Follow-up on Yesterday’s Post

Hi Gang: Had lots of great comments and questions after yesterday’s post about; the photo sharing site for pro photographers (well, at least it’s the one being embraced by the pro photography community these days).

First, I guess I’m late to the party, because I learned shortly after the post that isn’t a brand new site—I hadn’t heard of it before (I first heard about it from my buddy RC Concepcion), but the buzz surrounding it was so big I figured it had to be new, but alas, I was wrong (my apologies to the owners of

Speaking of the owners….
I thought it was really cool that the guys behind were answering questions one-on-one here on the blog yesterday (I got to meet them briefly at my Toronto seminar last week. I didn’t realize they were based up there until I saw a Tweet that they were coming to my seminar. Really great guys, and they’re doing something really cool). Anyway, I’m grateful to Andrey Thchilin from for fielding so many questions from my readers.

More on Ratings
There’s a great article pointed out yesterday by Andrey with how the ratings system works, and if you’re on the site, you’ll find this really helpful. Here’s the link.

Just in case the owners are listening….
I thought I’d mention five things that I think would totally take their site up a big notch. I say this because I’ve seen a number of people commenting on how quickly they’ve responded to ideas from their users, with new features and enhancements being added all the time, so I was hoping I might toss out a few here and see if any of them stick. Here’s what I’d love to see:

(1) Let Me Choose The Sorting order on my main page
Not the portfolio page, but your personal page (shown above). It appears as though the photos on this page appear in the order you uploaded them, and I’ll be darned if I can find a way to reorder them without reuploading them. I love the way this page looks (with one exception below)—perhaps even more than how the portfolio page looks, so being able to customize this would be awesome.

(2) I would like the option of hiding the left side bar
So it looks like what you see above. Just lots of nice large thumbnails. Mmmmm. Large thumbnails. This would look awesome on an iPad.

(3) Keeping Pro Quality Images Up There
I know the idea behind is that you’re only supposed to upload images you would put in your portfolio, and theoretically if everyone abides by that, it will help keep the quality level high and the amount uploaded low. That being said, if they want to keep this from eventually turning into flickr 2.0 (and I saw a number of comments that fear exactly that), I think someone (or a group of editors) are going to have to be the “gatekeepers” to keep people from uploading snapshots and lowering the overall quality. I know this opens up a Pandora’s box of “Why did my photo get turned down?” and so on, but if someone doesn’t set a bar somewhere, we could wind up in flickrland before you know it.

(4) The search function needs some work
My buddy Matt Kloskowski had a account before I did, but I’ll be darned if using their search let me find him. I can’t. Period. I even know the exact name of a couple of his images, and I still couldn’t find him. I couldn’t find me either using the search. Couldn’t find RC either. In fact, I can’t find anyone in particular unless I see one of their images in the Popular, Upcoming, Editor’s Choice, or Fresh categories. Maybe I’m using it wrong, but if you type in Matt Kloskowski, (as shown above) or RC Concepcion, or the name of one of Matt’s images; “Mesa Arch at Dawn” none of those come up.

(5) Make it easier to get to a photographer’s Portfolio
Let’s say I find an interesting image in the Upcoming Category gallery, and I click on the thumbnail to see the larger view (shown above). Let’s say I like it enough that I want to see this users’s whole portfolio. There’s really no way to get there from here (at least, I couldn’t find a way), without first clicking on the photographer’s name, going to his main page, and then clicking the “View Portfolio” button in the upper right corner. Also, if you click on the image on this page, you get a smaller pop-up version of the same image. It seems like it should take you to the next image in the gallery—-nobody wants to see a slightly smaller version of what they’re already looking at. But hey, it could just be me.

> Don’t just look at the Editor’s Choice and Popular Categories
Yesterday I mentioned looking at those two categories, but also make sure you check out Upcoming, because these are the ones that will most likely be in the Popular category soon. Also, the Fresh category is where you go to see the new stuff. Both very interesting and inspiring.

> A Lightroom Uploading plug-in is apparently in the works
RC posted this as a comment yesterday, and that’s good enough for me. (Yay—it won’t be long now!). :)

> Don’t do what I did
I was most interested in using as a portfolio site, so I uploaded a hundred or so photos (20 photos each in six categories; sports, people, travel and so on). After reading how they do their ranking, those photos will soon be buried in the rankings, so you’re better off to upload a handful, and then add to them if your goal is to have your images seen by others in the community.

> Dig This: NAPP members get $10 off an Upgraded Account
I didn’t know about this until late yesterday, but apparently there is a discount for the premium upgraded account if you’re a member. Visit the NAPP member’s Website for the discount code to enter during checkout (hey, it saves $10. Not too shabby!).

> All in All, I Still Think It’s The Best Thing Out There
I’m excited about what’s happening over at, and I read a comment on another blog (I wish I could remember which one to give proper credit) but it said something along the lines of “ will be able to add the few advantages flickr has a lot faster than flickr will ever be able to bring what already has)—of course, I’m paraphrasing, but I agree. I believe you’ll see tweaks and improvements coming very quickly at, and if flickr does one day realize that they’re layout is…well…ahem….let’s say “less than optimal” for pro photographers, it’ll already be too late—the pros will have already gone.

If you haven’t tried out yet, here’s the link (the basic account is free, and you can have your images up there…well….now). Thanks to everybody who commented yesterday and really added to the discussion.

