Addicted To Flickr

17th August 2006 · Last updated: 5th October 2016

Improvements And Gripes | The Pros Use Flickr | My Photos

Have become addicted to Flickr. I resisted it using it for a long time, but now I have moved all the photos off my site on to Flickr. This means anyone can now add comments! Already some positive feedback has been left by a couple of keen users, who were kind enough to add me as their contacts. That's another great thing about Flickr. Everyone seems so friendly! I feel like I'm part of a massive group of potential new friends. It's what makes sites like Flickr so good - they are an international community of like-minded individuals, who share a common interest in photography. Of course there are plenty of amateur photographers on there, some of who will just want to show off their wedding photos. (In fact, it can feel quite voyeuristic coming across these. Like you're stepping into someone else's world.) But there are also a lot of very talented photographers on Flickr. Guys like Machine for instance, who seems to have a knack for finding the best shots from everyday objects, places and people around him. His photos have kept me up late at night as I tried to work through them all! I guess that's the downside of Flickr too - there must be millions upon millions of photos on there - who has the time to view them all? Instead, what I like is the way you can come across people's work by chance. Every time I log in there are four different photos shown as small squares which Flickr has chosen to show me. It's very hard to resist clicking on one of these to see what else is in the set. (Photos on Flickr are often combined into 'sets'.) Then there are 'Groups' dedicated to photos around a specific topic of interest. I must get round to joining the Fruits Magazine/Harajuku Group!

What I am finding is that Flickr is leading me to a greater appreciation of the world. I'm seeing some great photo sets from a wide range of countries. Places I never knew were so breathtakingly beautiful, like this view of a viking ship in Nærøyfjord, Norway. Flickr also allows you to mark photos you like as favourites. Well this one I definitely had to mark as a favourite!

I like the ease in which you can upload photos too. I've downloaded the Flickr Uploadr, which lets me drag and drop photos on to it. I can then add a few tags, choose a set, or create a new one, then upload all the photos in one go. Did I mention tags? They're another cool feature of Flickr, enabling you to add key words to each photo to make them easier to find in a search. To be honest, they're a bit of a bore to add, but hopefully worth it when someone finds your photos by searching with a tag you used.

The thing I dislike is having to add dates to each photo, and refine the tags later. I use the online Organizr to do this, because you can change the dates of several photos at once. Since my photos are mostly reduced in size from the originals, Flickr doesn't know when the photos were taken. So I have to add them manually. This might be down to my software not maintaining the camera data when I reduce the photos, but I'm not sure.

I can also use the Organizr to move photos around in the sets, and much more. I find it a really useful tool that's very easy to pick up. If only other programs were this natural to learn. My only criticism is that the latest version of the Organizr doesn't work with Opera, although you can use an earlier version. So Firefox has become my Flickr browser for now.

Improvements And Gripes

As I use Flickr and learn more about it, I've been noting a few things I dislike, along with omissions, and ideas I have for improving it. Here's a list of my issues so far:

  • You can't select a date from a decade - you have to know the exact year. So a bunch of photos I took sometime in the 80s can't be dated. Flickr does have a cool option to date a photo sometime in a given year, but not a decade.
  • Photos can only be dated starting from 1900. What about photos taken before then?
  • I can't find a way to add the make of camera used.
  • You can allow people to add notes and tags to your photos, but only if you allow both. There's no way to allow notes but not tags, for instance.
  • You can't change your unique URL once you set one. I made the mistake of choosing ones I regretted later, so it meant deleting my account and registering again. I did this three times! The third time I didn't set the URL for ages until I was sure about it. Since all it does is redirect you to another page via server-side code, why can't the URL be changed whenever you like?
  • It would be great to have not only sets but sub-sets. So you could make a set called "2006" and then include all the photos taken in that year, in sub-sets. Maybe any number of sets deep could be allowed? Kind of like folders on the computer.
  • I'd love a button to go to a random photo from the whole of Flickr.
  • Viewing sets could be improved by showing the number of the photo you were on, and the total in the set. For instance "Photo 12 of 36". Otherwise you can't be sure how near the end of the set you are.
  • It would also be good to navigate the sets using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Otherwise you have to keep clicking on the square for the next photo. Believe me, this can get tiring!
  • How about an option to rate a photo from 1 to 5 stars?
  • The dates in the Organizr are in the US format. I'd like to see an option to use UK dates, as I find it confusing without them.
  • Flickr should allow artwork and scans, perhaps as a separate section, or a whole new website. (Paintr?) Other people have uploaded these, but I have been told they aren't included in searches. Understandable as Flickr is aimed at photos, but the format could definitely be used for non-photos too.
  • It'd be great to be able to make a whole set a favourite, not just individual photos.

Well hopefully some of those ideas might emerge over time.

The Pros Use Flickr

One last thing I like about Flickr is the amount of professional web designers I know of who are already using it. Here are some I've come across recently:

Flickr must be doing something right.

My Photos

You can check out my photos on Flickr here.