Unsplash+ Premium Quality Explained
Annie Spratt avatar
Written by Annie Spratt
Updated over a week ago

When it comes to Unsplash+, we accept images that meet the ‘Editorial feed standard’. The easiest way to get a feel for this standard is to browse the homepage on unsplash.com.

Let’s look at this standard in more depth. Editorial feed content is generally comprised of premium images and high-end utility content.

Premium images

These are the types of images that stop you in your tracks and make you say ‘wow!’

High-end utility content

Images that show authentic storytelling, good composition, creativity and image quality.

Both "Premium" and "High-end utility" content are comprised of the following elements:

  1. Clarity and Detail: A premium image is sharp, in crystal clear focus with fine details, while a low-quality image lacks sharpness and appears blurry or pixelated.

  2. Color Accuracy: Premium images accurately reproduce colours naturally, aren’t over edited with hue and saturation adjustments, while low-quality images may have incorrect hues, washed-out tones, or colour distortion.

  3. Noise and Artifacts: Premium images are usually free from digital noise and visual artifacts, while low-quality images may exhibit graininess, compression artifacts, or lens banding. NOTE: There may be times where we accept images that have stylistic grain that give off a film aesthetic - this is different that an image with noise due to poor exposure.

  4. Dynamic Range: High-quality images have a wide dynamic range, capturing the details in both dark shadows and bright highlights. In contrast, low-quality images may lose detail in shadows or have blown-out highlights.

  5. Composition and Framing: Premium images often showcase thoughtful composition and well-balanced framing that tell a story within the frame. You can see our guide on composition here to learn more about what we are looking for. Low-quality images may lack proper arrangement and appear cluttered or visually unappealing with unnatural perspectives.

  6. Art Direction and Prop Styling: Creative direction ensures the artistic vision aligns with the desired outcome, prop styling focuses on selecting and arranging props to enhance the composition, aesthetics, and storytelling of the images, resulting in a cohesive and visually impactful final product. Both of these things are important when creating premium content that stand out from images that are less thought out.

  7. Concept: Premium images effectively translate a creative concept into visually compelling, authentic, and original images. It requires planning, attention to detail, and skillful execution to capture the desired mood, narrative, or theme, resulting in visually striking photographs that effectively communicate the intended message or story.

Here are some examples:










Keep in mind, the above are just a handful of examples of images that we would consider for the Unsplash+ library and don't capture the full picture.

We ask that you respect our decisions when it comes to the quality level we are looking for.

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