500px Debuts ‘Plus’ Paid Membership Plan To Go Head-To-Head Against Flickr

500px, the photo sharing website that has become the new darling of the photo buff set, today rolled out a new $19.95/year ‘Plus’ membership plan, putting it more squarely in competition with Flickr.

Up until now, 500px’s premium offering has catered mostly to the “power user” and professional photographer set, with a $49.95/year “Awesome” plan offering unlimited uploads along with a personalized online portfolio. The new “Plus” offering is meant to address more middle market users — it offers the same unlimited uploads and detailed user analytics provided by the “Awesome” plan, but without the personal portfolio feature. The site also has a free membership that allows for 10 photo uploads per week.

Flickr, of course, has long been the freemium photo sharing service of choice for the kinds of people who want better image resolution and more granular sharing options than what’s provided by the likes of Facebook. Flickr charges $24.95/year for its Pro account. Lately some users have lamented a lack of product updates from Flickr, which has been owned by Yahoo since 2005 — and 500px has stepped up to the plate to give this power user set a new destination for online photo sharing.

That being said, 500px certainly has a big challenge ahead of it. Yahoo may be wounded, but it’s still a major company and has years of momentum behind it — many people will continue to use services like Flickr based on habit if nothing else. And Google+ has emerged as a huge photography destination buoyed by enthusiastic high profile users such as Trey Ratcliff. 500px, which is based in Toronto and has raised some half a million dollars in funding, is certainly an underdog when you think of the competitive landscape. But so far, it has amassed a growing and dedicated following by bringing some soul and style back into the online photo sharing game — and that kind of community is something that all the money and corporate power still can’t buy.