WordPress vs 500px for Image Hosting

barry13

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Hi,

I'm trying to decide on an image hosting platform; I've got my choices down to 500px and a WordPress host I'm already using for clients' (not photographers) sites...

I'm not much into blogging, so it'd mostly be sets of images with short descriptions of the sets.

WordPress:
+ currently free as I'm already paying for the hosting (using WP Multi-Site).
+/- unlimited # of uploads, but I'd have to pay extra if I go over 5GB storage.
+/- theme choices (but not sure if there's one with many of the features that 500px offers)
+ easy to download/backup all content & settings (From WP - to my PC)
+ easy to migrate to another WP host
- some plugins & themes are shoddy
- poor performance common with thousands of 'posts'
- no practical sales / ecommerce system for hands-off selling pics
- not impressed with most of the galleries I've seen
- many commercial themes often have poor support even for paying customers
+ more control
+ highly customizable
- more hands-on management / maintenance work required?
- bulk uploads difficult/time consuming?

500px:
+/- free with 20 uploads/mo
+ can sell pics, hands-off
+ no maintenance / hands-off
? bulk uploads difficult/time consuming?
? backups of settings/layout/content to my PC?
? amount of available customization ?
- less control:
risk of price increases and policy changes
risk of company being taken over by another
risk of company shutting down
no migration path to another host?


Anyone using WP?
Theme/Plugin recommendations for functionality similar to 500px or Flickr, including photo sets rather than just a simple gallery?

I don't really want to spend much money as photography is mostly a hobby for me, so that rules out some of the WP Photography hosting sites.
I don't really need a professional home page/portfolio right now, but I could do one in WP (or 500px?) later if needed.

Also, I'd prefer to upload full-res, but only if I can be confident that only authorized persons could access the full-res images. I'm not quite sure how that works in WP or 500px.

Thanks!
Barry
 

OzRay

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I use Wordpress, as a blog site, but then mine works through a web provider that I've used to host my previous website for years. I have total control over the entire content and have reasonable confidence of complete backups etc, as well as backups to my PC. In effect, I own everything and don't have to rely on a purely photo hosting site. The fact that I like to write make the Wordpress option ideal.
 

barry13

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Hi Ray,

Your site is nice, but for myself I'd like a theme with galleries or image sets. I know there's lots of themes out there, but I'm still wondering if any are close to 500px or Flickr's functionality
I'm sure I wouldn't write as much on my site as you do.

Thanks,
Barry
 

OzRay

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Hi Ray,

Your site is nice, but for myself I'd like a theme with galleries or image sets. I know there's lots of themes out there, but I'm still wondering if any are close to 500px or Flickr's functionality
I'm sure I wouldn't write as much on my site as you do.

Thanks,
Barry
I've just chosen a fairly simple theme, there are numerous options (1500+ I believe) and I just did a quick Google (Wordpress themes for selling photographs) and there are plenty of options. There are also a lot of professional photographers displaying and selling their works on blogs using Wordpress. I guess it ultimately depends on what you're after. I'm sort of story telling, brain dumping etc with an underlying photo theme, rather than wanting to sell photos, so I want something more than just a photo album that people can flick through.

Having looked at 500px a few times, I'm not sure that it's an ideal venue if I wanted to sell photos. The site has some fantastic photographers and photos, but to stand out would be nigh on impossible and it's almost overwhelming in many respects. The competition to stand out from the crowd must be incredible. I don't think I've ever gotten past the first page, as I click on a photograph and then look at more of the photographer's photos before trying someone else. By the time I've had a look at two or three photographers, I've had enough.
 

Replytoken

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Have you considered Zenfolio or Smugmug? I have used both, but am currently using ZF. Although, the new SM is supposed to be quite nice.

--Ken
 

barry13

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Hi,

Ray: I know there's thousands of themes; wondering if anyone knows any good ones with features comparable to Flickr or 500px et al

Ken - I think I looked at them, but I will look again.

Thanks!
Barry
 

OzRay

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I can't help with that, all I'd be doing is Googling and seeing what exists, without knowing if it's what you're after. I'd say spend some time looking at what's on offer, as I think there are links for each type to actual users and you might hit on some you like and can then better compare.

I think providing at least some narrative on a photo site, that's trying to sell photos, would be helpful and perhaps attract and retain viewers somewhat longer, as it becomes more personal when people read and learn a little more about you. That's why I kind of find 500px and others, clinical and impersonal, because it is more of a catalogue of lots of photos and not much else (at least what I've looked at).
 

jonbrisbincreative

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I've had success using Tumblr [1] for my blog and using the Square Marketplace [2] to sell specific print products. I'm currently a Zenfolio user and I've tried out SmugMug as well. I prefer Square over either for a couple reasons:

1) It's great to let people pick whatever products they want but with Zenfolio and the like there's just too many options. I've sold a couple photos where people have opted to get the framing options but by and large customers want to choose their own frames (or have a friend make one for them, which happens often enough to make me take notice). It's just way, way easier to pick the artistic product I want to sell and put it up on Sqaure.

2) Zenfolio takes a larger cut overall than Square, which is 3.75% per "swipe" or transaction. Self-explanatory. :) I have a local printer that is cheaper than MpixPro even and I'm thinking about adding my own printer to my business so that I just take care of printing myself.

3) I like to take care of fulfillment so I can personally interact with clients. I don't like the feeling of putting my customers into someone else's hands and letting that experience be their experience with me (if that makes any sense). For better or worse, I prefer to interact with my customers myself and if I make a mistake, well, I hopefully have a relationship with my customers where I can mend the problem. This also lets me arbitrarily mix-and-match print products with framed products that I deal with myself. I've also thought about doing some custom artistic frames that I build myself with themes reflected in the photo.

4) Using Square means I can take debit cards on-site. I'd still have to have this in addition to a portfolio site so it works for me to post my photos on Tumblr [3] as a portfolio so I can tag them and get social interaction that I absolutely didn't get when using WordPress hosted on my own. I also use Instagram as a "portfolio" [4] that I can point people to, depending on the audience. If you want to aggregate some of these, I use about.me [5] where I can link to all these from a single page. The about.me link is what I use in my email signature.

I've also had success promoting these products to my community using Facebook ads. They're not expensive and they do get my products in front of some eyeballs that I wouldn't otherwise. I had to build a basic audience first so that I can get enough "friends of friends" etc... for it to pay off, but I'm able to reach thousands of people that I wouldn't otherwise with a link to my Square market.

In the end, I've found that I need to use a combination of these tools effectively because there isn't any one tool that does everything I need.

[1] - https://www.tumblr.com
[2] - https://squareup.com/sell-online
[3] - http://jbrisbin.com/
[4] - http://instagram.com/jonbrisbincreative
[5] - http://about.me/jonbrisbin
 

jonbrisbincreative

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You should also look at Exposure [1]. Their site is fantastic to look at and the idea of storytelling that's integrated with the site makes a lot of sense and gives some real context to your photos.

[1] - https://exposure.co/
 
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