500px, the online photo-sharing community that recently raised another $13 million to challenge Flickr and Getty, is today rolling out a significant change to its mobile application. Beginning with an update on iOS, the company has completely redesigned and rebuilt its app from the ground up, in an effort that’s focused on making its app appeal to a more mainstream consumer base.
With the revamp, the company hopes to appeal to the Instagram crowd – or at least to those who are ready to expand their understanding of photography, while still enjoying social features like following other users or favoriting photos they like.
With the update, the company hopes to become known among a broader user base, explains 500px CEO Andy Yang. The service, he says, is for “those who want to take their creativity to the next level…to learn about photography, learn about editing and visual creativity – that’s where we want to position ourselves,” he says.
The updated app introduces a number of new features and improvements to existing features which are aimed at a mainstream user base. For starters, there’s now an all-new home feed where you’ll see a combination of photos from people you follow alongside personalized recommendations based on your activities, which is meant to enhance discovery. An improved “Discover” section meanwhile includes a “Debut” feature, which highlights new creators in the community.
Search and user profiles have also been improved, and 500px is now including a better photo uploader that lets you import from your Camera, Photo Gallery, or Adobe Lightroom. For creators, there are also advanced editing tools and presets provided by Adobe in the new experience.
The app also features a refreshed design language that has more polish – another change that’s also meant to appeal to a broader community.
To date, 500px has been largely known as a Flickr competitor aimed at the more professional crowd, and this community also helps fuel its ability to generate revenue.
The 500px business model relies on its marketplace where photographers and their fans can buy and sell photos – in fact, new strategic investor Visual China (like China’s Getty Pictures) began distributing 500px’s photos following the new funding round.
However, the majority of 500px’s user base is surprisingly not “pro” photographers, but rather photo enthusiasts.
Explains Yang, “10 to 20 percent we would say are pro or very serious hobbyist amateurs, and the rest would be more photography enthusiasts, casual [users who] have an appreciation for photography.”
In other words, like every other internet service, 500px’s content creators are the minority. So the new app is meant to make photo consumption a better experience for the masses, while gently pushing them to become content creators themselves with the addition of better uploading and editing tools.
That, in turn, will help feed more photos into the marketplace as more of the casual users are inspired to participate, the company believes.
The updated iOS app is live today, but an Android version is due later this year. 500px is also working on a website revamp, too, but it was not ready at this time.