flickr is brilliant - if you follow the blog you'll know i am a fan. i have been accused of being a flickr evangelist. when i discovered it i described it here but i thought it worth an update after 3 months use so let me give you an idiot's guide to flickr and try and convert you (again)...
flickr is an online photo sharing application - you should be interested if
a) you take photos
b) you look at photos
c) you use photos in presentations/worship/desktop/artwork
go to flickr and sign up. you will be able to look at photos and participate much better if you sign up. it doesn't cost anything to sign up.
your own photos
upload your photos
if you take photos you can then upload them. the free account lets you upload up to 20mb a month and see 200 pics. you quickly realise that it's worth paying for the pro version which is incredibly cheap and gives you a huge amount of space each month. as well as being able to upload within flickr itself there are free tools to upload photos for both mac and pc - i have downloaded two for mac - one so i can upload directly from iphoto and one that is a stand alone uploader. both are incredibly easy to use and especially useful for uploading in batches or sets..
i upload photos at full size - for me it provides a great way of backing them up. flickr is worth it for that alone. flickr resizes them into a number of different sizes for people interested in looking at or downloading them from thumbnail through to the original size.
tag your photos
you can tag any photo with as many words as you like. this isn't so much a description as a facility to enable you to retrieve your photos at a later date either by you or others when you search on a particular tag or combination of tags.
decide who you want to see your photos
you can set who can see any photo as family, friends, contacts, or public (anyone).
arrange your photos
it is easy to arrange photos into sets - you can then share them with people by them watching them in a slideshow - it's very well done. so you might have favourites, art pics, london photos or whatever...
share your photos
flickr is a photo sharing site - this is where it is really brilliant.
a) add family friends and contacts
you can have a set of family, friends and contacts. you can either invite someone or add them when you see photos you like or if you know them. when you have added contacts, you can check your contacts page and see who has uploaded any photos - you will be shown their latest photo. at first i added people i knew - family and friends but quickly realised that contacts are worth adding if you like particular peoples photos or if they like yours.
b) choose what level of copyright you want
your photos are protected by copyright but this can limit what other people do with them (technically anyway). but you can choose to have a creative commons license that means you give permission for people to use your photos in different ways. the one i have chosen means anyone can use my photos and manipulate them as they wish for any non commercial use.
c) add your photos to groups
flickr has hundreds of groups. to add a photo to a group pool you have to join the group. then when a photo is open you simply click on a button to select one of your groups to add it to. there are groups for everything imaginable - light, colours, portraits, religious kitsch etc...
d) create a group
if you want to share photos on a particular theme create a group. i've created gracelondon so we can share pics from grace. there are also discussion boards as part of the group.
cultivate interest in your photos
this may or may not be of interest to you. i confess that it is of interest to me. if i take a great photo there's nothing like having other people notice it. rather than me share from my limited experience read thomas hawk's article top ten tips for getting attention on flickr (btw have a look at his photos - fab). these include making peoples photos favourites, adding them as contacts, joining groups, adding your best one last so it is top on your contacts pile, and so on...
see if any of your photos have made it
flickr identifies 500 photos a day as interesting - these then change over time. you can use scout to see if any of yours have been deemed worthy. i have had three make it...
blog your photos
if you have a blog you can set it up so that you can blog directly from a photo page in flickr which is pretty neat. this relates to the previous point as well as it lets people know about your best photos.
print your photos
there are various third parties who work with flickr so that you can print books of your photos - anyone tried it? qoop looks pretty good... i haven't tried it yet but no doubt will.
other peoples photos
there are loads of photos in flickr. so there must be loads you would love. when you find one you like just click favourite to add it to your favourites so you can find it again. and while you are at it why not leave a comment on it to let the person know what you think of it. if you look at their photos and decide you like the look of their photos then add them as a contact as well. you can come back and look at your favourites any time and if you make someone a contact you will be able to see their latest photos at any time.
how do you find good photos?
thomas hawk has saved me the trouble again by writing a piece top 10 ways to find great photos on flickr but this is what i do (and it's much shorter)...
add people whose photos i like as contacts and track them
use flickr leech - this is an unbelievably brilliant search tool. i mentioned it before but it was down at the time so you probably didn't check it out. you can use it to either type in a date to search by interestingness, a tag, a group or a user ID and it fills your screen with a sheet of thumbnails. i generally have a look at the 500 photos labelled most interesting each day by flickr - it sounds a lot but they are all on one page of thumbnails. here's a screen grab (click on the thumbnail to see it) so you can see what i mean... it's simplicity is its genius. i have found it loads better than using the flickr explore page though that often highlights interesting groups and picks out a good photo.
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