Photographers have a lot of choices these days when it comes to where to showcase their work online. In an effort to not make an exhaustive list or leave anyone out, let's just say they know who they are, and it's not hard to find one with a quick web search. The choice depends on a lot of factors including:
- Photography Style
- Budget (or if you're like me lack there of)
- Feature wants and needs
- Technical Proficiency
- Time available
A shortcoming with sending potential clients or fans to a public gallery on one of these sites is that they are never more than a click away from being distracted by another photographer's work. In some cases this could lose you the gig or in the very least invite some unwelcome competition. There is certainly something to be said for having control of all the available links. The challenges involved with building and maintaining a traditional website either built by hand or using a platform like Wordpress don't often gel with the already busy life of most working photographers. At the same time the up front budget to have a custom site built by a competent web designer is rarely affordable besides by the most successful of us. This is where cloud website services like Format really shine.
Some of the key benefits of building a photography site on Format are:
- Online Storefront
- Client Proofing
- Lightroom Integration
- Beautiful and Typographically strong templates to choose from
- User friendly and interface with simple controls as well as advanced customizations
- A very active and expanding development team
While 500px previously offered their own version of Portfolios, this move to replace them with Format's maturing product makes a lot of sense and fits the companies direction towards really giving photographers ways to make money and run businesses. Additions Fstoppers have covered like 500px for Business, and the Worldwide Photographer Directory have really expanded the site's value and created a solid one stop shop for almost anything you need to succeed.
While the free plan still exists, it does has a limit of 20 uploads a week. The other 3 premium plans have all been rebuilt:
Only the Pro+ plan includes the customizable website powered by Format. This then gives you the cited online store component as well as client proofing which I think might be the biggest bonus of all. Every paid plan now include advanced statistics, but only the two Pro plans give you priority listing in their directory.
If you take a few minutes to read 500px's blog post about 5 Great Ways To Grow as a Photographer I think you will find it give a nice overview of all the new options available and how to apply them. Also, if you Reddit much, 500px CEO Andy Yang did a great AMA on April 19th here. Looking forward to seeing how fellow photographers take advantage of this great collaboration.