A New Direction?
This is an unusual post on here but due to recent changes at Flickr I have been prompted to write an article in praise of this still relevant but now often overlooked site. From January next year Flickr is rolling out, or returning to, a pro orientated use and business model with an emphasis on subscription to unlock considerable resources; including the maximum storage and upload capacity. Pro subscribers will also be entitled to various handy discounts on things like Adobe software fees and Blurb book projects.
So in 2018, what makes Flickr so relevant and still worth using? The easiest way to define the advantages, which I think are many, would be in the form of a condensed bullet list of the ten best things about Flickr :-
1. Unrivalled storage capacity for HiRez images – nobody else offers 1TB of storage!
2. Original files can be downloaded with no modifications what so ever – I have tested downloaded originals with checksums. There is no compression or removal of EXIF data, only original file names are changed.
3. EXIF display – never underestimate the usefulness of this. Of course, it is great to be able to see the camera and lens parameters for a particular photo but original date info is also invaluable if you work with large date ordered archives.
4. Complete copyright control.
5. HiRez image display for professional evaluation. Unlike Instagram, Flickr is usable on the desktop and Mac systems encountered in professional quality control and editing environments – such as design and printing agencies.
6. Categorisation including albums or collections to which multiple submissions can be made. You can send a pic to any number of relevant albums or categories.
7. Search on keywords within your own collection
8. Bulk download the entire original file content of an album packaged in a Zip folder.
9. Very versatile sharing options with a variety of display characteristics for social feeds.
10. New levels of integration and cooperation with professional Adobe photo tools
In summary, I think these are ten of the most important advantages that Flickr has to offer. I have never been terribly impressed by Instagram which is the current on-trend photo site, but I think Instagram is still not really considered a fully fledged professional platform in any sense. Originals can not be recovered, uploads are massively compressed, there are cropping and aspect ratio limits, copyright is surrendered and display and access options on large industrial (non mobile) systems are terrible.
I have found that the majority of employers looking for photographic talent want or prefer to see a Flickr ‘stream’ rather than an Instagram account. Yes you can demonstrate artistic style and competence in ANY photo sharing site but Flickr is still the gold standard for those who need to asses creativity and ability to deliver commercially viable results with the best and most sophisticated tools. Every photo employer I have had has specifically requested access to a personal Blog folio or Flickr account – never Instagram.
In the future I think Flickr needs to concentrate a little more on the search power of the site and better integration with other search tools such as Google of course. The sluggishness of Flickr in the SEO context is my only gripe.
In the meantime lets hope that Flickr will continue to flourish and possibly even experience something of a renaissance because there is really nothing quite as good and it is still the best place online for image research.