How Flickr Can Make you a Better Photographer - Digital Photography School

How Flickr Can Make you a Better Photographer

In this post naturalist, photographer, and computer scientist Steve Berardi from Photo Naturalist explains how Flickr can make you a better photographer.

flickr_logo.jpgIf you’re not using Flickr yet, then you’re really missing out. Not only is it a great way to store and share your photos, but it’s also an excellent place to get feedback and learn from other photographers.

When I first joined Flickr, I merely saw it as a way to store my photos and serve as yet another backup source, but after using the site for a few months, I became addicted, and quickly realized how the site could make me a better photographer.

Here are few ways Flickr has made me a better photographer:

Learning by example

Albert Einstein once said:

“Learning by example isn’t the best way to learn–it’s the only way to learn.”

I must say that I agree with the great Doctor. I remember sitting in all those computer science classes confused when the professor went over the steps of a complex algorithm, but as soon as they stepped through an actual example, I immediately understood.

The same principle applies to photography. Just by constantly being exposed to a variety of photographs, you’ll see the world through the eyes of others and gain new perspectives, new ideas, and new inspirations.

One of my favorite things to do on Flickr is compare my photos of a particular subject or scene with another photographer’s shots. I do it because it often introduces me to new ways of looking at a subject or particular scene. Each one of us sees the world completely differently, and it shows in our photographs.

Other than just looking at the photo itself and thinking about composition, color, and all the other aspects of the photo, you can also learn a lot by clicking the “more properties” link to find out the details of the photograph: focal length, f-stop, exposure, ISO, etc. All of this information is very helpful in learning how the photographer got the photo.

Getting feedback

For most of us, photography is just a hobby, so the only people who see our photos are family and friends. Since you have a close relationship with these people, they’ll likely give you polite feedback on your photos, which isn’t always helpful.

With Flickr, you can expose all your photos to complete strangers, and although a lot of them will also be polite and only leave you “hey, great photo!” comments, a few will actually point out things they liked or didn’t like about a photo, sometimes even suggesting how you could have done it better (especially if you ask them to in your photo’s description!).

The key to getting a lot of good feedback on your photos is to join groups that you’re interested in. After joining, submit a few photos, comment on other photos in the group, and continue to interact with the group. The members will reward you with comments (and, sometimes very helpful ones).

Scouting out locations

This one probably only applies to nature photographers, but Flickr is also a great tool for scouting out locations before you visit them. Sometimes you may only get to spend one day at a particular national park or wilderness area, so it helps to know as much about an area as you can before getting there.

In the beginning, I would scout an area just by looking at photos people took of that area, but soon I realized how much other information I can gather. Here are a few things you can figure out with Flickr’s “advanced search” tool:

  • What a scene looks like at a particular time of the year (i.e. when do the leaves start to change color?)
  • If a particular mountain peak is snow capped at a certain time of year
  • How strong a waterfall is flowing throughout the different seasons
  • If the sun shines on a certain geological formation at sunrise/sunset (and at what time of year)

flickr-1.jpg

A few months ago I used Flickr to help me scout out waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, of Oregon. The area has over twenty different waterfalls, but unfortunately I had just one day to spend there! So, I logged on to Flickr and searched for “Columbia River Gorge waterfalls” and restricted my search to photos taken in January (when I was there). The search results allowed me to pick two or three waterfalls I thought looked most interesting at that time of the year. One of the waterfalls I chose is pictured at the right (Metlako Falls).

How to get started

Are you ready to start using Flickr to help you become a better photographer? Great!! Here’s how to get started:

1.) Signup for a free account at www.flickr.com

2.) Upload your favorite photos (make sure you add tags, titles, and descriptions!)

3.) Search for groups that target your interested subject (i.e. portraits, street, nature, cityscapes, food, wildflowers, landscapes, etc). Join them, add photos, and comment on others.

4.) Search for interesting photos and follow the photographer’s photostream by adding them as a contact. Here are 5 great Flickr photostreams to get you started:

Don’t just upload your photos and leave…

Although Flickr is great for just storing your photos and sharing them with friends and family, there are even greater benefits of using Flickr: learning by example, getting feedback, and scouting out locations.

To get the most out of Flickr though, you’ll have to explore and interact with other users. So, don’t just upload your photos and leave. Stay a little while. Look around, and find new photographers. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two.

Steve-Berardi.jpg
About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, and computer scientist. You can usually find him hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains or the Mojave Desert, both located in the beautiful state of California. You can read more of his articles on nature photography at the Photo Naturalist (link to www.photonaturalist.net), or check out his Flickr photostream (link to http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveberardi/).

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  • Shanna

    great article and helpful comments!! i have been using flickr for about a year now and love it! it does allow me to share pictures with family/friends, but mostly, i love exploring other users work and learning from what they post. it inspires me to try new things, which just increases my passion for photography. another great thing about flickr for me is that i’m just starting a career as a professional photographer and since i don’t yet have the funds to put up a full website, i can direct potential clients to my photostream with my own personal url. i definitely agree that in order to get feedback, though, you have to get yourself out there…join groups, add contacts, comment on other people’s pictures, etc. i unfortunately do not devote enough time to this and so i don’t get much feedback except from friends. it is my goal this year, however, to get moving with that. while some are just comments like ‘great photo’ there are definitely users out there that give solid critiques and feedback. that being said, my photostream is :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannawhite

  • Joe

    If you display your pictures on flilckr doesn’t that leave yourself open for others to ‘steal’ your photography.

