Top 10 Hacks on Flickr

One of the nice things about Flickr is that because of their open API a whole host of developers have built more and more interesting things to do with the site. It’s interesting to me today that so many of the ways that I use Flickr are not even through the site as designed by Yahoo, but instead through the work of outside developers who are constantly creating new and interesting ways to experience the site. Today I thought I’d share what I think are the top 10 Hacks on Flickr.

This list is by no way exhaustive or complete, but as somewhat of a power user who uses the site every day I thought I’d offer some tools that you might want to try out. One note is that many of the best hacks on Flickr today are being done through Greasemonkey scripts. These will not work with Internet Explorer but will work with Firefox or Flock.

So on with the list.

Flickr Hack #1

1. The number one hack for Flickr would have to be Flickrleech. Flickrleech is a site developed by Andrew Houser (who is also a kick ass photographer), or simply Houser as he is often called, with the tagline, “because paging sucks.”

When Houser released Flickrleech originally it would allow you to pull up any Flickr user’s photos as a full page of thumbnails with no pagination. Although very cool, loading up 7,000 thumbnails wasn’t exactly the nicest things to do to Flickr’s servers and Houser actually changed his site to load 500 thumbnails at a time and today it sits at 200 thumbnails at a time.

Still, having the ability to browse a flickr user’s photos at 200 thumbnails at a time is remarkable and allows you more photos on a single page than anything Flickr offers up themselves.

I’m constantly using Flickrleech to check out a new photographer’s photos or to rapid fire go through someone’s stream.

By the way, the bandwidth for Flickrleech is not cheap and Houser subsidizes it, so if you like it and use it might I recommend that you help the man out by making a donation to his Paypal account that he has on the site.

2. The number two hack for Flickr is a newer one and was released earlier this month by Intel’s Eric Appel and is called SmartSetr. One of the annoying things about Flickr is that when you want to create a set you must do it manually. Even with batch tools this gets tedious and having to add every new photo to a set every single time sucks. So Eric developed SmartSetr. SmartSetr allows you the ability to build sets that are organized around the concepts of tags, dates, and other metadata associated with a photo.

If, for instance, you want to build a set called Neon Days and Neon Nights (like I did) that holds all of your photos of neon signs, by building a SmartSet you can simply tell flickr to add any photo tagged neon to this set. Although SmartSetr isn’t dynamic, Eric refreshes your sets for you once a day and things get updated. It’s also really cool that you can organize your set by interestingness, so that your best photos show up first in the set — something you can’t do on Flickr. More from Eric directly.

3. The number three hack for Flickr is a greasemonkey one called Flickr Multi Group Sender. It was developed by Steeev (who does some of the best Flickr development work around) One of the problems with Flickr’s add to group function is that it is painfully and woefully slow. I’m not sure if this is because Flickr is trying to load up little mini thumbnail icons for every group or if it’s something to do with how you access their database but it’s weak sauce. But multi group sender makes this much easier. Multi group sender allows the add to groups function for photos on flickr super fast. You can also add to multiple groups at once by simply holding down the control key… opps, I mean command key (I keep forgetting I’m on a Mac).. and selecting another group. Careful with adding your photos to too many groups though. Adding your photo to more than about 10 groups gets you dinged in interestingness.

4. The number four hack for Flickr is another greasemonkey one. This one is called Flickr rich edit and it was written by Jason Rhyley. Sometimes when you say something, you really want to say something. Unfortunately natively Flickr has no rich edit tools and so users must be familiar with how to manually mark up their text or they can just use this tool. By using rich text edit you are able to add rich text edit tools above text boxes on Flickr so that you can better get your point across when you need to.

5. Tabblo. This is kind of an unusual one. Maybe not so much of a hack, but it sure feels like one. Tabblo is a photosharing site that allows you the ability to customize the feel, layout, tone and design of your photo page. The yin and the yang of Flickr is that everyone’s pages look the same. On the one hand this gives Flickr a very elegant, almost like a virtual art gallery or museum feel. On the other hand sometimes people want more customization over how their photos are presented. Some companies like SmugMug make this customization part of how they diferentiate from Flickr. Flickr is torn because while you might like to give users more control over the design of the photos, if you’re not careful, the next thing you know the place ends up looking like MySpace.

Enter Tabblo. Tabblo uses the Flickr API to import your photos into their site and then allows you the ability to design a page however you like. The nice thing about Tabblo is that unlike SmugMug the site is free and with a direct Flickr import function makes it super easy to design special custom pages using your Flickr photos. Here’s a tabblo with some of my shots from New Orleans last year.