  1. Thanks for the info Scott. I wish I would have known about the disc out before I upgraded yesterday for 50. Not your fault. Thanks for keeping us informed about all these things.


  2. I am going to use this for my portfolio. I plan to move my photos from my Flickr “portfolio” group to here. I didn’t realize that 500px is aiming for that, but it was already my intention. I have 2 of my latest, great shots up. I have several more to do. I like this site, and have had some good comments so far, which is helpful. What kind of sucks, is I think 500px and Flickr do two different things well, and I will probably keep concurrent subscriptions…

  3. Loved reading both the posts. I discovered this site a month and a half ago and am hooked. So much inspiration.

    The search doesn’t work but they are working on fixing it. I don’t think deleting the images by editors would be a very good idea as it is very subjective. I think the model they have right now works fine where it is controlled by the community and in the month and a half or maybe a little longer that I’ve been here, I’ve never seen the quality of photos drop – in fact if anything it has gotten a bit better with all of you guys joining.

  4. Scott, great stuff! Like the idea of the LR uploader (I have finally made switch from Bridge). If anyone ever smashes a filter and can’t get the ring out just get in touch with me, we figured out an awesome way to get them out without damaging the lens!

      1. And, you may need a small metal snipper to cut the edge of the filter to provide enough flex to let the the needle nose pliers get started (speaking from experience).

  5. I totally agree with all your points. I got on 500px like two weeks ago and love it so far. Still, the searchengine could use some work and rearranging the photos on the profile would be nice. Also, three more things that I would like to see:

    1) A tab to show the 500px blog on the portfolio. Currently I use the portfolio with my own domain as a homepage. I like the way it looks and handles because it is not overblown with stuff. Making it possible to have the blog next to the biography and contact tabs if wanted would be awesome.

    2) Add custom contact options under the contact tab of the portfolio. The form is rather limiting. I havent found a way to add a facebook page there without listing it as homepage.

    3) Make the portfolio scale to the screen. I am not very tech savy so it might be that I missed something but on both the ipad and on notebooks that I tried it on the portfolio required scrolling when in horizontal view.

    All minor things that won’t make or break it, but which I would be happy to see. I hope the quality stays as high as it is, I can spend all day there looking through photos. Also, the photos seem somewhat protected now, thanks so much for that! Even the way through page info no longer works unlike in flickr.


  6. Here are two things I would add to your list Scott:

    1) Give me a “next/prev” style navigation to work my way through someone’s set of photos without having to go back to the main thumbnail page and click again.

    2) If I have the nudes turned off, don’t show me the placeholder cover image, just remove them from my stream.

    I echo Scott’s comments as well – esp the part about keeping the quality high.

    1. I agree that the keyboard navigation is weak. They do use (standard) nav keys (in some places), but in the opposite direction (J=prev, K=next : opposite of most apps), but these are not intuitive. In some places you can click an image and get a lightbox view. However pressing J/K to navigate takes you out of lightbox mode. I think both keyboard and mouse navigation needs improvement and needs to be intuitive for the non-geeks.

    2. Agree with both points. More specifically:
      – We’re rolling our next/prev navigation now. Already have it for Popular, Editor’s Choice, and Fresh pages. Will have for the rest, but need to do some additional testing and servers/architecture optimisation first.
      – Valid point about thumbnails. We’ll probably have this option in the settings.

  7. I’m enjoying my new 500px account, and have no interest in deleting it, but I love that if I wanted to delete it, it’s easy to find the ‘Delete Account Forever’ button. I can’t stand sites that make it hard to find or that simply won’t let you (ahem…

    1. I’ve been using for 5 years now, using their free imagepro site. My renewal is in January, and I may have to make a switch. This looks much more like what I want. Flickr for the family and 500px for “the good stuff” :)

  8. The search engine is useless.

    1: I would like the option to have the Blog enabled in the portfolio view.
    2: next/prev button.
    3: The option to buy prints from the UK so we Europeans don’t have to pay silly amounts of money for shipping.
    4: The option to turn off ratings, some don’t want ratings. They may just like the portfolio or cannot compete with the likes of Scott Kelby. (My pics are never gonna appear on the editors choice. If they did appear just once then I would have a tone of followers and then my pics would get rated fairly. But as an amature the rating system does nothing for me.

    Great site though
    Also found a new forum.

    1. Edd,
      – The search is broken, but we’re fixing it right now. Should be OK by the end of the next week.
      – We will have blogs in portfolios. The major portfolio functionality update is coming.
      – We’re looking for printing partners in Europe.
      – If you want, you can upload photos to portfolio site only (and don’t show them on community site to skip ratings)
      – Who created this forum? The first post was created yesterday ;)
      -Thank you, Edd :)

  9. Haven’t get my hands on 500px yet, but your comments made a lot of sence :-)

    Just one remark.

    Setting the bar seems nice, but might be a dangerous thing. As your last guest at the Grid (Joel Grimes) told, he was severely turned down by an editor that could have defined the end of his starting career.

    Set an “editorial board” and you might be ending careers on-line and impersonally, just because you had a bad night of sleep …

    1. Hi Cris: I hear ya, but if you got turned down at 500px, there are dozens of other sites that will gladly post the photo that was turned down, so it’s not like all the doors closed on your image—just one. :)

      1. I don’t think the bar needs to be set *that* high though does it? We wouldn’t be talking top top notch (unless it’s about maintaining a clique) but good enough that it keeps out random Facebook-esque snapshots but low enough with any genuine aspiration in making it as a pro or serious hobbyist gains entry. To reserve it for the cream of the crop would be rather missing a trick (esp as many would already have an alternative in place).

