My Sad 500px Christmas Story

On December 22nd, I received an email from 500px saying that I sold a photo for $600. Obviously, I was thrilled — it’s nice to get something like this right before Christmas. Upon logging into my 500px account, I saw that there was another sale too for the same photo. The total from the two sales: $2,700.

Since one of the licenses was listed as “Product for Resale”, I assumed this must be something significant to deserve this kind of money.

I printed out the photo and put it in an envelope under the Christmas tree for my wife with a note showing the amount of money we’d be getting soon — enough to get some car repairs and other bills paid. I was so excited.

I sent a note to 500px because the payout was not listed as available. They said that for sales like this, it can take up to 45 days to make sure that it is legit and that the photo has been downloaded by the client.

On the morning of December 23rd, I received an email from 500px saying that they had made a mistake. While I had made two sales, it totaled $27, not $2700.

Hi Mike,

There appears to have been an error made in the processing of Payouts. You’ve definitely made a sale, but this amount has been adjusted. In a rush to make our users happy over the holidays, Payouts were processed as US cents, and not US dollars (USD). We realize how severe of an error this is, and apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. As a 500px user, we value your contributions to the photographic community, and especially the work that is submitted for licensing on the 500px Marketplace. Our developers have addressed the issue, and you can now request the Payout using the following information…

Well, at least I can buy lunch, I thought. Then I find out that their system doesn’t allow for payouts for anything under $30.

Merry Christmas to me from 500px.

Editor’s Update: Freelance photographer George Papapostolou got in touch to share that he had this exact same issue happen to him. He was informed that he had sold two photos for a total of $6,000. Days later, the amount was suddenly changed to a total of $60.

About the author: Mike Martin is a photographer based in Naperville, Illinois. You can find more of his work on his website, 500px, Facebook, and Twitter.