Two or three weeks ago, I started getting emails and reading articles about a new photo-sharing site for pro photographers called 500px.com, and after a dozen or so people sent me emails asking if I was on there, I finally signed up to see what all the fuss is about, and now that I’m on there, I’m really glad I did. (Above is how your personal photo page looks on an iPhone, and when you click on a thumbnail, you see the larger view shown on the iPad).

A free online portfoli0? I’m listening….
For those of you that follow this blog, you know I’ve been struggling for the past year in getting an online portfolio that looks decent on the Web and on mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone, and with RC’s help, I finally got one in place. The only downside is; I have to edit the Web page itself, using a text editor, which makes adding or rearranging photos a bit of a pain. I guess that’s the first thing interested me in 500px—-you get a free, good looking online portfolio that you can link from your web page/blog/whatever, with different layouts to choose from (that’s one layout shown below), and updating it with new images, or changing the order, is a no-brainer—you do it right from your Web browser.

The Social Aspects
I’ve always joked that “flicker is where you go when you need a hug” because anybody and everybody is on flickr, so when you post a photo you took accidentally while loading your camera back into your camera bag, you’ll get 50 comments like, “Brilliant! Incredible composition” and “Fantastic shot! Keep ‘em coming!” and stuff along those lines. So, if you’re ever feeling down about your photography, upload a shot or two to flickr.com, and 30 minutes later you’ll feel like Ansel Adams. So, another angle that interested me is that the site is geared more at pros (well, that’s at least what it has appeared to attract so far), and there are a lot of truly great photographers on that (like flickr), but unlike flickr the quality overall seems really high.

(Above: here’s another theme. Just one click to change themes, and they have about 10 or so to choose from).

Getting Feedback from Serious Photographers
The way the site produces statistics, it’s easy to measure which photos are resounding with other pro photographers, and which images are getting totally ignored, and that’s pretty eyeopening. They rank images in a way that makes everything pretty darn clear, and it had me weeding things down in short order, and removing shots altogether that weren’t getting any views.

(Above: Here’s the theme I’m probably going to stick with, which is their default scheme. Again, you’re seeing this on my iPad, but it looks even better on your computer screen).

How it looks matters
I think one of the main reasons why 500px is getting so much buzz right now, is that it looks so cool. You can choose different layouts with just one click, the images are presented at a large size, and when you compare the look of your page to either flickr, facebook, or the new Google+, I think 500px has them beat hands down, and as photographers, how our portfolio layout looks matters to us. A lot.

Best of all, it’s free
Although I went ahead and got the Upgraded account (with more features, and no limits on the number of photos you can upload) for $50 a year, you can start right away for free (here’s their link). If nothing else, head over there and look at some of their popular photos, or Editor’s Choice collection. There’s some really inspiring stuff there. You’ll dig it.