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What is Flickr: Everything you need to know about the image hosting service
These days, there are many options for storing your photographs online in full resolution, from OneDrive to Dropbox to Google Drive. Then there are social media sites and apps that give you a place to display your images (think Facebook or Instagram). Flickr resides in between the two. It is primarily a photo and video storage service but in a feature-rich context. It offers a community that loves photography, who comments on and helps expose each other’s work. An interactive world map lets you geotag your images. Photo-centric events can be publicized. There is a blog with posts about Flickr members, and even a graph comparing which cameras are used by Flickr photographers, for those in the market for new gear.
Most of Flickr’s features are available to those who only have the free Flickr account, which has limited storage. So even if you’re only an amateur photographer, it’s a good idea to know about Flickr’s features and limitations.
Read more: 10 best photo sharing apps on Android
Flickr is an online photo service that offers more than just storage, such as editing tools and an online community. It's geared toward professional and other serious photographers. A Flickr account can be a free one, which offers limited storage, or a Pro account that has no limits. Flickr is popular with bloggers who use it as an image repository.
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What is Flickr?
Flickr is a full-featured online community centered on photography. It offers two types of account, free and Pro. The free membership limits you to storing 1,000 photos. The Pro plan not only removes any limit on how many photos you can upload, it also lets you see metrics for your uploaded images and albums, so you can track what photos have been viewed the most, as well as other perks (see below).
Flickr’s technical features include editing, tagging, organizing, and displaying your photos. Its social features include commenting and favoriting other people’s images, displaying other photographers’ work in your Galleries, publicizing photography-related events, and joining various groups that discuss specific types of photography and issues affecting photographers.
Flickr started in 2004 and has been sold several times throughout its history. It has been used by greater numbers of people in the past than today, but its focus on photography and useful features have kept a following loyal to Flickr. Popular with professional photographers and bloggers, who use it to store images that they then link to in their posts, it is among the 500 most visited websites in the world today.
Flickr offers many services to all its account holders, among which are:
- Photostream: Your uploaded photographs are presented in an easy-to-scroll format.
- Albums: Like other services, Flickr lets you organize your images into albums of related material.
- Faves: You can mark other photographers’ images as your favorites, and see them all in one place.
- Galleries: These are like albums, but for other people’s work. It’s another way to help other photographers gain exposure.
- Groups: One of the social aspects of Flickr, there are many groups you can join that specialize in different types and aspects of photography.
- Organizr: This is an online photo editing tool that lets you crop, resize, and otherwise manipulate your images.
- Personal Profile: Your personal “front page” lets you display information about yourself, as well as up to 25 of your best images.
- World Map: You can geotag your photographs.
There are, as you would expect, some services only enjoyed by those paying for a Pro account. We’ll discuss those in the next section.
Is Flickr free?
Flickr’s two-tier membership structure means you can definitely use it for free. The free membership is right for those just starting out, and for people who just want to post some family or event photos where everyone can access them. A professional photographer, though, or even an enthusiastic amateur, would soon chafe at the 1,000-image limit.
There are other advantages with a Pro account, as well:
- Viewing statistics help you determine which of your images appeal most to viewers.
- An ad-free photostream presents a much more professional image.
- Unlimited image privacy helps keep people from appropriating your work.
- The Auto-Uploadr tool takes the pain out of uploading large collections or entire shoots.
Currently, a year of Flickr Pro will cost you $71.99 in the US if you pay all at once. That’s about six dollars a month.
Read more: 8 smartphone photography tips guaranteed to produce instant results
Flickr is owned by SmugMug, Inc., which bought it from Yahoo in 2019.
On a mobile device, Instagram is Flickr’s closest competition, but many of its features are not available on a PC, which gives services like 500px, Photobucket, and Google Photos a leg up in competing with Flickr.
No. You can view photos as a guest, but uploading your own images requires at least a free account.