        You could also use pricing or limited uploads to keep the pic spammers out.

        A nice potential feature for the aspiring pro (if only to help get past the gatekeeper) might be a ‘hook me with a mentor’/offer services as a mentor feature, perhaps even charging for the privilege. Would help keep riff raff out and show a dedication to the art. Of course scalability would be a major issue, but I’d love a ‘find a mentor’ service :)

      2. It’s not gonna happen.
        The guys at 500px wanna earn wages as well as be in competition with flickr.
        So they are not gonna turn down your subscription.

        I dont consider my pics worthy if im honest and if compared to the big hitters

      3. Hi Scott, thanks for the comment!

        Sure there are other places and as a last resort you can always go to Flickr “for a hug” (as you say hehehehe :-)) ).

        The problem is always where to set the bar to encourage people, but exclude the “that’s me in the mirror facebook kind of shot”.

        An interesting way to do that could be a users ranking system for the pictures. Nothing fancy just three levels like “great shot”, “in the right direction but needs to improve” and “take it to facebook”. Eventually with a comment field for the “mentor tip of the day” :-)

        If experienced professionals also rank the pictures, you get a “non-patronizing” system that can be used for filtering.

        Duncan, if you find a “find a mentor” service, let me know hehehehe

    2. Actually there is no bar to get on 500px. You just have to follow 500px tearms of services: “You cannot use our site to post pornographic material, harass people, send spam, vote against all photos, and do all other crazy stuff. Don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.”

      Our goal is to help photographers to learn and to get better. This also the reason why ratings are dropping automatically, so new photographers can be discovered.

      BTW, I love this interview with Joel Grimes. Really inspirational!

  10. I agree that thousands of family snapshots would definitely dilute the experience but I am an avid amateur and my quality of work at this time may not be considered professional. I am learning and and would love to get feedback on my work so I can improve my art. If there is a bar that is a professional height no one may ever see my work. I got one dislike on one of my photos and deleted it immediately, that was enough for me.

    1. Joey: ya know what might be cool? A special category where you could submit an image and the existing members could give a thumbs up/down and if you get enough thumbs up your account goes live and is populated with those thumbs up photos. Just a thought.

      1. Scott: Without any malice, I am a paid member. Now what is the governing group to do. Personally I do not like the idea of censorship. It makes things a little stuffy if you know what I mean.

      2. Scott, not sure if this is a function of 500px, but it got me thinking – why don’t you do something like “America’s Got Talent” on your sites or weekly broadcasts for someone who wants to submit a photograph for critique? You (and your expert panel) may discover some talent that could be buried out there somewhere and just not know how to get in front of someone who could make a difference in their career or craft.. Forgive me if something like this already exists.

  11. Thanks for all your input on the this “new” site. I have created an account but have yet to upload any images. As you have been saying, I want to keep the number I upload to a smaller amount and I want it to be my best stuff. Interesting dilemma the folks at 500px will have if they wish to filter images for quality to avoid becoming flickr 2.0. How do not allow someone to upload an image if they are a paid subscriber? Here’s hoping they find a way to manage that in a fair and equitable manner.


    1. Leigh, actually people is already uploading as many pictures as they want to. Nobody stops them (only themselves looking at popular pages and trying to compete here). But because of the our rating system, you usually see only the best ones. The rest is already here, but you just don’t have time to get here.

      In the future you’ll have much more possibilities to discover new great photos and photographers. It will be able:
      – see the photos with the highest rating from the past (remember that rating are groping down automatically)
      – see pictures with fastest growing ratings
      – pictures with most comments
      – the most proactive users
      – etc

      Some background info:
      – At this moment we host over a million photos. btw, here is #1,000,000
      – you can see quality pictures uploading on 500px looking at our live stream

      The conclusion: as long as community stay strong and we’re working on algorithms and user interface, it will be OK :)

      1. Thanks so much for the reply and insight. It looks like you folks have a winner here. Congratulations! I look forward to uploading some of my work and watching as your service evolves.


  12. I do like the look of 500px though I find it a bit buggy and I can’t say I’m a fan of cropped thumbnails. Having said that there is no doubt the team there is working hard on improving the site and I’m sure it will be everything people want including the points you make here but hopefully with the exception of point 3. I’m sorry Scott but that idea is wrong. Art appreciation is too subjective to have “gatekeepers”. Hopefully the ranking system at 500px will be the judge (though I am at loss when it comes to understanding how that works). As it is when I went digging around 500px I managed to find plenty which I thought were well below par but that’s just my opinion and like I said I did have to dig around.
    The other possibility is that most amateurs will be intimidated and only post their very best or, like me, post nothing (other than the three I posted to see how things worked) and simply enjoy the visual feast.

    BTW that London Eye image is way cool.

    1. Hi Cedric: I’m still on the fence about having images reviewed by a board, but every day judges (photo editors) choose which images are hung in traditional galleries; which appear on the pages of magazines; and which are finalists in competitions and all of their choices are completely subjective because it’s art. Besides,if someone’s images get turned down at 500px, they still still post them on flickr. ;-)

      1. But “I” should be able to choose what images “I” want in my portfolio. I don’t want a set of judges to determine that (

  13. Ditto to navigation forward and backwards, but also tie it to the arrow keys on a keyboard, as this makes the advancement (or back) silky smooth with no distractions. Then you can just kick back and concentrate on the images.

