At least the photo sharing world.

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the "new" photo sharing site 500px. Not new at all, 500px has been around since 2003. So why all the attention now? I suspect it has to do with some improvements they've been making to the UX as well as the lack of the same from the leader, Flickr. Whatever the reason, photographers like Zack Arias are deleting their Flickr accounts and moving to 500px. I am about to do the same and I am also thinking about disconinuing my Project: 90 Days blog and posting them on 500px.

Why 500px?

There are several reasons to move from Flickr to 500px. The terms of service for 500px is just enough to cover them but greatly favors the photographer. It is the most favorable TOS I've seen from a social networking site. The user interface is light years beyond Flickr with a strong emphasis given to the photography. Sounds like a no-brainer but one look at both interfaces side by side makes Flickr look cluncky and out-of-date (which it is). The photos on a photographers page are displayed as a grid of fairly large thumbnails with the titles and rating clearly visible when the picture is rolled over. The single image page shows a fairly large (900px) main image with comments and a like and dislike button.

A portfolio page on 500px with larger thumbnails and photographer info down the left.

You can browse through the highest rated pictures as well as editor picks. The social aspect of it lets you follow other photographers, like their photos and add to favorites. Photographers new to 500px are excited by how much faster they receive feedback and followers than Flickr but I think that will trail off as more photographers flock to 500px. But, the service lends itself much better to the social aspect so I think it will be a stronger place for interaction.

Unlike, Flickr, I don't think 500px is a dumping ground for photos. The quality of images on 500px is very high and I think if you want to gain any traction on this site you need to put your best foot forward.

A single image view with a large main photo 900px wide (make me wonder why it's called 500px).

Like any social networking site, the more you put into it, the more you get out. Following photographers, commenting on photos and rating will lead to people checking out your work. If you put up good quality work, you'll get more comments and higher ratings and get some images featured. Then the snowball starts rolling. I've noticed many of the highest rated photos are from photographer who have multiple photos in the 'most popular' section.

I'm not sure of the value behind throwing your photography up for other photographers. Other photographers are not going to hire you for a job and you most likely will not get good critiques of you work, most will either ignore you or pat you on the back.

That being said, it looks to be a good place to get noticed. Maybe it won't be long before Art Directors and image buyers start looking through the site.

It is also a great case study for UX designers because I think the difference is all about the user experience of 500px.

As the site gains popularity, hopefully, an API will pop up for plug-ins and maybe and improved app. At this time there are no WordPress plug-ins for displaying 500px images on your blog. I'm also looking forward to a time when camera apps will add 500px to the sharing options along with Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

All this makes me wonder if 500px is to Flickr as Facebook was to MySpace.