Unsplash+ Editing Guidelines

How to edit your Unsplash+ submissions

Annie Spratt avatar
Written by Annie Spratt
Updated over a week ago

The Unsplash+ premium collection is going to be different from the content currently available for free on Unsplash. We aim for premium images to be higher quality and timeless.

For this reason, post-processing for Unsplash+ might differ from how you would normally edit your personal work or the work you have previously submitted for free on Unsplash. This is because the images are going to be sold for commercial use, and our buyers will need to be able to re-edit content to align with their own projects and brand standards. And while it’s easy to add filters to images, it’s much harder to remove them. Therefore, post-processing should be kept to a minimum amount and images should look natural and not over-filtered.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot shoot in your own style or follow your creative vision. But we want to encourage an aesthetic that is more timeless and better suited to our premium subscribers.

Post-processing guidelines:

  • Keep consistency in your editing style. Do not use different filters/presets across the same set.

  • Keep the colours natural. Don’t change the white balance excessively, don’t change tints and don’t over or under-saturate colors. If you normally use filters or presets, keep these to a minimum or you images will be sent back for resubmission.

  • Avoid adding fade. Keep the blacks and shadows as they naturally are.

  • Do not add grain, vignettes, fake lens flares, film scratches, etc. If you add any of these effects, we will ask you to remove them.

  • Avoid submitting black and white images when possible. A client can always convert images into black and white but not vice versa.

The above applies to all submissions shot with digital cameras. In case you shoot analogue, grain, vignette, etc. shouldn’t be removed from film originals.

Here are some examples of how we do expect you to post-process your images:

As you can see we still expect a certain level of post-processing to be applied to the images. We do expect you to enhance lighting, contrast and colors - as long as images still look natural and not filtered.

Here are some examples of how we don’t want you to post-process your images:

All the images above have been heavily edited with the use of filters and presets. The colors and contrasts look extremely unnatural and there is added fade, grain, flares, vignette, etc. Images like these will be rejected.

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