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Social Media for Photography: 5 Reasons Why Every Photographer Should Use 500px

By Nihar Sawant on April 4th 2014

When it comes to growing your business, social media can be really helpful to get potential customers. This article is a part of a larger series, aimed to educate and provide you information on how to leverage Social Media for Photography. This article emphasizes on 500px but in future I will also cover sites like Facebook, Twitter to Smugmug, Behance.

500px was born in 2003, but in past couple of years it has become de facto standard for photographers. It has been actively helping photographer community to connect and share their work and there is no denying that it is doing a wonderful job. Through 500px, photographers not only get a chance to update their fans and followers with their latest work, but it also helps them to get potential clients from all over the world.

5 Reasons Why Every Photographer Should Use 500px:

1. Beautiful Interface

500px has one of the best interfaces, even after comparing with Facebook, Google+, Flickr. It is well-designed, unobtrusive and simple. Its interface is meant for photographers. 500px does not encourage any advertisements in any form. Just beautiful previews of amazing photos is what it focuses on. Highlights of their interface are ‘Flow’ and ‘Public Profile.’


500px - Flow

All the public activities carried out by photographers whom you follow are shown under a tab called “Flow.” It not only curates best photos, but it curates them beautifully. It’s like the river of photos and you are scrolling through them, maybe that’s the reason why it is called “Flow.”


500px - Profile

With the latest integration, your 500px public profile looks way better than your existing profiles on any other social networks, in my opinion. As said earlier, its emphasis is on your photographs only.

2. Wider Reach

500px’s “Pulse” is the best thing happened for a photographer on social media. “Pulse” of a photo is a score on the scale of 0-100, calculated by 500px. A photo’s pulse count is quite likely dependent on Likes, Favorites, Views and Comments which a photo gets from other photographers. Unlike other social networks where only popular photographers manage to get their photos on front page, 500px’s unique algorithm of “Pulse” gives the opportunity to every photographer to get photo on the front page regardless that person’s popularity on social media. When you upload your photos, it initially goes to the “Fresh” category. If your photograph is really good, then it may easily surpass Pulse score of 75 which will promote it to “Upcoming” category. Once the Pulse Score comes closer to 90, it will be promoted to “Popular.” If your photos stay for a good number of days under the “Popular” category, then BINGO!!! High chances that it ends up on “Editor’s Choice” category.

The great thing about the whole process is that unlike Google+’s highlight which algorithmically determines which are the best photos taken by you or Facebook’s “Social Graph” algorithm which shows you photos based on your relationship with a person; 500px promotes your photos based on combination of “machine and community” which is completely understandable. One would definitely believe that a machine of 21st century is not yet as intelligent to determine the creativity of an artifact. Creativity is completely subjective. So even the 500px team makes sure that good and deserving photographers gets proper exposure.

3. Amazing Portfolio

500px - Portfolio

500px’s default profile page is so beautiful that you actually don’t need to have a portfolio page. However, if you wish to have a separate portfolio, last thing you would want is to upload your same photos on some other site which can be really time-consuming. But if you are an “Awesome” user on 500px (highest paid account), you will get an opportunity to create a portfolio on 500px itself. So, without doing much hassle you can create a portfolio from your existing photos present on 500px. Not to mention there is already a good set of Portfolio Templates with easy customization. These templates are also responsive, which makes sure that your photos will look beautiful on any device. See Features offered by 500px Portfolio.

4. Marketplace

500px - Market

As the name suggests, it’s a marketplace where you can sell your photos. Cool thing about Market is that, anyone can create their personal store on 500px. Yeah, you heard it right, anyone with 500px account. Creating your own website and then setting up a payment gateway is not only expensive, but time consuming too. There are sites like Squarespace which help you to setup your own store with ease, but when you have your whole work present on 500px, why would you need yet another website and repeat the same process again?

5. Prime

500px - Prime

If Marketplace blew your mind, then you have not seen even half of it. 500px is working on a stock licensing service called ‘500px Prime’ where photographers will get 70% cut. Sounds amazing, right? but there were some doubts hovering around it especially about licensing duration. Nonetheless, it is a good initiative for photographers.

There is no denying that social media is revolutionizing the photography industry. Hence, it is important to have a consistent online presence. If you are an emerging photographer, then it really makes sense to have a 500px account, not just because you can create portfolios, but you can also setup your store in few minutes. Or even if you are a PRO Photographer with decades of experience, but not very much popularity on the web, 500px has many options in store for you. After all, popularity means more potential customers.

