So I know that those who read this blog may be expecting a post about wedding photography, but I am not going to be writing that up quite yet. Instead, today I am going to write about a website that I have made use of quite a bit in the recent months. That website is 500px.com.
I heard about 500px a couple of months ago on one of the photography blogs that I follow. At the time, Google Plus had just come out, and this particular blogger (Scott Bourne) was unimpressed with their copyright policy in terms of photography. I have read a number of blogs on the subject and am still not sure where I stand on the matter, but this is not the point. The point is that Scott pointed out a photography site whose copyright policy he did approve of, and that site was 500px.
I was never one to get into the Flickr thing. I posted a few pics, but couldn't be bothered with coming back regularly to post and look up photographs of others. With 500px, on the other hand, I have been a lot more active. The theory behind the site is that people should only post their best photos. It is not a photo dump site. It is a site that allows you to display your best work, to build a portfolio and something that you can be proud of rather than just putting up photographs and never returning. You cannot save photographs from the site (which I suspect is why Scott recommended it), and while I know that there are ways around this, it is still a serious deterrent. You can also have a look at the latest pics, the best rated pics, follow specific photographers and like, dislike or fave their pics. Each picture is given a rating according to how many people have liked and disliked it, which I think is pretty handy, and any activity on your pics comes up on a feed on your own personal wall.
Reading over what I just said, I realise that this sounds all too familiar. It sounds like there is nothing that sets this site apart from Facebook or Flickr. But if you take a look at the site, you will quickly find just how different it is. This site is designed to be smart and professional. The way that photographs are displayed is clean and clear, uncomplicated and just showing the necessary basics. Even the wall is a lot cleaner and clearer than any other that I have used. Most walls on social networking sites are cluttered, and this is not the case with 500px.
In addition to a personal wall, there is also a space for each photographer to write a blog and to create a portfolio for themselves. As a regular (unpaying) member, you can create a single portfolio and are limited to about four themes for it. However, even the free themes are of impeccable quality and are perfect for creating a classy, professional looking portfolio that you can be proud of.
I should probably mention at this point that I am actually not one of the regular members. Shortly after creating my profile on the site, I found that another of the blogs that I follow was having a giveaway where the prize was an upgrade to an "Awesome" account on 500px. I entered and was one of the three winners. This means that I have access to a number of portfolio themes that were not there before and have no limit as to how many photographs I can upload in a week, in addition to other advantages that I haven't checked out quite yet. However, even before I had my Awesome account, I was incredibly pleased with the site. I am still using one of the free themes that had been available to me before the upgrade and, while I have recently been uploading a large number of photographs trying to get my portfolios off the ground, I am only doing so because I have an Awesome account and would have been happy to keep going with the regular one had I not been given this opportunity.
If there are photographers out there wanting to find a place to show their work and wanting to be professional about it, I would recommend skipping the Flickr route, forgetting Facebook and Google Plus (though possibly still posting on all of the above as well, since they are still the most popular way of having your photos noticed), but getting a 500px account. If you want to check out mine, you can find me at http://500px.com/evanescent.