Table of contents

500px Licensing: Get Started

Easily license your photos for stock usage through 500px. It's quick to setup and completely optional for all membership levels.

How to contribute your photos

Learn the ins and outs of how to submit your photos, the review process, and more.

How do I submit my photos for commercial licensing?

To enable your photos for licensing, you must first agree to the terms of our Contributor Licensing Agreement when activating your store. Photos must be uploaded to the 500px community site and pass a content review before they can be licensed. To upload your high resolution images, simply visit your Photo Manager, select the photo(s) you'd like to submit, and enable the Licensing option at the top of the right hand sidebar.

Make sure to provide high-quality, relevant keywords so that your photos can be discovered on our partner platforms. Attach model releases for photos that have recognizable people, and be sure to check that your submissions do not contain borders or personalized watermarks. By submitting images for licensing you are accepting the terms laid out in the 500px Contributor Agreement.

How do I re-submit content that was previously reviewed?

If you made changes to your submission, suggested by our inspector/reviewer, you are encouraged to re-submit photos that were rejected. You can review the suggested changes in the following way:

  • Go to your Photo Manager and click on ‘Licensing’ in the left-hand sidebar. Rejected photos will appear under the ‘Changes Required’ section. To see a list of the necessary changes, click on the ‘Changes Required’ text in red in the top right hand sidebar and a flyout window will guide you through the licensing errors.

Once revisions have been made, click the “Re-upload Photo” button in the right-hand sidebar of the Photo Manager and choose the revised file.

Content that was approved but has since been deleted by you will need to be re-submitted and reviewed like any other new content.

Image Reviews

Image review times will vary depending on the volume of content we receive. Reviews generally take a week or less but may take longer at times.

All photos submitted for licensing are reviewed by an inspector/reviewer to ensure each photo is suitable for licensing. Before your first submission we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with our Photographer Guidelines so your images get accepted. Here are a few of the things we look for when considering a photo for the 500px collection:

  • Technical quality and execution
  • Uniqueness / originality
  • Overall visual aesthetic
  • Production value
  • Commercial Viability

These factors are not mutually exclusive, they are subjective which is why we’re relying on our team of highly qualified inspectors/reviewers to carefully consider each submission. Curations are not permanent and are subject to change based on seasonality, aesthetic trends, multiple reviews and audits.

Review Notifications and Rejection Reasons

You can check the status of your submissions by going to your Photo Manager and clicking on ‘Licensing’ in the left-hand sidebar.

Pro/Core: This means your photo has been approved for licensing by our inspectors/reviewers. Approved photos are automatically added to the corresponding collection and made available for our distribution partners.

Changes Required: If our inspectors/reviewers flag an issue with your photo you’ll receive a notification explaining there are changes required, and the reason. Rejected photos will appear under the ‘Changes Required’ section. To see a list of the necessary changes, click on the ‘Changes Required’ text in red in the top right hand sidebar and a flyout window will guide you through the licensing errors.

Here are the possible reasons for required changes:

  • Quality

    Potential reasons for a quality rejection are compression damage (visible pixels) / digital noise / colour fringing / banding / visible retouching / outlines caused by over-sharpening / dust spots / focus / damage caused by filters such as HDR.
  • Watermark or Photo Borders
    High resolution photos will not be accepted with watermarks, signatures, or photo borders
  • Copyright

    If your photo contains any visible branding or logos on buildings, clothing, electronics, sporting equipment, store fronts, etc., it may be rejected. This includes names and registration numbers on boats, trains, vehicles, and animal tags (e.g livestock or pet tags)
  • Model or Property release is required
    Recognizable people or private locations require a release to ensure all parties agree to the terms of commercial licensing.
  • Permission is required

    Ticketed events, museums, and other locations that charge admission may not be suitable for licensing without permission. We suggest asking a representative of the location about any commercial photography restrictions they have in place before taking photos intended for commercial licensing.

Declined: Photos deemed unsuitable for licensing may be permanently rejected or declined. These are generally photos that cannot be fixed or do not meet buyer needs. The following outlines the most common reasons photos are declined:

  • Content / subject is not commercially or editorially viable
    • Image has poor composition/lacks visual impact
    • Subject matter would not appeal to buyers
    • Subject matter does not convey enough editorial or newsworthy context
    • We already have too many similars in our collection
  • Technical quality or production value is below our minimum standards when viewed at 100%
    • Main subject is blurry or out of focus
    • Image does not have a clear focal point
    • Significant banding or digital compression
    • Excessive noise or other technical problems that cannot be fixed
  • Includes intellectual property that is ineligible for Royalty-Free licensing
    • Some subjects are not suitable for licensing e.g. Disney theme parks, or museum and gallery interiors
    • If you’re unsure, check the official website of the building or location for any photography restrictions they may have in place
    • Subject matter does not convey enough editorial or newsworthy context
  • Submission is a duplicate or too similar to a photo you have already submitted
    • While we encourage variations or series of photos each individual image must offer a significant difference in lighting, composition, pose, facial expression, models or props, etc. Images that are nearly identical apart from a very slight difference may be considered too similar
  • Subject matter may be considered unsuitable or offensive
    • Graphic nudity
    • Children without model releases - editorial content must have context to be considered for licensing
    • Depictions of violence or cruelty

You cannot re-submit declined photos for licensing through 500px. You may want to consider another licensing platform or outlet.