Toronto-based photo-sharing service 500px is revamping its professional Portfolios product, the startup announced today. The new portfolios, which are currently in beta testing, will eventually function more like standalone e-commerce sites for selling photography, offering more customization options, including things like the ability to edit the CSS, store and blog integration, plus new themes and other additions.
Today, photographers on 500px can create a portfolio of their work by heading into the Settings page of the website. Here, they can pick from a variety of built-in themes, add a short biography, add photos to their portfolio set, and optionally set up a custom domain so the site appears under their own URL and branding – for example, see 500px’s co-founder’s portfolio here: evgenytchebotarev.com.
The Portfolio product was something that the site rolled out back in 2010. But it was built very quickly, explains 500px’s VP of Biz Dev, Dustin Plett. “We always meant to get back to it, but we went through two and a half years of hyper growth,” he says. “We finally got to the point where we had the time and resources to build it the way we had always wanted.”
The feature has been redesigned and rebuilt from the ground-up, Plett says, with new themes created by 500px’s design agency partners. At launch, there will be ten of these improved themes available, but the plan is to offer hundreds by year-end. 500px will also open up the themes marketplace to the photographers and developers, allowing anyone to reshare their own custom themes with other users. Further down the road, this marketplace may also be expanded to support buying and selling of these premium themes, with the standard 70/30 revenue share in place.
While not available in time for May’s launch, 500px plans to add expanded e-commerce features to Portfolios, too, in order to provide its users with more ways to sell their work. Notably, it wants to add a way to sell more sizes of standard prints (e.g. 4×6 prints, etc.) as well as other things like wall art, books, gifts, and more.
With the customizations ahead, the service is also raising prices. Portfolios are included with the “Awesome” account for $49.95 per year at present. After May, this will now cost $75 per year. “Plus” accounts will also increase from $19.95 to $25 per year. Due to the higher prices, all accounts are getting increased storage. Free accounts will be able to upload 20 photos per week, while Plus and Awesome will now accept larger sizes of photos, up to 100 MB per file and will have unlimited storage.
“Right now the photographers have their online portfolios, they have 500px, they potentially have Flickr – we want to consolidate that and make that manageable from one organizer,” says Plett. “We think we owe it the 500px community.”