  14. Good follow-up post, Scott. I do agree with Cris and Joey above on the editing board comment. It’s a slippery slope, and having a “gatekeeper” could hurt more than help the up-and-coming photographer. The bar has been set already. Anyone that joins the site knows what has been posted before them, so they should only post their best work. We’re sometimes are own worst critic!


    1. Hi John: yeah, I’m not totally sold on the editing board idea myself. I just saw a number of comments worried because without some sort of vetting, it will become another flickr-like site, and at that point it loses it’s main appeal to pros (besides the look). As it is now, what’s to keep someone from uploading 20 shots of their kid’s birthday party at Chuch E. Cheese? Since starting an account is free, that’s how close you are to flickr-land. I’m not sure what the best idea is to ensure the quality remains high, but like many I’m concerned that a few months down the line we’ll be seeing birthday shots. Time will tell.

      1. This last reply should have gone under the previous comment.

        anyway, about the quality. I think the guys there are looking to expand the site and made disliking an image too hard. I was going trough the fresh stream yesterday and honestly liking and disliking stuff. after about 5-6 dislikes it started asking me why I disliked that image. so when you type in “wb off, composition all over the place, soft” it says that the comment is too short. so i gave up.

        curated photo-sharing site has already been made (see, so I don’t see what’s the point in having two of them. maybe the answer is in “floating” upload slots. so if you upload 20 pics, and the community rating is low, you only get 5 pics in the next two weeks or something like that.

        also, might be nice to weigh votes against the like-dislike ratio. so the like of someone who gives as many likes as dislikes is worth more that someone who dislikes one in fifty pics…



    2. Actually, if you’re in fresh, popular etc. streams, you can go around using the J and K keys (next, previous) and L for liking, F for faving…

      But I agree that it would be nice to have that on people’s personal streams, and an obviously wouldn’t take a lot of coding since it already exists.

      1. Thanks, Borna… I was not aware of that! Lets hope for the same ease through the personal streams section.

  15. Great article on 500px I switched not long ago from Flcikr bc the layout is so dyam nice and I needed a ez web site to maintain.

    1) Ipad app (would be nice)
    2) Search function needs to be fixed!
    3) Main page should be more customizable (esp if im Awesome)
    4) other means to better exposure for pix (As a armature photog i feel my photos r left not viewed) *wah wah wah here comes the wambulance *

    Thanks Scott love the blog & work read it every morning!!

  16. Good coverage on 500px. The gatekeeper idea is good, it does have a bad side also; however, I can see a possible fair solution. Set a minimum rating to be achieved within a time period, if the rating isn’t met the photo is taken down. It would be necessary to set-up safe guards to insure proper voting, only one vote per person, per image etc.

  17. I agree with your 5 suggestions Scott. In reference to the “gatekeeper” idea I wonder who/how it is decided to put a photo behind that “nude content” screen. Going through several pages I have noted that there are many images I would consider nude content (bare breasts and more) that AREN’T behind the screen at the same time there are quite a number that are behind that advisory which are images of fully clothed models, albeit suggestively posed (on a bed), or in clingy or silhouetted in filmy attire. It just seems to be very inconsistent. I don’t do any nude photography but I wondered what the reasoning is.

  18. All great points Scott,

    perhaps they should consider different levels of photography and divide them
    so if you wanted to look at just pro photography you could, or a semi-pro level, and an amateur level. Something to filter those levels would be nice.

    I’m sure they would like 500px to grow and be strong, so turning down ‘amateurs’ would be like turning away potential customers to them. Not good business sense really.

  19. I think the site is already pretty well set up using the ratings and browsing categories. If someone did post photos of their kids birthday party you’re not likely to see them anyway. Maybe at some point a “only show photos from paid accounts” setting might help. Otherwise I think the rating system and like/dislike works in that you’re putting yourself out there when uploading photos and keeps people from just uploading their last 5000 photos.

  20. I’m wondering if there is a differentiation between those that get paid to take photo’s and those that are just good at it, in terms of achieving the label “professional.” If they mean it literally, they would need to confirm every account with proof of professional status, much like the pro benefits from Nikon or Canon – a process if you will. If not, then how does one objectively consider all the different styles and tastes, or even, look away, processing skill vs photographic skill. I like the idea of a rating system, but again, the subjective nature of art can either help you or hurt you, depending on who happens to be looking at any given time frame…

    Just my $.02

  21. On the editorial board, I do not completely support the idea, but I think there should be an automatic remove of images that have been in certain amount of time and their ranking is low, or visits are low.

    This would make it more feasible to do (software logic instead of a person). It is also set, so people can’t argue about the decision.


      1. Andrey, Good for you. Do not be bullied by the elitists. There are sites for Pro Pros only. But as an amateur I do not go to those sites as it does noting for me to see just what the pros do. I want to see what all levels of photographers have done.

  22. Scott, I am reminded of a challenge that you have thrown out to others in the past which is to take a very critical view of your portfolio. If you were asked to choose only 10 or 20 of your best images could you do this? Not an easy task for anyone, but an appropriate one for deciding which images to upload.

