative commons or with full permission. Websites like mine, My Modern Met, and others tend to pull content from there with permission. The projects are selected by the Editors and showcased. It’s a place for collaborations and creativity. It’s seriously a place that I visit a few times a week.
It’s better than Instagram too. You’re not fighting an algorithm. Instead, it’s all just about organically good work.
So seriously, stop giving up your work for free.