500px works hard to draw attention to diverse photographers within the community. We do this by posting featured Galleries, sharing photos via our social media channels, writing photographer profiles and other articles on ISO, and spotlighting visual thought leaders on a rotating basis to new users. The Editor’s Choice program is just one of the many programs we use to highlight amazing photos. To give visibility into the philosophy used for photographer selection and curation of Editor’s Choice, we have put together the following Q&A.

How does the Editor’s Choice program currently work?

In May 2016, the Editor’s Choice program was reconfigured to capture all the valuable insights we discovered during the evolution of the program: what works, what doesn’t, and how best to capture the richness, beauty, and diversity of the 500px community. For example, one update included a reduction in the number of Guest Editors to two per month. We found the work of a Guest Editor requires more time and dedication than many people realize, and we want to be sure that the selected photographers are given the opportunity to truly demonstrate their curation techniques to the community while receiving feedback from the 500px Content Team. Our goal is to have honest discussions about photography and to treat the curation of Editor’s Choice as an educational experience.

How do I become a Guest Editor?

There are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration before a photographer is invited to be a Guest Editor. From a content perspective, a Guest Editor should be an amazing photographer. This includes having a consistent photo feed and a body of work that inspires the 500px team (regardless of the content set). In addition, we try to cover a variety of visual styles by ensuring that the Guest Editors have different aesthetic and conceptual interests. The goal is to represent our community to the best of our ability while keeping the high standards we expect for Editor’s Choice.

In addition, when selecting Guest Editors, we look at community engagement along with curation experience. We have found, in some cases, that someone who is a great photographer may not be well-versed in visual curation. A photographer’s Favorites, Galleries, community engagement, and previous work done for ISO are just some of the factors that we take into consideration before inviting a photographer to be a Guest Editor.

How does the Guest Editor process work?

We often select Guest Editors at least two months in advance. Once the schedule is finalized, we interview each photographer and create an ISO article that profiles the photographer’s work and personal history. On the first day of each month, the new Guest Editors are given access to the Editor’s Choice tool and the ISO article is shared with our community.

During the first week of Editor’s Choice, the Content Team monitors the photos being selected. We want to be certain our Guest Editors are capturing the best photos they come across on a daily basis. If a segment of our community is being underrepresented or additional amazing photos are found, the Content Team will also add images to Editor’s Choice.

After one to two weeks, the Content Team provides curation feedback to the two Guest Editors. This includes success stories along with constructive recommendations on how to improve their curation techniques for the remainder of the month.

How does my photo get into Editor’s Choice?

Editor’s Choice is maintained by a group of editors, not a single individual. Although the Guest Editors attempt to select photos from a variety of photographers and styles, the results may vary depending on the search techniques used and the overall involvement of the individual. Editors want to acknowledge striking photos they see regardless of who the photographers are. As a policy, we do not check if photographers have a certain number of followers, views, likes, or any other factors. Editor’s Choice is intended to be a truly aesthetic experience, and because of the way the program works, it is organic in nature.

How do Editors find photos for Editor’s Choice?

We use a variety of techniques in order to find photos for Editor’s Choice. This can include:

  • Looking at our personal activity feed.
  • Reviewing photos that appear in Fresh, Upcoming, or Popular.
  • Completing keyword searches for specific content that may not be well represented in Editor’s Choice at a certain point in time.

In many cases, the photos are found during our daily work. Because the Content Team spends a great deal of time reviewing photos, curating Galleries, and working with the content on 500px, the photos may come to our attention through a myriad of ways. The same is true for the Guest Editors.

How do I get spotlighted or become a Guest Editor?

At this point in time, we do not have an application process for Editor’s Choice, but we do have a few recommendations. First, be confident in your work. Continue to post amazing photos while being an engaged member of the 500px community. These are aspects that we look for in a featured photographer or a Guest Editor. Second, be patient with us as we work to highlight a diverse spectrum of photography. Our goal is to reflect current photography trends while blending together both newcomers and tenured users. At the end of the day, we want our community to embrace the joy of photography and create art for the art of creating.

We hope that this information helps to offer some insight into the Editor’s Choice program and the process behind the work. We will continue to work on evolving this initiative as we take into consideration the feedback and constructive insights of our community.