Unsplash Trolls the Photo Community with Its Ironic Mail Out

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I recently received a promotional email from Unsplash. Like the rest of The Phoblographer team, I don’t support anything the company does. Its model is built on the foundations of a photographer’s desperation to be seen. The head honchos make money from it and give nothing back to the folks who likely made them a fair few bucks over the years. So, when this email came through, I had to laugh at the irony– I’m sure you will too.

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Unsplash 2020 Awards Continue to Make a Mockery of Photography

The Unsplash 2020 Awards add Polaroid and Ikea to the list of companies who do not value the work of photographers.

If you’re unfamiliar with Unsplash, don’t worry. You’re going to get a crash course in why this virus of a company is hated by photographers worldwide. You see, Unsplash is a community-driven stock photography website that preys on photographers who don’t know better. Unsplash disguises competitions as a way to get creators to upload images and give up all ownership rights. Companies like Nike, Ikea, Polaroid, Peak Design Squarespace, and others use those images royalty-free in their ad campaigns. We’ve reported about Unsplash in the past, and we’ll continue to lead the charge against them. If you couldn’t tell, we’re totally against the Unsplash 2020 Awards. Let’s discuss why Unsplash and the companies supporting them are nothing but cancer to photography and photographers.

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Unsplash Now Working with Brands in a Puzzling Advertising Model

Unsplash takes on a business model that claims to provide paid opportunities for contributors while supporting its operations.

For those who ever wondered how Unsplash has been making money (since they have been giving away your photos for free), the company now shares theie answer: a new advertising model that, they say, was in the works since the platform started. Called Unsplash for Brands, it involves exactly what it says on the label, wherein brands play a significant part on the platform in a bid to make “Advertising that is beautiful and valuable.” This move, they say, will not only keep the company afloat, but also offer paid opportunities for contributors who want to take part in this project.

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These Media Companies Condone Unsplash Blindsiding Photographers

Once again, it’s time to call out a rights grab when we see one.

We at the Phoblographer have already spent a lot of our energy talking about how and why Unsplash is profoundly detrimental to our industry. While they are not the only company to engage in rights grabs, or run the only contest guilty of blatant copyright obtainment, they are undeniably one of the worst, most unapologetic perpetrators. If you’re not presently aware of the danger they pose to photographers and working professionals for any reason, here are the main takeaways to know. Continue reading…

How Using Unsplash Got This Photographer Into Legal Trouble

We’ve been warning photographers about losing rights to their work when they upload photos on Unsplash. Now, a photographer and business owner tells us about the legal issue he could be facing after using one such photo from the platform. 

If you’ve been considering posting stuff on Unsplash to get traction for your work, we’ve been very vocal about what you stand to lose. This time, we want to share what it’s like when you’re on the other side of the fence, and the legal problem you could find yourself grappling with when you source a photo from Unsplash for use on your blog or website. Simon Palmer, a photographer, cameraman, and business owner, recently shared with us an unsavory experience that unfolded after using a photo from Unsplash for a blog. His marketing team has been instructed to use only copyright-cleared images for this purpose, so they thought it wouldn’t be an issue. However, sometime later, they were contacted by international copyright enforcer Copytrack with a copyright infringement notice, requesting a license fee. He double-checked the image on their blog and was sure they downloaded the photo from Unsplash and credited the photographer as was indicated on the site.

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Opinion: Unsplash’s Latest News Is a Mockery to Photographers


Over 1,000,000 images have been shared on Unsplash now; that makes our heads and hearts hurt.

We have spoken in some depth about Unsplash and how they are unraveling the threads of photography as we know it. It seems as though the threads are being pulled apart faster and faster. The company just announced that over a million images have been shared with them by photographers and creators who may not understand exactly what they are doing to themselves or the industry as a whole. Heavy sigh Continue reading…

New Photographers: Please Stop Supporting Unsplash, Support Behance

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.

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Dropbox Partners With Unsplash in Deal That Rips off Photographers

Image rights

Apparently Dropbox thinks Unsplash and their toxic views in regards to image rights are cool.

Just when we thought things couldn’t possibly get much worse for photographers who unknowingly give up their image rights to services like Unsplash, things take another turn for the worse. The real bad part here is that Dropbox, one of the largest cloud based services around, has now got in on the act. A service called Dropbox Paper which allows teams to collaborate in online projects will now have access to over 850,000 images that have been quite honestly snatched from talented photographers around the globe; and they won’t get a single penny for their work. Sigh.  Continue reading…

The Most Modern SLR of 2021. NONS SL42 Mk2 Review

A few years ago, we took a very hard stance on SLR gear. We told manufacturers we wouldn’t review them. We also said we probably wouldn’t report on new news about DSLRs. That’s one of the factors that’s put a strain on a few manufacturer relationships we have. But the industry itself also decided to pivot. The DSLR, in 2021, is for the Luddite. And depending on what side of the table you’re on, the NONS SL42 Mk2 is totally new. It’s the successor to the first SLR-style camera to specifically shoot Instax Mini film. The Mk2 gets a few upgrades from the original. And if you really want full control over your Instax shooting, this is the best chance you’ll have.

