Flickr Raises and Lowers the Cost of a Pro Account

Flickr mucked around with the pricing on their Pro accounts today. The one year option stays the same price at $24.95. They reduced the 2 year option by $1.50 per year from $47.95 to $44.95 and they raised the price of a year of Pro $2.85 per year for those wanting to pay quarterly to $6.95 per quarter ($27.80 per year).

They also announced said that going forward your account would be set up on auto-renewal.

I did think the blog post on the pricing change was a little misleading where it says “We’re also dropping the price of a 2 year subscription to $44.95 (a savings of $10.95 off the 3 months at a time price).” This makes it sound like Flickr reduced their 2 year account by $11 when in fact they really reduced it by $3 from their previous pricing but now compare it with the more expensive quarterly payment option — but I guess that’s marketingspeak for you.

As far as the cost of a Pro account, it is still a screaming good deal for a photographer like me. Where else could I store 67,000+ full high res photos online for $22.48/year (I do the 2 year option)? Plus I’m participating in the Flickr/Getty stock photography deal that paid me over $500 last month so really it’s like Flickr is paying me, not like I’m paying them.

For many photographers though I think Flickr Pro is looking like a worse and worse deal. Google+ will host an unlimited number of photos for you for free now. Flickr’s free account only will let you access your 200 most recent photos and even worse if you don’t reup for a Pro account they hold the rest of your photos hostage on their site until you do renew.

I don’t think today’s pricing really is much of an announcement at all — and I think you’ll continue to see causal photographers letting their Pro accounts at Flickr lapse while they move to other cheaper alternatives like Google+. I also think that the higher end of the photography market is also increasingly moving away to sites like Smugmug (disclosure, they are a sponsor for our Photo Talk Plus show) which are more geared as high end galleries to actually sell your photos. Flickr doesn’t allow you to sell your photos on the site yourself.

Are you on Flickr? And if so will you renew your Pro account when it comes due? And if you do what option would you choose as far as paying for it?

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  1. Mark J P says:

    I thought they might be tempted to go free like G+/Facebook etc?! 🙁

  2. Pete Donohue says:

    Nope – I will be running screaming from Flickr Pro unless they do something to make me stay. G+ has been fantastic and I had a good look through smugmug which appears to be pretty good. Flickr seems to be stuck right in the middle, it doesn’t help to make you any profit but it only allows a tiny amount of images on a free account.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Mark J P, that would be a bold move even for Yahoo. Somehow I don’t see them doing that but I do think they are going to continue to see their users bolt to other sites unless they do something. Flickr hasn’t innovated in years and I think alot of users who aren’t in the Getty deal are scratching their heads wondering why they are still paying when other free options are out there.

  4. Kerrick Long says:

    I thought Google+ would only host an unlimited amount of photos if they were 2048px or less on the long side, and any larger photos would count towards your Google Account storage limit. I may be mistaken, though.

  5. Amy Heiden says:

    Interesting that you posted this today because I posed a statement about it on my Twitter earlier. My account is due for renewal Feb 2 and I am not sure I going to renew. Right now, my Flickr is set to “friends” only because I want people to see my work on Google+ or my blog instead since it looks better. I am not that stoked on the quality of the photos on Flickr (esp compared to Google+) and I mostly use it to view others’ work these days, which I can still do with a free account.

  6. Mark J P says:

    Thomas, the thing that really keeps me using Flickr as much as I do is the community. But as those individuals gradually move across to new platforms (such as Google+) the Flickr appeal begins to diminish.

    Let’s be honest the Flickr Pro fee is not a great deal of money, but when there are numerous other services offering very similar functionality for free you really do have to stop and ask yourself why you should continue to pay for it.

  7. Gordon Laing says:

    Hey Thomas, can you use your influence at SmugMug to suggest an affiliate scheme? I’d love to give some exposure to my favourite photographers and drive some sales their way, while also enjoying a bit of commission…

    This facility (especially where the photographer could set the commission level – or of course opt out) would really seal the deal for SmugMug being the ultimate photo storage and sales site.


  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Kerrick that is correct. Which is why I think Flickr is still a good deal for me. I can keep full sized originals on flickr for such a cheap price.

    But I think that for a lot of more casual photographers, 2048px is good enough. It’s certainly big enough for folks to see online. So Google+ auto resizing photos down to that size and then giving it away for free is a good call.

    Flickr’s free account also has a size limitation as well of 15MB per image, but the far bigger limitation is the 200 photo limitation. People quickly hit this limit and then their photos are held hostage unless they pay up. Google+ offers something that I think for many is “good enough” for the web at 2048 but which gives you unlimited photos.

  9. Alex Stoen says:

    I did, for about 2 months…. but I ended up going back to Pro. The hassle of not being able to use the API’s from Lightroom or the possible loss of visibility from the Getty scouters was too much for me and I caved in. Smugmug looks like a pretty good alternative but is lot more expensive. If/when you get more sales on Smugmug then from Getty via Flickr, then I’ll be more then happy to get that Smugmug Pro account…
    Let me us know how it works out for you.

  10. Thomas Hawk says:

    Gordon, that is an interesting idea for sure!

  11. I still remains on their black list, they have not crawled my site for over a year, they really know how to treat their customers, so I’m really considering whether I should delete my account or not

  12. Kevin Baird says:

    Still seems like a great deal to me, even with nowhere near as many photos as you have. However, I am still wondering how to cash in on that Getty licensing deal. Have you ever blogged about optimizing for that, or any other tips regarding generating some revenue from my Flickr stream? Even enough to buy 1 lens a year would be a nice start.

