Unsplash: An incredible free-to-use collection of images for your projects

Sometimes the best things in life are actually free. We spotlight a powerful free resource for photos you can use in any of your projects.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go. Here's my article:


I'm kidding, of course, about that image being my whole article. But I'm not kidding about the image I just showed you. That look inside a dictionary was taken by Romain Vignes and made available on Unsplash.

Unsplash is a very powerful resource for anyone who needs great images for a project. In the case of the image above, I just searched Unsplash.com for the word "words" and was presented with 39,736 images tagged with the word "words."

Unsplash's secret sauce

It's not like there aren't a thousand stock photo companies out there. So what makes Unsplash such a stand-out resource?

There are three factors: First, all images are free use. Second, you can use them however and wherever you want, including in commercial projects. Third, the images are of really high quality.

It's this triple-play of value that has taken Unsplash from a small library of 365 free photos to a colossal library of 1 million photos, with 14 billion photos viewed each month. The company says, "a photo featured on Unsplash is seen by more people than a photo posted anywhere else." And that includes Instagram.


As a designer, educator, and communicator, I use Unsplash photos mostly in my PowerPoints and in my videos. I also sometimes use them in galleries or in images in articles, like the gorgeous one of Oregon's Mount Hood by Atanas Malamov shown above this paragraph.

I chose to credit Vignes for the "words" image and Malamov for the Mount Hood image, but that's entirely optional based on Unsplash's amazingly open license. Here's the whole thing:

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

So there you go. Sometimes the best things in life are free.

Have you used Unsplash photos in any of your projects? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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