500px has made some… interesting decisions in the past couple years, going from the most popular photo sharing community to something quite different today. This morning they launched a new global directory for photographers as well as joined forces with Adobe Stock in a curated collection of images from “some of the world’s leading photographers and agencies.”

As part of its continued commitment to helping photographers increase their visibility and garner work, 500px today announced an easy-to-use global photographer directory, searchable by both specialty and location. This is the newest addition to its industry-leading global photography-on-demand service, currently serving clients such as Airbnb, The Travel Corporation, Google and Lonely Planet. 500px also announced it will collaborate with the Adobe Stock Premium Collection to offer Adobe users a select set of compelling 500px images.

The Directory is currently in beta with 46,000 photographers in more than 10,000 searchable locations representing 189 countries already on board in just a few weeks. It offers photographers a chance to connect directly with customers and set their own rates for offline work. 500px clients can easily find talented photographers by specialty and location in the self-service tool. The 500px team also uses the Directory to find the right photographers for its large corporate custom photography-on-demand assignments around the world.

Prospective clients can browse photographer profiles by geographic location and specialty. These profiles include brief photographer bios, self-selected photo galleries of their best work, their availability, the equipment they use, and the languages they speak. When clients find someone they like, they simply click the “Hire” button to initiate a contract discussion.

This is a shift from just a sharing community into a monetized one, and could offer a way to actually hire professionals in a way that makes sense. We’ll be in a “wait and see” mode though, as none of the sites who have tried something like this have either done so in a way that makes sense for the creators, nor been a good way to reach the kinds of clients a photographer wants.

Additionally, 500px has partnered with Adobe to offer what they are calling the 500px Adobe Stock Collection. 

Photo by Michel Raginsky

The Adobe Stock Premium collection is a highly curated collection of over 100,000 images sourced from some of the world’s leading photographers and agencies. Each image has been carefully selected by a team of expert curators for its striking visuals, emotional engagement and impeccable technical quality.

This is more something for the buyer than the seller, as stock can only be profitable for the shooter through massive volume. If the images are very curated, it’s highly unlikely a single photographer will have more than a few images make it into the curation, limiting the volume of images they can sell. What they can hope for, however, is if any images that do make the list, the visibility of that one image may be much greater. One image in front of many more discerning eyes, than 100 images in a sea of millions.