Eric Paré is a Montreal-based 360° light-painting+stop-motion photographer, bullet-time expert, filmmaker, and yoga & travel addict. He’s also a Burner, Dewarist and Xangler. You can find more of his work on 500px, his website, Twitter, and Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Eric’s blog, and is being republished here with express permission.
I wrote this post for a very precious friend of mine who is new at 500px. If it is useful for you too, or if you have something to add, please let me know in the comments below.
500px is currently one of the most impactful places where I publish my art, and where I get inspiration. I learned a lot over there by watching the fabulous work of many great photographers.
Here are 10 tips and tricks that’ll help you get a leg up on all the other newbies at 500px, and ensure your work gets seen:
1. Upload only your best pictures. 500px is not a place where to dump your whole photo archives. Quality > quantity.
2. Upload only one picture per day. Do it simply because their system is made for that. They use a rating (Pulse) that will push your picture on the top pages but only for a 24 hours period. The more likes/favorites/comments you get, the more you climb the ladder.
3. Make sure your picture is perfect at the moment you upload it. There is no way to update your picture once it’s online! So when you finish post-processing your picture, don’t act like a child by getting too excited about your work. Don’t publish it. Let it breath, let it sleep. Give it a couple of days, and come back to it from time to time. You’re very likely to find minor glitches that are easy to correct as long as it is not online.
4. Make sure you fill all fields when you upload a picture. Take the time to write a real title, description, tags, location…
5. Make sure the square crop version of your picture is well framed. If your subject is too far on the edges of your picture on your native composition, it might look weird on a square crop (by default, 500px uses the center of the image). So simply have to go to your picture, click on EDIT and re-frame directly on the picture.
6. Try to always have a perfect public profile. That is your most seen page. When I get new followers, I receive an automated email that includes the four most popular pictures of the photographer who just followed me. That means that I can quickly see the kind of work he or she is doing. When I like the picture, I obviously click. But much time I get disappointed by a very disorganized and random page.
By default, all of you work goes to that page, so you have to make a constant effort to clean up and keep only your best pictures on your public profile. That doesn’t mean you should delete pictures. The trick is to create Sets where you can group similar pictures together; then you go back to your public profile and clean it up.
I have seen photographers with over ten thousands pictures keeping only 10 pictures on their public profile. It works!
7. As soon as you hit the popular mark (pulse 80), you are very likely to have your work stolen. It happens all the time, especially on Twitter. Some bots take popular pictures as a way to promote stupid things. I cannot encourage adding watermarks (I might get burned or beheaded), but if it’s an issue for you, add your watermark.
As a side note, I use http://www.plaghunter.com/ to see where my work is getting used.
Editor’s Note: We spoke to Eric about the Twitter problem above and are actively trying to get these bots shut down. Hopefully, this will soon be a non-issue!
8. Get involved and make new friends. You’ll be more likely to have real interactions, and you’ll clearly see the benefits as the Pulse system encourages folks to help each other (like/fav/comments…)
9. Join a 500pxers Facebook group. These groups are not managed by 500px, but are good places to interact with other members.
10. Follow the official 500px Instagram account. When you cross post your work, include the hashtag #weare500px for the chance to be featured over there.
BONUS: In the picture description, you can insert links but you have to do it manually with the html tag.