  • http://photos.jpglive.com jpglive

    I love the einstein quote – spot on with that.

    While I’m not always looking for some feedback, it is nice to get it. Although when I want feedback from other photographers about a specific subject or type of shot, I usually know who to email or who to ask for help.

  • http://photonaturalist.net/ Steve Berardi

    @Alexandru – EXCELLENT point!! uploading lots of shots of the same scene/subject will overwhelm a lot of viewers and prevent them from looking through your photos. I know it’s at least prevented me sometimes :)

    @AshwynGray – I thought the same thing when writing this article, that maybe most DPS readers already had flickr accounts.. but, there’s actually been a lot of people adding me as a contact, who have zero images up, meaning they just joined. so, hopefully all DPS readers now use flickr? :)

    @joe – flickr does have a lot of things in place to prevent people from stealing your images, like securing your high-res versions and placing a transparent image on top of all your photos. of course, there’s never away around the “screen shot method”

    @jpglive – i use that quote almost every day :) forget where I first saw it.. I think it was a programming book

    Steve

  • http://philippinetraveltour.com Lavern

    Wow, great advice. I guess I am one of those who just upload photos and leave, using flickr just to store my photos. This is a good way to start, hope you can comment and suggest on how you can improve my pictures. Here’s my account URL http://www.flickr.com/photos/laverngueco/

    Many thanks and regards,

    Lavern

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/piqquam/ Joni

    I’ve been a Flickr pro user for a couple of years, but now have started to find an alternative (does someone know a good one?). I’ve become tired of Flickr. You never get good feedback, pretty much all the comments are “cool shot”, “great capture!”, etc, which doesn’t help the photographer at all. Also I find silly the way how you’re supposed to fave and comment as much as possible in order to get many faves and comments for your photos. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Seems like it has nothing to do with how good photos you take anymore.

  • http://www.homerscarborough.com Homer Scarborough

    I have joined probably 20 or so groups on flickr, and they have been very helpful. If you join several groups in your georgraphical area most have monthly or more meetups where they shoot together as a group or even have a workshop at a very nominal cost. That is the way to make real life contacts and learn more about photography. Like online, all that I have met in person were very free with advice and help. I have yet to join a group that I thought unfriendly.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiefan/ Prakash

    Good post.

  • http://www.angiesorganicreviews.com Angela

    At times I would feel discouraged by all the amazing photography on Flickr, thinking I was just small taters but the reality is that it sparked creativity and imagination down the road. To be inspired and to make it your own is such a beautiful form of learning and expression….wonderful information. I love Flickr :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/angiology/

    Happy Photo Taking All!!!

  • Lewis Smith

    I think most will bore of Flickr quickly. It’s more of a popularity contest than anything. You just get a bunch of friends to say cool photo by joining a bunch of groups to try and make explorer. I never bother to post photos because there is really nothing for me to gain from others “cool shot award” and other little silly comments. There are usually few real discussions and most of those are about buying more gear, not learning anything new, bad advice, or just rude and snooty remarks. About the only thing I find useful is looking at others photos for new ideas and concepts.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chromebowler/ Dave

    One place for honest, no holds barred feedback is the following group:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/deleteme/

    You may not always like what they have to say it will push you to strive for perfection.

  • Rana

    I’ve just started using Flickr, it’s really interesting to see how creative some people can be. The thing that i still don’t know how to figure out though is the “more properties” link – to find out the details of the photograph such as ISO, exposure, focal length, etc – which was mentioned in this article! Where exactly is it located?

  • http://www.designerprint.co.uk Peter

    I’ve been using Flickr for about a year and really like it. I signed up for a pro account so that I can keep a backup of all my photos so that they can be accessible to me anywhere.

    I also signed up to flickr groups for areas I regularly photograph like the new forest and cornwall.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhorner/
    Canvas Prints

    Thanks

    Peter

  • Seb

    I’ve just got into using the (apparently) more amateur photobucket, i think i’ll have to get myself flickr :D

  • EE

    I’m scared of flickr because verizon and other companies use the photos for advertisements.

  • http://www.arielteo.com Ariel Teo
  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel WIckert

    Useful advice, I’ll have to share it with others. :) This inspired me to update my flickr page and to find related local peeps and groups. Well done. Thanks again,

    -Mig

  • http://photonaturalist.net/ Steve Berardi

    @rana – the “more properties” link is on the right hand side of each photo page, under “additional information” .. Some people choose to hide this additional info about their photos, so you may not see it everywhere.

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I’m glad some of you found this article useful :)

    Steve

  • http://www.flickr.com/people/muzzlehatch Muzzlehatch

    Flickr is what you make it. If you want it to be boring and full of useless comments and people, it can do that for you.

    If you want to make a little effort and find the right people to talk to and groups to hang out in, it can be amazing.