6. Flickrmud. One of the problems for some Flickr users is that because the site is popular ofentimes it gets blocked. A while back Flickr was being blocked in the entire UAE. There have been reports of libraries blocking Flickr and certainly businesses blocking Flickr who don’t want their employees wasting away valuable company time on social networking or seeing the occasional porn shot that creates company liability. While one answer is to simply buy your own laptop with EVDO and bring it to work, this isn’t always the most economical approach. But if you are experiencing Flickr blockage somewhere check out FlickrMud. How Flickr mud works is that you simply change the url to access Flickr. Instead of
accessing thomashawk’s flickrstream like this: You access it with this url instead: By adding the before the .com oftentimes you can access the site because this way of accessing Flickr is much less known and less likely to be blocked. Mum’s the word on this one of course 😉

7. Moo Cards. Again, not so much of a Flickr hack as a tool for the flickr photographer. One of the problems with the outside world (yes even with Stewart and Caterina on the cover of Time magazine, etc. etc.) is that outside your immediate bubble of friends, a whole chunk of the world has no idea what Flickr is. As a photographer out there shooting all the time people will ask me where they can see my work. Even if you say “flickr” “thomas hawk” etc. People will forget. By ordering up some Moo cards (they are only about $25 for 100) you can give these cards out to people when they ask where they can see the shots.

Of course one hack with your Flickr Moo cards is that you don’t actually have to send them to your Flickrstream. My Flickr Moo cards have my Zooomr stream ID url on there instead. Opps, did I just say that, Doh!

8. Slickr. One of the things that is cool about Flickr is that there is an amazing amount of fanastic images online. This is cool and all but Flickr’s slide show functionality sucks, it’s not full screen, etc. This is where Slickr comes in. Slickr allows you the ability to point Slickr to someone’s photostream, your photos marked favorites, etc., etc. and then actually download full high res photos of all of whatever you point it to to your computer. It was developed by Gabriel Hanford. Once on your hard drive you can better make use of these images for your screen saver or for your desktop backgrounds and all that. One of my favorite things to do is to sit back and watch my Media Center PC rotate through my favorites from Flickr on beautiful full high res clarity.

One note with this. You might want to check out the photo license of the photos that you choose to download with Slickr. Although Slickr works with all licenses, technically you’d be breaking the rules by downloading an all rights reserved licensed photo. Creative Commons licensed photos of course (like mine) are free to use for non commercial (in my case) use and if you want to download all of my images for your screen saver, desktop, etc., or even just one of my sets like Superfaves, feel free.

9. Flickr Friends (formerly Flickr Stalkr). Flickr Friends got off to a rough start originally at Flickr. Developed by James Newbery it was initially named Flickr Stalkr and well, that just didn’t sound right and so they saw themselves get nipped in the bud early on. Subsequently though the site relaunched as Flickr Friend Finder and is a way for you to find all of your friends (or ex-girlfriends, opps, did I just say that too?) on Flickr. With Flickr Friend Finder you simply enter in a string of email addresess (or upload your address book to them) and they will return back to you everyone who is on Flickr. You can then add them as friends to make sure to keep tabs on what they are up to photographically speaking. James has the following privacy statement up on his site:

“Your addresses will not be stored anywhere, read by anyone, or made accessible to anyone. Any file you upload will be deleted from the server immediately.”

…of course it’s up to you whether or not you think it’s a good idea or right to use your friend’s email addresses this way.

10. jUploadr. One of the things about Flickr’s bulk uploader tool (in my opinion) is that it is not very good. Especially on a Mac it is very slow to load, won’t strip the .jpg titles from the names of my photos, etc. jUploader was developed by Steve Cohen and offers a better, faster, way to upload. You can enter in default tags, descriptions, etc. for all of your photos or you can easily select photos to bulk tag/descript before uploading to Flickr. jUploader is also our official uploader for Zooomr as well and if you want to upload your shots to Flickr and Zooomr, once you are done with one you can simply click on the other to send your photos there as well. jUploadr runs on Windows, Linux and OS X.

Related posts:

Top 10 Ways to Find Great Photos on Flickr

Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr

If you like these Flickr hacks feel free to digg them here.

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  1. Michele says:

    Oh Thomas… Please tell how to make moo working with zooomr!

  2. Hey Thomas,

    This is a fantastic roundup post! I’ve seen a couple of these before, like Flickrleech and the Moo cards, but there’s a ton of new useful ones for me here.

    The Multi Group Sender and jUploader! My god man, these are sexy! I feel like I need to be bribing you with chocolate for showing me these.

  3. Alan Le says:

    very informative and use list. Thanks Thomas

  4. Wow Thomas, these are some great finds. I’ve already hooked my entire office on Slickr, and already ordered my Moo cards, but the rest are new to me. I’m really looking forward to checking out SmartSetr. I’ve been looking for something that would do that for a while.

