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500px creates free photographer directory, forges partnership with Adobe Stock

Why it matters to you

With its new directory, 500px is giving photographers a fresh way to be discovered for both commercial and noncommercial work, while clients will easily be able to search for photographers based on location and style.

In a new expansion of its 500px for Business service, 500px has launched a worldwide photographer directory. With 50,000 photographers in nearly 200 countries among those who have already signed up, it promises to be the most complete self-service photographer directory as it draws from the platform’s user base of more then 8 million members. While 500px for Business initially targeted international brands like Airbnb and Lonely Planet, the new directory provides an easy way for small and noncommercial clients to find the right photographer for a variety of jobs.

As a company, 500px has come a long way from its relatively humble beginnings as a simple photo sharing and portfolio website. “We really view 500px as the one-stop shop [for photography],” CEO Andy Yang told Digital Trends.

Supporting photographers is a key part of that goal, and Yang identified three areas in which 500px is working to do that: education, networking, and now marketing. “We want [photographers] to grow their skills, we want to expand their creative networks with millions of peers and colleagues, and we want them to profit from their work,” he said.

The directory is available to all 500px photographers using both free and paid accounts. It allows photographers to display a curated portfolio of work along with details about themselves, including a short bio, availability, photographic specialties, and even what cameras and lenses they use.

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On the client side, users will easily be able to search for photographers based on location and style. Clients can then choose to contact specific photographers for details on pricing and options. The remainder of the transaction is then conducted offline.

At this time, the 500px directory is simply that — a directory. Yang said the service is starting with the basics but will grow and scale with demand, adding features based on requests. For now, that means payment and image delivery is all handled offline between the client and photographer, but future versions of the service could potentially add in such features. The company will continue to listen to feedback to figure out how to best build out the service.

The company is also working on an API that is currently in private beta. The API will allow companies to embed a specific list of photographers from the directory right on their websites.

While the directory remains under the 500px for Business umbrella, there is a clear distinction between it and the commercial assignment side. “The difference is how involved [a client] wants 500px to be,” said Yang. “If you want to just deal with the photographer directly, that’s the directory.” This gives photographers a lot of freedom, which many of them will likely appreciate.

With tens of thousands of photographers already on board, the goal for 500px now is to market the directory effectively to clients. Yang said the company will work to bring in business through SEO, but will also encourage photographers to share their profiles. “Hopefully, they will find a robust set of clients that want to hire them.”

The company also announced a partnership with Adobe to provide images for the Adobe Stock Premium Collection. The highly curated collection features the best work of photographers from around the world.

“As we incorporate the best of 500px into Adobe Stock’s Premium collection, our creative community will gain access to a diverse showcase of images,” said Scott Braut, head of content at Adobe, in a statement. “In turn, the large network of 500px members will also now be able to reach millions of creative buyers through seamless and native integration between Adobe Stock and Adobe Creative Cloud.”