If you photograph seriously, the desire to show your work also very quickly starts to grow. We are primarily social beings and photos make little sense when one hides them on the hard drive. It is simply great when you see that your photos are also liked by others and when you get feedback. Facebook, Instagram and other social media are used by photographers very intensively, also by me, but I am not getting absolutely happy with these platforms alone. Photo communities are more focused on photos and deliver less junk than FB & Co, but even here, there are really cool ones and others which are not even worth mentioning. I’ve tried several of them and over the years, 500px became more and more the platform on which I got concentrated. My start there was relatively bumpy, the love for this site developed only at the second glance.
A little over eight years ago I began intensively to photograph models and of course I wanted to show these pictures to as many people as possible. Facebook was the first platform I used intensively for this purpose and that has not changed to this day. Facebook is, however, a medium in which it is not primarily about photos and the presentation possibilities are strongly limited. So I began to look for a platform where I could present my pictures well and where photography is the main theme. It may sound funny, but somehow, my search for a useful photo community went hand in hand with developing my style. At the beginning in model photography I simply tried a lot, made mistakes, learned from them and tried again. All techniques that did not lead to what I imagined, were replaced by others and the image processing skills constantly improved. Some day I noticed that my pictures tended in one direction, I also began to change my approach just more slightly – the development was slower now and changed from always trying new techniques, to a small improvement with every shoot. So it was with the different photo platforms, I signed up with everyone I could find and started to upload pictures in all of them. Some of these communities turned out to be true troll bases, where people that had not uploaded a single image posted needless negative comments under pictures and in others I realized very quickly that it was a senseless effort, to upload pictures there. Some of the tested platforms were so inscrutable in operation that the joy of it ended very quickly. For this reason I concentrated more on Facebook at this time – all the tested photo platforms could not really satisfy me. Until a few years ago, Facebook was also the best way to reach as many people as possible.
In 2012 I discovered 500px and especially the layout and the usability of the site were likeable to me from the beginning. I started uploading first pictures to 500px and the initial enthusiasm flew away quite quickly. Images, for which I got on Facebook up to 100 Likes, got here just 10 Likes or less. I think the appealing design of the site was the reason why I didn’t throw the towel and why I continued with uploading pictures there. After some time I got first followers and with them also rose the feedback on the photos. I noticed that here, too, a community had to be built up and as almost everywhere, it was quite difficult at the beginning. I still remember the day when I reached an overall amount of 500 likes, it took me two months and I think I had to upload 30 images for this. Meanwhile, the pictures each get 500 – 1400 Likes and in total there are now over 193,000 Likes on my profile. Incidentally, 500px calls the total number of Likes affection. As soon as you have exceeded the first 10,000 likes, the wheel rotates faster and faster and 500px makes more and more fun. In fact, I needed for the first 10,000 Likes almost as long as for the next 100,000. 500px does not limit the visibility, quite contrary to Facebook where this is more and more happening. Currently I get in 500px with 8,700 followers twice as many Likes on a picture as on my Facebook page with almost 35,000 followers. Facebook wants you to pay for more visibility and will continue to restrict the unpaid range. After a certain amount of time needed to set up the first followers, 500px will certainly reach more people who are really interested in photos than it is currently possible with Facebook. An exception are certainly some Facebook groups such as the Fujilove Readers Group. In these groups you are using the already existing followers of the group and for this reason you are not forced to build up your own followers. However, these groups do not offer the possibility to present your work exclusively. In the meantime it has turned out for me, that a healthy mix of social media and a good photo-platform like 500px, guarantees the best success in the long term.
10 Reasons why 500px is the best photo-community for me
1. High motivation factor
If you go on your personal 500px profile, the first thing you see is the number of total Likes (affection), the number of photo views and of your followers. These figures are growing constantly, as long as you regularly upload new pictures and this well-illustrated growth is incredibly motivating. Some may say now that I am a Like junkie, but every company wants growing figures and I am looking at these numbers in 500px similarly.
2. No Junk and no ads
500px focuses on the essentials – the best possible presentation of photos, without annoying advertising as one knows it from many other sites. With junk I mean cellphone selphies, everyday pictures and all the stuff you have in Facebook or also in Instagram. Social media, of course, is a melting pot for really everything there is, but sometimes it is very pleasant to be spared from all the postings from private life, politics, well-meaning quotations and esoteric wisdom.
3. Many good pictures and outstanding photographers to follow
The level in 500px is above average, of course, also photo-beginners are uploading their pictures there, but by the selection of the photographers you follow, you can very well determine which pictures you see. Many of the world’s best photographers also use 500px and so there are countless pictures which are very good for inspiration.
4. First-class search functions
500px offers several ways to search for images, via the photographer’s name, via keywords, but also via the camera or lens used. A function which I particularly like, is the possibility to get directly over the exif data to further pictures made with the same camera-model or lens. In this way I have already found some excellent photographers who also work with Fujifilm.
Who likes statistics will love 500px – already in the free version, Likes, photo calls and followers are counted. Many statistics functions are added to the payment versions. For example, I always like to see which of my pictures are most liked in the community, but you can also see with which camera you got the most Likes and much more.
6. Design of the Site
For me, 500px is the Apple among the photo pages. The clear tidy design without frills is for me a very important point why I am very happy with 500px.
7. Visibility is growing faster and faster
As I said in the introduction text, the more you upload at 500px, the more followers you get and the more attention for your pictures. And the growth of followers and the visibility of the images is growing ever faster. This works at 500px really good, quite contrary to Facebook where the visibility becomes more and more restricted and more and more photographers move over to Instagram for this reason.
8. Very easy to use
The operation of 500px is very intuitive, which also reminds me a little of the Apple concept. Although the range of functions is far higher than, for example, Instagram, it is similarly easy to use.
9. No Visibility restrictions
I know that I have already mentioned this point several times. It is so important to me, however, that I also list it in this enumeration.
Finally, a very important point for me, the netiquette and the behavior of the other community members; comments like: ‘You’ve already photographed more beautiful models …’, suggestions of improvement from people, who can not show a single pleasing image, which they made by themselves, or quite simply offensive remarks I do not need under my pictures. Constructive feedback, of course, is ok, especially when asked for it. The troll rate in 500px is exceptionally low and negative comments are the exception. This is certainly another reason why the motivation here does not tear.
I can really recommend 500px to all those of you who do not use it yet. None of the photo-communities “tested” by me in the last years, could convince me so entirely like 500px does. The pictures look excellent on 500px and one reaches many photo enthusiasts. On the site you can also find a lot of excellent pictures which are really inspiring. Many search functions, a pleasant interaction with one another and motivating statistical functions make 500px the world’s best photo community for me.
I couldn’t be more happy if you decided to start exploring the 500px site at my own profile page at 500px.com/michaelschnabl 🙂