Years ago I had a Flickr account – I didn’t use it much and it languished in oblivion until at some point Flickr deleted it.
I didn’t really give it a second though – I kind of thought of Flickr as a place newbies post snapshots of flowers and sunsets. All the cool photographers used 500px. Flickr is a dead social media platform anyway right?
However, I recently needed a platform where I could keep track of all my published photography, so I opened a new Flickr account – and hello, I discovered that Flickr is actually an amazing tool for your photography business (if you treat it like a tool, not a social media platform).
Here is why I think you should still post your photos to Flickr…
Don’t Think of Flickr As Social Media
As far as posting photography to gather likes and comments and public admiration, Flickr is probably not the social media platform for you (there is this new thing called Instagram, it’s pretty cool…).
And there are a lot of photos of flowers and sunsets – and I haven’t wasted my time following and liking like I normally would on other social media accounts.
When it comes to photography inspiration and posting my own work, I always preferred 500px (and still do). But then 500px imposed a seven images per week limit on free accounts – which essentially crippled how I use their service.
So I switched over to Flickr – and I have been very pleasantly surprised with how awesome it is – as long as you just don’t think of it as a social media network!
First of all Flicker offers free account users 1TB of storage space with unlimited uploads.
If you’re just posting screen resolution jpgs exported from Lightroom, that will go a long way (more than a million anyway).
Flickr also automatically adds your camera exif data, and any Lightroom keywording, title, caption, contact and copyright information you may have added (no need to manually tag your photos in Flickr).
My favorite Flickr feature is the ability to set the copyright license that applies to your work – anywhere from full copyright (all rights reserved) to public domain dedication (creative commons zero – CC0 – I’m not sure why anyone would use full public domain).
This is a really useful feature if you want to distribute your work with a creative commons license – you just set the copyright permission in Flickr and it will automatically be indexed as creative commons by the search engines.
It is also relatively easy to organize your work into albums and set public / private viewing permissions (although the Flickr Organizer interface feels very clunky and outdated).
How I Use Flickr For My Photography Business
As stated earlier, I don’t think of my Flickr account as social media. I think of it more like a public Dropbox account, a backup for my work and an organized record of what photography I have published where online.
Working with a copyright protection service like Pixsy, I often need to know when an image was originally created, and where and when it was first published online. This used to be a hassle of searching through my Lightroom catalog and my various social media networks.
Now, I primarily use Flickr to solve those two problems.
Here is my current Flickr workflow:
First I export my finished photography directly from Lightroom with an invisible digital watermark using the Signili invisible watermark Lightroom plugin (I export to jpeg at 2500px on the long edge at 70% with seems to give decent results for most screens with a reasonable file size).
(I would use an IFTTT applet to automatically upload directly from Dropbox to Flickr as images are exported out of Lightroom – but right now the Signili Lightroom plugin creates a marked and unmarked copy of every export – so I have to manually delete the unmarked copies and upload the marked copies. More on IFTTT in a moment).
Then I upload the watermarked images directly to my Flickr account.
I have the default copyright settings set to full copyright, but for “B” level images that I don’t mind sharing, I occasionally set the copyright to Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives so that people could use my work for their personal blogs.
I organize the images in Flickr into albums that match my Lightroom collections.
Now by browsing my Flickr account I have a record of the date the original photo was captured, the date it was originally published online (to Flickr as the initial publication) and all relevant exif data including my studio contact information, creator name and the original copyright information from Lightroom.
Now the fun part – I also need a record of where my images are subsequently published to my various other social media accounts.
To do that, I use IFTTT applets to grab any image that I publish to any of my social media networks and automatically upload copies to Flickr, along with the publication date and the social media network and URL where the image was published.
This gives me a complete record of every instance where an image has been published online and drastically streamlines the task of putting together infringement claims.
It’s also nice to have a complete ongoing record of all my work in one place – and Flickr is way more useful and easy to use than I was expecting!
Warning – Set Download Permissions!
Besides setting your default copyright permissions, one other setting that is critical to set is download permissions.
By default, Flickr allows users to download your images – including the original image files that you’ve uploaded. If you don’t want to provide a download to your original files, it’s probably best to turn this setting off!
In practice, this feature is widely abused by bots to scrape content which is then re-uploaded to offshore accounts and re-distributed, but it’s nice to have if you are sharing your work with a creative commons license.
How Do You Use Flickr?
Is Flickr still relevant to your photography business?
Did you used to have a Flickr account? Why did you stop using it?
Do you have a Flickr account now? How do you use Flickr?
Leave us a comment and share your thoughts!