Inspiration time. These guys are the cream of the crop on 500px at the moment. Note that this selection of landscape photographers doesn’t necessarily reflect my own judgment. It’s based on an average of 8 past articles on 500px ISO titled: “This Week in Popular: Top 25 Photos on 500px This Week.” Of this initial group, I have selected only landscape photographers, and here are their most recent works. Let’s go!
1. Dylan Toh and Marianne Lim
In the past 10 weeks, these two have been the most popular photographers eleven times! Yeah, 11 times in 10 weeks. They've had two pictures go straight to the top in the same week they were uploaded. A little about them: Based in Adelaide, South Australia, they try their best to venture near and far to witness the best show on earth: light!
2. Daniel Kordan
Among the guys who both upload regularly and show off spectacular results time and time again is Russian Daniel Kordan. He finds pleasure in the pathless woods, places to which he has returned to and admired. Nature is his inspiration with all its beauty, variety of colors, and compositions.
3. Timothy Poulton
Third on the list, with 8 features in the last 10 weeks, is Australian Timothy Poulton. Inspired primarily by landscapes, Poulton seeks to share his own amazement at the beauty of the world through a collection of extreme photography adventures.
4. Ole Henrik Skjelstad
Next up, a talented 52 year-old Norwegian math teacher and avid metal music enthusiast who fell in love with photography when he received his first camera as a birthday present in January 2013.
5. Tiger Seo
Korea-based Landscape Photographer Tiger Seo won critical acclaim with his portfolio on 500px. Check out his work.
6. Lars van de Goor
Fellow Dutchman Lars van de Goor mostly takes his camera with him on walks in his native woodland while most of us are still asleep. His main goal is still what it once was: to capture nature’s magical moments and show its beauty to as many people as possible.
7. Jaewoon U
Painterly and surreal-looking landscapes? Check. Jaewoon U from South Korea will show you the world as you wouldn't see it yourself.
8. Raul Weisser
Here's Canadian photographer Raul Weisser, with a distinct appetite for the grungy-looking landscape.
9. Max Rive
Adventure photography in overdrive. Prepare to be there. When Max Rive was five years old, he was already fascinated by the 100-meter-high hills in his home country, the Netherlands. A few years later, he was the "mountain guide" for my parents and brother in the Alps (he was running in front of them). Now, Rive is a mountain photographer.
10. Lizzy Gadd
One of the most differentiating is 23 year-old Photographer Elizabeth Gadd from Vancouver, Canada. She really takes selfies to the next level.
Having grown up in this beautiful area, she easily fell in love with exploring the surrounding forests, hills, mountains and ocean, all of which are heavily incorporated in her photography.
How to Increase Your Own Popularity (and Pulse)
The above photographers are clearly doing something right. Many 500px users know the concept of Pulse all too well. You know, that unbreakable algorithm on which the Vancouver-based photo sharing platform thrives? In a nutshell, here’s how you can boost your own photos on 500px.
Try to upload at the very least once a week. The top photographers all upload more than that, so make sure you show the community something new regularly. But don’t upload more than once every 24 hours in the same category; your images will start to compete with each other as their Pulse increases.
Fine Works: Only Upload the Best You Have
Of course you can throw your whole portfolio on there. In fact, when you first join the 500px community, you have an unlimited number of uploads per week for a limited amount of time as part of the “Awesome” package. After this time, you can only upload 20 shots a week, unless you renew. That 20-shot limit is maybe for the better. It gives you time to think what to upload next.
Try to Stick to One Genre
500px more or less works like a curated set of images once you start following a certain amount of fellow photographers. You have this overview page on which the latest works of the people you follow are shown. Now, I use 500px as a source of inspiration for my own landscape photography. There have been occasions that photographers more often upload images of their dogs or the hot girl from across the street, in which case I’m inclined to hit “unfollow," because that does not inspire me. I might still like the photo if it’s a good one, but I’m looking for consistency, and I can guarantee you that many more photographers on there look for the same.
Work on Both Your Capture and Processing Techniques
That’s a big one. The top photographers are never so-so. These guys are among the top photographers for a reason. Either they’re amazing at compositions, being there at the right moment, or they’re true wizards with Photoshop — probably all three. Now, I don’t mean that being good with a brush in Photoshop will mask (pun intended) your mistakes in the field. I mean that the best photographers pursue a vision from far before the click of the button to far and wide beyond that single moment. Digital photography is a multi-step process that starts with a plan, develops into a vision, and after the push of a button at just the right time, place, and settings is far from over. The camera merely records data. If you shoot in the raw format, you know this. How you then show this data to your audience is up to the skills of the photographer and their ability to translate the vision, light, land, and the fleeting moment into a two-dimensional representation that someone else can appreciate. That’s art.
Be Active in the Community
That means that meaningful comments on the works of others really help to gain a following. Don’t write things such as “great” or “love the light.” Read what the photographer has to say about the picture, take the time to let it sink in, and then start a comment with a capital letter. Also, give some meaningful and positive feedback on the works of the ones who can use it, not just the top 25 photographers. The latter probably don’t have time to write you back anyway. The first time I wrote for 500px ISO, I saw my number of followers triple within a week. And since I started curating a group that shows off the advanced post-processing skills of landscape photographers, I’ve developed some meaningful contacts as well.
Show Us Some Amazing Light
The best-ranking images show some form of bizarre natural light. Warm-tinged sunlight coming in at oblique angles will do perfectly fine, but misty and austere landscapes will also attract enough attention. I've found blue hour and night shots do better on Instagram than on 500px as long as they're relatively bright. My dark personal style doesn’t seem to resonate that well there, however: there’s an audience for everyone.
Work With the Theme, Not Against It
It’s always snowing in some place on the planet. It’s always the height of summer somewhere on the planet as well. But if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a good idea to share pictures taken in autumn when you want to reach people near you. I’ve personally seen my Pulse increase in cases where I worked with seasonal themes. For me, it’s all mushrooms, the Milky Way, and orange hues until December. It also helps for your images to not show a particular theme. Timeless subjects work well to boost that Pulse.
Last but Not Least: Stay True to Yourself
All these tips about gaining more followers and higher ranking images, is that really what it’s all about? Surely, this is not what got you into photography in the first place. If there’s one thing I like to stress at the end of the day, it’s that your style will develop further and faster if you stay true to your imagery. You’re not reading this to copy someone else’s work. I’m sure you’ve come to appreciate the top photographers and see them as sources of great inspiration. So, it’s critically important that you produce something unique, something that inspires you to go out again.