    Thanks for the article… I agree completely.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/keikyu/ Keikyu

    Gratz on the article mention in today’s Flickr Blog!: http://blog.flickr.net/en

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaadowfoxphotographie/ Kent

    Beyond just scoping out other photos another venue to learn is through the ‘Challenge’ groups…I currently help to moderate the ACG (Another Challenge Group) on Flickr by entering the Various themed challenges I have found we have all tended to develop a better eye for composition etc..do a Challenge group search and join whatever one you wish..of course I like the one I spend the most time with as above but there are others and all run a little differently some more competitive and some less.. it’s a fun way to sharpen skills and learn!
    Kent / ShaadowFox

  • sourabh

    great article. the most important thing is the inspiration from others. learning by way of looking at other peoples work is so great. i always thought i do good photography. joining flickr made me feel that theres much more than what i have done. theres much more on flickr to learn from.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/offtomoon/

  • http://www.flickr.com/artermisz Art

    absolutely agree with the articles.. i find myself learning each day with flickr.. and there’re just so many talented photographers out there in flickr that one can learn from or be inspired from. From these wonderful people, I’ve learnt techniques, tricks, be inspired and challenged to do better with my own works… the groups are also a great way that one can tap into other’s creativity and share the output from the knowledge gained… :)

    and like all others who has been putting their photostream link… here’s mine :p http://www.flickr.com/artermisz

  • Jana

    I recently registered on Flickr mainly for storage purposes, so I can show images to people on the DPS Forums. For getting inspirations, useful comments and such I use deviantART (deviantart.com), because I’ve been on there for about a year and have become accustomed to the site and the community, mainly the forums, which give you a great opportunity to expose your art. But the fact I choose dA over Flickr is only a preference thing. I would use both equally as much, though lack of time only allows me to be on one site (not to mention that DPS recently added up on my daily-visited-websites list which means taking up more time already).

  • Barbara

    I recently deleted my Flickr account because I discovered a pervert (and I judge him based on the groups he was part of… I won’t even list the names of the groups because they are too disturbing) was looking at the pictures I had on my site. I had pictures of my kids on there and the thought of him looking at them was enough to make me delete my site. The ridiculous thing is, I couldn’t even block him from seeing my pictures. I could only block him from commenting on them. So I quit. It’s very dissapointing because I really liked Flickr.

  • Mark

    Very good article and I agree with most of the above comments regarding do’s & don’ts, etc.
    One feature of Flickr which I find very useful to search for photos made by a specific camera. I just bought a new non-DSLR camera (Canon Powershot A650 IS) and seeing photos from other people gives me good ideas of its strengths, weaknesses and limits. Plus, if I see a great photo I can view the EXIF information to see exactly how it was done or I can ask the photographer for any helpful camera-specific tips.

    Just getting started with my photostream, here it is:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aylesbury_mark/

    Please feel free to view and give comments or constructive criticisms!

  • Allen

    Addicted! Very much. I bought a bridge cam some time ago. Thought it would be a pass time, low-maintenance hobby. That is until I started posting on flickr. The learning curve shoots up in no time. You have to believe me.
    Check out my stream at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aln_vrz/

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Some older comments

  • Valentin Laverriere

    July 28, 2012 12:31 am

    Into YouTube video embed script you can also specify parameters matching to your wish like width, height or even border colors.

  • Allen

    October 24, 2010 04:05 am

    Addicted! Very much. I bought a bridge cam some time ago. Thought it would be a pass time, low-maintenance hobby. That is until I started posting on flickr. The learning curve shoots up in no time. You have to believe me.
    Check out my stream at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aln_vrz/

  • Mark

    May 12, 2009 08:53 pm

    Very good article and I agree with most of the above comments regarding do's & don'ts, etc.
    One feature of Flickr which I find very useful to search for photos made by a specific camera. I just bought a new non-DSLR camera (Canon Powershot A650 IS) and seeing photos from other people gives me good ideas of its strengths, weaknesses and limits. Plus, if I see a great photo I can view the EXIF information to see exactly how it was done or I can ask the photographer for any helpful camera-specific tips.

    Just getting started with my photostream, here it is:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aylesbury_mark/

    Please feel free to view and give comments or constructive criticisms!

  • Barbara

    April 25, 2009 01:54 pm

    I recently deleted my Flickr account because I discovered a pervert (and I judge him based on the groups he was part of... I won't even list the names of the groups because they are too disturbing) was looking at the pictures I had on my site. I had pictures of my kids on there and the thought of him looking at them was enough to make me delete my site. The ridiculous thing is, I couldn't even block him from seeing my pictures. I could only block him from commenting on them. So I quit. It's very dissapointing because I really liked Flickr.

  • Jana

    April 11, 2009 06:54 am

    I recently registered on Flickr mainly for storage purposes, so I can show images to people on the DPS Forums. For getting inspirations, useful comments and such I use deviantART (deviantart.com), because I've been on there for about a year and have become accustomed to the site and the community, mainly the forums, which give you a great opportunity to expose your art. But the fact I choose dA over Flickr is only a preference thing. I would use both equally as much, though lack of time only allows me to be on one site (not to mention that DPS recently added up on my daily-visited-websites list which means taking up more time already).

