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News & Insight

500px PRIME: A New Licensing Service, Gives Photographers a 30% Cut

By Carsten Krieger on February 10th 2014


Like Flickr some time ago, photo sharing site 500px just launched a photo licensing service under the name of ‘Prime.’

500px is one of the world’s largest photo sharing sites with over 300 million registered users. In a recent blog post, the company announced: “Our vision is to fundamentally change the way photos are licensed [and] a big part of this is changing the way photo licensing companies work with photographers.

[REWIND: 500px Secures 8.8 Million In Series A Funding]

Licensing fees start at $ 250.00 and the photographer will earn 30% from each sale. The information on what kind of licenses will be available (single image, multiple images, etc.) is still unclear though.

500px outlined its vision for ‘Prime’ further in these 3 fundamental points:

  • We are pricing all licenses in a way that brings dignity to the photographer, we are not joining the race to the bottom. Our licenses will start at $250. 
  • We are giving you, the photographer, 30% for every one of your images that we license. It doesn’t matter how it is bought, who buys it, or under what license, your 30% comes off the top.
  • We are using the power of the 500px community to give buyers insight into how photos will be received and perceived before licensing them. Imagine searching images by potential vitality, hero status and visceral reaction. This is revolutionary and something only 500px can do.

Without more detailed information, it is hard to say how ‘Prime’ will pan out for the photographer, but for someone like me who has been working with stock agencies for almost 2 decades, the mentioning of a 30% share rings some alarm bells. On average the fees are shared 50:50 between agency and photographer, sometimes even 60:40 for the photographer’s advantage.

Let us know what you think.

[Source: 500px]


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Carsten Krieger is a freelance photographer based in Ireland. He is covering a wide range of subjects including architecture/interior, portrait and food (and with a proper supply of of tea and chocolate he is able to shoot about anything), but his true love is landscape photography. He has published and contributed to a number of books on Ireland’s landscape, nature and heritage and has written for various print and online magazines.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Pixelrights

    “Licensing fees start at $ 250.00 and the photographer will earn 30% from each sale.”
    If 500px claim they are serious about photography why the low cut?
    Just another way of milking photographers.

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  2. rajat ghosh

    stock photography used to be 50 – 50 split , tell agency’s realized they could fool the user bu giving him nothing or next to nothing. 500 pix is doing the same,

    the photographer goes out creates images using his money and his ROI will be in the negative , as the bulk of sales will be taken 500 PIX,

    just a matter of time before Getty picks them up , 500 pix would have made a killing by selling and the photographer remains the foolish investor who paid for 500 pix to make all the money .


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  3. Sean Gold

    I think this is an interesting idea, and I am somewhat interested in the service as a more open market, though I’m more than a bit put off by the 30% cut for the photographer. I do like that they are keeping the prices up at a more premium range, but the 70$ for a 250$ license sounds a bit low in my opinion, compared to their 180$.

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