500px.comis a photo sharing website that has exploded in popularity recently. The website isn’t that new – in fact it has been around in various forms since 2003 – but its most recent incarnation seems to have hit upon a magic formula.
On visiting the site, the first thing you’ll notice is the impressively high standard of photography on display. This isn’t just a result of 500px tempting many of the web’s finest photographers to move across from other photo sharing sites, but also a testament to the effectiveness of its popularity engine.
It is free to sign up for a standard account, which will allow you to share up to 20 photos per week. Your photos are beautifully displayed with large thumbnail previews and a clean, uncluttered interface.
The site isn’t bloated with features but it has all the basics such as commenting, favoriting and following. I have been impressed by the responsiveness and diligence of the site’s staff; they seem to be working tirelessly to improve and expand the website and I have noticed a number of incremental improvements over the last month or so. If you contact them for any reason you will usually receive a rapid response.
You can either “Like” or “Dislike” each photograph on 500px and these votes are used to calculate a score. If the score is high enough, the image will appear on the popular photos page and this results in a ton of exposure for you and your work. Over time, the algorithm gradually decreases each photo’s score so the popular page always remains fresh. With every vote, you can watch in real-time as a picture’s score goes up or down. This allows you to track your images as they climb the popularity rankings, which can be quite addictive! I like this system because it is much more transparent than other sites, for example Flickr’s explore rankings, which remain a mystery to me! One of the biggest achievements of the ranking engine is that a user’s prominence in the community has a limited impact on the popularity of their photos.
This means brand new users often upload just one or two photos and (if they are good pictures) they can make it straight onto the front page of popular photos.
As a result I have noted that it is much easier to get noticed than it is on other photo sharing sites such as Flickr. For me, one of the biggest draws of 500px is the potential for exposure and the ability to get my work in front of new eyeballs. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much traffic 500px is generating. I already have more followers after six weeks on 500px than I have after several years on flickr and each new photo I upload to 500px generally receives many more views than the same picture on other photo sharing sites. Purely from a marketing point of view, this makes 500px a worthwhile time investment for me.
Tips for establishing yourself on 500px
Here are a few tips to help you get started on 500px:
- Start by filling out your profile and uploading a few (but not all) of your best photographs. This will allow visitors to decide if they want to follow you.
- Explore other users’ photographs on 500px and leave a few meaningful, worthwhile comments. People will see your comments and often click on your name to checkout your work. This is how you can start to collect a following.
- If you are on twitter, facebook or other social networks, post a link to your 500px profile so your friends can follow and “like” your work.
- Every day or two upload a new photo. Spreading out your uploads means you will always have fresh photos appearing on the homepage of people who follow you. This will result in more views and votes in the long run.
- Be selective and keep the quality of your uploads as high as possible. Most of the people on 500px are photographers so they tend to appreciate photographs that are technically good (i.e. sharp, well composed and well processed).
Portfolios are a nice feature of 500px. They allow you to create a basic standalone website with the photos you have uploaded to 500px. You can pick a theme from a selection of slick designs, include your contact details and add information to your biography page. You can checkout our portfolio here: http://wildlife.500px.com
Upgrading to an “Awesome” account costs $50 and gives you a number of benefits. For starters you can upload an unlimited number of photos per week. You also get a number of additional portfolio features such as exclusive designs, custom logos, website analytics and the ability to use your own domain name.
Awesome Account Giveaway!
The generous people over at 500px have kindly given me 5 Awesome accounts, worth $50 each, to giveaway to DPS readers! All you have to do to become eligible for this draw is complete two simple steps:
- Sign up for a free 500px account here: http://500px.com/signup
- Start following my account: Will & Matt Burrard-Lucas
After the deadline I will go through my list of new followers and select 5 accounts at random to receive a free 1-year Awesome account worth $50! The deadline is 10 days from today [2nd August].
I will announce the winners of the giveaway on my 500px blog. If you can’t wait and want to purchase an Awesome account, you can get 20% off using the promo code “friends“. I look forward to seeing your photos on 500px. Make sure you leave a link to you profile in the comments below so everyone can find you!