  • Art

    April 7, 2009 02:05 am

    absolutely agree with the articles.. i find myself learning each day with flickr.. and there're just so many talented photographers out there in flickr that one can learn from or be inspired from. From these wonderful people, I've learnt techniques, tricks, be inspired and challenged to do better with my own works... the groups are also a great way that one can tap into other's creativity and share the output from the knowledge gained... :)

    and like all others who has been putting their photostream link... here's mine :p http://www.flickr.com/artermisz

  • sourabh

    April 5, 2009 05:44 pm

    great article. the most important thing is the inspiration from others. learning by way of looking at other peoples work is so great. i always thought i do good photography. joining flickr made me feel that theres much more than what i have done. theres much more on flickr to learn from.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/offtomoon/

  • Kent

    March 27, 2009 03:50 am

    Beyond just scoping out other photos another venue to learn is through the 'Challenge' groups...I currently help to moderate the ACG (Another Challenge Group) on Flickr by entering the Various themed challenges I have found we have all tended to develop a better eye for composition etc..do a Challenge group search and join whatever one you wish..of course I like the one I spend the most time with as above but there are others and all run a little differently some more competitive and some less.. it's a fun way to sharpen skills and learn!
    Kent / ShaadowFox

  • Keikyu

    March 25, 2009 02:41 pm

    Gratz on the article mention in today's Flickr Blog!: http://blog.flickr.net/en

  • Muzzlehatch

    March 25, 2009 03:33 am

    Flickr is what you make it. If you want it to be boring and full of useless comments and people, it can do that for you.

    If you want to make a little effort and find the right people to talk to and groups to hang out in, it can be amazing.

    Thanks for the article... I agree completely.

  • Steve Berardi

    March 23, 2009 03:28 pm

    @rana - the "more properties" link is on the right hand side of each photo page, under "additional information" .. Some people choose to hide this additional info about their photos, so you may not see it everywhere.

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I'm glad some of you found this article useful :)

    Steve

  • Miguel WIckert

    March 23, 2009 01:07 pm

    Useful advice, I'll have to share it with others. :) This inspired me to update my flickr page and to find related local peeps and groups. Well done. Thanks again,

    -Mig

  • Ariel Teo

    March 23, 2009 06:02 am

    Good post!

    My stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arielteo

  • EE

    March 23, 2009 04:07 am

    I'm scared of flickr because verizon and other companies use the photos for advertisements.

  • Seb

    March 22, 2009 02:52 am

    I've just got into using the (apparently) more amateur photobucket, i think i'll have to get myself flickr :D

  • Peter

    March 21, 2009 08:24 pm

    I've been using Flickr for about a year and really like it. I signed up for a pro account so that I can keep a backup of all my photos so that they can be accessible to me anywhere.

    I also signed up to flickr groups for areas I regularly photograph like the new forest and cornwall.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhorner/
    Canvas Prints

    Thanks

    Peter

  • Rana

    March 21, 2009 07:17 pm

    I've just started using Flickr, it's really interesting to see how creative some people can be. The thing that i still don't know how to figure out though is the “more properties” link - to find out the details of the photograph such as ISO, exposure, focal length, etc - which was mentioned in this article! Where exactly is it located?

  • Dave

    March 21, 2009 11:54 am

    One place for honest, no holds barred feedback is the following group:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/deleteme/

    You may not always like what they have to say it will push you to strive for perfection.

  • Lewis Smith

    March 21, 2009 10:03 am

    I think most will bore of Flickr quickly. It's more of a popularity contest than anything. You just get a bunch of friends to say cool photo by joining a bunch of groups to try and make explorer. I never bother to post photos because there is really nothing for me to gain from others "cool shot award" and other little silly comments. There are usually few real discussions and most of those are about buying more gear, not learning anything new, bad advice, or just rude and snooty remarks. About the only thing I find useful is looking at others photos for new ideas and concepts.

  • Angela

    March 21, 2009 05:24 am

    At times I would feel discouraged by all the amazing photography on Flickr, thinking I was just small taters but the reality is that it sparked creativity and imagination down the road. To be inspired and to make it your own is such a beautiful form of learning and expression....wonderful information. I love Flickr :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/angiology/

    Happy Photo Taking All!!!

  • Prakash

    March 21, 2009 04:24 am

    Good post.

  • Homer Scarborough

    March 21, 2009 01:25 am

    I have joined probably 20 or so groups on flickr, and they have been very helpful. If you join several groups in your georgraphical area most have monthly or more meetups where they shoot together as a group or even have a workshop at a very nominal cost. That is the way to make real life contacts and learn more about photography. Like online, all that I have met in person were very free with advice and help. I have yet to join a group that I thought unfriendly.

  • Joni

    March 20, 2009 05:21 pm

    I've been a Flickr pro user for a couple of years, but now have started to find an alternative (does someone know a good one?). I've become tired of Flickr. You never get good feedback, pretty much all the comments are "cool shot", "great capture!", etc, which doesn't help the photographer at all. Also I find silly the way how you're supposed to fave and comment as much as possible in order to get many faves and comments for your photos. "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." Seems like it has nothing to do with how good photos you take anymore.

