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Photography-centric social network 500px has released a new app designed to help photographers land jobs. Called RAW, this iOS app enables users to sign up for a marketplace that will notify them of companies or individuals looking to hire a photographer.

In addition to its matchmaking capabilities, 500px’s RAW app is a powerful editing service, enabling RAW-formatted files to be captured, edited (including filter application), and uploaded to the social network, where they can be licensed and shared. Photographers can also create, export, and attach model releases, eliminating some of the paperwork.

Users will have access to all the professional editing capabilities right away, and the “photography on demand” feature will be rolled out “soon.”

Since its launch in 2009, 500px has been a photo community that differentiates itself from Flickr, Google, and others. It’s a place where professional-style images are not only shared, but also made available for purchase and licensing. To enhance the overall user experience, the company has released a number of updates — such as a smarter search feature that includes a way to browse photos by color or design. But this new app is focused on addressing the needs of content creators.

“500px is one of the largest global photography communities in the world. In addition to our already established licensing business, there is a huge demand in the market to leverage our user base for custom work,” said Andy Yang, 500px’s chief executive. “RAW will be the conduit for photographers to secure gigs directly from brands and a completely new way for photographers to make money by doing what they love, including many more options for post-processing after the shoot.”

Previously, 500px had been missing something: While photographers were able to post their own creations and monetize them, it was difficult to convert this into leads for work. After receiving enough likes and comments from users saying “wow, what a great photo,” a photographer would wonder how they might better leverage their talent. Now, brands and talent scouts that go to 500px to view people’s portfolios will be able to put out a casting call based on their needs.

The app simplifies the workflow so that photographers can quickly upload RAW file formatted images, which are larger than standard and capture all of the image data recorded by the sensor. It will also simplify other aspects of a photographer’s life. If they’re on the go, jumping from assignment to assignment, they may not be at a computer to search for their next project. However, a dedicated app from 500px makes finding the next gig easier. In addition, the model release feature reduces the stress involved in ensuring that they’re protected before licensing an image to clients or third parties.

Yang said that his company had been testing the photography marketplace for the past few months and has signed up some major brands as partners, including Lonely Planet. “We can now unleash our 8 million professional-grade users toward any idea of creative brief. In the coming weeks, 500px will be launching even more tools to build out this product offering,” he said.

Currently, RAW is only available for iOS, but it’s likely that an Android version will be made available in future.


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