Even in the new Instagram, Facebook, Snapchatty world, Flickr still remains my favorite place to share photos. I have now posted over 120,000 photos to Flickr and it remains my primary online archive for my body of work. Even though you don’t hear about Flickr as much in the headlines these days, there is still a very robust community there who shares great work every single day. I usually post two batches of photos each day to Flickr, once in the morning and once in the evening.
The value proposition for Flickr is compelling. Both free and $49/year Pro accounts offer 1 terabyte of storage for your photos. One terabyte should be enough for almost every photographer out there today. Fortunately for me, I’ve been grandfathered into the old Flickr Pro account structure, which allows *unlimited* photo storage. I have already passed 1 terabyte at Flickr, but I am a very rare outlier. 99.9% of the photographers using Flickr today are nowhere close to this limit.
In addition to generous storage, Flickr also gives both Pro and free accounts a terrific iPhone/Android app and a beautiful web experience. Where Facebook and Instagram downsize and degrade your photos, Flickr allows you to host your full high resolution original JPGs. This also makes Flickr a great place as an additional layer of backup for published JPG images. Pro accounts also get ad free browsing and sharing (that’s why even free accounts don’t see advertisements on my photo pages) which makes the account worth the $49 a year alone. There are also some nice additional benefits to going Pro.
Recently Flickr made a very significant change to the web version of the site. Flickr.com, the main home page has been completely redesigned and in my opinion is 1000% better.
You may or may not have the new home page yet, but they are slowly rolling it out to everybody over time. If you haven’t been to flickr.com in a while I’d encourage you to check the new feed page out. You have to be logged in to see the new changes, but they make following your Flickr friend’s photos such a better experience.
Several new design elements have been brought into the new feed page.
1. There is now a three column layout. Photos are easy to browse and you can just scroll down the page looking at photos from your contacts.
2. Preview. This is my favorite feature of the new feed. If you see a photo on a page that you want to see larger you just click on it. The photo instantly blows up big and beautiful in a very clean version on your screen. Even better, Flickr has incorporated keyboard commands to the large view of these previews, so if I like a photo and want to favorite it or comment on it I can just press the F or C key on my keyboard. If someone has uploaded multiple photos in a batch (like I usually do) I can also easily use the forward and backward arrow keys to go through a batch of photos, easily interacting with each image with my keyboard commands.
Once you are done looking and interacting with a batch of photos using preview, you can just hit the escape key and it takes you right back where you were to your place in feed. Very slick!
Previously if I wanted to go through my contacts’ photos I would have to go to the “People” menu item which was a very glitchy page that bounced around too much on page reloads. I still use the People tab because it allows me to filter between friends/contacts photos and sometimes I just have time to look at my friend’s images, but I’m finding that I’m spending the majority of my time following my contacts’ images through the new feed page. I also like that it includes entire batches of photos that I can click through if I want whereas the old People page only would show the last 1 or 5 images depending on how I set it.
In addition to providing a great new way to look at your contacts’ photos huge, the new page is very fluid and very fast. It feels like a big tech breakthrough vs. the old People page.
My only complaint about the new page is that like other pages on Flickr it still makes you hit the dreaded “load more” button when you get to the bottom of the page. I wish that Flickr used true infinite scroll like Facebook does. It is such a better experience.
At first I did not like that you cannot fave/comment on batches of photos directly from the page, but after playing around with preview and seeing how well it worked and how fast it was, combined with awesome keyboard shortcut commands, I became a convert and now flickr.com has earned a coveted spot on my bookmarks bar. Hats off to the Flickr design and engineering team for such an awesome improvement to the site.
There is a help forum thread on the new Flickr feed where you can read more about the new Flickr feed and see what others think of it here.