500px has announced Portfolios, which it describes as a simple, modern, and efficient way to build a website in a matter of minutes and included with the website’s Pro Membership plan.
The offering here looks similar to popular photography portfolio hosting options from companies like Smugmug, PhotoShelter, Zenfolio, or even Squarespace. What makes it more like the first three than perhaps the last is that it is a pared-down, tailored builder specifically designed with photographers in mind.
500px Portfolio advertises “photography first templates,” which basically means that its templates are designed to highlight imagery first and foremost. From what was visible on the company’s website, there are three templates to choose from right now: Moodie, Newton, and Adams.
Moodie is a grid-style format that will allow for an overview of your work that is easily visible on one page. Newton is a horizontal layout that displays large cover photos that might be a good fit for fashion or portrait photographers. Finally, Adams is a full-screen-focused layout that is designed to “immerse” viewers in the subject matter.
500px supports a set of analytics and tracking tools for websites built with Portfolio and, gratefully, custom domains are also supported. 500px also says images are “copyright protected” to prevent right-click actions, but a quick test of the “inspect” tool in Google Chrome on one of the example templates showed that the original files can still be acquired for those who are dead-set on grabbing images from a Portfolio site.
The company says that its website builder is different from other options due to its simplicity, ease of maintenance, lack of an “intimidating maze” of configuration options, and that they are designed specifically for photographers. And while this appears to be the case, also note that simplicity can have the tendency to remove customizability that helps a website stand out. 500px also doesn’t note how its sites handle SEO or blogs, so it’s worth investigating before dropping money on a subscription.
Luckily, that is an option: anyone can test out a Portfolio website and see what it would look like before purchasing a 500px Pro membership and migrating your site. Since Portfolio is included with the $10-per-month Pro membership ($6 for the first year for new members), the asking price for this service is actually quite competitive when compared to the field. Though it is significantly pared down and simplified and there are a limited number of template offerings at launch, it’s a solid benefit to the Pro membership.
If the concept of “Portfolio” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the latest iteration of the product that 500px has been developing since as early as 2013. Looking at what was originally announced, while Portfolio isn’t new, it certainly has changed since its inception.
One thing that has certainly changed is the price: in 2013, a Pro Membership could be had for $25 a year.
You can view all of the current options for a 500px Portfolio website here.