My 3 Favorite Things about Flickr

My 3 Favorite Things about Flickr

I’ve been asked a few times why I’ve decided to use flickr as my image hosting site instead of some of the many other options available to me.  If I’m going to be completely honest, it’s that it was the only one I’d heard of when I got my account back in 2005.

But let’s forget about that for a second, and instead concentrate one why I stay at flickr.  It’s because of all these additional things I can do at flickr other than just host my images.  Keep in mind, this is written from a die-hard flickr user’s perspective, and I don’t have experience with any other photo-sharing site, so other sites might have these things, too (let us know in the comments!).

Edit Your Photos

Did you know you can edit your photos on the flickr site?  They have partnered with Picnik to provide users with some editing tools at the touch of a button.  All you have to do is click the “Edit Photo” link above of your photos, and Picnik opens up:


While some tools are only available to people paying for a Picnik Premium account (a separate account than the flickr Pro account), even non-paying members can rotate, crop, adjust exposure and contrast, sharpen, reduce red eye, or even apply effects like boosting color, or adding a vignette.

For more information about Picnik and how to use it, see flickr’s Picnik FAQ.

The Many, Many Flickr Groups

Groups are probably my favorite thing that flickr has to offer.  It’s a way to organize like-minded people and photos together.  Groups are created and maintained by other flickr users and it allows people with similar interests and/or photographs to come together, see each other’s photos and socialize.  While there are TONS of groups out there, my favorites are of one of these types:

  • Inspiring/Challenging – There are tons of “challenge” groups on flickr, ones that inspire other photographers to branch out and try something new.  Two great examples of this are Flickr Group Roulette (or FGR) – where a different flickr group is chosen every day and members are challenged to take a photo that day that represents that group, and Theme of the Week – where a new theme is posted every week for members to photograph.
  • Local Groups – It’s pretty easy for me to feel alone with my photography obsession sometimes.  If you feel the same way, try looking up your city in the group search – I’ve found a number of local groups near me.  Many of them do monthly events – like photowalks or shows of members’ photography.  Browsing the pool of photos in these groups is also a great way to find new local photo opportunities.
  • Groups for other websites – Let’s face it, we all want to get our photos seen by more people somehow.  A lot of websites will display photos that readers have submitted to their flickr group.  It makes sense that photography websites would do this – but other sites do, too! My personal favorite is, who has their own flickr group.  Not only do they post their favorite submissions to the group every Friday, but they also use the photos from the group for almost all of their articles (giving the photography credit and a link back to their flickr page).
  • Educational – Did you know there are groups for specific camera types and editing software?  When I first got my Rebel XTi, I actually found a group called My New Digital Rebel XTi – and that was just one of a number of XTi groups on flickr.  The groups not only show off what the camera can do, but are full of other users that can help answer questions about how to use it.  In addition, I edit all my photos in Gimp, so the Gimp Users group has also been extremely helpful and informative.

Partnerships with other sites

I already mentioned picnik above for editing photos, but there’s a lot of other sites that have ties into flickr that allow you to use their site easier.  For instance, I know a lot of people love for their cute mini-moo cards, business cards and more.  While you can upload photos from your computer, if you’re using a flickr account and already have the photos there, you can easily import the photos.  Flickr has listed a handful of third-party sites with flickr integration here, but another one of my favorites not listed is  Like, you could just upload photos from you computer, but entering in your flickr id makes chosing phtoos even easier.  They offer a number of different ways to turn your photos into something more – like adding special effects, making calendars, adding a frame and more.  The one I use most often is the Mosaic Maker, which I used to create this collection of fall photographs I took last year.


So what’s your favorite thing about where you host your photos?  Did I miss something great about flickr, or does the site you use offer something more?  Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: Jennifer Jacobs is an amateur photographer who runs – a site for photography beginners. She’s also addicted to flickr and you can follow her stream here.

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Some Older Comments

  • Ivan October 21, 2010 01:43 pm

    I use flickr, too. I like how easy it is to share my picture on flickr.

    The other thing that I like from flickr is that you can get in touch with lots of great photographer all around the world and learn from them, for free.

  • Jennifer Moore December 9, 2009 07:54 am

    I'm quite a fan of RedBubble, myself. The quality of the artwork on their site is very, very high, it is free--there is only a final value fee if you sell anything, and they have widgets you can put on your blogs/web sites--slide shows, etc. It's also a very friendly community.

    There are also options to put photos up that are not for sale, and you can protect your photos from right-clicking, as well.

    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  • Sandra November 25, 2009 06:52 am

    OK - I don't see anyone here mention Snapfish! I started with a Flickr but with the limitations before paying was slowed down. A friend of mine introduced me to Snapfish and I simply love this website. I'm mostly about sharing pictures so I have different groups for different interests. The football team at my son's school is the largest and I can post unlimited pictures. This is great because I am free to shoot away and post and hopefully the families will find a treasure. Next I love all the items I can buy personalized with my pictures. I always get compliments on my picture of Mt. Zion in my office on canvas, and my notepads. I love to tell them that I took the shot! My latest creation was a football book for the end of season - it's like a yearbook full of mostly my own pictures but I loaded some pictures from the other moms in the group too.

