5 Reasons Why You Should Sign Up to 500px

Hey guys,

So I recently signed up to this great site called 500px and if I’m being honest, I’ve turned into a bit of a fanboy! Regardless of that though, it’s a genuinely great site with the functions and implementation to really rank highly in your social networking resources. 500px is best described by the creators as ‘a photographic community powered by creative people from all over the world that lets you share and discover inspiring photographs’. Except that may perhaps be an understatement; with comprehensive blogging tools, social networking updates and a friend based community 500px may just be your new internet homepage. So here are 5 reasons you should sign up, starting with…

1) It works.

Now, this may sound like a stupid reason; but it’s completely relevant. If a site doesn’t work, people can’t use it, they can’t become users. I would best describe 500px’s user page [Example is my page] as a blend between Facebook and twitter, featuring all the elements you could want from a social networking hub, but laying it out in a cleaner way than Facebook by using a tab based system, which keeps all of your other main directions open. If you want to follow someone, just click the appropriate box and you follow them. Keeping tabs on what you and other people are doing is so easy, because the information is just there; Ian and  Oleg (The sites founders) have somehow seemed to strip away all that is unimportant and leave only that which matters without making anything seem cluttered. Click where you want to go, and go there. Simple, elegant, functional. However, if you are having problems, why don’t you look to the next reason…

2) The Staff Are Great.

Ok, now I may have gotten a bit carried away, referring to the sites founders on a first name basis, something that I cannot justify-but it’s sad to say just how much they feel like your friends. It is one of my most commendable points in this article, to highlight just how impressed I have been by the sites customer service so far. After encountering a little befuddlement with the interface, I decided to make use of the blogging feature built into the site. After a short post expressing some concern, I got a reply and a string of tweet mentions via Oleg, Ian and the 500px official twitter [Click to follow]. It was great to engage with the staff on such a personal level, and you can see from their tweets just how eager the team at 500px are to communicate with their users, with a lot of retweet and @mentions to other users. I cannot pretend that should the site take off on the scale of  Facebook or twitter that this personability may fade, but the site is already servicing tens of thousands of members and it is really nice to see this level of effort.

3) Portfolios.

Can’t afford to a run a portfolio site, showing off your work? Well 500px accommodates users with an online portfolio for FREE. It’s a simple enough slide show generator, but the feature provides you with a personal URL and shows off your photography in a clean, sleek and stylish way; saving technophobes the world over. People checking out your portfolio are also provided with contact details and a brief ‘About’ section based on the information you submitted when signing up to the 500px main site. It’s a simple feature that works really well; have a look at mine to see how it looks.

4) It’s Classy.

Have you ever heard of a site called 1x? If not, you really should check that out too; I say this because like 500px-it’s classy. Class is something that’s hard to pin down but I would summarise it in this context as something that represents quality and design on an industry level. You can’t submit any old tat to 500px; I mean, do your best and upload only your best (as requested by the site admins), but this isn’t a place for your party snaps or your upload tests. 500px stands for a community of quality, not a photo sharing network; the difference being that 500px functions on a more objective level than the happy snappers on Facebook photos. However, if you’ve tried submitting to 1x and been rejected, don’t worry, 500px as far as I know don’t scrub apparently ‘amateur’ photographs, they just ask you to do your best. Couple this with usability far superior to 1x’s interface, and you can start to see why people are claiming 500px is to flickr, what vimeo is to youtube.

5) It’s Young.

One of my favorite things about 500px is its tender age, or perhaps instead I should refer to its tender size. The site started out in 2003 but refers to their 2.0 version being completed in 2009; in that time 500px has won over a few thousand users but I saw a tweet earlier today speculating to the size increase that they estimate for the end of the month. This is what I really think should push readers of this article to sign up, it’s a fantastic experience getting involved in something that has the potential to grow exponentially and since my sign up, I have been rating, commenting and of course posting to try to become a truly active member of this community (Even if I’m not going to be the best photographer on the site!). Because that’s what it’s all about, being sociable, kind and sharing your mutual interests with people in a way that only the internet can accommodate.

