I use three photo sharing websites. Flickr, of course. That’s my primary site, and has been for a long time. That’s where I store, organise and share my photos from. I use Google (Picasa) too, to which I recently paid $20 for extra space. At the moment, I really use Google as a back up. But I’m hoping they develop the site further to make it a genuine Flickr competitor.
I use one other site, 500px. They’ve been going a surprisingly long time, although they’ve flown under most photographers radar. But I like the site. A lot. It’s no Flickr replacement. You can’t sort photos into sets in the same way, for example. It’s something a little different. I use it as a gallery to showcase my best photos. It has a simple, clean look that’s pleasing to the eye. It loads fast. And the other users all post pretty cool photos.
500px have had a pretty reasonable amount of success for a company of their size. And they’ve just done what needed to be done to keep things fresh – they’ve just released a fairly major revamp of the site. Building a popular photo sharing site is a tough ask. Building upon it’s success is arguably tougher. You have to innovate, but no one likes change. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. It’s risky, revamping. Get it wrong, and you can put yourself out of the game. Happily, they didn’t get it wrong. They got it just right. Spot on.
The site keeps the best parts of what attracted me to it in the first place – the clean look and easy to use functionality. They’ve now made more use of the screenspace with the (Google-esque) way they display the photos. They’ve also added a store, which allows you to buy and sell photos. Which I don’t expect to get much – if anything – from. But it’s nice it’s there. And it’s definitely something they can build on if they can market it right.
There’s also the Stories feature, which seems to have replaced the Blog capability – but remains the same sort of thing. Would I recommend 500px? Absolutely. It’s fun, and a great place to show off your best work. If you fancy starting a blog with an emphasis on photography, then this could also be the place for you. But I guess most of all I’d recommend it to an enthusiastic photographer looking for a place to display their ‘masterpieces’.
I do have a couple of reservations though. Firstly, I always prefer sites that allow you to get your data back out. Google makes it easy. It can be done with Flickr, although it’s a pain in the backside. I can’t see a way of doing it with 500px though. I’d also like to see a better sets function. It rules itself out as a primary photo sharing site completely without one.
Lastly, there’s the price for the Pro account. It’s a few cents under $50. I guess that’s ok for some people. But it’s pitched a bit too high for the mainstream. Maybe that price point works for them though. I’d pay up if I had the money. But having already shelled out nearly $50 on Flickr and Google, I’ve spent my photo sharing site budget already. Shame. The Pro features look good.
If you’d like to check out my account of 500px then click here. If you join up, add me. But that’s enough of this for now. I’ll be back next week though, on this topic. Google revamped their photo site a couple of months ago. Now 500px have done the same.
At the end of February, it’s going to be Flickr’s turn. I’m rather excited. It’s about time they innovated in a big way and put themselves back at the top of the pile. I’m also rather anxious. I’ve invested a lot, a huge amount, of my photography and time into Flickr. I’d be devastated if they screwed it up….