  5. LeggNet says:

    Good stuff, thanks. A few of those I hadn’t heard of. Now, if I can only remember to actually bring some of my Moo cards with me when I go out.

  6. tinou says:

    you forgot my flickr large slideshow. put your camera’s megapixel to use!

  7. TranceMist says:

    Great list!

    A bit more specialized, but if you use RapidWeaver, you might like the RapidFlickr plugin. It extracts photos from Flickr via tags or dates, etc. for use on your website, either as photos or a slideshow. It can do it dynamically.

    Example: static slideshow

    Example: dynamic camera phone photos

  8. Anonymous says:

    Slickr seems to be less a way to download a bunch of full-res images and more of a Windows XP-only slideshow/screensaver creator. Is there way, with a Mac, that I can do what Thomas’ description implies: download a particular set of photos to the hard drive without individually right-clicking them?

  9. Thomas Hawk says:

    Anonymous. Yes, Slickr is primarily designed as a Windows slide show, but how it works is that it downloads all of the photos into a folder for their slideshow to use. Rather than use their slide show, just point yourself to that folder where the photos are saved and you have access to them with whatever software you want. The names are saved as funny alpha numeric files and none of the meta data is there, but the image itself is there and you should be able to access it at that point however you’d like.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Take a look at powersnap its Flickr’s answer to Picasa.

  11. Son Nguyen says:

    I use the multiple group sender and it’s pretty good, wish it greys out the sent groups for even better management

  12. John Piercy says:

    Hey Thomas ,, as always an informative post.
    I use a Hack called Flickr Set Manager
    its from

    Flickr Set Manager allows you to automatically create new sets on Flickr based on various criteria such as interestingness, date posted and tags, or even from a random set of photographs.

    I use it on my flickr site to create a interestingness set

    Here is a link

  13. Norm Dwyer says:

    Exellent list, but how about Flickr Storm. A great way to handle and present a Flickr search.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t mean to take away from your post, but these aren’t hacks. please get your terminology right.

  15. How about FlickrBooth? Nice hack for uploading photo booth photos to flickr if you happen to be a mac user.

  16. How about FlickrBooth? Nice hack for uploading photo booth photos to flickr if you happen to be a mac user.

  17. flickrville says:

    Love every single one of ’em. especially MOO….moo is my new best friend 😛

  18. tinou says:

    to the person who asked about a flickr downloader like slickr that’s not Windows only…I give you my flickr downloader

    flickr downloader

    it’ll download photos to your computer via an Applet.

  19. Chaney says:

    You’re forgetting Flickr Stream which lets you connect and get the flickr images without the common api, so you can use ajax + json to get the images for any account or search up items.

  20. tim says:

    hi Thomas

    cool and fantastic, thanks dude

  21. Anonymous says:

    Great tips! For standard flickr automation i use imacros (a great free firefox extension: )


  22. Julian says:

    What about Retrievr — the visual search for flickr?

  23. Pradeep says:

    Thomas.. Brilliant one.

  24. Sendar says:

    great list, bookmarked 🙂

  25. For the true flickr addict, consider Flock. It combines the functionality of a bunch of these extensions, including friend-tracking, batch uploads and downloads, and thumbnail browsing. It’s also got a lot of other cool social features.

  26. Jenna says:

    I use Screensvr for a Favorites screensaver – it automagically makes them appear via my always-on Internet.

  27. Brian King says:

    I’m sure jUploadr is a great tool, but don’t forget about Fotofox!

  28. BillyWarhol says:

    thx Merodema fer the heads up on this*

    Some really good mentions here Hawk*


    glad to see U gave props to Steeev – he’s really done some fatastic & time saving useful tweaks to Flickr*

    Mortimer of 6v8 Production of my Mind also has some amazing Hacks*

    Flickr Favourite Contacts allows U to see all yer Contacts ranked according to those U have the most faves on*

    My Fave of ALL time is FlickrFox*

    allows U to see any View of Flickr Photos from yer Contacts or Groups streaming Live into yer Sidebar*


    by Phil McCluskey of Codestream*

    fd’s Flickr Toys also deserves Huge Props fer some Fun Flickr stuff*

    FlickrInspector will Blow U away too*

    Incredible Data on Flickr Users*

    another GreaseMonkey*

    The Great Flickr Tools Collection which lists All or most of the Flickr Hacks can be found here at

    they did Badgr*

    which brings me to the Flickr Flash Badge – the Grandaddy of ALL Web2.0 Widgets & thee coolest thing I’ve ever seen on the Internet*

    does anybody know who did that??

