Vintage cameras
Making Media

Turning the tables on stock photography

Whenever I start a session of web browsing that resembles Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole, I usually end up with a crash-inducing number of tabs open in my browser and a wealth of new sights and sounds that are bookmarked but (inevitably) never visited again.

Recently, I came across two websites that won’t be resigned to the same fate. I will be returning to them again and again because their offering is just so awesome, and so, so generous.

I’m referring to the sites Death To The Stock Photo and Unsplash. Both sites offer free(!), original, high-quality, beautiful photos that people can download and use on their blogs, websites… wherever (did I mention FREE?)

DttSP releases a free collection of themed photos each month (you need to subscribe to their newsletter to get access) and they also have a paid subscription where you get access to everything they’ve ever released to both free and paying customers.

Unsplash offers ten free photos every ten days; again, you can subscribe to their newsletter to get access. You can also download everything from their never-ending homepage (search functionality is in the works).

The images on both sites are beautiful. They’re broad enough that you can essentially use them as stock photography but they’re so much more than that. I loathe to even refer to them as stock photos. Really, they’re just beautiful photos that you can use without requiring permission or attribution. The blogosphere cheers!

On balance, I think I prefer Unsplash simply because there is a wider variety of photos, with much more in the way of style and personality than those I have experienced from DttSP so far (granted I don’t have a paid subscription for the latter so I don’t know what they have available behind the paywall.)

I love that the artists featured on both sites have essentially given their work to the public domain, or close to it (Unsplash via a CC0 license, DttSP via their own custom license which would not be considered completely free by CC or GNU GPL standards). This is a very generous, very brave thing to do in a world where people cling to copyright like they are going to drown without it.

These sites are both great resources and I look forward to using some of their images on my own blog, or perhaps in other creative works.


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