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Improving Discovery

Published by Adam Shutsa · May 7th 2014

We will soon be launching a minor update to our main photo feeds: Popular, Upcoming, Fresh, and Editors’ Choice. This is the first step in our focus on Discovery. We want to constantly provide easier and more powerful ways to find the photos that will inspire you.

We’ve moved the top menu on these pages to the left side to help move the photos closer to the top and provide easier access to the category selector. You can still click on an individual category to focus on a single interest.

New with today’s release is the ability to select multiple categories. Simply hold shift + click on more categories to add them to your filter.

This will open a wide variety of themed discovery that you can control. For example, if you wanted to explore photos of our natural world, you could select the Animals, Landscapes, and Nature categories.

We’re very excited about the coming changes to improving discovery on 500px. It’s our hope that you feel the same as we continue with these releases in the coming weeks.

Update, May 8: The new categories menu is now out! Click on the Discover tab to see the update.

An update on Stories

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · May 7th 2014

Here at 500px, we are constantly evaluating the benefits that our features bring to our community. It’s important to us that we focus on what will help you grow as a photographer and help you explore your love of photography.

With that in mind, we are making a change to our Stories feature. Our findings have shown that a very small subset of active users – less than 0.7% in fact – have created stories within a relevant time period. Moving forward, the stories that you have created so far will remain available in your Profile. However, creating new stories will not be possible.

We are committed to delivering the best possible discovery experience and will be introducing a new way to share and discover photo collections. You will see an upgraded look for Sets that will take cues from the best of our curated collections, such as 20 Cuddly Polar Bear Photographers, 37 Valentine’s Photos for the Covert Lover, City & Architecture, or Best Photojournalism Photos of 2013. We can’t wait to show you the results. Stay tuned!

A new partnership:

Published by Alexandra Kim · May 5th 2014

Have you ever wanted a beautiful and personalized web presence that’s easy to create and manage? If so, check out!

We are proud to announce that 500px is now integrated with If you are an member, you’ll now be able to add your beautiful 500px photography to your identity online. You can do this by adding the 500px app to your profile.

A curated collection of 500px photos are also now available to use as backgrounds. This will help you personalize your profile even more by being able to choose a photo that truly represents you.

More exposure for our photographers is another addition to our Partner Program that we at 500px are working on to get you more exposure as a photographer. To have your photo considered by one of our partners, drag and drop photos from your Library to the “Partner Program” folder in your Organizer sidebar.

If you’re interested in building your brand online and getting more exposure as a photographer, is a great way to do so. Check it out for yourself - it’s free to join!

Stock Photography 101: 10 Helpful Tips to Jumpstart Your Stock Photography Business

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · May 4th 2014

If you are like me, then you’re new to the stock photo industry. I have been taking photos for 13 years now, and have previously been on the buyer’s side of the stock photo industry in my short career as an art director.

However, with 500px Prime, I am very excited to participate as a photographer. As soon we launched, I jumped right in and uploaded lots of photos. Here are the 10 things that I have learned about stock photography that might be helpful to you as well:

1. Get model releases early

I have to admit, I take a lot of portrait and fashion photos (follow me), and I often ask my friends to model for me. So when I decided to upload those photos to 500px Prime, I had to ask proper model releases. Tracking down everyone on multiple continents and throughout many time zones is hard. It is much easier to download a model release app or to have a model release printout ready in your photo bag when you are out shooting. Asking for a model release before the shoot will make your life much easier, and your model will have more opportunity to clarify how he or she would like the photos to be used.

2. Take time to keyword your photos

I’m still new to this, so I have made a lot of mistakes in keywording. To help me and fellow photographers, our editors put together a list of handy tips on how to keyword your photos. The key to keywording is to think like a buyer. Whether they look for emotions (bonding, happiness, empathy) or traits (individuality, simplicity, beauty), try to extract what words your photo can express. According to some experts, the ideal number of keywords is 20-25, but they have to be relevant. Spam keywords can actually hurt your photos.

3. Photographers are their own worst editors

I have noticed it before, and it is even more relevant when trying to get into stock photography: photographers are usually their own worst editors. In the past, the photos that I hated got picked for a full spread in magazines, but photos that I loved got rejected altogether. The key takeaway is to upload more photos, both good and bad, because what you may think is bad could be perfect for the editor or creative director.

4. Be the supply to the demand

As a photographer, you market your photos to buyers. So in order to be successful, it’s important to sell what’s in demand. It doesn’t mean going against the grain and shooting something you don’t believe in, but lack of supply in areas of high demand is a lost opportunity. There is a lot of research of what’s in demand in stock photography (authentic imagery, filtered photos à la Instagram, texture patterns, breathtaking landscapes), so you can be in sync with the market. At 500px, we have created special twitter account, @500pxPrimePD, so that you can see what out clients are looking for.

