What is Flickr? An Intro Guide to Photo Sharing

June 10, 2019

Before Instagram exploded, we had Flickr.

Many people still do have Flickr; it’s a utility photo-sharing platform that accomplishes what many social media platforms do not.

While Instagram and Facebook are all about engaging with digital content and sharing your latest portrait mode pictures, Flickr serves as a platform for sharing and organizing media, with a few engagement features trickled in.

Imagine your extended family takes a boatload of professional pictures at Thanksgiving. Instead of struggling to send large photos over email, or requiring all of your uncles to pack a flash drive next to their pleats, you can easily upload photos to Flickr and give all family members access to that image folder.

What is Flickr?

As I mentioned, Flickr is a platform for conveniently sharing photos and videos. It’s used by many photography professionals to send images to clients, as well as anyone with photo-sharing needs. 

It’s free to make an account on the platform, which encourages even the most casual users to sign up. There is, however, a Pro feature available for purchase for those using it more seriously. 

In addition to uploading photos, users can peruse the platform to check out other people’s work, and can “like” or comment on anything that piques their interest. Let’s learn more about some Flickr features.

Features on Flickr

Like any media platform, Flickr has its own lexicon that is important to understand should you wish to navigate the site with ease. Here are some of the top features/buzzwords to know before creating a Flickr account:

1. Profile

Just like you have a profile on Facebook, you have a profile on Flickr. This dashboard is a place for both you and others to view and/or keep track of your media. As you can see, I have a very developed profile, ie one singular photo of my dog. 

Flickr profile

2. Galleries

Think of galleries as you would “photo albums” on Facebook.. A key difference between Facebook albums and Flickr’s galleries is that you can add other users’ media to your gallery. 

If you really like a certain photographer and wish to showcase their work on your page, you can do so by adding them to your gallery. You can only have 50 photos or videos in a gallery, so take that into consideration before your next Flickr spree!

3. Photostream

Your photostream is a collection of media that belongs solely to you. If your photos and videos have been set to public, then other users can come to your profile and see what you’ve uploaded. If your media is set to private, then only you and those you have permitted will be able to view your content.

4. Albums

One great feature of Flickr is the ability to organize photos through albums. This makes it easy for people to come to your profile and say, “Now where were those Thanksgiving pictures? Oh, here’s the album ‘Thanksgiving 2018.’” 

This feature is also a great organization tool for the user, as it helps ensure media isn’t jumbled up or appearing in random places. Professional photographers will especially enjoy these organizational features, as it makes it easy to create specific albums for each client.

5. Faves

When you peruse Flickr, it’s possible you’ll come across an image you really want to save for later: whether to recreate in your own part of the world or just to continue looking at. When you “star” or favorite a photo on Flickr, it automatically appears in the “Faves” tab on your profile.

With this feature, you’re easily able to keep track of inspiring shots and revisit the profiles of photographers you admire. 

Flickr faves

6. People

It’s fun to have friends, and chances are, many of yours are on Flickr. This platform, which was launched back in 2004, was said to have 87 million registered users as of 2013. 

And you can connect with people on this site, just as you would any other social media platform! You can add people directly through Flickr, whose profiles will then show up under your Follower / Following count on your profile. 

You can also opt to upload your contact list to Flickr and send invites to friends who don’t have profiles yet. Maybe forego sending a mass invitation though, and instead choose to invite only the friends you know would enjoy uploading and engaging with photography.

7. Stats

Engagement is key on any media platform! Flickr offers statistics as to who is viewing your content, and how they found you. This is especially useful for those who are just starting out and wish to use Flickr as a way to grow their following/brand.

If you want to grow your following organically, consider asking yourself “How Does SEO Work?” By following a few simple “rules” of the internet, you’ll make your profile much easier to find to those who are on the hunt for content like yours.

The facts of Flickr

And those are the facts, folks! To learn more about what Flickr has to offer (we by no means covered it all), I recommend jumping on the site and creating a free profile for yourself. Playing around with various features is always the best way to learn more about a platform.

Plus, this one’s so much fun! Who doesn’t want to scroll through the work of thousands of brilliant photographers from all over the world?!

If you want more than the basic stats Flickr is able to offer, check out these free social media monitoring tools for marketers.

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