    Asking yourself why you chose one image over another, and do you think it’s “portfolio worthy?” It may also give you some insight into what a moderator may need to consider if they 500px goes that route.

    Well for me it’s off to find my best of the best.



  23. Scott, I am reminded of a challenge that you have thrown out to others in the past which is to take a very critical view of your portfolio. If you were asked to choose only 10 or 20 of your best images could you do this? Not an easy task for anyone, but an appropriate one for deciding which images to upload.

    Asking yourself why you chose one image over another, and do you think it’s “portfolio worthy?” It may also give you some insight into what a moderator may need to consider if 500px goes that route.

    Well for me it’s off to find my best of the best.



  24. I am intrigued by the comments about the “edit board”. It seems to me if you are serious about being or becoming a professional photographer, if one of your photos is turned down or not rated high, then it is up to you to try to get some good critique and then improve your skill set. People like you, Scott, did not become an overnight professional, it took hard work and getting turned down or maybe a harsh critique. If this is a passion then you will keep trying until your work is accepted. I think it would be a great tool to help you become a better photographer. I know that any kind of art is subjective, however if you have a jury of peers they think your work is subpar then it’s up to you to improve your work. In this world of instant photographs and upload, it seems some want to be instant professionals. Even with all the digital cameras, slick plug ins and software you still need to have a good eye. So just because you have all the tools, remember they are just that “tools”. There doesn’t need to be another Flickr, I think this is a great concept and would love to see some of the new ideas implemented even if I did get some of my work rejected LOL. I would only work harder to make sure I did get accepted.

  25. Nice article on 500px. I just opened my account last week because of hearing about it on different blogs and a TWIP podcast.

    I would like to see a better search as well because I couldn’t find people that I know are there. But like you, I’m still learning how to use the site.

  26. I have read with interest the article and comments, and agree that the issues relating to maintaining quality images are the most difficult to address. I am no professional, and even as an amateur I realise that there are very many better than me. However, even I recognise that some of my images are better than others; and 500px enables me to review my images with more care than when I use Flickr. Of course, I have not uploaded to 500px yet – perhaps it is that emphasis on quality that is holding me back at the moment.

    So for me, a ‘gatekeeping’ element would almost be welcome! A vindication of my ability (or an unfortunate proof of its absence!) and confirmation from my peers that my submission is no mere snapshot or technical abomination for want of a better explanation. For me, knowing my image was online through merit would be welcome. But that is a very personal, and selfish, opinion I know; especially in relation to many other members, not least those who have paid for membership.

    I do think the limitation on the number of uploads will help (for free members), and the general unwritten rule of quality counting should apply for many. However, surely it is best to put in place some methodology for managing any such issues now?

    Many thanks for your original article, and to the other contributors for some thought provoking comments.

  27. I believe there is (or should be) one big show stopper for usage of 500px by pros – absence of protection (please do not see prohibiting right-click as a protection – too easy to go around. I can give you a easy link to download any of your photos on 500px). I did not look at paid accounts, but at least free one does not have any options.

    Uploading with watermark would protect your photos for stealing, but it is extra work and kills selling potential.

      1. There are different mechanisms to protect images. Most common – watermark (that is added by the site, but does not affect downloads/print orders). For example you can check SmugMug (it is professional account feature there). Or check any stock agency.

  28. I agree with keeping quality of images above a certain bar and I think 500px should use the community to highlight poor shots. They do have a reporting system for pictures but they don’t have anything for snap shots and also due to resources they are unable to act on all the pictures that have been reported.

    As Scott say’s have editors as gatekeepers and they should get volunteers from the 500px community to do this.

  29. Several of my suggestions were already mentioned by others but I will mention them below as well:
    1. Better search
    2. Keyboard navigation (I like flickr’s implemenation)
    3. Easier way to “cruise” through a photographers photos
    4. The ability include hyper links in a photo’s description (I would to be able to link the “story” of a photo back to my blog)
    5. If I turn off “Show Nudes” then don’t give me the place holder, just remove them.

    With regard to the editors picking photos… from the description of the rating system given here: I think 500px is already going a long way to prevent a lot of the sub-par photos. However it depends on what you want… if you simply want a place to ‘dump’ photos online to share with friends I think flickr and Facebook suit this model fine. 500px has high quality and as Scott pointed out editors pick and choose images for paid jobs so I think it could have a place on 500px.

    Scott I really like your idea of deleting pictures that have no views or ratings. I’m going to do that myself, I have two shots that have not received any views since I posted them 2 weeks ago.


    1. Thanks, Dan.
      – Better search – coming next week.
      – Keyboard navigation – partially done, slowly rolling it out now.
      – Easier way to cruise trough photos – will do it. Optimizing our site architecture now to make sure the response time will stay OK after implementing these features.
      – Hyperlinks in descriptions. Will do it. No release date yet, but we’ll make it happen.
      – Nude filter thumbnails. Seems to be a good idea. I’ll take a look at this issue.

      Thanks again,
      Andrey :)

      1. Andrey thanks for the personalized responses here and the quick turn on the enhancements; those alone just caused me to upgrade my account. Thanks.

  30. Hi Scott,

    I agree with the idea that having a kind of “quality control”. This is logical because there is always (at least) one editor for any kind of published material.

    The decision maker`s approach will create the style of the website. If one do not like that style, he or she can move to another address.

    Anyway, I have got a question here and I wonder what you think about it!

