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Sharing Photos Online with Flickr

Posted by Matt on November 16th, 2007 filed in Digital Photography Hints & Tips

With digital photos you can easily share your favorite moments, or scenes with your family, friends or the entire world. Simply shoot a photo, choose the best then upload it to an online photo sharing site. Quick and easy. But which photo sharing site should you use? My personal choice is Flickr, a simple yet powerful and quick photo sharing service now owned by Yahoo.

Flickr in Use

Flickr can be used for free up to 200 photos, but if you need to share more than that there’s a reasonable $25/year charge, but don’t pay for that until you’ve tried the service and like it. To sign up you can use your pre-existing Yahoo! account if you already have one, or set up a new one if you need. Once this is done you’re ready to go.

The Fundamentals of Flickr

Flickr lets you upload photos either directly through your web browser, or through a downloadable application for PC and Mac. The applications are the easiest way to go, letting you upload multiple photos at the same time with a drag and drop interface. As you upload your images you can give them a title and description, with the title defaulting to the name of your image file. You can also set whether the photo is public, which means everyone on Flickr can see this photo, or private to you, your family or friends – which we’ll come to in a moment. Click ‘upload’ and the photo is there on Flickr for all to see.

The power of Flickr can now come into play. Not only can you upload photos you can ‘tag’ them, which means to add labels to your photos to help you, and other people, find them. For example, if you upload a picture of a flower you might tag it; ‘flower’, ‘petals’ and ‘yellow’ – or you might tag it with something more personal, ‘on my hike’ or ‘birthday present’ – whatever you want. Flickr doesn’t tell you how to tag photos, it just lets you do it, which can be incredibly useful when you’re trying to find that same photo to show someone later.

Yellow/Orange Flower
Yellow/Orange Flower – by Matt Hobbs

Social Photos

On public photos everyone on Flickr can see tags too. So you may find you upload a photo that someone finds through your tags and loves! Flickr people are friendly and chatty – if they find a photo they like they’ll tell you in the comments under your photo, or they might mark it as one of their favorites. Suddenly the photo that was just yours has bought joy to someone else, someone you didn’t even know, and this is the real power of Flickr. Flickr users tend to be helpful, chatty and interested in everything and anything, so you can ask for help in the group forums, post your photos to groups such as this one on Flower Power to share and get feedback or even start your own groups!

But what if you just want to share your photos with your friends and family, not strangers? Well then you can just set your default privacy settings to whatever you want, or even change them on just one photo. Then only people you add as family or friend contacts will be able to see those photos, which is great when you have cute nephews and the like. All of this is managed though your contacts page, and Flickr automatically shows you what photos your contacts have uploaded recently, so you can stay up to date with them as well.

There’s so much more..

I’ve only scratched the surface of Flickr in this post, there is so much more for you to find and use and they keep adding more all the time. One of the best new features is the ability to tag photos to a location on a map, so you can find photos around the Empire State Building or anywhere else. Just sign up and start playing around, you’ll find something you like.

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