500px (pronounced five hundred pixels) is an online photography community that enables users to discover, share, buy and sell inspiring photography. The site is designed for use primarily by amateur and professional photographers.

The Toronto-based site was launched in 2009 and serves users worldwide. By late 2012, 500px had more than 1,500,000 users and was named one of the best blogs of 2012 by Time Magazine.

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The Good

  • User account options
  • Sell your photography
  • Mobile app available

500px offers three different user accounts ranging in price from free to a $75.00 annual fee for the highest account, which is called Awesome. The Awesome account features the most benefits: unlimited photo uploads, personal store, unlimited sets, advanced statistics, personalized portfolio, subdomain and Google Analytics.

Regardless of which account you choose, you'll be able to sell your photography through 500px's Market; this option is offered to all users. The Market allows buyers to order digital copies of any public images on 500px. Buyers have the option of purchasing a royalty-free version, which is more expensive, or a web/social version intended for sharing as content like blog posts. For purchased images, the photographer grants the buyer a non-exclusive perpetual personal use license to download and copy the image. Title and ownership of and for the image remains exclusively with the photographer, however. The straightforward guidelines and purchase process on 500px make it simple to monetize your work and start seeing a profit quickly.

The 500px platform is centered on sharing. You'll be able to like a photo, add it to your favorites, share it with friends on social networks or give the photographer feedback in the comments. You can also link your account to your Facebook profile, so activity on 500px like favorites, uploads and follows are automatically shared with Facebook friends. This is a hassle-free way to ensure that your Facebook followers are receiving regular updates about your work and have access to new photos as you add them to 500px.

500px also has a mobile app that is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 8 and Chrome OS. There are no file size or storage limits for uploads to 500px, so you won't have to worry about saving or running out of storage space.

500px has a Support Center where you can browse topics to find answers to various questions. When you land on the Support Center page, a live chat box appears so you can ask a question directly to one of their customer service agents and receive quick assistance.

The Bad

  • No watermarks or copyright
  • No merchandize or gift items
  • No photo editing

500px doesn't enable you to add watermarks or any visible copyright information to your photographs. This may encourage more users to purchase your photos, but it also makes it more difficult to ensure that the photos will be used and/or cited as agreed upon, as well as limits the ability of those who see the photos and like them to be able to trace them back to you as the original photographer. If you're more concerned with branding yourself than making money, you may want to opt for a site like SmugMug that will let you watermark your work.

Unlike sites like SmugMug or Zenfolio, 500px does not feature merchandise and gift items for buyers - they will be limited to purchasing either a Royalty-Free or Web/Social version of your photo, which can be downloaded as a digital version or printed. This may hamper your ability to make money off of your photos if your fans prefer to purchase them as canvases, stationery or other items.

500px does not offer any photo editing functions. You will need to do all editing and enhancing before uploading photographs to the site. If you're on a budget and can't afford editing software, or if you're looking for more of a one-stop site to work with your photos, the lack of features on 500px may create an additional challenge for you.

The free plan will limited your uploads: you'll be restricted to twenty per week. If you're an avid photographer and want the freedom to upload a full batch of photos at once, you'll want to choose one of 500px's paid plans.

The Bottom Line

500px is a platform for sharing and monetizing your photos. If you're an amateur or professional photographer, features such as Facebook auto-updates, comment feedback from other photographers and the easy purchase options for buyers will enable you to build a fan base and increase your earning potential.

However, the inability to watermark or copyright your work may be a deterrent if you'd like to ensure that your photos are secure. For more diligent photo protection, you may want to check out SlickPic, SmugMug or Zenfolio.

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