Go on, just sign up already.

Peace,

Matt  :)

 

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If I Were Trapped On a Desert Island…

Think of it as Desert Island Disks for designers.

So I had a thought today when browsing the pages of a (relatively) new photo sharing site called 500px; it’s a lovely site that has multiple functions for the modern internet savvy user. And as a side note, I am VERY impressed with the staff who since my sign up have engaged with me on a personal level not common in social networking sites (this may be in part to their relatively small size, but it’s still fair to say I was flattered all the same!). Anyway, if you like photography or have even a passing interest in photo-networking (I hope that catches on!) then sign up to them NOW and be part of a fantastic and growing online community.

ANYWAY. I have got a but sidetracked, what I was trying to say was-As I browsed through the pages of 500px the high quality of the images on show lend my mind into a stream of consciousness whereunto I came to the hypothetical question ‘If I were trapped on a desert island, would I rather be surrounded by videos or imagery?’. Now I don’t want you to write of this hypothetical as something simpler than it seems, because it’s worth thinking about. Also I want to say that I am a HUGE lover of video and creative animation and this is not an easy decision for me, my mind will probably only be made up by the time I come to that point in the article!

Lets go through the pros and cons of each format is regard to being isolated on a desert island (that for some reason also have a 50″ plasma tv)…

VIDEO.

PROS: Videos can detail a story in a much more specific way that images ever can, production values can be incredibly high-adding gloss to a story and really sucking you in, you have camera movement that can reveal something initially hidden-or track a protagonist as he moves, you can adjust focus, depth of field, aperture – all on the fly creating a range of effect, you can add even more to these effects with post-editing, adding 3D element, even viewing it in 3D, it seems that quite literally, your options are endless.

CONS: You are limited to the choices made by the production team, your level of interpretation can be restricted by the finale of a film, your senses can be over-loaded with a lot to take in all at once. However I must acknowledge that a lot of these points are minor and that the reason you like a film is usually why you like it at all, kinda like…

IMAGERY.

PROS: In contrast to video, imagery to a degree lets you interpret and choose the story of a particular still, you have a wider range of formats than video, you have: photography, painting, collage and if we’re being generous, sculptures; imagery is usually refined to the most perfect and image can be, refined and touched up untill the image is that which exactly reflects the subject matter, I’m not saying it is any more ‘considered’ than video, but each frame of a video cannot simply compare to a single photo or painting; speaking of which, the minor ‘flaws and/or imperfections’ of a painting create character, something real and tangible that reflects the craft of the painter, an insignia omitted by video directors.

CONS: An image is just that, one moment, one instance that is no more, you may get bored with an image, you may want to know more of the story, why should you have to do the hard work? As for how ‘considered’ a still is, you could also argue that a shot, or compilation of shot in video are more effective than one single image. However, as mentioned above, you will like images usually for the reasons in the ‘PROS’ section, not despite what I have mentioned in the ‘CONS’ section.

So those are the elements which I considered when thinking about this debate, and personally I am still making up my mind. Video was what got my interesting in design and creative work to begin with, it’s more accessible and usually easier to decode, which is why I enjoyed it some much when I was younger, and even more so now. However as I come to conclude, I realise which side of the fence I am falling on; images do take more work than video, and that’s why I am smitten with them, at least for now. Give me 10 images on a desert island and everyday I would construct new meaning, new back-stories and see them from new perspectives. I would put them around my island, hanging them from trees or standing upright in the sand, coming across them when I am feeling at my most blue and finding happiness in the brush strokes of my favorite painting. And when I am happy again, I would go drink a coconut smoothie and lie in my deck chair, forgetting about the 50″ plasma on the other side of the island, which is turned off.

Thanks,

Matt  :)