Most of us know and enjoy Flickr, it has been around for around 9 years now, a veritable lifetime in internet years. Whilst a massive and popular site, Flickr is perhaps not the best way these days to showcase your images. It is awash with snapshots of just about everything, from holiday snaps to unboxing the latest bit of kit. As a social networking tool, its range is limited. There is however a new(ish) kid on the block, 500px.
Founded by Evgeny Tchebotarev in 2003, 500px has grown rapidly since it's relaunch in 2009 to become one of the premier sites for enthusiasts and professionals to showcase their images. As with many things in life, its effectiveness stems from its simplicity. From the opening page, you can see that the site is simple to navigate and visually attractive. The name comes from the fact that the founders originally decided that the best resolution to display images on a webpage is 500 pixels. From 2009 the images size was increased to 900 pixels to reflect the increased resolution of websites and increased internet bandwidth.
So lets have a little look at what 500px can do for you. Firstly, when you sign up, there are three levels of membership. The basic membership is free and allows you to upload 10 photos a week. Unlike some other sites, the free membership does not restrict things such as social media marketing or your ability to sell. The paid accounts introduce extra levels of marketability such as personal sub domain names and advanced analytics to monitor your success.
The clean attractive front page of 500px
Once you have signed up, you can start uploading your images. Your images are uploaded and stored at the size you send them, but a new version is made for viewing that is automatically sized to 900 pixels. Once uploaded you can add a description and keywords as well as a location. If you have already key worded images that information is uploaded in the exif data. Similar to Flickr you can organise your images into sets and also create a portfolio.
The real power of 500px lies in what happens after your images are uploaded and tagged. You images will initially be seen in a stream of newly uploaded photos where viewers on the site will be able to add the image to their favorites and more importantly vote on it. This is called the Fresh section and shows all the most recently uploaded shots.
The website has a powerful built in algorithm that combines the number of views of an image with its average ratings to raise or lower the image’s status within its own internal search engine. The higher the rating, the more people will see your image, increasing its visibility further. A further factor in this rating is the ability to look for items in subcategories such as Travel and Still life. As well as this, the editors of the site display their selected images of the day, in the Editor’s Choice section. Getting one of images picked by the editors is a sure fire way to increase your visibility.
To give your images a little push, 500px allows you to integrate your social media accounts, enabling your to publicise your images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Stumbleupon as well as emailing the link directly to your contacts. This is a powerful tool as the rating and liking tools are open to non-site members meaning that you can help elevate your photos on the site by marketing them to your friends and colleagues on other social media sites.
Lastly, 500px has integrated a shop into the site. You can opt in or out of selling your images, but by opting in, you can allow people to purchase canvas wraps or digital downloads of your shots. The site does take a hefty commission on the canvas wrap service though, with you receiving around $60 of the $199 price.
500px has become a very powerful marketing tool for professionals and enthusiasts alike. The internet is awash with images these days, much of it bland, uninspired or heavily photoshopped. The beauty of the 500px site is allows the best images to rise to the top and by doing this, it also shows what the current trends are in photography. That alone is one very good reason for signing up.
If you are interested in taking a look at my 500px account, you can find it here http://500px.com/Odessafiles