  • Lavern

    March 20, 2009 01:01 pm

    Wow, great advice. I guess I am one of those who just upload photos and leave, using flickr just to store my photos. This is a good way to start, hope you can comment and suggest on how you can improve my pictures. Here's my account URL http://www.flickr.com/photos/laverngueco/

    Many thanks and regards,

    Lavern

  • Steve Berardi

    March 20, 2009 11:41 am

    @Alexandru - EXCELLENT point!! uploading lots of shots of the same scene/subject will overwhelm a lot of viewers and prevent them from looking through your photos. I know it's at least prevented me sometimes :)

    @AshwynGray - I thought the same thing when writing this article, that maybe most DPS readers already had flickr accounts.. but, there's actually been a lot of people adding me as a contact, who have zero images up, meaning they just joined. so, hopefully all DPS readers now use flickr? :)

    @joe - flickr does have a lot of things in place to prevent people from stealing your images, like securing your high-res versions and placing a transparent image on top of all your photos. of course, there's never away around the "screen shot method"

    @jpglive - i use that quote almost every day :) forget where I first saw it.. I think it was a programming book

    Steve

  • jpglive

    March 20, 2009 05:42 am

    I love the einstein quote - spot on with that.

    While I'm not always looking for some feedback, it is nice to get it. Although when I want feedback from other photographers about a specific subject or type of shot, I usually know who to email or who to ask for help.

  • Joe

    March 20, 2009 05:19 am

    If you display your pictures on flilckr doesn't that leave yourself open for others to 'steal' your photography.

  • Shanna

    March 20, 2009 04:52 am

    great article and helpful comments!! i have been using flickr for about a year now and love it! it does allow me to share pictures with family/friends, but mostly, i love exploring other users work and learning from what they post. it inspires me to try new things, which just increases my passion for photography. another great thing about flickr for me is that i'm just starting a career as a professional photographer and since i don't yet have the funds to put up a full website, i can direct potential clients to my photostream with my own personal url. i definitely agree that in order to get feedback, though, you have to get yourself out there...join groups, add contacts, comment on other people's pictures, etc. i unfortunately do not devote enough time to this and so i don't get much feedback except from friends. it is my goal this year, however, to get moving with that. while some are just comments like 'great photo' there are definitely users out there that give solid critiques and feedback. that being said, my photostream is :) :

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannawhite

  • AshwynGray

    March 20, 2009 04:13 am

    While, I certainly can't imagine there's a photographer on DPS who doesn't yet have a Flickr account, I completely agree with your points in this article. I've been a member for almost three years. I'd originally joined to use Flickr as a convenient way to share photos of our kids with friends and Family. But, a few months ago, I discovered the groups. Since then, I've felt like I'm back in a college art class sharing critiques with fellow artists. Flickr really is great in that regard. And, there's such a diverse collection of photos and people on there. It's one of the best visual representations of people's lives across the world that I can imagine.

  • keith

    March 20, 2009 03:40 am

    great article - loads of useful information.

    flickr doe rule
    and here is my photostream.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bagoogoo

  • Gyanguru

    March 20, 2009 03:10 am

    Flickr is surely one of the best place a photographer should be in. Whether he/she is learning the art or is a master can actually see how other photographers take photographs and can get to know several creative tips and tricks.

    I totally agree on what Celine said that Flickr has now become a mere photo hosting web service.

  • Celine Ellis

    March 19, 2009 06:30 pm

    To be honest - I don't think Flickr is the place to get good critical feedback at all! If you want ego/confidence building feedback then yes, but useful criticism for how to improve or suggestions on how you could adapt then definatley not in my opinion! you mention in the article that few will give you the critical feedback that so many of us secretly are looking for but all to often there are cries of "nice, good photo". Far too many people put their photo's up without even a hint of exif data for others to learn from - even if your using automatic camera settings, exif data is available!

    Also, Flickr has become more of a photo hosting site than a photography gallery with people displaying every shot they took during a shoot rather than the best 1 or 2.

    Dont get me wrong - its an important website/service/platform for any photographer of any ability. Just looking at other peoples photographs will help you in your photography no question - if that is in the Tate Modern or in your uncles holiday album.

    Nonetheless - a good article about Flickr!

  • Alexandru

    March 19, 2009 06:13 pm

    One point which wasn't brought up: do not upload variations of the same scene (pictures which look the same with only a few details different). This also means do not upload a portrait and a landscape of the same scene. This should make you a better photographer in the long run by forcing you to choose only the best pictures before uploading.

    As it is customary in this article, here is my photostream :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/alex_stanoi/

  • Steve Berardi

    March 19, 2009 03:06 pm

    @nina_s - it also helps if you're the biggest critic of your photos--so, if you're looking for feedback on a photo, write in your description what you thought was wrong with it or what you don't like about it, and that will likely motivate viewers to tell you their own opinion.

    @Carlos - from the basic searching I've done on deviantart, it looks like a more "artistic" site than flickr, with drawings and heavily processed photos.. so as a nature photographer, I found flickr more suitable. I definitely agree that deviantart is a great site though!

