The 500px way to taking better photographs

 

Picture this – it’s a new photography website called 500px. Michael Moore-Jones tells us how this fresh photo sharing platform has made him a better photographer.

 

I have discovered a new passion – photography – through the 500px website and now I am one of its addicts.

Some people call 500px “the new Flickr”. Flickr may be in its death throes but I don’t know if 500px is really similar to it other than the way you can upload photos to it.

When you first go to 500px, you’re presented with a page of beautiful images. I was immediately drawn to it because the photos are beautiful. It made me want to keep looking through the site to discover more and more images. Infinity scrolling makes it difficult to stop looking.

Then I discovered the search box. Searching a word will bring up any images that are relevant to that keyword. I started with “Istanbul”. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to go to. I wanted to see what the city was truly like through the eyes of other photographers. I hate learning about a city through just one source, like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is great for facts but it’s true that a picture tells a thousand words.

I found myself scrolling through photos of Istanbul for an hour or so and I was most drawn to black and white images of people in their natural settings in the city. There is something intimate about seeing the people of a city going about their daily business. The photos on 500px allowed me to learn a huge amount about Istanbul and its culture without actually being there.

I especially like the b/w images because they focus a viewer’s attention effectively. Sometimes we get too caught up in colours and new HDR photos (I’m guilty too) that we forget that the content and composition of an image is the most important quality.

After that, I decided to get a proper camera (previously the extent of my photography was my iPhone 4S, an Olloclip lens, and an HDR app). This is where 500px completely hooked me in.

As someone just starting out with photography, 500px is invaluable. After I upload a photo, the community can rate my photos. It’s simple. A highly-rated photo is considered good by the community, and a lowly-rated photo is not considered as good.

But 500px’s rating system means that someone just starting out with photography has relatively the same opportunity to get their work voted on as a professional photographer.

You can also receive advice on your photos from more experienced photographers. You might think this isn’t likely but I’ve been surprised by the number of helpful comments I’ve received.

The result is that I can learn from the community and improve my photography as a result, while having relatively the same opportunities as a professional photographer to get my work discovered. I think 500px has done so well in creating this alternative rating system and other Internet startups should think about how they can emulate it. Read here for more information about how the system works.

500px is an example of a start-up entering an already crowded image sharing space and turning it upside down. I am now loving photography. I hope you will check it out and give me your feedback. My profile is Here.

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

One Comment

  1. Chee Pang Reply

    Good article and interesting walk through of your experience, yes 500px is a great site. Couple of quick points:

    1. 500px surprisingly isn’t a new site, it was started quite a while ago but they iterated and have only started gaining a lot of traction over the past year. In fact that’s how they got the name 500px, from their about page it was coined from the fact 500px was a good standard size to display images on CRT monitors back in the day.
    2. The link to your 500px profile is broken. Should there be a “s” added to the end?

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