Don’t know about you, but when I fire up the browser on my MacBook or Chromebook, I have a set of tabs that always open up automatically.
Whether I’ve been using Chrome, Firefox or Safari, I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. They’re my base camps on the increasingly vast internet, from where I start my online adventures.
Currently I have four tabs – GMail (for email), WordPress (for 35hunter, and for following other blogs), Google Sheets (my budget tracker) and Flickr.
These have evolved very slowly over the years, but Flickr has been one of these home tabs – and a cornerstone of my internet presence and experience – far longer than any of the others.
For over a decade, in fact.
Today, Flickr remains a vital application for me.
Whilst the community and group aspects have steadily dwindled, it remains an excellent platform for my needs, for the following reasons –
1. As a back up for my best photos.
I have close to 6000 on Flickr from that decade of shooting – and some of these were made before then. A Flickr Pro account allows unlimited storage at full resolution. By now I would have needed six free separate accounts (with a 1000 photo limit each) to back up all of these photos!
2. Having albums lets me easily organise my photographs.
Whether I create albums by subject, camera, lens, film or anything else, I can quickly locate them again in the future. Albums allow me to easily visually browse through a collection of related photos in one place, in a visually optimized way (see point 5 below). This isn’t anything like as possible with a standard hard drive file structure.
3. Tags allows speedy access to my photos.
Again, I tag by subject, camera, lens, film, project, and so on. Where I use albums to browse through set groups of photos, tags allows me to quickly find, say, a picture of a tree shot on film with a Pentax Spotmatic.
4. The convenient automated resizing of photos.
Very handy for sharing and inserting them in other places and sites, like 35hunter. I remember years ago using a stand alone app to resize images one by one for any website I had, then saving and uploading them to my web domain via FTP. The last time I remember doing something else this soul destroyingly laborious was scanning my own 35mm film at home. Fortunately I left both of these activities behind years ago.
5. Full screen photos.
There are a number of reasons I dislike Instagram, and despite trying to figure out its appeal multiple times, I finally gave up about 20 months back.
One is the tiny display of photos. Who wants to scroll through images at thumbnail size?
With Flickr, being able to view images at a decent size – plus easily switching to full screen just by pressing L – remains a delight. On an iPad or tablet with the Flickr app, full screen is arguably even better, filling every last pixel of the screen with no distraction, and needing just a simple swipe to go to the next or previous photo. Viewing digital images cannot really get any better than this.
This is how photographs are supposed to viewed online, not as tiny images using only a fraction of the screen and surrounded by text and ads and noise.
6. The camera explorer.
Which remains an excellent tool for finding what kind of pictures are possible with a vast range of specific cameras and lenses, as I wrote about previously.
This was highly valuable during my film days, when I was exploring different film cameras and lenses I might want to try. Arguably, it’s been even more useful in satiating my penchant for digital classics, as Flickr’s heyday for uploads coincided with the age of camera I like to use now – five to 15 years old.
7. To learn about other cameras, lenses, techniques and so on.
The discussion forums within various groups still retain fantastically useful information – especially for film photographers. For example I learned so much about shooting with M42 lenses on a range of other cameras – film and digital – that I would have not known was possible without these helpful and insightful conversations.
8. To save storage space (and money!) on my WordPress blog.
Because it’s so easy to add a photo to 35hunter via Flickr, and because my Flickr Pro account has unlimited storage at full resolution, it saves me filling up my WP storage and having to keep upgrading to the next storage plan.
Because of the reasons above, Flickr remains a highly valuable platform for me, even if the social element has dwindled in recent years.
Having a Pro account with unlimited storage and full quality images, not to mention no adverts (one of my pet hates online), I feel is excellent value at £3.99 a month.
I don’t spend much money at all online, but even so, this is a subscription I pay without a second thought, because of what it gives me.
I just enjoy and value what they’ve provided for over a decade, and am more than happy to recommend the platform to other photographers (especially if you’re a blogger too).
How about you, do you use still use Flickr?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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