Months before online photo hosting site Flickr even went online, shutterbug Evgeny Tchebotarev said he hit upon the idea and launched a site dedicated to posting, sharing and managing images in the Internet.
“It was way back in 2003 when three megapixel digital cameras were still creating a buzz that we launched 500px Inc., as a way to sort their photos,” he says.
In 2009, he and fellow commercial and fashion photographer Eric Gutsol decided to take 500px a step further. 500px has grown to a startup offering an alternative to image sharing sites such as Picasa, SmugMug and Flickr. Tchebotarev says 500px is aimed more at professionals and hobbyists who want to gain wider exposure and build a photography career. “500px is a site for hobbyists and professional photographers who want who show off their portfolios rather people who just want to exhibit their casual snapshots,” he says.
When the site was reintroduced in 2009 as a photo and portfolio management site, 500px managed to get more than 6,500 registered users. This year, no less than 35,000 photographers from around the world are on 500px. Browse through the site and you will find masterfully created images dealing with a vast variety of subjects.
However, 500px goes beyond photo voyeurism. The site is also a living online community where photographers converse, converge and compete.
500px has a large panel of photo editors from around the globe that pick out the best photos from the submissions the site receives. Photos are also judged based on their popularity based of the number of Likes and Dislikes votes they garner from other site members.
This is all done in the spirit of friendly competition, according to Tchebotarev. For those looking to advance their career in the field of photography, 500px offers another feature.
The site enables users to create a collection or album of work that can be used to serve as professional portfolios. The site provides pre-made themes to make it easy for users to design their portfolios.
Anyone can view and post photos for free on 500px. All you need to do is signup for an account. With free accounts, however, users are limited to maintaining one collection and uploading 20 photos per week.
The paid premium account costs $50/year and includes privileges such as unlimited collections and photo uploads, the ability to link portfolios to a custom domain name, premium portfolio themes and customizing options.
Members can comment on and share their photos or fellow members’ works on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 500px users also get a free blog through Livejournal a wall similar to Facebook’s wall.
About three months ago, 500px also released a mobile app that enables people to view the site’s photos on the iPhone and iPad. The free app registered 100,000 downloads on its first week on the Apple App Store.
500px takes the complexity out of the task of creating a hosting an online portfolio so that photographers can concentrate on their art, says Tchebotarev.
“For someone who want to take their hobby or career to the next level and get their work seen, this is a very reasonably priced package,” he adds.