    @SheyMouse - that's a brilliant idea! I might have to create a new account and try that as a side project!

    @pavi - just like a lot of things, it's not about the camera :) I still use Canon's cheapest, entry level SLR: the XTi, and I love it.. only reason I want the more expensive 5D is to get that wide angle (okay, and that amazing HD video).

    Steve

  • jen

    March 19, 2009 02:32 pm

    Flickr has been a fantastic place for me to put up my photos and meet other local photographers. We are only just talking about getting some workshops together but usually we meet and go on photo walks and then once our photos are up we critique them. I'd like to have the time to do more of the joining and participating in groups and so on within Flickr but I also enjoy blogging.

  • jenn

    March 19, 2009 09:48 am

    I love flickr..and use it for many of your listed reasons! It is a wonderful place to learn.

  • Stevo

    March 19, 2009 09:10 am

    Great article. flickr can be a great inspiration. The key is to use as such and not get bogged down in flickr-land instead of shooting.

  • Agnes

    March 19, 2009 08:13 am

    I definitely agree with Aamer: it's best to upload at least 1 pic a day to let the Flickr friends and others appreciate, enjoy and comment on your photos. In return it's also a pleasure to do the same. It can actually become addictive to look at others' photostream and comment as well. Flickr is indeed a good place to share, learn more about photography, get inspired and also make friends.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/agneslapin/

  • Pavi

    March 19, 2009 12:56 am

    I can't really comment on Flickr just yet. I just got interested in photography only days ago. I mean the interest was always there somewhere as a few of my family members are good photographers. I went out last Friday and bought my first DSLR, Sony Alpha 200. I know, nothing special but should be enough for a beginner. I started searching the web on the weekend for some "intro to photography" websites and found DPS. I have been checking it out every day since. This article was great. I will definitelly join flickr and start sharing my pics mostly for the purpose of critisims and advice. I can't wait to dive into it. Thank you all for the great resources and comments. I'm sure I will learn a great deal from all of you.

    See you around
    Pavi

  • Aamer

    March 18, 2009 11:47 pm

    Thomas - the secret to get people visit and comment on your photos is simple:

    Do not upload more than 1 photo/day (no exceptions). no one has time to visit and comment on every single photo of yours (you are breaking this rule)
    visit and comment on other peoples photos
    fav other photos
    join and participate in group discussions

  • adolfo.trinca

    March 18, 2009 11:46 pm

    thank you....and this is another great strem ^_^
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/adolfo_trinca/

  • gfahey

    March 18, 2009 11:20 pm

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stoneth/

    This guy inspires me. Take the time to go through his images of street people and read the stories behind them. IMO, this is what it's all about. Telling a story. This guy nails it. Big time.

  • Vilmis

    March 18, 2009 08:36 pm

    I would recommend take a look to sites like http://www.photosig.com or http://www.fredmiranda.com where in most cases you'll get more constructive critique and comments then in flickr.

  • Brett Matthews

    March 18, 2009 07:58 pm

    Good article. I also find the comments on Flickr to be rather mundane. For myself, I find the strength of Flickr to be in browsing other's photostream. There's a lot of crap, but by joining groups, you can find some really great photographers.

    Spend some time on Flickr, and you will see some photography that will totally blow you away—it did me.

    Brett

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sublimelight/

  • Alex

    March 18, 2009 06:32 pm

    Thanks for the article. I have a love/hate relationship with Flickr. Maybe I'll have another look at making it work for me more.

  • hazmy

    March 18, 2009 05:58 pm

    I'm considerably a new user at flickr (about less than a year I think) and already I can agree that it helps one to become a better photographer. The various groups there have taught me quite a lot of what I currently know and the many helpful photographers are ever willing to help out with tips and suggestions.

    Only the quota for the non-pro account is a bit limiting. Have considered getting the pro account but the payment methods are not really friendly for me.. haha..

    BTW.. since everyone is promoting their photostream.. Have a look at mine and throw a couple of comments at the same time.. ;)
    www.flickr.com/photos/hazmy-photog

  • SheyMouse

    March 18, 2009 05:31 pm

    Flickr is a great place for an amateur to get their eye in. It's one of the sites that got me back into photography after a 15 year absence.

    One idea. I haven't done this yet but will.
    Upload enough photos to fill your quota (assuming you didn't buy a pro account) of 200 pictures.
    Go out and take some pictures
    Compare the new ones with the old ones and replace any not-so-great ones with better ones.
    When you really, really, can't find a photo to replace, then consider getting a pro account.

  • Carlos

    March 18, 2009 03:44 pm

    Fliker its ok but www.deviantart.com its a lot better. its the biguest art page on internet and yo can have the exif of the fotos you like just by looking at them so you can understand how the photographer seted the camera for the shot and you can find tutorials of photography and software.

  • Adly

    March 18, 2009 03:39 pm

    great article..

    i'm very new to photography.. & flickr is a very nice site to learn new photography techniques that i can apply to my own photo..

    here's my photostream: http://www.flickr.com/soundrave

  • nina_s

    March 18, 2009 03:30 pm

    Steve, thanks for the pointer about ASKING for comments. I too a novice to photography and would LOVE critiques and comments (C&C) made on my photos. It is quite upsetting to see the pictures posted go unnoticed or even more, viewed without comment.