    Do you think uploading a valuable photo to a web site like 500px may be a problem if the owner attend a serious photo contest with that photo in the future?
    I am asking this because there are some “really good” photos out there.

    Erdem (from Istanbul, Turkey)

  31. I just opened my account, have not updated it yet. So glad to have read your blog on the discount first. That makes a huge difference for me. I love it and can’t wait to take full advantage. Not sure I will give up my photo blog (lots of friends there) but this will for sure be my professional portfolio from now on. Thanks Scott

  32. Rather than editorial censorship (yeesh what a terrible idea), the best thing they could probably do is keep that 20/week limit in place even for “awesome” members. Heck I might even suggest reducing the number to 10. Limits like that force you to be selective about what you upload. That plus the (continued) absence of any privacy controls means people won’t be using it as dumping grounds for vacation and family snapshots. Or to echo an idea I like upthread, maybe award upload slots based on average rating – better photographers can upload more, weaker photographers have to learn to be more selective and improve their craft.

    The key to maintaining the quality of the site is simply vigorously maintaining and tweaking their popularity algorithm to defend against gaming the system and keep unearthing great photos. This has been the biggest failure of Flickr in recent years – Explore has ceased to showcase truly “interesting” photos and instead routinely picks lowest common denominator type stuff. The Flickr groups feature has become a disaster too, they’re all dumping grounds with minimal engagement.

    Some other suggestions I have, in case the site owners are listening:

    1. Let me customize the experience by hiding any category I’m not interested in – not just nudes. There’s prudes out there, I get it, so if you want to hide nudes by default then so be it. But don’t *just* give me the choice about nudes, give me the choice about everything. Especially cats. I’ve got no problem with artistic nudes but hate photos of peoples cats, so let me set the filters accordingly.

    2. The stumbleupon button is nice, but ultimately it’d be better if you can bring this in house. Look at how I vote, find others who vote like me, use that to show me photos I haven’t voted on yet and would (probably) like. This kind of personalization kicks the ass out of any “popularity” algorithm anyone can come up with. The easier it is to browse, and the better the experience of browsing, the more time I’ll spend browsing.

    3. A really good API. Really necessary.

    1. Thanks, Eric. You’ve got some good points here. Answering your questions:
      1. Hiding categories. Good idea. Eventually we’ll have it, but first have to do better job on categorizing photos. We’re trying to figure out what is the best way to do it. Probably we’ll crowd source tagging since may photographers just skip this part. We’ll see.
      2. Recommended photos based on what you and your friends liked before. Awesome idea. It’s rather big and complex issue which we’re working on now.
      3. API is coming. The initial version will be released soon. Need it for Ligtroom plugin and iPad app first.

  33. I dont know how many members they have at the present. But I find it hard enough to get people to rate my pics now.

    I think that if it does fill up with flickr type posters It will make no difference to most of us.
    people like Zack, matt, scott, Dustin diaz etc. will still be the ones on the front page as they are already established in the world of social media and they are the ones that get all the views.

    1. Scott, your comment system is acting out, this is the seventh try for three comments.

      Edd, just took a look trough your stream and compared it to Zack Arias’ and he shoots better. So until you get to his level, he’s on the front page because he shoots better, not because he’s “established in the world of social media”. Take good pics and people will notice.

  34. I joined yesterday after hearing about it here. I can’t figure out a way to replace an image without deleting it (and losing the ranking and views) and re-uploading. Every other site has a mechanism for replacing an image if you upload it and then don’t like how it looks (or forgot to sharpen it, etc).

  35. Hi Scott –

    As an absolute amateur, but learning/trying – what are your thoughts for someone joining to look, read, learn from other photographers and to wake photographic senses.

    I did join last night, but do not want to degrade the quality of the beautiful work up there – so, I’ve not uploaded work. However, I don’t need a hug (flickr), but would find comments, criticism and critiques from the pros online. Is 500px just for the pros or can those of us learning join and hopefully participate. …I feel, um, sneaky as I wander images without having uploaded a thing.

    Regarding 500px, I have one additional thought. The ‘dislike’ button. I can see the ‘like’ button, but if one doesn’t like an image, wouldn’t they just not choose the ‘like’ button? I can foresee a scenario where the ‘dislike’ button would be abused to influence rankings.

    I don’t want to upload 50 images of Aunties visit or 25 of my cute kitty cat, but would love to share 5 or 10 images among the pros for real world advise.

    On an unrelated note; Scott I LOVE some of your pieces so much, I have to ask, do you or will you ever sell prints?

    Thanks for all you do!


      1. Hi Andrey,

        Thank you for ALL your great replies here. Also, thank you for the clarity. Never would it have occurred to me you’d be facing – visual spam. Thanks for the reasoning and your time!

        Kind regards,


  36. As stated in their about page 500px is a site for photographers. It doesn’t stipulate “professional” and I hope they don’t become elitist by trying to judge photos. This isn’t a contest and you can always switch the channel if you don’t like what you see. I’ve always railed at the unbridled censorship on Flickr and think the rating system that’s in place on 500px is sufficient to weed out the chaff from awe inspiring efforts.

