Tag Archives: 500px

500px mutterings

Hmmmm, I’m not going into full rant mode just yet, as I’m waiting for things to settle down a bit, questions to be answered, changes to be clarified and err, other things to happen.

I’ve been a happy user of 500px for the last five years or so, and despite its irritating name, I’ve been paying for the “Awesome” package, which has given me just what I want – the ability to upload far more images than I’m ever likely to, and an easy to customise portfolio which I can point a domain name at, which indeed I do at Les Bessant Photography. This has worked nicely for me – it’s a site where I post only the images that I’m particularly happy with, and it’s a convenient site to point people at without scaring them away with all the nonsense I post here.

Anyway, yesterday, I (and presumably lots of other people) got an email from 500px telling me how New Exciting Things are happening with membership levels, which is the kind of thing that usually raises a doubt or two in my nasty suspicious mind.

And sure enough, the main change is that in place of the current “Plus” ($25 a year) and “Awesome” ($75 a year), there will be a new “Awesome”, which looks much the same as “Plus” at a new price of $4.99 a month (presumably just under $60 a year) and a new “Pro” which adds some new features for professionals (which explains the name) at a rather more expensive $9.99 a month (presumably just under $120 a year). Hmmm, looking a bit more expensive. But there’s more. There’s a new membership tier called Pro+[1] at a definitely professionals only price of $19.99 a month ($240 a year)[2].

And what does Pro+ get you? Oh. It offers a “Customizable website”, which Is what I thought I had already. These new sites will be offered through another service altogether rather than being built into 500px.

Existing users are being “upgraded” to the new packages, so I’ll get a Pro membership, and I took the opportunity to renew for an extra year at the current price. Users need to act quickly to take advantage of this, as the new plans take effect from next Monday.

A bit later in the day, 500px sent another email intended to clarify matters. The quick summary is that the current Portfolio feature, which as I mentioned, is something I use and am happy to pay for, will be going away. From Monday, users won’t be able to create new portfolios. Existing portfolios will still be available until some currently undefined point in the future when a migration plan is complete.

Users can migrate their current portfolios to the new Format site, but as I understand it, only if they subscribe to the Pro+ service.

I’ve emailed them to ask if my understanding is correct, and I’m sure other people will have done the same.

As it appears now, 500px seem to be wanting to charge more to take away a feature I actually use, while adding features that aren’t of any great use to me. Are they repositioning themselves to appeal more to the professional market and less to enthusiasts? It certainly looks that way to me, but let’s if further clarification follows.

[1] Isn’t that a brand of caffeine pills?
[2] And given the exchange rate these days, you might as well think of those $ signs being £ signs.

Well, that’s never happened before

I uploaded my photograph of the Baltic Flour Mills lettering to 500px this morning. And within a few minutes got a flurry of messages indicating people had marked it as a favourite. I’ve had a few images get some attention there, but not quite so rapidly before.

This led to me getting this, which I’ve never had from 500px before:

Popular

Popular

Shocking!

Picture Portfolio Ponderings

Regular readers[1] may recall me wittering on previously about finding the best internet home for my photographs.

Back in 2009, I was plotting to create a new site based on Lightroom galleries, but what with one thing and another, not to mention the tuit supplies, that never really got anywhere.

Last year, I got as far as pointing a domain name at 500px, but again there was an issue with tuits.

Later on, I got a bit excited about SmugMug, but after playing with that a bit further, I came to the conclusion that realistically, I’m never going to make full use of its commercial features, which would cost $300 for a year when renewal time came around.

And of course, there’s still Flickr, which now looks prettier but doesn’t seem any more appealing for some reason. But I did manage to do a bulk import of photos from Flickr into 500px, and today I found the tuits to sort them out a bit – deleting ones that don’t really belong on a proper photo site, sorting some into sets, and picking a new portfolio theme.

And that led me to get on and make a decision. I’ve closed the SmugMug site (actually finding the tuits nicely before they’d be taking more money off me) and pointed the Les Bessant Photography domain at 500px instead. The old LCB domain which was pointing at 500px is now a holding page with links to my various bits and pieces.[2]

So, the Cunning Plan[3] is to concentrate on putting my best photographs on 500px (as well as here, of course), and mostly ignore Flickr. Probably. Thanks to various discount offers, my 500px account is paid up to 2015, and I might as well get my money’s worth.

If all that was too much to read, the quick summary is that my portfolio site is still Les Bessant Photography, but it’s now on 500px.

[1] And other mythical beings
[2] And if that’s not what you’re seeing, your DNS hasn’t updated yet
[3] For now. Until some new shiny thing distracts me, of course

Flickring Follow-up

I mentioned my surprise at the changes at Flickr the other day. Well, it seems there was some confusion and possibly misinformation circulating. The deal is that Pro accounts (the kind I’ve been paying $25 a year for since err, quite a while ago) are no longer being offered. Those of us with them were allowed to keep the remaining benefits. On the other hand, we could just revert to a standard free account (which has insane amounts of storage) and get a partial refund. I decided to do that, and duly received just over £5, which is probably about right.

