500px Licensing - Contributor FAQ

What is Licensing?

500px photographers can grant permission to certain individuals to use their photos for commercial or editorial purposes. At the time of upload, 500px photographers can choose to submit their photos for Licensing with 500px, via 500px’s royalty-free (RF) stock photography collection.

How does 500px license my photos?

500px partners with two exclusive distribution partners - Getty Images and VCG (Visual China Group) - to license 500px photographers licensable photos as royalty-free (RF) stock photos.

What is royalty-free (RF)?

Royalty-free means that the license fee is paid once and there is no need to pay additional royalties if the content is re-used by the same client or end-user.

After I submit, will my photos be immediately available for sale?

No. All photo submissions to 500px are reviewed by our editors, so your submissions will not be visible to buyers until they have been reviewed and approved for licensing. You'll be able to see which photos are still under review in the Under review folder, in the Licensing Manager. In addition, our distribution partners - Getty Images and VCG - conduct their own review and inspection prior to approving images for licensing on their platforms.

Why do my photos need to be reviewed and how long does it take?

Our editors review all submissions and take several factors into consideration including quality, aesthetics, buyer feedback, and most importantly, commercial viability or saleability. Although we make every effort to get your photos added quickly, it can take some time for our editors to inspect images for Licensing. 

Once you've clicked submit, your photos will appear in the Licensing Manager under one of the following folders:

Under review
The Under review folder is pretty straight forward. All of your photos that are pending review by our inspectors are organized in this folder. Photos in the Under review folder cannot be edited or modified until our inspectors have reviewed the photo(s).

Changes required
The Changes required folder is where you can see your photos that have been reviewed, but soft failed because they have an issue that needs to be fixed before it re-inspection or acceptance. Click on a photo and you will see information displayed about the changes required in the right side panel. At the top of the right side panel, under Changes required, it will provide a description of the issue that needs to be addressed. For more information on where to find details related to changes required, click here

Under the Accepted folder, you will find all of your photos that have been accepted to Licensing. Clicking on a photo will give you additional details about the photo in the right side panel, including: where the photo is currently available for sale, if releases are attached, title, keywords, exclusivity, submission date, and other relevant information.

The Declined folder holds your photos that have been declined for Licensing. When a photo is clicked on, details are shown in the right side panel. At the top of the right side panel, under Reason for Decline, it will give a reason why the photo was not accepted. You can review all of the Declined reasons here.

Finally, the Removed folder is where you will find any photos that you have chosen to remove from Licensing or have been removed by 500px. Clicking on a photo will reveal details about the removal in the right side panel.


How much does it cost to sell photos through 500px and your distribution partners?

Nothing! It's totally free to contribute your photos to 500px Licensing, and you earn 60% of net sales on images you've submitted exclusively for licensing. All 500px membership levels can contribute; Free, Awesome and Pro.

How will I get paid?

Check out this guide to getting paid and tracking your sales. 

What is the difference between Exclusive and non-Exclusive licenses?

Exclusive licensing means that only 500px can license the image commercially and you have never licensed this content commercially before. ​The photographer will always receive 60% share of net sales on exclusive photos. You can still use your licensed photos for self-promotion and your portfolio.

Non-Exclusive licensing means you can sell your image to other commercial licensing vendors, or to other commercial buyers or you have licensed it commercially in the past. The photographer will always receive 30% share of net sales on non-exclusive photos. 

Which license is better for the Photographer?

licensing provides a greater revenue opportunity for the Photographer and exclusive content will be featured more often by 500px and our distribution partners. Exclusive content means only 500px and our distribution partners can license this photo and you cannot license this photo to any other agency or make it commercially available to anyone else. The photographer will earn 60% share of net sales for exclusively submitting their photos to 500px for licensing.

An exclusive image can be potentially licensed for "Exclusive Use", for a set period of time, for several thousand dollars in some cases. If a photo is licensed for this special "Exclusive Use" license, it cannot be sold commercially during the time period negotiated.  

Non-exclusive licensing is meant for photos that have been licensed or offered commercially in the past, or that photographers want to make available for commercial licensing through other vendors or agencies. Submitting these photos will earn the photographer 30% net of any non-exclusive license purchased.

​Why do I need a release form and what for?

​To determine whether you require a release or not, click here.

For photos that have a person or persons that can be recognized within the photo, we must have a Model Release for each recognizable person in the photo. If you cannot obtain a signed model release for a photo of a recognizable person or persons, our editors may still be able to accept the image as Editorial (Editorial photos have a narrow usage, excluding commercial usages such as advertising, promotion, etc..). For models under the age of 18, we require that a parent or guardian sign the model release form. You can download the Model Release Form here.

​For Photos that were taken in a known establishment or recognizable location, we may also require a Property Release Form (aka Location Release) that demonstrates you have the agreement from the owner(s) to use their location in your photograph for commercial use. You can download the Property Release Form (aka Location Release) here.

​What if my Model is under 18 years of age?

For models under the age of 18, we require that a parent or guardian sign the model release form. Please print both the Child and Parent/Guardian name at the top of the form.

What if my Photo is a Self-Portrait?

​Even if your photo is a self-portrait, you will need to sign a Model Release form and state on the form that this is a self-portrait.

How do the taxes work? Do I have to pay them? What if I don't live in the U.S?

Click here for more information on taxes.

How will I know if my photo sells?

You will be notified by email, and you can track your sales on the Sales History page.

Have more questions? Ask us!