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by garik

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I am looking for somewhere to show, and possibly sell, my best work.

I want something which looks really professional and delivers a really good experience and service to my viewers / clients.

I have heard a lot of buzz about both 500px.com and SmugMug.com.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these?

Can you suggest any other sites I should look at?

I'm based in the UK, if that makes any difference.

Many thanks for any advice. :)

share|improve this question
    
What was the downvote for? It's polite to leave a comment when downvoting. I'm always happy to admit mistakes and amend accordingly. –  AJ Finch Jul 20 '11 at 9:34
    
Well, I was going to answer this, since I have both services, and have had Smugmug for over 5 years, but you selected the only answer as best already - within one day. –  dpollitt Jul 20 '11 at 17:55
    
@dpollitt, I would certainly love to hear your experiences. –  AJ Finch Jul 21 '11 at 9:25
    
I didn't downvote, but maybe it was because the question presumes an answer of one of these two specific sites? I wanted to mark this question as a duplicate of this one, but this is so specific that it doesn't seem generally helpful. –  mattdm Aug 2 '11 at 12:14

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

500px

I've been on 500px for a few weeks now; it does, indeed, seem to be the new hotness in terms of photo-sharing sites, but it's probably too early to judge its long-term staying power. At this point, the site is positioned as high-end content (think 1X), but with the openness of Flickr and some nice social networking features. One of the big open questions for 500px is whether they can sustain the current apparent quality level (with respect to photos submitted) as they grow in size. In other words, how do they achieve the scale of Flickr without diluting quality?

At this time, it looks like 500px is working on enabling photo sales via Fotomoto. Photo sales, according to that link, are live and working right now, but the link to activate them isn't present in the normal UI yet, as testing is still in progress. You can sell photos from either the free account or a paid ("awesome") account. Given this, and with the additional features you get when you upgrade to "awesome", 500px has a lot of potential.

Smugmug

I recently deactivated a Smugmug account. I found Smugmug to be great for photo sharing, but most of the stuff I wanted to take advantage of there was only available in their paid account. I opted to build my own site rather than upgrade, but Smugmug is used successfully by lots of photographers to do exactly what you're looking for. I was a little disappointed in their social networking features; they've got groups for sharing photos among Smugmug users, but I never saw a lot of activity driven out of those groups. It's too early to call whether my experience is going to be different for 500px, so I'll withhold judgement on that, I guess.

You can enable photo sales from a basic ($40 /yr) account, but be sure to check out the feature list, because many selling features (such as setting your own prices) are available only in the pro ($150 /yr) account.

Summary

Right now, the safe call is probably a Smugmug Pro account. They're a proven commodity, and they're stable. If you're feeling the least bit daring, though, 500px has a lot going for it, and you can try nearly all of it for free. Had I known about 500px, I probably would have skipped setting up my own site and just thrown all of my eggs in that basket. As it is, I'm going to stay active there for a while and see how well the site matures.

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1  
I use smugmug pro as well. I find it very helpful if you need an easy quick cart solution to sell and display your photos. –  chrisjlee Jul 19 '11 at 21:11
    
Thanks for a really complete roundup, @D.Lambert. much appreciated. I'll try the free accounts on both. I'm sure there will be a new one round the corner, too! :) –  AJ Finch Jul 20 '11 at 9:32
    
Unfortunately, the only free option on Smugmug is the trial, but you ought to be able to see what they're all about pretty quickly. –  D. Lambert Jul 20 '11 at 11:45
1  
You can't currently sell photos on 500px in the portfolio.. only in the public 500px.com mode. In other words, if you upgrade to "awesome" and set your domain to your 500px portfolio (your own logo, white label UI, etc., guess what? you can't sell your photos in there! I learned this AFTER paying the premium. Still, 500px is worth a look. Supposedly they're working to enable the shopping cart in your portfolio as well. Also, the 500px portfolio is not very customizable at all -- esp. compared to SmugMug which is almost TOO customizable. GOOD LUCK! –  jaxxon Jul 20 '11 at 23:14
    
Bummer -- considering the selling option is brand-new, hopefully that's something they're still working on. I can see where 500px probably isn't as customizable as smugmug -- that's an area where the extra cost buys you something worthwhile. –  D. Lambert Jul 21 '11 at 0:33

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