Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of the New Flickr

Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out the most significant changes to their service since purchased by Yahoo back in 2005.

In addition to a major web redesign and a new Android app, Flickr also changed the basic fee structure of their account types and storage limits.

Former Pro users are being allowed to retain their $24.99 year fee structure for unlimited, ad free service. If you are a Pro account user, nothing changes if you want to keep it.

Free account users were all given 1 terabyte of free high res photo storage. Free accounts are still ad supported, as they have been in the past, but now you are no longer limited to only viewing your 200 most recent uploads to the site.

Despite the typical torch and pitchfork mob rage emanating from the Flickr Help Forum*, (a group of super negative Flickr users representing less than .01% of all Flickr users), I’ve found over the past week that engagement on my own photos is up dramatically. More specifically, based on my Flickr stats page, engagement (as measured by comments and favorites) is up approximately 294% on my own photos since the new release.

*Dear Marissa Mayer, PLEASE, give us the ability to block users on Flickr, it would make it a much nicer place for those of us who want to enjoy it. 🙂

I have no way of knowing, more broadly speaking, if the stats numbers look this good for Flickr in general, but if they do, I suspect that they are very happy indeed with the success of this week’s new features.

This post is not meant to be a debate about the new changes; this post is for those of you who are ok with the site design and are now looking for ways to get the most out of it.

On with the list.

Tip #1, Make The Last Photo You Upload in a Batch Count

1. Consider a strategy for uploading your batches of photos. I upload two batches of photos to Flickr a day — one in the morning and one in the evening. Your upload strategy and the ordering of your batch uploads matters. With the new Flickr redesign, photos on the homepage are really, really, big. Big photos get far more engagement. However, the only photo that gets shown ginormous on the homepage is the very last one that you upload. The 5 before that are shown as small thumbnails there.

So, if you are uploading a batch of photos to Flickr, make sure the one that is uploaded last is the best of the batch. Also, landscape oriented and square photos show up much larger on the flickr homepage than portrait oriented crops. So, all other things being equal, consider making sure your last photo uploaded in a batch to Flickr is one of your strongest square or landscape oriented photographs.

Tip #2, Flickr is Your New Cloud Photo Back Up

2. Anyone who ever complains about losing photos on a crashed hard drive again is just dumb. While you, of course, should not depend on Flickr as your sole backup strategy, everyone now has a free 1TB drive in the sky for photos.

Even if you don’t want to share certain photos, or you only want to share them with your very close friends and family, upload them to Flickr anyways and mark them private or friends/family only. If nothing else, you will have a backup of last resort if you need to go get those photos later. I don’t know of anyplace else on the web where you can get 1TB of free storage. Take advantage of that not only for the photos you want to share publicly, but all your photos.

Hunt Peck

3. This is not necessarily a tip new to the new Flickr, but it’s one everyone ought to know about — keyboard commands..

On Flickr you can use the F key to fave a photo, the C key to comment on a photo, the G key to add a photo to a group, and the T key to tag a photo. This will make your Flickr experience much faster. For those complaining that, with larger photos, they now have to scroll down the page to comment, no you don’t — simply press the C key and you will jump right there, with your cursor right in place and ready to type.

Tip #4, More

4. … = MORE! This is a universal symbol on the internet for more. Anytime you see … anywhere, this means that there are things hidden underneath the … that you may want to find. It’s a good way for a site to de-clutter. I’ve seen many people ask where their favorite lesser used Flickr feature went (EXIF data, gallery functionality, all sizes, etc.). Just click on the … and you’ll find it all there.

Tip #5, Make Sure Your Sets Are in the Order You Want Them In

5. Make the most out of your sets. By default, Flickr puts your sets in the order created. Your most recent sets are shown first, and older sets are shown last. This may not be the best way to present your sets though. One of my most viewed sets is one of my oldest, my 10 faves or more set. If I didn’t manually move this to the top of my sets page, it would be buried in the over 1,800 sets I have on Flickr. Go to the Flickr organizer page here and make sure that your sets are in the order that you want them in.

If you have a lot of sets and find it cumbersome to move them around in the organizer (like I do). Shrink your browser view to super small and it will make more and more thumbnails in the organizer that are easier to move around.

Make sure your sets page shows your best sets on the first page. This will give people a great first impression of what your albums are all about.

Consider making a few “best of” sets on Flickr. If you use Jeremy Brooks’ SuprSetr app it will automatically tag all of your photos that have been favorited 10 times or more fav10. It can then build an album for you of just these popular photos of yours that you can highlight on your sets page.

Just Re-Upped for 2 More Years of Flickr PRO!!!

6. If you have a Flickr Pro account, do NOT let that expire. Your Flickr Pro account is worth more than it’s ever been worth in the past. It’s pure gold. Getting unlimited, high res, ad-free photos was the deal of a lifetime. Although Flickr is no longer offering this extraordinary deal anymore, if you have it, you get to keep it.

Go here to check on the status of your Flickr Pro and I’d recommend both renewing it now AND making sure you are set up as a recurring Pro so it automatically charges your credit card in the future. Don’t lose this awesome benefit.

Tip #7, Reupload Your Avatar

7. Make sure you reupload your Flickr avatar on the new Flickr. The old Flickr used a smaller version of your avatar, so you might notice that you have sort of this weird small avatar over a larger, dimmed out version of your old avatar on your Flickr page. You can reupload a better sized version of your avatar which will override this and make your new, larger avatar look much better.

Tip #8, Make Sure to Personalize Your Cover Photo

8. Change your cover photo. Flickr added a number of new cover photos by default with the new page design. Go to your page and change your cover photo to something new. Find a photo of yours (or a portion of a photo of yours) that uses an extreme landscape crop and will fit there and work well. I used a mosaic strip of photos for mine.

Tip #9, Review Who Calls You a Contact

9. Make sure to review your “who calls you a contact” page. This is a page that shows everyone on Flickr who has contacted you. You may be surprised that some of your friends have contacted you that you are not aware of. Review this list to see if you’ve missed any old or new friends on Flickr and add them back if you want.

Tip #10, Mobile

10. Make the most out of mobile. Although 95% of my own personal Flickr time is spent on the web version, don’t forget about mobile. Earlier this week, Flickr rolled out their Android app, which is every bit as good as their previous iPhone app and probably even better.

One of the easy things to do with this app is to favorite photos by your friends. Simply pull up your contacts photostream on the app and tap/tap to fave a photo. You can scroll down and see different friend’s photos or you can scroll sideways and see more photos from a single friend. When you have down time on the bus, or are waiting for your table at Bob’s Big Boy or wherever, use that time to favorite photos of your friends. They will see that and favorite your photos back most likely. 🙂

Ok Glass, Get Dogfood

Bonus tip: Get the new Flickr app for Google Glass. It’s awesome! 😉 Just kidding. There’s no new Flickr app for Google Glass…


You can find me on Flickr here.

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  1. Alex says:

    I’d appreciate more clarity and easier functionality to manage privacy settings for sets. Most of my photos are public (that’s what Flickr is for) but it would be great to have a few private family (or even client) sets.

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