Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How to get the most out of Flickr

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 11, 2011

By now, if you’re not aware of Flickr… God help you!

All seriousness aside, of course, Flickr is – as they describe it – is “almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.”

Image representing Flickr as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I agree.

While I am familiar with Googleit is so much more than a search engine – and their Picassa photo management service, I have chosen to stay with Flickr for several reasons… not the least of which is that I have found it more hospitable to the protection of photographers’ copyrights.

While it’s not a perfect tool (find one that is!), I have found it much better than any other service. But enough about that. You wanted to know more about maximizing your Flickr experience.

Flickr offers several tools to assist everyone in achieving maximum joy with minimum effort.

First of all, Flickr is an online social network owned by Yahoo! that circulates around photographs. No, you don’t have to be an expert with a camera to participate in Flickr. Everyone is welcome.

There are groups – that being an organization of people assembled around a certain idea, such as food, or topics such as wildlife, flowers, architecture, travel, or by location, such as a region, state, city, or any topic, or even none at all, etc. – whom post pictures to the group, and may start and participate in forum discussions for the groups to which they belong. But even if you don’t join a group, there are ways to share your joy with others. It’s not necessary to join a group to comment upon photos in the group. It is necessary, however, to belong to groups to participate in forum discussions.

With each photo, Flickr provides three opportunities to organize and share your photos with a broader audience.

First, you are allowed to name each photo.

Second, you are allowed to assign up to 75 “tags” – words or phrases used to identify each photo or video. By “tagging” a photo or video with certain words, it allows you or others to find your photos or videos more easily.

Third, you are provided an opportunity to “geotag” a photograph or video – that is, to identify a location on a map where the photograph or video was made.

Note that all those opportunities are precisely that… opportunities. It is not mandatory to name, tag or geotag photos you upload. They can all sit in a collective electronic lump like a rock. And, if you don’t use the cool tools Flickr provides, that’s what’ll happen. They’ll be like a lump on a log… a worthless thing. It’d be kinda’ like having all your photos in a shoe box, rather than an organized album. Why would you do that?

And, if you feel paranoid and don’t want other folks to see your photos – say, for example, that you only want to share your pictures with your family or friends – you can do that by limiting who can or can’t see each and every one of your photos, as well as where the photos were made, if you decide to geotag them.

But, for example, if you uploaded a photo or video of a starfish on Hermosa Beach in the Los Angeles Basin area, and left the title of the photo whatever the camera named it – typically a sequential number and file type, such as 2271.jpg or DSC_246.jpg or IMG_504, etc. – there’s very little that anyone – including you – can do to find it. Combine that with not using tags – such as starfish, Hermosa Beach, LA, California, fun – and if any of your friends – or even yourself – try to find a particular shot, you’re just plain lost! It’s like being in a forest without a map! Imagine trying to find a picture of a starfish, and knowing you made a really cool one, but you can’t find it! Why would you do that?

There are numerous other small things that can be done in Flickr to enhance your enjoyment of photos and sharing them. But these three are a foundational starting point, and I’ll cover more details in a coming entry.

In the mean time, enjoy!

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