    I will definitely put in the ASKING FOR COMMENTS in my description box!

    In the mean time, would love C&C from folks here...(also shamelessly put up here :P)

  • Steve Berardi

    March 18, 2009 01:14 pm

    wow, thanks everyone for adding me as a friend on flickr! some of you have some really awesome photos, like this one:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbphotog/3347806521/

    or this one:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneymike/2616439452/

    @bryant johnson - to protect your photos, you can always just upload low resolution versions, which are pretty useless for printing.

    @reznor - great point about the importance of positive feedback--definitely helps motivation.

    @Ogden2k - I haven't noticed the noise problem with original sized photos.. strange..

    @Tanya Plonka - thanks so much for mentioning the "interestingness" and "explore" areas on flickr.. totally forgot to mention them in the article. I really need to use those tools more often!

    @cristiano007 - brilliant idea of changing "scouting locations" to "exploring subjects or themes" .. 99% of what I photograph is nature, so it was difficult for me to think of ways other photographers might use flickr.

    @aamer - although there are definitely a lot of "great photo!" comments, I've also seen a lot of great constructive criticism.. but, this only happens when the photographer ASKS for it (in the description), so that's the key i think - ask and you shall receive (whether you like it or not!) :)

    Steve

  • Jeffrey Byrnes

    March 18, 2009 12:38 pm

    Flickr totally has its positives. I do not use it as a means to "learn by example" but I have my uses for it. It has helped out and made things very easy for me. I am glad I have the ability to use it.

  • MeiTeng

    March 18, 2009 12:15 pm

    I have only just started to use Flickr and so far, there has been no constructive comments so I can't comment much. But I totally agree on the 1st point on Learning By Example. We can always learn from someone else.

  • Amit

    March 18, 2009 10:06 am

    Had written something similar a few weeks back. There is a pot of gold in that 'more information' link. Well worth the explore for the curious photographers mind.

  • fromBrandon

    March 18, 2009 09:15 am

    Flickr has been a HUGE part of my learning photography. I've learned many things and have been challenged in so many ways. Though I have never really gained much of an audience on Flickr myself, I have not quit using it because it is invaluable tool for me to use in learning to be a better Photographer.

  • Nedyalko Petkov

    March 18, 2009 08:21 am

    flickr.com/nedyalko that's a very intresting streme !!!

  • Malin

    March 18, 2009 08:21 am

    Excellent post; never thought of using Flickr this way!

  • Aamer

    March 18, 2009 07:37 am

    Flickr has just become a message board where people come in comment.. "very nice" "excellent" "cool" etc

    Very Very few constructive comments are left.

  • cristiano007

    March 18, 2009 06:45 am

    Totally agree. I’d only change the phrase “scouting out locations” by “exploring subjects (or themes)” to aply to all kind of photography, not only landscape. The only thing weak (but not totally absent) in Flickr is the Masters’ work. Something no aspiring photographer should forget. But is a great learning tool, specially for begginers like me. Another random ideas from my experience are:
    - Use the favorites as a tool for learning, mark only the best images and analyze them.
    - Don’t expect great lengthy critiques, sometimes a word do the trick, ask for leads but think yourself.
    - Add some great artists to your contacts and always check their work.
    - Make some good photographers friends.
    - Share everything you know (comment in other’s photos, participate in discussions)
    - Help to moderate or administrate a group of your interest
    - If you don’t find a group for one of your interests, create one! (I have two for local purposes and moderate in two international ones).

    My photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano007/

  • cristiano007

    March 18, 2009 06:22 am

    Totally agree. I'd only change the phrase "scouting out locations" by "exploring subjects (or themes)" to aply to all kind of photography, not only landscape. The only thing weak (but not totally absent) in Flickr is the Masters' work. Something no aspiring photographer should forget. But is a great learning tool, specially for begginers like me. Another random ideas from my experience are:
    - Use the favorites as a tool for learning, mark only the best images and analyze them.
    - Don't expect great lengthy critiques, sometimes a word do the trick, ask for leads but think yourself.
    - Add some great artists to your contacts and always check their work.
    - Make some good photographers friends.
    - Share everything you know (comment in other's photos, participate in discussions)
    - Help to moderate or administrate a group of your interest
    - If you don't find a group for one of your interests, create one! (I have two for local purposes and moderate in two international ones).

    My photostream:

    My created groups:

    Groups I work with:

  • Tanya Plonka

    March 18, 2009 04:50 am

    There is so much talent on Flickr, I use it for constant inspiration. I love the interestingness area.

    Make sure you check out Flickr's Explore feature: http://www.flickr.com/explore/
    Images are tagged by location, so it's another way to find cool spots!

    Can I supply a shameless link like everyone else did? :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanyaplonka

  • Danferno

    March 18, 2009 04:43 am

    As Valarie says, http://www.deviantart.com is a great photosharing site as well. Not only can you get/give feedback and all that, deviantart also offers you a lot of options for prints. All sizes, materials, borders, etc. Plus, deviantart has its own news section that is filled with useful advice (and not just on photography) and mouth-smashing collections of images found on deviantart.

