You’ve probably heard of the many popular photo sharing sites by now, which include Photobucket, SmugMug, and Flickr. Flickr stands above the rest because of its huge user base and community. The photo sharing service has been around since 2004 – it was acquired in 2005 by Yahoo! and soon after became big. Since then, it’s acquired more than 50 million users and 80 million unique visitors, and is among the top choices for independent photographers. It also has a great Social Media aspect to it.
Joining flickr is a very easy and free process. Upon registration, you’re allowed to upload 300MB of photos each month, at a fixed maximum resolution. 2 Video uploads, and access to the most of the site and community are the other perks with a free account. The Pro account is very worth it though, if you’re an aspiring photographer or hobbyist. For $24.95 a year you get unlimited uploads at any resolution, unlimited HD video, no ads, ability to post photos to up to 60 groups, statistics, and much more.
Uploading photos is a breeze, since they can be uploaded in batches. Once the photos are online, you can tag them separately or together, and add titles & captions before finalizing. The photo quality is great, although I did notice that some photos can get desaturated by Flickr’s processing – an easy fix to this is to use the built in photo editor, Picnik, to re-add some saturation to the photo. Sharpness and quality of the photos are great, and it seems as though Flickr adds in a little sharpening during processing.
Profile pages are pretty simple, which consist of the user’s most recent public images or “Photostream”. It can be customized to show their Photosets (for instance “Ariana’s Fashion Shoot”) or Collections (Collections hold sets, i.e. “Portraits”), next to the Photostream. Everything can be organized in batches with Flickr’s very helpful tool, the Organizr.
There’s so much more than just uploading photos on Flickr though – which makes the service outshine many of its competitors. The ability to order prints of your photos (or a friends’ ) is easy since SnapFish and Flickr are partners. Prints are extremely cheap and usually great quality, especially if you order through the mail instead of store pickup; great deals are usually going on like 99 prints for 99 cents.
Then there’s user created Groups which are based off a certain category, whether it be Vintage, Bokeh, Canon, Portraits, Animals, or anything else you could possibly think of. You can add your own photos to these groups, and since some of them have tens of thousands of users, it’s a great way to get added views and exposure. Discussion boards within groups also exist.
There’s a friend/contact system on Flickr, as well as private mail. You can view the most recent uploads from your friends by visiting the Contacts Photostream, or if you want, you can view the photostream of your subscribed groups. If you really get into Flickr, there’s a whole section and community for building custom apps and API’s called “The App Garden”. A comments system also exists, which allows people to comment on your photos, and even favorite them.
Flickr is a great way for people to share and upload their photos – many people start out on Flickr and build their experience and presence with it. For photographers, it can be a great tool for marketing, and there are so many photos to browse as eye candy and inspiration for the apsiring photographer. While other options are available, most don’t combine the many features that Flickr offers into one. Check it out, join, and share your profile with me by leaving a comment!