Bigger is Better, Flickr Photos Get Larger With New “Liquid” Photo Page

Old Flickr Photo Page
Old Flickr Photo Page

New Flickr Photo Page on a 17" MacBook Pro
New Flickr Photo Page on a 17″ MacBook Pro

New Flickr Photo Page on a 27" Apple Cinema Display
New Flickr Photo Page on a 27″ Apple Cinema Display

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 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.

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  1. This is awesome news Thomas! I’ve been thinking about moving away from Flickr, but I’m going to stick around and see what else they’ve got planned. Frankly, this was the one big thing they were missing.

  2. This is supposed to be amazing? This technology has been around since early 2000. I can’t believe this entire post is about how Flickr finally figured out how to show larger images based on browser size. I’ve got a phone in my pocket that does that too.
    The only news here is that Yahoo/Flickr continues to be about a decade behind in it’s game of catch up.
    I was a pre-Yahoo Flickr user and by all accounts innovation at Flickr has been hampered not by Flickr management but by Yahoo:

  3. Bart Luyckx says:

    Well, maybe google+ now needs to come up with something (preferably simplifying things), because the trend of people fleeing flickr may turn around yet.

  4. Crazy Ivory says:

    In the german flickr blog entry regarding this new, bigger layout, they feature one of your shots:

  5. Stig Nygaard says:

    I’ve been waiting for bigger display sizes on Flickr for years, and I raised my arms into the air when they introduced this a few weeks ago. And now the new “liquid” design is also nice. BUT one thing spoils it all… You only get the new big sizes for photos uploaded since March 1st and Flickr DO NOT currently have plans to backfill to photos uploaded before that!

    Wait, that kind of spoils it all! My many photos uploaded before March 1st 2012 will never ever get these new sizes unless I re-upload them!?!? Not even replace-feature will trigger the new sizes (I’m told), but replace would also break anybody embedding my photos on 3rd party pages (or Flickr forums, etc).

    So if I want all my photos available i the new big sizes, I will have to start over re-uploading them from the beginning. This means new uploads wont have all the old comments, faves, etc. And if I have to do that, why not reconsider if Flickr is the right site for me be. I can’t see I loose anything by trying something else then.

    I really hope Flickr reconsider this stupid decision.

    PS. Btw, funny. Long time bad-standing, and now your photo are suddenly on a flickrblog post!? 🙂

  6. Stig Nygaard says:

    To avoid misunderstandings, I better make it clear… In above comment I talk about the new 1600px and 2048px wide sizes and scaled display in Lightbox view taking advantage of these sizes. I do get the new liquid photo-page design with up to 1024px wide photos on my old photos too.

  7. Niki Aguirre says:

    How beautiful and wonderful! Love all these new changes.

  8. Right now the new photo page layout looks like this with smaller images…
    Well, it looks terrible! Hope this is just a temporary bug!

  9. Branden says:

    My jaw just dropped to see a photo of yours on the Flickr blog introducing a new feature! Holy moly! I thought you’d earned their eternal scorn

  10. Todd Klassy says:

    I can’t believe you are supporting this change, Thomas. Any images that are vertical, square, and less than 1000 pixels wide means each photo page looks like crap. Many Flickr users upload smaller images because they do not want their images lifted and used with out their permission. What are those users supposed to do now? Go back to 2004 and upload high resolution photos? Deal with the fact that the pages look like crap? This was a horrible idea. People could already view larger images if they used the light box feature. This change wasn’t needed. Dumbest move ever.

  11. I love the new changes, and like you, think there is certainly a renewed energy within Flickr these days. My twitter stream was full of people talking about the change today.

  12. Thomas Hawk says:

    Todd, I like to see people put bigger photos up. Bigger photos look better! Just ask Jeff Wall or Andreas Gursky.

    I can’t imagine posting images less than 1000 pixels wide. I throw all my images up full size high rez.

  13. Todd Klassy says:

    So it will take on average 10 minutes to update every image of mine to a higher resolution photograph X 2305 photographs = working 7 days a week, 8 hours a day, and no lunch for nearly two months…assuming there are no hiccups along the way from Flickr’s “reliable” network servers. I guess I will have to skip making new photographs and making any money if I want to do that. Brilliant.

    That or Flick could have just built a smarter page view in the first place. But that would be well beyond expectations of Flickr, which today is a shell of its former self.

  14. The larger images do look glorious, although i have noticed they are much sharper in lightbox than in the normal display, i wonder why? It is good to see Flickr up their game and yes, it will force us to really look at the detail of that new large image, and it’s possible imperfections :-))

  15. Richard Woods says:


    The new large view is impressive but takes longer to download on Australian internet. Clicking on your Contacts also is slow to open all the images and slow to open again when you return from commenting on an image. This all might be quite OK on a fast internet but for the rest of us I think Flickr should have included an option to view in the smaller formats. The extra amount of scrolling needed is a pain as well.

    Flickeflu is the answer (, quite fast, very impressive image display on a black background and you can comment and fave without having to open the image – a real time saver. I am commenting much more now using Flickeflu. If I had to use the new BIG Flickr I would hardly have time to comment at all. For me, some smaller format options are needed please.