    I like all the ease of use suggestions you’ve provoked and expect the agile team at 500px will implement a lot of them. One minor addition… don’t make me target the x to close a zoomed photo, I should be able to click anywhere on it to return to the main page ;)

  37. Scott, thank you for this post. Here is a quick follow up and I’ll answer to all questions and comments after.

    – The sorting order is coming. This feature is in our pipeline, analyzing this issue now.
    – You’re absolutely right that site search is broken. We’re fixing it right now, will release an update by the end of next week. is the one who’s working on it, feel free to ping him in case of any questions.
    – iPad app is coming within next few months. Large nice thumbnails, etc… :)
    – We’re already monitoring the whole photo stream (4 of us in the office, 10 of editors around the world, and many dedicated users) and fortunately it’s going. At the same time I believe that the most effective way to keep up the high quality is to grow community, encourage people to upload only the best photos, and to help them to master their art.
    – Yes, Lightroom plugin is coming soon.
    – Yes, you can get 20% discount of regular 50$ price. Save 10$ with code NAPP :)

    Here is a bit more info on what’s coming
    Please let us know in case of any questions :)

    Andrey Tochilin

  38. Awesome site love it, hate flickr, love this, agree with everyone points.

    Could we have apay it forward scheme where the people who make the editors choice have to pick two other phots images the editor choice can stay up longer, then they can stay up for a week.

    Sounds daft, but to phots that are not established as social media celebs it would a chance to be seen. So you have a editors page and you have peers page.

    And last item

    As pros some of us have post nom accreditation, could we have box and a link to that society, association it would be great to see aussie photo societies compared to a french society. It would open up 500px to other contributors and show a greater breadth of photography.

    Can we ban hdr………….only joking!

    Keep it up love it


  39. Folks, I already posted this comment above, but sins we have so many comments on this issue, here it is again:

    Speaking of photo filtering / gate keepers:
    … actually people is already uploading as many pictures as they want to. Nobody stops them (only themselves looking at popular pages and trying to compete here). But because of the our rating system, you usually see only the best ones. The rest is already here, but you just don’t have time to get here.

    In the future you’ll have much more possibilities to discover new great photos and photographers. It will be able:
    – see the photos with the highest rating from the past (remember that rating are groping down automatically)
    – see pictures with fastest growing ratings
    – pictures with most comments
    – the most proactive users
    – etc

    Some background info:
    – At this moment we host over a million photos. btw, here is #1,000,000
    – you can see quality pictures uploading on 500px looking at our live stream

    The conclusion: as long as community stay strong and we’re working on algorithms and user interface, it will be OK

  40. Folks, I already posted this comment above, but since we have so many comments on this issue, here it is again:

    Speaking of photo filtering / gate keepers:
    … actually people is already uploading as many pictures as they want to. Nobody stops them (only themselves looking at popular pages and trying to compete here). But because of the our rating system, you usually see only the best ones. The rest is already here, but you just don’t have time to get here.

    In the future you’ll have much more possibilities to discover new great photos and photographers. It will be able:
    – see the photos with the highest rating from the past (remember that rating are groping down automatically)
    – see pictures with fastest growing ratings
    – pictures with most comments
    – the most proactive users
    – etc

    Some background info:
    – At this moment we host over a million photos. btw, here is #1,000,000
    – you can see quality pictures uploading on 500px looking at our live stream

    The conclusion: as long as community stay strong and we’re working on algorithms and user interface, it will be OK

  41. The ability to “safe filter” by account (such as Flickr) to my mind is really important. I’ve told a lot of people about 500px but also advised them to not view it in a workplace setting. Anyone that doesn’t understand this hasn’t worked in a corporate setting. Its not about “artistic control” or being a “prude” (whatever that means); its a matter of breaking the computer usage terms covered under your employment contract. In NZ you could easily get fired on this basis :-)

    Otherwise I like 500px a lot and would just love to see some kind of stats around views, referers etc.



  42. Scott,

    Have you ever stopped to think about the influence you have in the photographic community? You are the Oprah of photography! ;-) If you say you like something, it is sure to realize a significant following. The good news in all this is how fair and equitable you are in your assessments. I for one want to say thanks for what you do and more importantly, how you do it.


  43. Hi Scott

    I know this is a bit longer than the typical “love your post/work/idea” reply and, I have to tell you, I am the typical passive-visitor the reads your posts and moves on. But, you see, there was something about your last article on 500px and yesterday’s follow up that I disliked…not sure what it was but I think I now know. To be honest, I am unsure you’ll get the time to read my comments; but I hope some of my fellow SK followers will do ;)

    First of all, let me start by saying that I do totally love 500px (more in a second), it is perhaps the best designed photo-sharing site today. The quality of the photos is incredible and the density of extraordinary artwork is just mind-blowing. However, fearing that the quality will drop as it becomes (deservedly) more popular and bring upon the idea of having a curator (ala S Jobs/Apple) is, IMHO, plain wrong and borderline elitist (you know, like what happened with the sports photography site that spoke BS about the guy that won your contest about a year ago). Especially coming from you, who is mainly trying to appeal to a broader audience new to PS and photography in general. I understand your point and what you meant, but it actually saddens me a bit…I always liked photography; but it was you (and Bryan Peterson) that made me passionate about it.

    Anyway, let me explain my point. Sites like Flickr, Picasa, and Instagram in the mobile realm are used by a lot of people to share snapshots and memories of events that are meaningful to them. A few guys/gals upload 200 photos of their drunk buddies and, oh boy!, make them all public for us to see! That definitively lowers the quality of Flickr tremendously, but that is one of the main appeals of flickr and how people see it. The layout/design of those sites does not help either. Flickr does look unfinished/unprofessional to “serious” photographers; but it is perfect for tons of other people. At the end, flickr/picasa/etc is more about sharing a moment than quality.