  13. Thomas Hawk says:

    Lars, the blacklist is definitely something Flickr should do away with. I just got off it at the end of last yaer after being on it for over two years. It’s terrible that they do that to their users. Flickr should address the blacklist issue at some point and get rid of it. It’s horrible for community.

  14. Ian May says:

    I still intend to renew my Pro account when it comes up in April. I’ve had a pro account for a few years now, and I still think it’s a good deal, particularly because they store full-size jpgs. I also keep a private online archive of my RAWs too, but I like to be safe rather than sorry.

  15. Thomas Hawk says:

    Kevin, the best way to get into Getty is to use the Getty Call for Artists Group

  16. I am in the same boat as you, Thomas. I use Flickr to host all my full-res photos, so that alone makes the 25 bucks a good deal, but add in the Getty group, and I make money on the deal.

    But for casual users? Why would they pay for a dying service? On it’s own, Flickr is still great, but compared to G+? No contest. I don’t know the solution, but I imagine it starts with Flickr actually adding some new stuff to their service. As to price: Boost the pro price, but add another cheaper option above free, and then give away a bit more on the free accounts.

  17. Chloe C says:

    I will renew, I live in the nieghborhood.
    Meaning, there are a lot of places to move to, each a different community.
    I “go out” more and more further from the nieghborhood,
    but I am happy in there as a home base.
    I have met a lot of good people, some of whom know me better than
    people I know in ‘real life’.

  18. Sergey Sus says:

    I will renew as its a cheap insurance policy. I store all my photos in original size on Flickr. Other then that I am very much in love with and committed to G+.

    The one thing that I really like about flickr are the forums/groups. I can read posts about others experiences and advice based on interest. This is very different on what G+ plus is trying to do. The flickr groups remind me a bit of the old BBS….. one of the reasons that internet is what it is today and I could be very old fashioned.

    Keep up the great posts!

  19. I do have a pro account and no, I had already decided I won’t renew this time. I have a SmugMug account for my serious stuff. Flickr was great when I was just starting out. Now, I like to use it for my “fun” stuff. and Google+ has pretty much removed the need for Flickr for me.

  20. chris says:

    I’m reasonably happy with my five or six-year old pro account on flickr but the two main annoyances bug the hell out of me: I constantly bounce against the silly 20mb image size limit, which should be raised to 50mb per image and the lack of a batch export option that includes tags, comments, etc drives me nuts. I don’t just want my photos when I want them, I want the how I organized them.

    also: gallery design. but that’s just a “it would be nice if they updated the site” thought and not an outright annoyance to me.

  21. Gary Denness says:

    I renewed my Flickr Pro account a couple of months back. I did weigh up the option of switching to Google. I did even purchase extra space on Google, about 80gbs I think and am currently using both. It’s nice to have the insurance of double hosting.

    But I still mainly use Flickr. Why? I don’t like the way Picasa and Google+ are split. They need tighter integration. I don’t like the way that Google+ loads albums. It’s slow. Anyone disagreeing has a more powerful machine/connection than me. But one of Thomas’ points is ‘about the casual user’.

    Google+/Picasa also lacks the organisational capabilities of Flickr, and that’s important. I want to order my old albums with no exif data in a certain way – no can do with Google. As for sharing….not important for me and most casual users. That’s what Facebook is for (and where Google+ is making very little headway in). I do like the ability Google gives me to download my photos from the web though.

    In short, Google+ is still an inferior product. It’s nice to have as a storage silo, but that’s about it. Having said that, if they can up the feature set and compete with Flickr in key areas then I’m open to switching.

  22. Pete says:

    Thanks for the info, Thomas. As an occasional Flickr user I bought pro for a couple of years, uploading a bunch of pictures and tagging them, adding descriptions and doing all that stuff.

    My pro account is now expired and I can’t access to the albums i previously uploaded so I was thinking in buying pro again but I don’t want this to happen anymore so I’ll probably switch to G+ instead.

    What I don’t understand is what Kerrick pointed out earlier about the resolution limits. 2048px? Could you please give more details? thanks!

  23. Sean says:

    Is there a LR plugin to export directly to G+?

  24. Ian May says:

    I pretty much feel the same way as Gary Denness does. I like the full-size storae, I don’t want my jpgs further compressed and/or resized. Facebook is where I post fun pics when I’m messing with my cellphone or webcam. I’d never put anything I deem to be serious there.

  25. RDOwens says:

    I have to renew. I use Flickr as a back-up. I have 80,000+ photographs tagged and organized there. If someone builds a utility to copy everything over, including tags, coordinates, etc., I am game. Otherwise, I am beholden to Flickr.

  26. Gary Denness says:

    +1 for jfriedl’s plugins. I’ve been using them for years. The Flickr and Facebook ones are better than that built into Lightroom.

  27. Kirsten says:

    i did renew my pro account a couple of months ago, before i really knew much about g+…kind of wished i hadn’t now, and i certainly don’t like the idea of an automatic renewal for my account.

  28. Robert Sterbal says:

    I was given a Pro account as a wedding present from my brother. I’m still struggling to find alternatives for how to handle my 20,000 pictures a year.

  29. Dear Thomas,

    Sorry for the late comment, just read the post today. I actually would like to add another point of view to the topic free vs paid: if I pay a company for a service, I can expect a service and I have a right to claim for it. I I would post my photos to a company like google where i dont have to pay, then I also cannot expect anything. At the beginning everything might be ok but there is no guarantee that support will be stable and up in a year or two. With money paid my rights are stronger and my expectation of support is more likely to be fullfilled. As such I dont think it is “just” paying for storage. The service fee is much more and I think the differences will only become apparent when increasing costs will force Google to monetarize on their “free” service.

    Best regards