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Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

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Photographer’s Guide to Flickr

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

If you have an interest in photography, but haven’t explored the depths of Flickr, you’re missing out!! Flickr is a GREAT tool to easily view large collections of images on very specific topics. It’s an invaluable learning tool, giving you the ability to see what techniques other people are using to capture photos. Flickr also facilitates conversations between photographers, allowing you to see and post photos to a captive audience. Below, is a quick and dirty guide to get started.


1. Join Flickr Groups

Think about some photography topics that interest you. Some examples might include landscapes, portraits, night shots, clouds, sunsets, waterfalls, dogs, sports, fashion, pdx, pacific northwest, etc. On your Flickr homepage, search for these terms, being sure to select “groups” as to what you are searching for. When you find a group that looks ineresting, join it (click the join button). Below each group, you’ll see how many members there are, and how many items have been submitted to the photo pool for that group. I’d recommend joining the most popular groups, with the most members / items.

Now that you’ve joined the group, you’ll notice that there are two main components – a photo pool and discussion forums. The pool is the common area where people submit photos, and the discussion forums are for broad conversations, like techniques or questions people have about capturing the types of photos in the group.


2. Watch your groups’ photostreams from an RSS reader so you don’t have to manually navigate the Flickr website

Although Flickr is a fun site to spend time exploring, there are occasions when you’d really just like to look at all of the new photos that have been added to your groups. Rather than logging in to Flickr and manually browsing each group, or you can simply subscribe to the group’s RSS feed.

I’d suggest using a free RSS reader, like Google Reader. Go into the photostream for your group (you’ll have to click “>>More” to get to the photostream), and notice the link to the RSS feed at the bottom.

Click on this, and then add the subscription to Google Reader. Do this for each of the groups you want to monitor.

Now, you can simply log in to Google Reader, and you can quickly click through all of the new photos in your photostreams. If you subscribe to several popular groups, there could potentially be thousands of new photos to peruse every day (lucky you!)

3. Find photos you like, leave comments, add the creator as a contact, and/or favorite the photo

Once in a while, you’ll see something that really catches your attention. If you’re in Google Reader, click on the photo to be taken to the larger version on that user’s Flickr page. The first thing I’d suggest doing is leaving a comment on the photo for the author. You can also leave questions, critiques, etc. If you think the photo is REALLY great (and you want to “collect” it with other great photos), you can mark it as a favorite. From your home Flickr page, you can easily look at all the photos you’ve marked as favorites.

If you want to see what else that person has created, you can click on their photostream next to the photo. This will bring you their personal Flickr page, where you can see all their work. If you’d like to “bookmark” this person so you can more easliy follow their work, you can add them as a Flickr contact, which puts a link to their photostream on your Flickr page.


4. Start posting your own photos

The next step is start putting your own stuff out there for people to see. Upload a few photos to your site, and then optionally add some tags, a title, and a description. To get some exposure to your work, the next step will be to add your photos to the very groups you’ve been watching.

Once you do this, your photo(s) will appear in the group’s photostream, and all the members of the group will see your photo. If you’ve got some “eye catching” work, you’ll start to see people commenting on and favoriting your photos, and adding you as a photo contact.


5. Integrate Flickr to your blog, your Facebook page, and Twitter

This is definitely a topic deep enough for a its own blog post, but there are a myriad of tools available to push photos to your blog, share to Facebook, and link from Twitter. I currently use Flickr as the image hosting for all photos on my photoblog, and then merge the comments left on Flickr with comments left from my website. Just do some Google searches on what you’d like to integrate, you’ll find a ton of info.

Any tips, tricks, or techniques you find useful on Flickr?