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Getty Images announces the acquisition of stock photo platform Unsplash

Unsplash has announced it’s being acquired by Getty Images. Launched in 2013 as a Tumblr blog with ten images, Unsplash has developed into a large source for free photographs. Users can download full-resolution images from Unsplash, for free and for any purpose. More than 100 million images are downloaded for free from Unsplash each month.

Unsplash will continue to operate as a standalone brand and division of Getty Images, where users typically pay licensing fees. As PetaPixel points out in its coverage, Unsplash has generated some controversy among photographers. Some photographers believe that offering images at no charge lowers the pay rate bar for professional photographers, especially those working in the stock photography space.

Unsplash’s website includes easy access to millions of free stock images

Mikael Cho, Unsplash’s CEO, writes that the entire Unsplash team will be staying on board and that the team will continue its work to ‘create the world’s most useful visual asset library.’ Despite a difference in business model, Cho is confident that Getty Images has the utmost respect for Unsplash and its community of creators. Unsplash and Getty have had communication since 2016, and Getty Images’ CEO, Craig Peters, told Cho, ‘We have so much admiration for Unsplash. What you’re doing for creativity and what you’ve built is incredible.’

Search results for ‘nature’ images featuring the color green in landscape orientation. In the top left you can also see an Unsplash for Brands image for Boxed Water.

The growth of Unsplash has been significant. The site recently passed three billion image downloads and recently launched Unsplash Hire, a more direct way to connect and work with Unsplash contributors. With news of the acquisition, Unsplash will further accelerate its plans on both Unsplash Hire and Unsplash for Brands.

Cho writes, ‘There are now over two million high quality, high-resolution images on Unsplash that have been contributed by people from every country. The number of creative works that have been enabled by these visuals is in the billions. It’s impossible to estimate the collective impact but from what we’ve seen and the stories we’ve heard, images on Unsplash are fundamental to helping so many people make positive things happen.’

Search results for ‘wildlife’ on Unsplash

Getty Images states that the acquisition is set to close at the end of this month, and Getty Images is funding the transaction using existing cash balances. Unsplash will be joining iStock by Getty Images in Getty Image’s overall brand portfolio. In total, Getty Images boasts a collection of more than 425 million images and videos an extensive archive of historic photography. Getty Images writes, ‘Through the combination of the Getty Images, iStock and Unsplash brands, and their corresponding websites and APIs, Getty Images will be uniquely positioned to reach and enable creativity and communications across the full spectrum of the world’s growing creative community.’

Search results for ‘wildlife’ on Getty Images

Craig Peters adds, ‘We could not be happier to welcome Unsplash to the Getty Images family. The Unsplash team share our values and share our vision of enabling global creativity and communication. We are impressed by what the Unsplash team and community has built and we look forward to supporting their continued development.’