Unsplash Stock Photography

June 14, 2021

One of the world’s leading photography websites, Unsplash is a photography resource founded in 2013 by Montreal-based entrepreneur Mikael Choas as a humble Tumblr blog. Acquired by Getty Images in March 2021, Unsplash shares stock photography from over 265,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 16 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 3.48 million photos. The permissive copyright terms on its photos have led to Unsplash becoming one of the largest photography suppliers on the internet, though images are no longer made available under the Creative Commons zero license. Before using the images, check out the Unsplash License.

Unsplash Stock Image

Photo by Nathan Dumlao | Mountains, hiking, summits, and all things connected to adventure in nature are quite popular on Unsplash. This is a category where being specific will yield top results.


Photo by Flipboard

Photo by Jimmy Chang

Another popular category with a tremendous amount of content is architecture. There are incredible photos of architecture from around the world on Unsplash.

Holidays are quite well represented, some better than others. “Easter” is really good! “Mother’s Day” is good, but I like the simple “mom” search results better. “Father’s Day” doesn’t fare as well, but you can do the same thing to get better results. Just use “dad” – or maybe “family”.

Black and white photography is huge on Unsplash. They may not be as visible on the homepage as color images, but they have a strong presence. All it takes is a specific search for “black and white” or add the term to a search for a category or specific object, such as “black and white nature” “black and white portrait” or “black and white flowers”. The list is endless! Though you may find that some search results are a bit odd lol.

No surprise, but model photography is huge on Unsplash. Search for “models” “model girl” “model man” “model photoshoot” or “model face”. I’ve also found some great model shots without using the word “model” at all. Try using “woman face” “woman portrait” – or even “smile”. It all depends on the look you’re going for.

Photo: Dmitriy K.

Don’t be lazy! If you do a search and get some great results, don’t simply click the download icons from the results page. Instead, click each image to see what discoveries await you on the image detail page. There you will find links to “related images” (think Google). This lets you leapfrog from one great image to another, bypassing the obvious and coming up with images not found by most searchers.

Easter Bunny

Search by Category

Category searches yield large results. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for, consider using subcategories. For instance, “Easter” will return everything related to Easter, but if you’re looking for the Easter Bunny, use that more restricted term. Results will include images that don’t appear in the more general search.

Swirling Blue Dye

Photo by Adrien Ledoux

Search by Color

This might sound strange, but if you’re not entirely sure of what you’re looking for try using a search for colors. For instance, “purple” returns great results, especially if you’re looking for flowers or backgrounds. The term “pink” returns a lot of backgrounds, while “blue” returns a full range of images, including sky, ocean, backgrounds, mountains, ice, and more. If you do have something in mind, such as nature, searching for green will turn up some great options.


Photo by Gaelle Marcel

Specific Search

A specific search will yield great results. Don’t be shy about adding modifiers, too. Adding an “s” to search for “flowers” rather than “flower” will result in a completely different set of images. So will adding “bouquet” “dark” “dried” “spring” “summer” “fall” or “winter”. Be aware that getting super granular in your search may yield no results or inaccurate ones. When in doubt, check the photo caption to see what details are available.

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