    I love 500px for another reason. The site is designed to appeal to a different audience and, IMO, as long as it keeps that philosophy alive, the quality of the work will be definitively well above average. I use 500px to: i) get inspired and ii) get feedback from people that really know the craft. The way I see it, 500px actually encourages you to DELETE the photos that do not get enough attention (you even said that in your post). It forces you to experiment and perhaps revisit some of your work…try something different and go out and shoot! Isn’t that photography all about?

    Having a curator or fearing the site will become flickr 2.0 goes against that spirit. Do you like to see curated photos? Go to a stock site!!!! You shall always have the freedom to upload what you please…for God’s sake you paid (or not) for it! What you get at 500px is your site, your space to express your creativity and evolve as a photographer. That is what, to me, is unique about 500px and what I would fear to loose. If I were a renowned professional photographer, I would actually encourage my colleagues to actively participate of the 500px community to help US, the passionate amateurs, to improve and keep trying! (otherwise 500px will be a site for pros looking at the work of other pros and giving kudos to each other…what’s the point of that?!!!!!! Wouldn’t that be something like a Flickr Pro??!!).

    I know, long reply, but whatever, I feel better now.

    BTW, take a look at my 500px site! Lol!



    PS: I am not a native English speaker, so I apologize for my grammar/wordiness.

    1. Hi Mariano, great reply and echoes my thoughts!!! I have only been on the site for less than 24hours and I am loving the quality that is over at 500px so far!

      i will check out your 500px site once the server is back up. mine is at


  44. I don’t think there should be a border on quality to entry. The issue really aren’t people uploading bad pictures, I think thats just fine. Same rights for everyone. The issue is that those people usually lack the sense of what the page is about and upload bad pictures by the dozens. Having to dig through 200 pictures of grass named “my country” makes the fresh tab pointless, no matter how good the ranking algorithm is. It also makes the dislike button pointless, because you can’t compete with those numbers.

    I know it is harder to take away from people than to give them something, but I think the only fair solution to everyone without discriminating “newbs” would be to reduce the amount of images you can upload to a low number like one per day, even for pay-members. Add in 20 pictures when opening an account as a starting base and you’re golden. You can give the pay members cookies of other sorts, no need to allow them to spam stuff.

    Just my 2c.

  45. Nice one Scott. Seems like you crashed the site, maybe you are not aware of your powers. I found the 500px site throug you and bet dozens of others did the same.
    Result – site is down today :o)

    I’m sure it will be up again soon.

    PS. Looking forward to travelling 700 miles to meet you in Köln in august.

  46. I’d like the ability to delete comments on my images. One commenter yesterday actually named my model – someone who’d rather be anonymous. I emailed 500px asking them to delete the comment, which they did – and quickly.

    But I’d like to have been able to do it myself.


  47. I disagree with the suggestion that there should be a ‘gatekeeper’ or someone to monitor the quality of work coming onto the site. Once you go down that road you’ll never come back. People learn a lot from constructive criticism so uploading a less than stellar photo and getting feedback is a surefire way for any photographer to improve his/her craft.

    I’ve been following and admiring you (Scott) for years now but was disappointed to see that, although you are a member of 500px, you haven’t actually commented on anyone’s work (as near as I can tell). Was your goal just to test the site or do you plan to be part of the community? Make a comment, get some friends (other than your usual gang). Imagine a user/photographer waking up and checking their 500px account to find that Scott Kelby left a few kind words on their photo. They’d be so happy their head might explode.

    1. At there is a huge community where you can upload a photo before submition, or if your photo has been rejected. The criticism is very constructive, and very often leads to a rejected photo gets improved after the criticism, and then approved.
      I have yet to get a photo approved, but my goal is to get that this year ;)

  48. Its funny how everyone is talking about not posting crap on 500px.

    I said in a post further up the line that it doesn’t matter what Scott k, matt, zack arias and others like them post because they are already established within the social media.

    I am not picking on Zack but he has 96 pics up, 310 are peoples favorites and affection of 1369.
    Zack is a great photographer but there is a lot of crap in there to and how many times do we wanna see someone standing on a hill, lit with one light.
    The fact is, he and scott and all the established photographers (entertainers) can put whatever crap they want on 500px and people will love.
    Who would moderate you guys?

  49. I really like 500px and will like it even more when the bugs with the uploaders get worked out.
    The display is beautiful and the quality of photos is outstanding.
    I love the suggestion of being able to change the order of our personal page. I also agree that the search function does NOT work!
    I also agree with a commenter’s request for easier navigation amond my contact’s photos.
    All in all, I’m super excited about 500px and think it has the most potention of anything out there right now.

  50. I stopped using 500px long time ago, as a professional photographer my main concern was that they: TAKE the TOTAL ownership of uploaded content. Might not be the case for pro account but for the free ones it is in their Terms and Conditions. Recently I was “spammed” to check out a site called YouPic. I must say I really enjoyed the Experience, much more 2015 than 500px. Also as you might have guessed I totally checked out the terms and conditions on YouPic and they do not steal rights to the photos. 500px does unfortunately. I think they will lose many users to the new kid in town. The concentration on YouPic seems to be about inspiration and getting better photos. And the amazing 10 000 views in less than 2 days on my photography was a wow experience.

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