Bigger is Better, Flickr Photos Get Larger With New “Liquid” Photo Page
Quick, go to one of your flickr photo pages, right now. You like that bigger photo? Awesome right? Flickr seems to be cranking out one cool thing after another this year and today they’ve nailed it yet again with their new “liquid” photo page.
What is a liquid photo page?
Well, in the past, the photo on Flickr’s main photo page was a static photo size of 640px wide. Now the size of the photo will depend on what size browser window/monitor you are viewing it on. The bigger the monitor, the bigger the photo. Check out the three screenshots above. The first is the old flickr photo page, the second is the new flickr photo page on my 17″ MacBook Pro and the third was taken on my 27″ Apple Cinema Display.
While the new Flickr photo page looks bigger/better on my MacBook Pro, WOAH do photos look AMAZING on my 27″ Cinema Display. I’m a huge fan of big photos online and so I’m super pleased to see Flickr rolling this out today.
The last time Flickr improved the image size on photo pages was when they went from 500px to 640px in 2010. According to Flickr, there is absolutely no upscaling with the new, bigger photos and they try to avoid downsampling as much as possible. The title and the sidebar are visible without scrolling on landscape oriented photos, which are the vast majority of photos on Flickr. It’s a lot more complicated than this though and if you want to get into the actual algorithm and how it works more specifically, check out this post by Ross Harmes on the Flickr Engineering blog.
What does this mean for you, as a photographer? Well, it means that people are going to be seeing MUCH larger versions of your photos on a regular basis. They may have already been seeing larger versions of your photos in the lightbox or under “all sizes” if they’ve been clicking through, but now they’ll see A LOT more of your photos large because the main photo page is viewed more than the “all sizes” photo view page.
As a photographer this means that you will want to think about how your photos look large. With large photos little imperfections will be much more noticeable. Is there a dust spot on your sensor? You’ll want to be sure and clean that up before uploading your photo, because with larger photos it will be more noticeable — so will noise in your photographs or other imperfections.
Also, if you are the type of person who uploads smaller, resized photos online, you may want to rethink that strategy. If you are limiting your photos to 640px wide or even 800px or 900px wide, your photos won’t look as good on larger displays as those uploaded at full size by other users. Earlier this year flickr increased the size limit for accounts — from 20MB to 50MB for Pro accounts and 15MB to 30MB for free accounts.
It’s great to see Flickr continue down the path towards innovation and refreshing their layout and design. Earlier this year Flickr completely retooled their “photos from your contacts” page and “favorites” page into large (sort of) infinite scrolling photo mosiac walls. They’ve also recently better integrated with the popular scrapbooking site Pinterest and set up a cool page on Meetup.com to build Flickr photowalks worldwide. For the first time in many years, under new leadership of Flickr Product Chief Markus Spiering, it feels like Flickr is moving the ball forward in significant ways. They’ve made some great advancements in the first half of this year so far and I’m looking forward to what they come up with in the second half of the year.
One area where I suspect Flickr will continue innovating going forward is mobile. It was interesting to see Facebook stepping up their game in mobile yesterday with larger photos for the Facebook mobile app. It feels like between the many players in photo sharing these days (Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, SmugMug, 500px, etc.) competition is making photos on the web better for us all.