I am also working on a startup called Expojure, which helps photographers to organize their photos on social media. So if you are frustrated or too busy to maintain online accounts on 500px, Facebook, Flickr etc. you must try Expojure. It will definitely ease your work.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Software Developer, Self-taught Designer, iPhone Photographer and Co-Founder of Expojure. He is currently “On a mission to rescue world in context of web.” Read more about him: – here.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Marius Barbulescu

    don’t rely on 500px. they can ban your account with no explanation or warning. they will not answer your support requests. they will just mark them as ‘solved’ without even replying. there is just one person taking care of support, and that person does not care about photographers at all. you work a lot to build your account until one day you will have no account

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  2. Alex Shabotenko

    500px is rapidly turning into yet-another “social” beehive that does not really differ from the crowd. It (no longer?) pursues high-quality images; instead, it seems to be doing everything to invite more and more photographers, whose work it not always up to the mark, to put it kindly. Hence, the average lifespan of any new upload is under 1 hour – after that, your work drowns in myriads of new uploads. The “Pulse”, the 500px rating system, is heavily rigged and in no way reflects the real popularity of your photos, and even less, their merits. Rather, it reflects a member’s networking skills and/or use of bots. Ergo: you may still see many good photos on 500px, but don’t expect too much in terms of exposure/promotion. If 500px goes on doing what it does, it will very soon become the next instagram.

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  3. محمد الحامد

    500pxهل هناك نيّ
    ة لإضافة اللغة العربية على

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  4. Philippe Bouffaut

    Smugmug is the best online sharing photo tool I ever used (except 500px that I never tried).
    Beside the fact that it stores your photos in full size and that it offers really unlimited storage, it can be upgraded with tons of community tools (upload from right click, lightroom plugin …).
    It starts at 39.95$/year for non professional accounts, but even at 39.95 it is really unlimited storage. You can check the different plans here :
    You can even use this coupon on the smugmug coupon field in the sign up form to get 20% off your subscription : 7Ppmk1PbRiBVQ or use this direct link

    Living 6000km from my family, smugmug is a must have to share moments in pictures, also as a part time professional photographer smugmug has been very useful sharing and promoting my work.

    – Full size pictures
    – Really unlimited storage
    – Completely customizable interface. You can even build your own themes.
    – Easy to use
    – Community creating addons through an open API (upload from right click, screensavers, lightroom integration…)

    – It is not a photo backup tool as you cannot bulk restore photos from galleries, you have to order DVDs from smugmug. Though, you can now download full albums one by one.

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  5. kombizz kashani

    I am using 500px for few years. It is a good website with nicer format. The only negative point is, not all images are good as you will see them in the ‘pulse’. Majority of members vote for each other just to get better’ pulse rate’. You will be surprised that you find lots of bad images with the bad photography techniques got very good ‘pulse’ rate just because members voting each other WITHOUT seeing the quality of image from the point of photography techniques.
    I found simply handful of photographers are very good, and have ‘true knowledge’ of this beautiful art of photography, and the rest just are extras with strong social media connection and lot of friends all around the site who just vote to each other or faves each other.
    What we say in Farsi Language, a perfume seller does not need to go around the bazzar (market) and advertise his products, the people will come to his product by their scents !

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  6. norman tesch

    i got rid of my 500 px. after a year i just didnt have enough views. i know its good to look to try new things but at the same time i dont find every photographer that gets allot of praise is always to me that is all that good. i like to watch americas next top model just to see pics and see these great photographers and yet i have seen their final photo to be soft. . i am doing multi row panoramas. i will shoot the waterfalls from under 50 yards away. 60 photos with a 50mm prime lens. there arent many others on 500px to chat with to share ideas or technique. .plus i live in the middle of nowhere so im not going to any classes or workshops.

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  7. Gary Orona

    I’ve been using 500px for more than a year now. PROS: It’s an easy way to showcase work. Excellent design very nice on the eyes. CONS: The rating system is terrible. Below average works make it above 95 daily and essentially it’s a “club” for clicky photographers. I wish they’d remove the rating system. I agree that the rating system is gamed and not a good barometer for excellent works.

    In my case I’m an established TV/Film Producer, Director, Cinematographer and Photographer so I use it as basically a showcase for the photography part of my world. My main website has a link to it for that use. It’s great fort that. I doubt very much that it generates much work or revenue for photographers. If you want to showcase your work with a superb look I suggest 500px. But don’t expect it to be a revenue generating store front. It’s more like joining a club with other photogs and frankly they’re probably not buying each others works.