5. Be aware of brands and logos

I learned this one a bit too late, so it cost me a few hours of work in Photoshop. For commercially licensable photos, make sure your photos don’t have brands, trademarks or related graphics in them. For example, my photo of a car was rejected because both the brand and shape of the car is intellectual property of the car manufacturer. Same goes for swoosh logos, famous fruit logos and so on. Interestingly enough, some brands will add their logos in post production!

6. Be a thought leader

To be successful in selling stock photography it’s important to market yourself. Every single photographer who makes five to six digits a year selling stock photography invests heavily in marketing. While spending money on ads might be one way of promoting yourself, marketing your particular area of expertise is a better way to achieve a good following and sales. Write about your photo shoots, travel, tips and tricks that you have learned doing what you love. There are a number of photographers successfully contributing articles and tutorials to 500px ISO and other blogs. So by writing this blog post, I’m promoting myself, too :)

7. Master your domain

While you can submit all the photos you want, being a master in just a few domains can help. Create your own style, and art directors will be forever grateful. They are always on a lookout for fresh, authentic imagery, so having photography that stands out is a key to a successful sale. One of the greatest examples of a photographer mastering his own domain would be Oleg Oprisco.

8. Keep the bar high

Sometimes I like to make photos a bit more grungy, by adding excessive vignetting or simulated film grain. While it looks great on my profile or in print, I found my photos to be rejected because of this. Now I keep a separate copy of the same photo that is as clean and noise-free as possible to submit for licensing.

9. Save some space

When I shoot landscapes, a lot of composition rules apply to composing or cropping the shot. In my time working as an art director at the magazine, I found a lot of images to be not suitable due to lack of space for text or a headline around the shot. Now when I’m done with my artistic shots, I tend to take a few more photos with enough space around my subject.

10. Go out and shoot more!

Lastly, the only way to get better at taking photos is to go out and take more photos, to try new techniques and to go to meetups with fellow photographers. Photos nowadays get dated very quickly, so to keep myself in shape I get out regularly!

Introducing new ways to discover photos, new portfolio themes and bulk uploading on mobile

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · May 1st 2014

We would like share a few details about upcoming new features and enhancements on 500px.

500px started as a photographers first community. We are always listening to our members and have been hearing a lot of great feedback from our valued users and have designed features to address it. Here’s what’s coming up.

New Ways to Discover Photos

We are introducing new discovery mechanisms to allow for broader discovery in more categories. In the next several months, we will be working to make improvements to Flow to provide an even more personalized experience on photos and photographers that inspire you.

We are also looking into a small subset of users that are perhaps over-utilizing the platform for visibility (aka 'gaming the system'). These enhancements will include rate limits for Likes, Favorites, and Comments. This should have no negative impact on honest members of 500px. We are evaluating how to make adjustments to Pulse to ensure a balanced and fair system that encourages the type of behaviour that is valued by 500px and rewards excellence in photography.

Upgrading Our Core Features

Over the next several weeks we will be introducing several new portfolio themes and fixing long-standing issues. These themes will allow you to display your art work in new and exciting ways and customize your portfolio for that “unique you” look.

One of the most visible changes to the site will be our new menu bar. It will provide a streamlined way to navigate 500px. This will include a notification center that will house all of the important activity and interactions within our vibrant community.

We will also be introducing improved statistics for our Plus and Awesome members, giving you more insight into who is viewing your work and what’s popular in the community.

Last but not least, bulk uploading on mobile devices. For those of you who have transitioned to primarily tablets and mobile devices, we will be adding bulk uploading capabilities on our mobile devices. Beginning with iOS, you will have the ability to select and upload multiple photos to your profile.

More Flexibility in How You Sell Your Photos

Less than two months ago, we launched 500px Prime, our commercial licensing platform that gives an industry leading 70% of revenue back to photographers. We’ve had tremendous traction with over 50K photographers contributing superior content to 500px Prime.

In the near future, we will be testing additional commerce options for those of you who want to see your work licensed in other mediums and forms. We also recognize the need for photographers to have greater control over their photos, so we are working on improved controls for your content in 500px Prime.

A Better Onboarding Experience

For our new users, we are streamlining the way we introduce you to our amazing community. With over 4 million members, and thousands joining every day, we have a dedicated team looking at ways to best help photographers contribute and interact with our community from the first moment you join 500px.

We are listening to you. Please continue to give us the feedback to help us serve you better.

We admire everyone’s creativity and strive to continually make 500px the best place to upload, share, and distribute your work. Our team is working overtime to address all the valuable feedback we’ve received from our focus groups, community forums, and customer support contacts.

On behalf of the 500px Team,

Evgeny Tchebotarev
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

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