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Where to Store Your Photos? Flickr vs. 500px

  • Where to Store Your Photos? Flickr vs. 500px

If you like taking pictures, you probably have heard of Flickr. Flickr is an online community where photographers share their photos and participate in discussion. It is a solid platform loved by both photographers and non-photographers, and is reported to have 51 million users in 2011. There are other photo sharing sites that cater to photographers, and sites like SmugMug, Zenfolio, and 500px are among the most sophisticated platforms used by photographers to host their images. Of all these platforms, 500px is personal favorite of mine.


Photo streams on Flickr.

Flickr was first launched in 2004, and was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. It is one of the largest photo sharing site, hosting more than 6 billion images as of August 2011. Flickr is also integrated with social media, allowing users to share images on popular networks like Facebook and Twitter. Images on Flickr are stored in various sizes, giving users more options when downloading them. The EXIF tags that come with the images are also utilized to show the users the camera/lens setup.

Flickr users may leave comments on photos, or mark them as their favorite as a way to recognize others’ works. Non-users may browse the photos and leave comments, too, but they may not make any photos their favorite. Furthermore, users may create groups where people can participate in discussions and share photos with selected individuals. It is not uncommon to see Flickr groups holding regular photowalks and small get-together to exchange ideas and learn from each others.


Photo streams on 500px.

When compared to Flickr, 500px is a much younger platform, but that does not mean it is less mature or robust. 500px’s core features are identical to Flickr. Users of 500px may share their photos, browse the photos of others and leave comments. However, aside from making photos their favorite, users may also give a photos “like” votes, which is used to determine the popularity of individual photos. Photos will be featured in the Popular stream if they receive significant amount of votes, and many photographers would browse the Popular stream for inspriation. There is also a Editor’s Choice stream that features photos handpicked by a group of editors.

When going head-to-head with Flickr, 500px’s lack of Group feature and discussion functionality may put it at a disadvantage. However, what 500px lacks in community capability, it makes up with online sales features. 500px helps its users sell their photos online and charges only a percentage of the sales price. All users have to do is to upload their non-watermarked photos in high resolution, and 500px will handle the rest including printing, framing, packaging and shipping. Users of 500px also have the option to showcase their works with blogs and portfolios, something Flickr does not offer.

Overall, both platforms are well-built, robust and popular with photographers. They have many of the same functionality as well as some unique features of their own. Most importantly, they are both free to use. If you are to store your photos online, which one do you choose? Please share your thoughts by leaving comments below.

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