500px or SmugMug?

I have for some time been thinking of slowly :) ….. working towards opening a portfolio type image site. Some of the work was started by playing with the new 2013 image archives I recently posted.
With all this fuss about the way WordPress seems to be going vis-à-vis image content and the general ‘downgrade’ of some functionality, It maybe the push I need. The problem is which site, 500px or SmugMug? So help is what I require…….
If anyone has a recommendation with first-hand knowledge of either site, could I please ask for a ‘PM’ my address is on the “About me” page.
Or you can just add a comment to this post; I will be very appreciative of any suggestions about either site.
Yes I know I can read all the stuff the internet throws up on this but, I am of an age that I find direct experience far more helpful. After all, just look and see what is said by WordPress about their image editing facilities….

19 Comments on “500px or SmugMug?

  1. I read with interest your thoughts and the comments made by others regarding a place for your portfolio.
    I have had a website for years that I use as a portfolio – that has worked well for 10 or so years, but now that I am mostly retiring from paid photography (40 years is long enough) I expect I will remove that. I only use Facebook as a place to advertise and sell the photog equipment in my shop. I post my blog there also.
    Regarding the blog. You and those that commented, must take this more serious than I do. I have never thought about resizing or doing anything else with the images I include with my words. I just make ‘em 8×12 in photoshop and post.

    I look forward to your choices as to a showcase for your photography. I expect your search will be a good lesson for many of us.

    • I have had and still in – a long learning curve with scanning and then direct digital. WordPress gave me an easy way of starting this blog without much grief.
      Quick frames for less important images, % size for alignment and paste from word with a spectrum of colours – all gone overnight without a word from them. Spent ages figuring out that it was not me! only later did I find W/P had done it. Improvements they said SNAFU says I.
      As it happens I think they have decided most of it was a step too far and replaced a lot of functionality.
      But it did get me back to thinking I should have an image only site as well as this blog, Post larger files and diversify content away from just Oman. Going toward SmugMug at the moment and will take a trial run this weekend (work permitting) and see how it goes.
      Thanks for the interest.


      • Ya know, I never bothered about sizing. I just got my sizes close in photoshop, sized ‘em (sort of) close to each other (12×8 and 8X12 or larger with the same perspective). Yours look so nice with a frame and creatively positioned.
        Good luck with SmugMug..that’ll help me also.

  2. I don’t know anything about Smugmug, but do have a 500px account – trouble is that I keep forgetting about it. (yes, I forget about my Flickr, Facebook and every other account & forum I belong to because it’s much easier for my cognitive function and intermittent memory to stick to Email & WordPress). At the moment, I think I waste too much time blogging and blog-following. I need to spend more time on improving my photography skills and moving on to the type of photography I really like – Black & White.

    When I started up on 500px with a few images, I found it excellent. I liked the layout and ease of upload. My computer skills are less than average – in fact downright poor – so I’m sure someone who uses either/or both photo-sharing sites, could offer some more in-depth advice.

    I also like the more contemporary style of image in the Photography section of Behance which has a variety of creative genres (which I came across recently).

    There are many online sites like 500px and Smugmug which have the added advantage of sales and making some money online (as well as sharing and interacting with like-minded photographers), as I’m sure you would already have found. Maybe there’s something even better than 500px & Smugmug?

    Do you want to interact more with photographers (amateur or professional) with the same style as yourself, gain more recognition online, make money, simply stop ‘blogging’ or what? I love your current subject and style, but maybe you make that kind of image because Oman is currently where you’re living and working.

    No matter how many reviews you read, or how many online site members you ‘talk’ to, the ultimate answer is to experience that site for yourself by trying it out.

    Nothing beats it.

    • Vicki,
      Thanks for the answer and your thoughts.
      It was all so easy when I just walked into the darkroom and made a print; all I had to do was take it to a gallery if I was selling, (covered my materials cost) which is always a bonus. Now, everyone asks for either a tiff or jpeg and computer screens are not my preferred medium. Hence me looking at making digital negatives and going back! into the darkroom so I can contact print: works very well, not unlike paper negatives. I am looking for better quality OHP film at the moment, unfortunately it is another item that is hard to find in Oman – not used any more ‘gone digital’ ;)
      I will continue blogging – it’s fun, but have thought for a while that it would be nice being able to just show images, not constricted by the confines of Oman in monochrome. Do not do any of the social sites like Facebook etc; (to the chagrin of many I know :) ) do find you meet some interesting people blogging but it is less intrusive (in a nice way) than say Facebook.

