Last week, 500px published an article on their blog stating they will be releasing a new project called “Prime”. It is a commercial licensing marketplace for photography on their website. The 500px team seems excited about it, the details are quiet intriguing, but the community has been showing mixed responses.
Prime account details
- 500px will be pricing licenses for sales in a way that brings “dignity to the photographer” and stated that they are “not joining the race to the bottom”.
- The price for the photo licenses will start at $250. The photographer of the image will receive 30% commission for every image that is licensed. This seems to be the largest point of concern within the photo and 500px community. Only 30%? Why not 60, or 80? Do you feel this is fair? Sure, 500px is giving the photographer a chance to have their image viewed by a much larger community, but in return, is the commission an equal amount to be given back?
- 500px will be giving the buyer insight into how the photo will be “received and perceived before licensing them”
500px has become a mainstream source for artists of all skill levels to share their images. But with this new feature, it seems as if 500px is targeting the lower level/novice creators and people who are doing art for “fun” and not focusing on the residual side. Why would I say this? Mainly because in their blog post, 500px states: “so many 500px photographers want a way to share their work in the commercial space but don’t have the time, skills, or funds to market themselves and all the legalities.” If we break that sentence alone into pieces, we can see they call out a lack of skill and time. Pointing almost directly at people who are new to photography or don’t understand any of it at all. They also point out that it is for people who don’t understand the legalities. For the most part, your casual photographer really will not know the legalities to licensing commercial work.
Is this what the photography community needs? Maybe yes, maybe no. After seeing their post, I personally have concluded that the starting goal for Prime is not to reach out to the professional artists trying to make a living, but instead, reach out to the people shooting for fun looking for some extra cash that they did not “need” in the first place. I don’t fully agree with the 30% commission and think it should be higher, but some others have different opinions, which I am looking forward to hearing. With the statement from the 500px blog talked about above, I feel that they are trying to justify keeping 70% of the commission to cover the fact that they are handling the exposure and legal side of things while dealing with what they seem to point out is unskilled artists.
The first line of comments on the 500px blog showed users absolutely discontent. It actually took me quiet some time to find positive comments in regards to the commission rates. Below, I've attached a screenshot of the first comments shown. As you can see, it is negative comment after negative comment after negative comment. YIKES.
On a brighter note, Fstoppers Writer Noam Galai shared some screenshots with me of the backdoor look of Prime. As you can see, 500px actually does quiet a good job at making sure the correct documents are attached to each photo. This in itself could prevent the market from being saturated with a surplus of each and every photo you could think of from everyone and anyone with a DSLR. The layout is clean and the questions are easily understood.
Overall, I am excited to see what Prime will do for 500px and the photography/art community as a whole. Sure, I think it is currently not aimed to help out the professionals looking to make a living but I think in due time we will see updates and changes depending on feedback from everyone once it gets going. This could be great for everyone.
If you are interested in more information about 500px Prime, visit their post! They also talk about how you can buy photos and join them so you can sell photos as well.