  • Carolyn

    March 18, 2009 03:09 am

    Good article!
    I love using Flickr, and just looking through photos. I always find it interesting seeing the cmaera used and any other information given

    But yesterday Flickr was blocked in the UAE, so I am not a happy bunny! I am starting to use DeviantArt now, whihc is really useful, as Valerie states.

  • Mia :)

    March 18, 2009 02:58 am

    Great, thanks for this!

    I'd also suggest to visit these three pages, i find them quite helpful and inspiring:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sicalufakiss/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebandrews/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/morgan1/

  • Ogden2k

    March 18, 2009 02:58 am

    I agree, great tips and I have been doing this for awhile now as well. The only point I disagree on is that flickr is good for storing your photos as a backup. It seems when I view my photos at 100% they are very noisy unlike the original file that was uploaded.

  • Indigowaters

    March 18, 2009 02:38 am

    Here's another one to follow.

    Gaëtan Bourque (nature) http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesec/ - Takes the most unreal photos of nature i've ever seen.

  • Ben Jamieson

    March 18, 2009 02:33 am

    Yup, like others, Flickr is one of my most valued destinations. Not only does it provide incredible inspiration, but allows you to get feedback (and provide it) to peers.

    And, as everyone else is doing it, here's my flickr stream!

    On that note, I'm heading off to check all the commenters' streams!

  • Valarie

    March 18, 2009 02:23 am

    Another great site is DeviantArt (deviantart.com), where all of the photos are (at least intended to be) artistic, while a lot of Flickr sites are used just for storage. Same strategy applies - comment, interact, join groups, etc., and you can learn a lot and get constructive feedback! When you upload your photos, you can select "encourage advanced critique" to let people know that a little criticism is appreciated.

  • Reznor

    March 18, 2009 02:07 am

    Feedback is really important, not only to learn but just to stick to your photography. I bet everyone here has asked himself where he is going with his work and if it's wort all the effort. Positive feedback keeps you on track and makes you remember how rewarding photography can be.

    My stream is not too big right now:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/trentreznor/

    Check out the older stuff, too. The newer ones are mostly portraits, my faves are the street photos. Feel free to comment.

  • Bryant Johnson

    March 18, 2009 01:54 am

    I agree with the concepts Mr. Berardi covers in this article. However, all photographers should be aware that Flickr does absolutely NOTHING to enforce your stated copyright protection level on your images. Last July, a company called Myxer released an app that allowed their users to illegally download copyrighted images from Flickr. When the violation was pointed out to Myxer, they immediately deactivated their app and apologized to anyone whose images were illegally downloaded. Flickr, however, made no comment and refused to respond to copyright owners' inquiries.

    Bottom line is that if you post your quality images on Flickr, you run a good chance of having them stolen and getting no assistance from Flickr to prevent or remedy the situation.

  • Tyler

    March 18, 2009 01:33 am

    I agree with using Flickr and searching out groups within to share some of your photos with. I found that once I started joining groups I would get more people seeing my photos and commenting on them. I just have to look for more groups now and get out there more with my camera. Of course when the weather here in Vancouver isnt raining!

    Photostream: www.flickr.com/photos/tyleringram

  • Craig

    March 18, 2009 01:29 am

    I love flickr because of the opportunity to explore other photographers out there and get inspired by them. I took a good look at my flickr account over the weekend and the progress from then to now is astonishing.

    Commenting is a must on flickr. I agree with what dcclark had said :-)

  • photojunkymonkey

    March 18, 2009 01:19 am

    good article. and its true I have also improved alot in my hobby thanks to flickr. I now do paid gigs cause of my moderate skill in photography. check out my stream flickr.com/thegreatest

  • Thomas

    March 18, 2009 01:15 am

    I wish someone would mention me in an article. Most of my photos on Flickr seem to go unnoticed. :(

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/twps/

  • Bim

    March 18, 2009 01:09 am

    Great article. I've been a member of flickr for a long time and have found that learning by the example is a great way to improve.

  • Jen

    March 18, 2009 01:08 am

    I'm only just getting started with using something other than the auto settings on my dSLR.

    I agree with the point, and love the fact, you can see a good photo and check the apature, iso, shutter speed etc. to see how the photographer captured the image.

    I've learnt more this way that I did in a classroom!

    My photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennikate

  • dcclark

    March 18, 2009 01:02 am

    Very good advice! I want to re-emphasize something mentioned here: look around your groups and other random photostreams, and make comments on other people's photos. Make them useful comments, or good questions -- not just "great photo!" That's one of the best ways to get people to look at, and critique, your own photos. Also, finding good, solid, useful comments is a great way to develop your own eye, which will be useful when you're behind the camera. The social aspect of flickr is its most useful feature in my mind.

    (And some blatant self-promotion: feel free to comment on my photos too!)

  • Will

    March 18, 2009 12:29 am

    Good post. I have also found a great deal of value in flickr.

    You can see my photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/burrard-lucas

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