I’m inclined to let my Flickr presence wither away, and concentrate on 500px, which seems to be getting more popular.

Getting back into 500px

It may seem a little odd, after mentioning the Flickr changes this morning, but that little matter of the price rise did make me mutter a bit. Then I saw a tweet from 500px:

This reminded me that I’d been meaning to add more to my 500px account, but had never found the tuits. It turns out that Pi.Pe is a magic service for doing automagic bulk transfers of images between a huge range of social networking services, including Flickr, 500px, Facebook, Instagram, SmugMug, and many more. It took a couple of minutes to set up a link to copy all my Flickr images to 500px, and they started appearing almost immediately. And soon after that, I started getting the notifications: comments, votes, favourites. As more pictures moved across during the course of the day, more and more notifications came in.

It’ll take me a while to look through them all, and see who’s been looking at my photographs – some of the comments are definitely genuinely interested ones, some are maybe more of the trying to get attention kind (no harm in that, I’ll have a look at the work of everyone who’s commented or voted), but either way it’s the most attention my photos have generated in quite a while.

I’ll need to do some thinning out on 500px – because Pi.Pe imported using sets, there’s some duplication, and there are some images which don’t belong there – screen shots, webcam pictures and some record shots that are of no interest to anyone – but that can wait.

Flickring Heck!

After years of drifting along and not really changing very much at all, Flickr has just woken up, muttered about damn kids like 500px on its metaphorical lawn, taken a cold shower and sorted itself out.

Up until now, you had a choice of a free account, with rather tight limits on use (no more than 200 images in your photostream, for instance) or a Pro account (around $25 a year) with no such limits. Free account holders who don’t know about AdBlock also see adverts. I’ve had a paid account for a long time now, though I don’t spend as much time there as I used to.

But this morning, I woke to a friendly email from Flickr which announced that they’ve made some changes. From now, free accounts are limited (hah!) to a measly one terabyte of storage, which is room for, err, lots of images. Lots and lots and lots, in fact. Photographs can now be displayed in full resolution, and the default view on the home page and in photostreams is to show much larger versions of images rather than those dinky little thumbnails.

Pro accounts still get unlimited storage, though I think for most people, the distinction between “unlimited” and “one terabyte” isn’t going to be significant. The only real benefit remaining for the Pro subscription is not seeing adverts on the site. Pro users also get detailed statistics showing how many people are looking at their images, but I can’t remember the last time I even glanced at that, so I could live without that.

Until now, it was looking like Flickr was going to quietly fade away into irrelevance, but this might change things. It’ll certainly stimulate sites like 500px to keep things interesting, anyway, and that’s definitely a Good Thing.

More on the Flickr Blog: A better, brighter Flickr, or just pop over to the Flickr homepage.

I do believe I’ll be uploading some photographs…

Update: Apparently Pro accounts will now cost $50 a year rather than $25. I’m not convinced that I’ll be paying that. I’m remarkably good at not noticing adverts…

Updated update: Apparently Pro accounts are no longer offered, and they’re really not interested in providing them, as I mention in a later post.

My new new photography site

No, that’s not a typo in the title. I’ve previously launched a new photo site, then let it drift because the whole thing was far too much effort, so this is the new new one. It’s so new that I even registered a new domain name for it, despite having loads already.

This is follows on from what I was talking about on Monday about giving SmugMug a try. I had a more detailed play yesterday, and came to the conclusion that I liked what I saw enough to give it a try for a year at the top end $150 “business” level. Why “business”? Because I’m actually going to attempt to sell some images, and SmugMug lets me do that. I can set my own prices for a huge range of print sizes and downloads, which could potentially make back some of the cost.[1] SmugMug and the labs they work with deal with all the actual ordering, printing and delivering, which makes it moderately simple.

Anyway, the new Les Bessant Photography site is now live. There’s only one gallery so far, which has the same content as my photobook, but I’ll start adding more over the next few weeks.

I’ve set it up with a UK-based lab for printing – at the moment it’s not possible to offer more than one lab per gallery, but if any US-based readers would like to buy prints, I can set up a second gallery which will work with a US lab, so you won’t be stung on postage costs.

There’s also the option of downloading images – I have lower cost “personal” licences (print yourself, put on personal web pages, etc) and more expensive “commercial” ones (if you’re using it to make money, basically).

The layout of the site is basic at present – I may do some more customisation later.

After signing up, I learned that SmugMug will be increasing their subscription prices next month by a substantial amount, so I got in at about the right time. I’m prepared to gamble $150 for one year, taking into account that if I like it, I’ll probably stop paying for Flickr and 500px, but I’m not sure I’d have been so inclined at the new level of $300 for new Business subscribers. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth taking that trial now and signing up before the middle of October if you’re going to do it at all.

