How I Use Flickr

Colin+Maria Wedding: Rehearsal Dinner

I’ve been a proud member of Flickr since 2006.

Back then, it was merely a repository of my photos: goofy self portraits, vacation pics, even stuff with my friends. This was before I got “serious” with photography. It was my digital photo album.

Now, it’s a carefully-crafted showcase for my artsy side. No more mass uploading dozens of photos at once, no more being careless with my tagging system.

I’ve grown and developed (ha!) as Flickr has.



Most days I post three or four photos that I’ve worked on, and I carefully cultivate my tags. I tend to upload from Aperture, because I like its uploading interface better (even if it does have an issue with multi-word keywords/tags) than Lightroom’s.

Once in a while I’ll post an entire set all at once, just to get it out of the way. A lot of those photos will never be seen because of Flickr’s you-only-see-five-photos-at-once-on-the-following-page rule. But some of my sets would take forever to upload at five photos a day.

I keep a folder in Aperture of stuff to upload, and every day I grab a random five images and post those to Flickr. When I add new photos to my Aperture library, I’ll grab a few and queue them for uploading, too.

On and on it goes.

Sparton Plant: Faucet


Tags. Sets. Galleries. Tons of ways to organize images on Flickr. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I feel like I don’t have my own digital asset management house in order at home, and that often translates into sloppy organization on the Flickr end of things.

But thankfully Flickr makes it easy to correct all that. In the Organize tab, I often grab a batch of images and add more metadata to them.

For Sets, too often I feel like I could have a million variations based on location, color, style, subject, etc. Some photographers do a great job, but I tend to stick to a smaller number of sets until I find an image that doesn’t fit into a category.

Is it a vacation spot? Is it a specific project? Does it fit into a set that already exists? Do I want this group of photos to stand out on their own?

I know myself well enough to know that my lazy organization habits will opt for tucking photos into a group that already exists, so I try to make them as broad as ever. Sometimes, I’ll go back through and add photos to new sets I’ve developed, like my new season-based sets.

As far as Galleries, I’ve only made one highlighting the most gorgeous piece of Apple hardware ever.


Flickr acts as the hub for all my photo sharing.

Every photo I post here to the blog is actually a link back to the Flickr image. That way I don’t have to worry about uploading images, or people grabbing them willy-nilly. Photos live in one place. Period.

And every Friday I do a #FlickrFriday post on Twitter with a link back to (you guessed it) an image on my Flickr account.

The one exception is Facebook. There, I do upload specific albums of family and friends photos that might not be appropriate for Flickr. But often there’s some cross-posting to both, especially in the case of vacation photos.

Also, Flickr’s Group system is a great way to share like-minded photos. I don’t always remember to do so, but there are a few active groups I dip in and out of, adding my images to the mix.

Fuji X100: See-Through


To be honest, I still use Flickr as a backup mechanism.

I’m grandfathered in under the old membership rules and am exempt from the terabyte limit (although I only use, according to Flickr, “0.025 TB of unlimited”). It’s nice not to worry about archive space like I am at home – I can upload to my heart’s content.

It’s peace of mind knowing that most of my best photos are archived up there at Yahoo! HQ. I’m not super clear on if Flickr compresses the photos after you upload them (like Facebook shamefully does), but something is better than nothing.

South Haven: Long Grass


You know what’s super helpful? EXIF data.

I’m appreciative of the photographers who include it in their photos, because it’s a great educational tool. Not to copy, but to simply learn.

I’m also a big believer in absorbing good photography so you know what to look for in your own images. “If you can see it, you can do it,” my college professor said. Meaning: if you can see the logic and skill applied in making good art, you can apply similar strategies.

So, like 500px, Flickr is a great learning space – for what’s new, for techniques, for upcoming styles, and sometimes for what not to do. Especially for when you find good photographers to follow on Flickr. With “Following,” you always have a good stream of quality stuff coming through.

Some photographers I follow:

Zachary Snellenberger
Ken Fager
Jorge Quinteros
TGKW (sometimes NSFW)
Ben Minor
Grant Hutchinson
Anastasia Volkova

So I’ll stick with Flickr for the foreseeable future, past the changes and updates and whatnot, until something happens that’s unforgivable. I get a lot of use out of it. I enjoy using it. The $25/year for a Pro membership has always been worth it.