    As far as ‘Prime’ licensing goes I suspect that the ones making money on that are 500px since they’re making a cut of ‘everything’ but that individual photographers aren’t making much on it. As with all stock photography the ones making money are the agencies and very, very, very few photogs make a living on them. So if you’re looking for a little coffee money every once in a blue moon… sure go for it.

    I’ve sold thousands of fine art prints in other ways, but not one ever on 500px.

    Good Thoughts- Gary Orona

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  8. Jiffer

    I don’t use 500px but i do have a friend who is on it. My question I have for those who are credited with having an account for over a year how much business its actually brought you? Also, do you lose business because their are so many great works of art out their.. I mean I see one photographer, think their stuff is really great but then it just leads me to an even better photographer with more stuff… shouldn’t you just want to direct clients to your site thats got a clean look… I mean it would be super easy to duplicate their style.

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  9. Justin Knotzke

    Rooftopper would have gotten that attention no matter where he published his work. 500px was only website he chose to publish his work. He could have happend on FB, Twitter or Flickr.

    I closed my 500px account. I wasn’t getting any traction at all with my work on 500px.

    Their rating system too has been horribly gamed to the point where it’s a joke. When I was with 500px, I’d get a daily stream of “I voted, please vote for my work” or something similar. Seriously ? It simply appeared to me to be full of photogs asking fellow photogs to upvote their work.

    Their layout is nice, but that’s not what matters. What matters is getting your work in front of potential clients, not other photogs. I don’t see where 500px helps with that.

    In my case it didn’t even help with SEO. I would regularly upload a photo to Google’s image search and see where Google would rank it (given that I had uploaded to all the major photo sharing sites) and 500px always ranked fairly low (my website and Flickr being the highest each time).

    So really, I don’t see why anyone should be on 500px.

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    • Regina

      Hi Justin- thx for your comments. Have you found an alternate option?

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    • Nihar Sawant

      Yeah, I do agree with some of your points. Even I often get spammy comments to vote. As far as SEO is concerned, a lot of people do say same thing that Flickr does better job than 500px.

      However, I recently had a chat with a popular Portrait Photographer Jake Olson –, according to him he gets stock photography offer from 500px while portrait business comes from Facebook Page. So there are people who find 500px useful when it comes to acquiring customers.

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  10. Rick

    As a perk for signing up to a Speedlite workshop, I got an account on I’m not a lawyer, but I do like the more explicit wording in ProPic’s agreement:

    “In order to publicly display your photos or creative content, or make Products, you hereby grant to the Company a royalty free, worldwide, transferable, non-exclusive right and license to use Your Content to display your photography and fulfill Your Orders. The rights are transferable as the Company may sublicense such rights to its fulfillment partners in order to make Products. This right is granted only for the purpose of fulfilling Your Orders, and does not apply to any other production. The company will not reproduce or resell Your Content.”

    500px has very similar terms but it seems they are a bit more liberal to what can occur with sublicensing.

    Anyone else familiar with both services and can weigh on on any differences in terms of the agreements?

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  11. dirk

    Ummmm, no, spending time on a social networking site where 100% of the user base is other photographers will not, in fact, do much to grow your photography business.

    True fact: photographers don’t often hire other photographers and in the rare occasion they do, they usually try to low ball you into oblivion because they don’t actually have much money themselves and also because if they’re a photographer themselves, they feel they are entitled to some sort of discount because they’re in “the club”.

    If you are a photographer, it is in your interest to find out who buys the kind of photography YOU do and then go network with them. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, its a great idea to get cozy with wedding planners and event venue managers, because those are the folks that are gonna be able to refer you paying clients.

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    • Nihar Sawant


      Your point is completely valid but you are not looking at the big picture. 500px may not provide you clients directly but it will make you popular enough. Good example would be of Rooftopper – who came into limelight because of 500px. Other bloggers and magazines covered his work which he published on 500px and that is how he got potential clients. It is true for a lot of photographers. 500px may not be responsible for direct sale but it will highlight your work for the right people.

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  12. Gonzalo Broto

    Totally agree. I discovered 500px 1 year and a half ago and ever since the beginning it has become my default place to showcase my work alongside my personal blog (the blog implementation inside 500px is, perhaps, the weakest part of the whole site).

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    • Nihar Sawant

      I have not seen much blogs written in 500px. Why do you think it is a weak implementation? Any past experience you had?

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    • Nihar Sawant

      I have not seen much blogs written in 500px. Why do you think it is a weak implementation? Any past experiences you had?

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  13. Lex Arias

    I’ve been using 500px for two years, and has become an indispensable tool for my work

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