Unsplash is awesome, it could be better

Nathaniel White-Joyal

I get a metric ton of shit in my inbox. Most of it is absolute crap that somehow I was convinced to sign up for by a clever headline of a lack of self-confidence. I just looked through my inbox and I think I need to purge. I’m certainly planning on doing that, but there are a couple newsletters that I am really happy to see in my inbox because they bring true value to my work every day. Unsplash is a godsend, when I am struggling to find my creative juices, I open it.

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Unsplash is a royalty free photos that can be used in any project that I happen to be working on. Blog posts, social media and even films, they all end up with an Unsplash photo in them. Every photo in this blog post is from unsplash.com. The photos are always stunning, I could print them out and put them around my house. They have also come up with a great strategy of having semi-famous people curate the collection that they send out from week to week. This week’s photos were curated by the founders of Ello.

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The newsletters composition put the photos in a place of true prominence. The subject line says exactly the right thing to pull the reader in “Beautiful, hi-res photos from Unsplash”. I know exactly what to expect, it’s not ambiguous at all. The font choice is perfect as well, that old typewriter font (Orator) allows the photos to shine while still showing a sense of design and thoughtfulness.
Perfect right? Well not quite, in my opinion. I’m a glutton, I want more all the time. I see a piece missing. I want the story behind the picture, the inspiration that caused the photographer to get to the location, and why at that moment they choose to depress the shutter. The story behind each photo and photographer is inspiring and gets me excited to get out there and create. I connect with the story behind the photo because it allows me to take the journey with the photographer and creates a deep investment in the photographer and Unsplash.

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Now admittedly I’m a bit of geek for all things film and photography, so I also want to know about the equipment and the settings that were used to create such an awesome piece of art. This is where the skill comes in. The idea that digital photography means that we can all just create great art with the click of a button is wrong. The understanding of the equipment and setting the camera just right to get the raw photo is critical to producing something that will move your audience.
Unsplash is fantastic and I turn to them every day. With more content and a telling of the narrative behind each photo, Unsplash could turn their newsletter into the best thing that ever came into my inbox.

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2 thoughts on “Unsplash is awesome, it could be better

  1. Sinje

    Hello Stranger 😉

    You forgot to leave your name but that’s alright. You had my attention from the moment I saw the pix on your blog. Never heard of Unsplash before and I have only been using my own pictures in articles I posted here so far, but I will certainly need to check them out! Make sure your language will pass profanity filters or you might lower your reach unintentionally. Otherwise an enjoyable read 🙂

    Like

  2. Robyn Clarke

    Hello Stranger indeed,

    I agree with Sinje, I almost veered away from reading your post because of the use of language which to me implied that it might not have been written as eloquently as it is. (I think the danger of using foul language is the assumption that the content might be more colloquial and less serious.) I enjoyed your post and the ideas about adding a story behind the photographs. As a photographer, I too enjoy seeing the technical data and the stories behind the work. Cool website too! Thanks.

    Like

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