Flickr or 500px or Both?

Flickr or 500px or Both?

I’m not someone very active with social networks (Tumblr is the one and only place I stay active). That said, as a photography enthusiast, I do have an account with both Flickr and 500px , but haven’t been as active as I’d want to be, having uploaded only 10+ photos each.

This is because I’ve had my photos posted on this website and Tumblr, and get what I want from these two places, Gallery Page on this website and a community with like-minded photographers on Tumblr. Therefore I’m reluctant to upload the same photos to Flickr and 500px. It’s repetitive and time-consuming to say the least. But now I’m considering to be more active on Flickr or 500px or even both, hoping to get my photos exposed to more eyeballs than it is possible with this little space online (i.e. my website).

My Experience with Flickr and 500px

With my little experience with Flickr and 500px, I’ve realized that nobody gets to see your photos on Flickr (let alone “faves” and comments) if you just upload photos and don’t do anything else. After adding the same photo to 30 different groups (sounds spammy, doesn’t it?), I finally get 100+ views and a few faves or comments. It seems very hard to “get noticed” on Flickr.

On the other hand, photos uploaded to 500px immediately get quite a number of “Likes”, and what’s even more amazing is that the uploaded photos remain evergreen. I still get Likes for photos I uploaded a few years ago! This happens without me doing any kind of self-promotion at all. In addition, Flickr has no option to sell your photos while 500px lets you license photos through its marketplace that works much like stock photography websites.

500px is Missing One Vital Feature

Reading up to here, it sounds no brainer to go with 500px, doesn’t it? That said, 500px is missing one vital feature (to me) which is the ability to replace photos. My overly perfectionist nature obliges me to replace photos when I further edit them (e.g. changing the crop), but 500px won’t let me do this (while it’s possible with my own website, Tumblr and Flickr). Thus, I’m left with no choice but to delete and re-upload as new photos. Doing this loses all the Likes and comments received, but in my typically starving artist-ish manner, I’ve always chosen perfection and self-satisfaction over recognition…

Due to this shortcoming of 500px, I’m leaning towards Flickr, at least until 500px implements the ability to replace photos. I’d love to know which platform (Flickr or 500px) you prefer and why. Feel free to Contact Me to share your view and strategy. ;)

My Take on Stock Photography: Worth Your Time and Effort?

My Take on Stock Photography: Worth Your Time and Effort?

Update on 7 April 2017: I no longer sell my photos on 500px, as I’ve started to sell print and digital download on demand directly on my own website. Also, 500px currently gives 60% net commission (down from 70%) for photos sold exclusively with them.

If you’re a hobbyist photographer like myself, you may have thought about selling your photos on stock photography websites to make money on the side. I put this into action and became a contributor for iStockphoto a few years ago. When I made my first sale ($1 something), I jumped up for joy, but soon realized that I wouldn’t make much money by earning 50 cents here, $1 there, as the commission returned to photographers was very low, which apparently comes from the fact that there is much more supply than demand in stock photography industry.

How I Became Disillusioned and Gave up Stock Photography

One year in, I had 60 photos accepted and sold there, but only earned $100 for the full year. Then, I came to know that some of those earning decent income ($500+ per month) sell hundreds, if not thousands, of photos not only on one stock photography website, but on 5-10 different websites to make all those 50 cents, $1 into $500 and more.

Then I quickly became disillusioned and completely gave up the hope to make money with stock photography, as I had no such time or energy to edit hundreds of photos and upload to multiple stock photography websites. I thought about selling on my own website, but shot the idea down immediately, as my website had (and has) very few visitors, and without being exposed to thousands of eyeballs, it’s impossible to sell well.

Pleasant Surprise with 500px Marketplace

Then one day, completely out of the blue, I received an email from 500px Marketplace saying one of my photos was sold and I earned $24.50. This was a pleasant surprise as I even forgot about the fact I had several photos uploaded there for sale. Then, it was followed by another $50 sale a month later. ;)

It seems that 500px sets themselves apart from other stock photography websites fighting the race to the bottom, selling photos at higher prices and giving 70% commission back to photographers. So, I’ve decided to upload more photos there to sell exclusively. These two sales may have been fluke incidents, and I don’t expect anything much this time round, but selling exclusively at one place (especially at a pricier site like 500px) is a good idea, as buyers have no choice but to buy if they really want my photo and it’s only sold there.

Halt the Race to the Bottom and Bring Dignity Back to Photographers

By the way, I’ve also bought a number of stock photos for casual web design work I do. I normally search on iStockphoto first, and when I find a photo I want, I’ll check other cheaper websites, as photographers often upload photos to multiple websites, like I said. But, if the photo isn’t sold anywhere else, and is something I desperately want, I’d still buy it even if it’s pricey.

In my humble opinion, if all photographers opt to sell their photos exclusively at any one stock photography website that pays photographers a decent rate, we can halt the race to the bottom, and bring dignity back to photographers. What’s your view on stock photography? Let me hear via my Contact Me page. ;)


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