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How to Never Let Your Employer Exploit Your Passion For Photography

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Most photographers are not professionals. Some do photography as a side gig, while the majority are hobbyists. Meaning most people who practice photography also have a day job. That’s not to say they’re bad photographers. I know many talented photographers who decided not to transition to being a pro. And when their employer becomes aware of their skillset, they may choose to exploit it. Sadly, it happens too often. And if it happens to you, here’s what you should do. Read on to see.

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The Most Ethical Place to Get Free Photography for Your Needs

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This article isn’t for photographers: it’s for the people who want images and end up ripping off photographers. They know it’s wrong; they know they’re using images without consent or permission. Should photographers be paid? Yes. Absolutely. I think it’s essential for photographers to make money and support their families the same way someone doing business does. Consistently ripping off photographers isn’t the key. And there’s a huge difference between fair use and commercial use. Here are the most ethical places to get free photography.

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Is Polaroid Actually Real Film? Comparing Polaroid, Instax, and Zink

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Instant film is fun in so many different ways. You can shoot a photo of someone and give them the print. You can capture fun memories with it at parties. And you can just plain out have fun while shooting with it. But it’s not all created equal. In fact, some instant film is better than others. So we dove into our archives of reviews to compare Polaroid, Instax, and Zink. Some of it is real film. And some of it is pretty awful and mixed in with terrible marketing. Instant film can make you feel great. But it can also let you down. Here’s some of the truth about it.

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You’re Doing It Wrong. Choosing the Best Camera Strap

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Fact: most photographers tend to stick with the stock camera strap they get from the camera manufacturer. In most cases, this couldn’t be any more wrong. It’s convenient for sure, but manufacturer camera straps are often some of the worst we’ve used. They’re not good for a variety of situations, and they’re often uncomfortable. But in most cases, they’re also just plain ugly. Luckily, we’ve been reviewing camera straps for well over a decade. And we probably have the most reviewed of any credible publication. So we’re going to do a deep dive into camera straps and satiate your curiosity.

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The 3 Best Everyday Camera Bags for More Than Just Photo Gear

Getting the right camera bag is sometimes a confusing thing, but we’ve got it figured out.

Fact: no one is making the perfect camera bag. Many bags come very close to being perfect. And there are only a few that we regularly take out with us. These everyday camera bags are made very well, can accommodate lots of gear, and are very comfortable. Even better, they find ways to work for both men and women, which is kind of a rarity. We’ve reviewed more camera bags than any other photo publication out there. So we dove into our Reviews Index to pick some of the best. Here’s our selection.

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The Phoblographer is Hiring. Join the Most Progressive Photo Site Around

We’ve got a few positions open still! Join our team!

Hey folks,

We’ve done an internal revamp to refocus what we want right now. To make us stand out even more from other sites, we’re adding a few other positions to the staff. Women make up half our staff, lots of our staff are internationally based, and we’re still growing. To that end, Women, POCs, and anyone else are very encouraged to apply. Want a steady gig? Take a look. Want an internship? Take a look!

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Dear Getty: My Photographs Have Value, So Do Yours.

Getty Images has bought Unsplash. This is disappointing, but it shouldn’t be surprising news.

In the race to the bottom, Getty Images always seems to be first. They bought Photo Disc in 1998, one of the first royalty-free photo stock agencies. Then in 2006, they bought iStock, one of the first microstock agencies. If someone is distributing photos for less money, Getty seems to want to buy them. Now, unfortunately, they have an even larger platform, and the only way Unsplash could be cheaper is if photographers paid people to use their photos.

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Polaroid Is Making Packfilm and Giving it Away for Free!

In light of their support for the last Unsplash awards, Polaroid is giving away Packfilm for free!

No, your mind isn’t the only one being blown right now. I was quite shocked to learn this myself. Today, Polaroid is giving us a doubleheader. First off, they’re bringing back Packfilm. So if you’ve got an older Polaroid Type 100 film camera, get ready: you’ll be able to bring new life to that camera. The only other manufacturer is Supersense, and their stuff is hit or miss. But even better, they’re giving it away for free! That’s where we really started to scratch our heads.

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Peak Design’s Latest Video Distracts You from the Ironic Truth

Peak Design is playing into a scene of photographers who aren’t doing their research.

Some of the big news in the photo industry is how Peak Design is trying to rally the world. Specifically, they’re doing this about Amazon. They made a video about how Amazon is ripping off their Every Day Sling camera bag. Is it messed up? Totally. But there’s a lot that’s not being said here. And I’d like to give everyone a different point of view.

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Clickasnap Offers Photographers Money Per View, But It’s Not Perfect

Clickasnap is on the right path but needs a 2021 upgrade.

The Phoblographer has written a lot about photo sharing sites that screw over the photographer. Unsplash is one of the biggest culprits, for example. They take a photographer’s work, strip them of all their image rights, and don’t pay them a single penny. Payment, in their eyes, is exposure. So it’s no surprise we don’t like them. But, in steps Clickasnap. It’s a company that wants photographers to get paid, but there are some flaws in its execution.

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