    Brilliant stuff!!

    & finally cuz I like giving Props to the Artists on Flickr who have made Flickr MORE than just another Boring Photography site & I don’t like NIPSA or Censorship – here’s an awesome Flickr Art tool by Flikr*

    Cheers Everybody!! Billy ;))


  29. Barry says:


    I have been a long time reader of your blog and I like it very much.
    Now on with my question.. since you have some inside knowledge of things at Zooomr, do you know of any API’s there that we as developers can use?
    So far I have seen nothing on the site.



  30. spankaccount says:

    Actually, Yahoo, didn’t design Flickr, it was bought by them.

  31. Thomas Hawk says:

    spankaccount. which makes it their’s now. When Flickr applied for a patent recently on interestingness it wasn’t as flickr it was as Yahoo. 😉

  32. Gurpreet says:

    Yuo forgot 🙂

  33. J-Ram says:

    Yeah, take a look at PowerSnap. Its a slick Flickr App

  34. jrhyley says:

    Hi Thomas! I’m a big fan of your whole right-to-photography thing, so I’m glad you like the Rich Edit script. The version of the script you’ve linked to, though, is a bit out of date. I still get feedback and incorporate it into the script from time to time, and the most recent version will always be here.

    You know, I never did think that something that took a grand total of three hours of work would be so popular.

  35. T says:

    I’m a resident of the UAE and we have recently been re-denied access to again.

    I tried the mud prefix and managed to access the site, but the images however refuse to load. Any ideas?

  36. Anonymous says:

    You should also check out It
    also lets you create slideshows (including of your private photos) and then email a unique link to friends and family.

  37. Anonymous says:

    You should also check out It
    also lets you create slideshows (including of your private photos) and then email a unique link to friends and family.

  38. gawd0r says: offers quite a few toys for flickr users. Most notable are the amazing-circles effect, the museumr tool, and the awesome fave-findr.

  39. says:

    Here you have my top in case you’re interested

  40. rob says:

    has anyone seen

    flickRanywhere is a Flash photo app that lets people embed a gallery on myspace, blogs etc., basically anywhere that you can embed flash. it’s really easy to set up too. I have it on my myspace page

  41. wm says:

    great list! thanks!

  42. free ps3 says:

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  43. - C says:

    Great rundown. Thanks for the awesome tips. I have been looking for a site like Tabblo for quite some time.

  44. CarAudioMan says:

    Thanks for the list.. I have been looking for a list of hacks to go through and kinda stumbled on this blog =)

  45. toner says:

    Thanks so much.

  46. Anonymous says:

    hi thomas. thanks to your top 10 hacks for flicker. it’s been a great help for me.

  47. Anonymous says:

    hi! i am a budding photographer and i would like to ask for some tips in digital photography. 🙂 please send it to thanks a lot.

  48. Please tell how to make moo working with zooomr!

  49. Stefan Tell says:

    Nice list, but the Lightroom plugin deserves to be mentioned I think.

  50. says:

    Nice list, thanks

  51. Marc says:


    Your number one hack is no more I just checked that link it is gone, the guy closed the project down …so on with number two …:-)


    PS: Great Blog

  52. photochicki says:

    love your content. great stuff and great advice.. not weak sauce!!

  53. […] Top 10 Hacks on Flickr […]

  54. Nice list, but the Lightroom plugin deserves to be mentioned I think.

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  57. Estetik says:

    ” Please tell how to make moo working with zooomr! “

  58. Vajina says:

    Nothing I did not understand. Can someone tell me some more detailed

  59. ars reklam says:

    Great – Thanks you.

  60. dugang says:

    ” Please tell how to make moo working with zooomr! “

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  67. Nice list, but the Lightroom plugin deserves to be mentioned I think.

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  69. Great post.Nice hack.Thank you.

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  88. […] Flickr Hack #3 Image by Thomas Hawk […]

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  90. […] FlickrLeech allows you to browse Flickr in chunks of 200 photos at once rather than require a member to page endlessly through Flickr’s own pages. I’m not sure if this recent move on Flickr’s part is some sort of retaliation against Houser because they don’t like how he’s using the API, but it sucks big time. I rated Houser’s FlickrLeech application the number one hack on Flickr in an article last yea… […]

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  92. […] FlickrLeech allows you to browse Flickr in chunks of 200 photos at once rather than require a member to page endlessly through Flickr’s own pages. I’m not sure if this recent move on Flickr’s part is some sort of retaliation against Houser because they don’t like how he’s using the API, but it sucks big time. I rated Houser’s FlickrLeech application the number one hack on Flickr in an article last yea… […]

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