Flickr is a lot of fun to use, but it really helps to take some time and learn how to use it well. We've recently engaged more seriously with Flickr and wanted to share some quick tips that we think will help you get more out of it, too.Yahoo's wildly popular photo sharing site
Set Up Publishing By Phone
The single biggest factor in changing our relationship with Flickr has been taking the time to set up publishing for photos taken by mobile phone. It's really quite easy. Just go to the email tab in your Flickr account and make note of the unique email address for you to post. Then pick up your phone, create a new contact named Flickr and enter that email for the contact.
Now take a photo and send it by MMS (Multimedia Message Service) to your buddy Flickr. Like magic, that photo will be published to your Flickr account. The subject line of the email will be the title, any text in the body will be a description. Knock yourself out, it's super fun. I don't know why it took us so long to figure out how this works, but we're betting that many of you haven't yet either.
Turn on Creative Commons Licensing
It's easy to turn the default setting for new photos uploaded to Creative Commons Attribution (our favorite) by visiting the Privacy & Permissions tab in your account. Unfortunately there's not clear, working links from Flickr to an explanation of the different licenses. Here they are on the Creative Commons site.
CC Attribution is a license that says other people can use it and change it, including in a commercial context, as long as they give you attribution as the creator. It greases the wheels for quick and easy media sharing. That's good and it would be nice if more quality media was licensed this way. We keep a link to the Creative Commons by Attribution search on Flickr in our browser toolbar and use it frequently for photos in posts. Those could be your photos we and others are using!
Take Even Better Photos
Attendees of the Gnomedex conference this year (which was a huge home run, by the way) were treated to an opening session with photographer Kris Krug about how to take better photos. That session isn't available yet in video, but Krug is a fun guy to pay attention to. Other popular photography bloggers worth checking out for inspiration and occasional instruction include Thomas Hawk (see his January post Top 10 Hacks on Flickr), Scott Beale (one of our 10 favorite sources for finding wonderful things), Epic Edits (see their post Five Fantastic Flickr Photographers), Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir and Jeremy Cowart. We're sure readers here can share some more good ones.
Those folks are all fancy pants, though, and many of us just want to have fun posting photos from our phones. Check out this handy 5 minute video from VideoJug about how to take better mobile phone photos. Thanks go to Amit Agarwal again for posting this one last year. We're excited to try out some of these tips.
Share Screen Shots
People like interesting screen shots and these apps make it really easy to shoot them up to your Flickr account with just a click. The reigning king of this practice right now is Chris Messina, but you don't have to be a super-early adopter to make screen shots on Flickr useful. Skitch makes annotation easy as well and sharing annotated screen shots is a great way to explain things to people.
Turn on Your Grease Monkey
We use a number of Grease Monkey scripts that enhance the Flickr experience. If you aren't familiar with Grease Monkey, you must learn about it because it's great. See our recent post How to Start Using GreaseMonkey in Under 5 Minutes. Specifically, we use:
- FlickrPM puts links to viewing and profile options in all the right places, where they aren't right now on Flickr.
- GreasedLightbox sets up real quick little image slide shows from almost any page. It can also be a pain to use when you're on Flickr, to tell the truth. It works better on Ffffound, which is another great site if you like imagery.
- AutoPagerize lets you zip through page after page of Flickr photos with no clicking or page load delays.
What are your favorite GreaseMonkey scripts for Flickr?
Use a Bulk Uploader
GeoTag Your Photos
Did you know you can open a drop-down menu in the Flickr search box and search by location? You can also go directly to http://flickr.com/map and search by location. Flickr, all of Yahoo really, does a great job understanding location data - but you've got to play to win, you know? Many people (ourselves, for example) have never found geotagging on Flickr very easy to do.
Enter this awesome bookmarklet from startup Loc.alize.us. It makes geotagging your photos super easy, if not downright fun. You can increase your discoverability, participate in the geotagging scene and feel smarter by grabbing that bookmarklet, renaming it in your browser toolbar and then going to town. Which town? You'll be surprised by the sophistication of Flickr's comprehension of location information.
Follow the Flickr Blog To Keep Up to Date
Flickr has a really active community and thriving forums, but subscribing to the company blog is a good idea to stay up to date with new features. If you don't want to read all the entries there, and some of them are more important than others, then consider subscribing to just the highly discussed posts from the company.
Have Fun Off-site
It's not just on Flickr itself that you can have fun with your posted photos.
Last week Flickr released a handy slide show tool for embedding slide shows of your or any photos on a blog or social network.
There are lots of great ways to visualize Flickr photos by tag, but Tag Galaxy will probably knock your socks off if you haven't seen it before.
Turning on Flickr sharing in FriendFeed is a great way to bring more of your friends into the photo part of your life. You can hook up with the RWW staff's personal FriendFeed accounts here if you'd like to see our photos and other activities.
Dave Winer's FlickrFan is a screen saver slide show of Flickr photos from you, your friends and some important international news agencies. It can be a little tricky to set up but it's a lot of fun to use.
If you're coocoo for cocoa puffs over these kinds of tools in general, check out this long, long list of Flickr tools from QuickOnlineTips.com.
How do You Like to Use Flickr?
These are some of our favorite tips for using Flickr but we're sure many of our readers can suggest even more. Flickr is a canonical service in the Web 2.0 world. It's really worth spending some more time with. With less time than it took you to read this whole article, we think you can set up some systems that will make Flickr a much more enjoyable part of your life.