If you do want to sign up, this link will get you a discount: Sign up for SmugMug, or enter my magic code at the checkout: xMRTCekOokYmI

Les Bessant Photography

[1] If I ever get so far as making a profit, you’ll probably hear me going  :tigger: a lot

SmugMug: Trying a different photo site

I’ve never quite found the ideal way of displaying my photographs online. I’ve used a variety of self-hosted thingies, starting with galleries generated by software such as ThumbsPlus[1], moved on to using Gallery[2], hosted things on Flickr[3], linked things to this site by various means, and used the native WordPress gallery function[4]. More recently, I’ve been putting a small selection of images on 500px[5]. Somewhere in the middle of that, I had a go at using Lightroom’s web gallery functions, but that ended up being too much effort to keep up – I’d forgotten how faffy playing with real directories and files can be on a website after using WordPress for so long.

So when I saw the excellent and generally helpful Scott Kelby post about moving his portfolio to SmugMug – I Switched My Portfolio Over to SmugMug, I thought I’d better investigate.

I’d heard of SmugMug, but I’d never got around to actually looking at the site. In essence, it’s a photographer’s portfolio site, with the options of selling your images, displaying them in a variety of ways and generally customising the appearance of your personal pages. Layouts that expand to fit the size of the viewer’s screen are standard, which is cool.

Unlike Flickr and 500px, there’s no free service available – prices start at $5 per month (or $40 per year) for a basic package, with a “power” package at $8/$60 and a “pro” at $20/$150. Looking at what’s on offer, I’d certainly want the “power” version, and quite possibly the pro, so it’s not a cheap option. Well, not as cheap as some other options, anyway.

I’ve taken the free 14 day trial (I’d prefer longer to give it a proper play, but that’s what’s on offer…) and assuming I get anywhere with it[6], I’ll report back on what I think.

If you’re interested, you can see my SmugMug page here.

Full details of the service from SmugMug

Update: I’ve actually signed up for the service, and I’m starting to show some pictures there.

[1] Quite a while ago, as that’s yer actual Windows software, which I don’t use at home any more…
[2] It’s good in its way, but I gave up on it when the link between WordPress and Gallery became problematic
[3] Quite useful, but there’s this nagging feeling that Yahoo might break it one day, and it’s not really good for a portfolio
[4] Nice and simple, but given the rambling nature of this site, it’s not so good for people who just want to see the pictures
[5] Great, but as the general standard there is so high, I’m reluctant to use it as a general portfolio site. I do like to put photographs I’m particularly happy with, but not more general work
[6] Regular readers will be familiar with my tuit issues

Looks like 500px wants to make Flickr cry

I’ve mentioned the excellent 500px once or twice before. With some recent updates, the site looks better than ever, and whether you’re a photographer looking for an excellent way to show of your images, or just someone who wants to see some really great photography, it’s well worth a regular visit. And if you have an iPad, the 500px app is an incredibly good use of your device, though you might want to take care, as time can disappear in an alarming way….

I was quite happy to pay for the premium “Awesome” account, and indeed to extend it for a further year when they ran a special offer, but at a full price of $50, it might seem a bit much for some people, especially when compared to Flickr’s $25 subscription.

So, they’ve done the sensible thing and introduced a new membership level. The Plus membership comes with most of the benefits of the Awesome level, but excludes the custom domain and similar features.  Upgrade to Plus, and you get unlimited uploads (up from a rather stingy 10 per month for a free account). This compares very well with Flickr’s offering, and nicely undercuts it at $19.95 for a year.

This will surely bring more photographers to 500px, which seems like a Good Thing to me.  Flickr is looking quite tatty by comparison, and I suspect I won’t be giving them any more money…

My new photo site is on 500px

Readers with long memories might recall me talking about setting up a new website for my photographs. Well, that was well over two years ago, and you may well be wondering what I’ve done with it.

As it happened, I lacked the tuits to organise that properly, and I’ve kept on posting pictures here, and to a lesser extent on Flickr. I’m not sure why, but I find Flickr much less appealing these days than I used to, so I rarely go there.

But where I have been going is 500px – you might have noticed the widget thingy at the bottom of this page. It’s a much more interesting photography site, which concentrates on displaying the pictures at quite nicely large sizes. There are the usual options for commenting, marking pictures as “liked” or as favourites, and a reasonable bit of interaction. It’s well worth a look there if you just want to browse through loads of pictures, many of them quite superb. If you have an iPad, check out their app, which is a great way of enjoying some excellent photographs. Apparently an Android version will be available soon.

If you sign up for a paid membership, quite apart from being able to upload huge numbers of images, should you be so inclined, you can also point a domain at your portfolio on 500px, and that’s what I’ve done – the former Les Bessant Photography now lives on 500px, which saves me having to update it and tweak it.

Les Bessant on 500px

There’s also a handy plugin for Lightroom, which allows me to easily add images, and also see which ones have received comments. Cool.

I’ve been going through my pictures and adding just a few – it’s not the kind of site where you’d want to put everything, and it’s worth keeping it for your best work.

Well worth a look – there are some seriously good photographers there.