      Now the summer heat is getting here I will have more time indoors so yes, will need to try some of the sites in the end – this was just food for thought.
      Thanks again, much appreciated.


  3. Hi David
    Regarding resizing your images in wordpress. I too was a bit miffed when things changed, mainly because I couldn’t add padding and a border. I now add the border in photoshop and resize the image still in wordpress. If you click on the pencil then click on edit image, you can then resize your image by clicking on ‘scale image’. You can input the size in pixels. I find that this works OK.

    • Hi Dave,
      Does that method not change the image dimensions permanently even when clicking for an enlargement? have not had the time to experiment yet.
      I have been using PS6 for my border but the % change on the page was so easy. I am rather challenged when it comes to coding and what little I did, publishing just put it back to default Grrrrrr……. so I gave up.


  4. I shut my 500px site. It is a real game at that site to get views and a following. I did not have the energy to give it a serious try and at the same time keep WP going so I pulled out. They too are moving in directions a lot of members don’t like with the way image ratings are affected by twitter and facebook views and so on. Good photos do rise to the front pages but so do quite a few clichés. There seems very little taste for abstract photography nor for many kinds of arty photography. Nudes seem to do exceptionally well.

    If you don’t care about building a following and only having a half dozen views on a photo then that stuff doesn’t matter and it is a pretty nice platform for photos.

    I have not tried smugmug but I have read a few comments by photographers who have tried both and rate it higher than 500px.

    I agree totally about the WP changes. It means I have to do all the sizing and so on more carefully in post which is ok but there are various features gone that I liked and used such as the tool-tip style feature so that hovering over an image gave some info. It is also a lot harder to work with large image files when making a post. WP is too focussed on mobile users at the expense of everyone else. Not at all good for photography bogs.

    • Ehepem,
      You have answered one of my concerns, as I hate fiddling around with coding etc; which WP now seem to think we should do if we are one of those “strange people” who actually try to do stuff with care. I just want to load the best possible image with the least amount of trouble.
      I was also thinking of being able to show other types of image (less Oman orientated) so link the site from my WP pages. (for now anyway – see how WordPress end this debacle before I consider jumping for good)
      I do think they are riding the storm with a hope that we will all just shut-up and stop complaining; it is so bad that problems seem to be different depending on what theme one is using. Very badly implemented from a user point of view.


      • You’ve got a good point in “problems seen to be different depending on what theme one is using” – drives me nuts when WordPress goes ‘haywire’ for me (and no one else who follows my blog).

        • I never leave a window open when trying to sort out computer problems, otherwise my PC could take unwanted flying lessons on a number of occasions…. ;)


      • Yes to fiddling with coding – not something I want to do either, though I have read several suggestions in the forums tossed off as if we are all fluent coders. I need to go back into the forums and add my voice, again, to the issue. They should be hearing from all of us, stridently.

        • The problem is that like a lot of people who live in a bubble, they forget that the rest of us who do this blogging for fun, have no time or inclination to learn coding. Which is why WP was so good on many levels.


  5. I use smugmug. I’m unfamiliar with 500px and just thought that was a place to upload one image at a time. Honestly, when I first clicked on 500px I thought it was a google circle. I found it kind of offputting but then I was viewing it as a super google circle. Smugmug, at least imho, provides a great way to showcase your images but it’s own community within itself is very small. You can find the link to my smugmug in my sidebar where it says something like see more photography here. Good luck!

    • Thanks Laura,
      Showcase my images is exactly how I was thinking I should go, also load better quality files. Then we come into the copyright problems…. but that is a whole different ball game.
      I will take a look at your site.
      Thank you,

  6. There are all sorts of sites; which one you select, I image, will depend greatly on a combination of three factors (maybe more): your technical ability to administer the site, features and the annual cost. The four sites I have experience with are: 1x.com, 500px.com, Smugmug.com and Zenfolio.com. I just starting using Zenfolio and am enjoying its features and ease of use in regards to client proofing and product fulfillment.

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