  • mrsrobinson November 23, 2009 08:52 am

    We use flickr to share private family photos with our family and friends that are spread out all over the province...they can right click and download a photo they like and put it on their desktop or even get an enlarged print. Public photos we resize and watermark to discourage thievery...but really, if someone wants it bad enough they'll take it. Right click disabling doesn't help when you have the Prt Scr button. I tried looking at a few other sites, but Flickr seemed easier and more people know about it.

  • Valerie November 22, 2009 11:44 pm

    before i had online back up , i used flickr to store my original photo sizes, now i don't have to but if i wanted to it's nice to know there is no limit.

    i like that most everyone uses flickr. you get to meet other photographers there

    i love that flickr integrates with other social networking sites. i can post to facebook and my blogs easily.

    it's fun!

  • Raffix Alias November 22, 2009 03:04 am

    I used flickr too!!!! (^.^)
    it's easy and helpful, though very clean with white background :)
    feel free to visit my photostream :

  • Nicky Jameson November 21, 2009 12:14 pm

    Katie, thanks for sharing that brilliant list! It really opens up new opportunities and ideas for my use of Flickr. Looks like I haven't even scratched the surface in terms of some things.

  • Katie November 21, 2009 02:20 am

    I adore Flickr! I wrote this article last week that lists 20 reasons to love flickr!

  • Tom G November 20, 2009 04:36 am

    I love a lot of things about Flickr. It's a great place to get your work critiqued, as well as critique other works - you can learn a lot from other people's images - what not to do AND what to do.

    One of my favorite things is the fact that your photos can be found by publishers. If you tag your photos properly and descriptively, people looking for images of certain things may stumble upon them, and ask permission to use them in websites or publications. It's been happening to me for a while, and lately I had several images published in a regional magazine - and they used one for the cover. That one cover basically paid for my camera!

  • Darren Addy November 20, 2009 02:58 am

    I like to use Flickr as a meta-search-engine. If you are thinking about buying a particular lens (like classic Pentax glass) you can just search for it on Flickr and see photos taken with that lens, and discussions about it. (It is a really good idea for everyone TAG all your images with the camera make and lens used to produce the image).

  • junglebear November 19, 2009 04:42 am

    Don't know if it's been mentioned yet but the 'on black' feature of Flickr is great too, you can easily put a link on any of your photos' pages to view it on black, it's really great for certain shots - especially sunrises/sets.

  • LenDog November 19, 2009 04:32 am

    I may be the only "non-flickr fan" here. I'm not knocking the site, it has great looking pages and a catchy format for sharing photos, as well as the other advantages mentioned in previous posts. The difference is that I'm just not interested in sharing my photos so much and prefer a format that's easier for my few viewers, primarily family members, to use. I use because non-members with a password can easily post comments to my photos, more easily access and view albums and page thru photos as well as preview (or review) thumbnails, and they never have to hit the "back button" to get "there", it's very easy. I can allow public access for specific albums, simliar to the way flickr can if you restrict access to any of your photos, and I can link my photos to forums and show exif data on websites (such as DPS) in the same way that flickr users do. It's more expensive, but I have unlimited storage, a 100mb file size limit, and can post files in may different formats (including videos and documents other than photos, such as MS Office documents). If imagevent had a catchier name and more front page options it would probably more popular than it is - but if you prefer privacy and ease of use for a limited number of users I'd recommend considering it. I don't represent or have any interest in imagevent other than my own paid-for use of it.

  • Neville November 19, 2009 03:18 am

    Very neat. I didn't know Flickr had a few of these features!

  • Nicky Jameson November 18, 2009 02:00 pm

    Can't believe how much I've learned about Flickr just from the comments on this post! Thanks all.

  • Flores November 18, 2009 01:03 am

    I am a webshots free member. Initially I used Flickr, but since it just allows free member like me for maximum 200 images only, so I turned to Webshots that provides thousand of images for free member like me who cannot afford to pay monthly or yearly.

  • Pete Bresser November 17, 2009 11:05 pm

    Again, another happy Flickr user - but it's not the only place I use for pics. Photoboxpro has a (free) professional gallery that allows you to choose the price of photos you sell and Photobox then takes care of the transaction, the p&p and charges you on a commission basis. The service is definitely worth other (professional) photographers checking out if you sell your photos.

    I've used (and paid for!) other photo services too such as Fotki and smugmug. Compared to these, I think the UI for Flickr is actually rather good. I like the fact that if you try to download an image from a photostream with a right click, all you get is a blue and red dot (something to do with the shots being saved inside Flash, I think) Love the groups, the organiser, the ability to save favourites but most of all, I love the notes you can add to photos - little floating boxes that can offer comments on parts of a picture and even be used to show alternative cropping options!

  • Josenivaldo Benito Jr. November 17, 2009 07:01 am


    Another very cool feature of Flickr, even not being directly related with photography but yet useful, is the ability to use it as your OpenID identity. Once you have a Flickr account (pro or not) you can simply use the URL of your profile as an OpenID identity in order to login at OpenID enabled sites (i.e., drupal sites, some blogs, etc).


  • Zack Jones November 17, 2009 05:31 am

    I love flickr. The groups are especially useful to me. I do have one dislike about it though -- it's habit forming :)

  • Gregory Taylor November 16, 2009 02:55 pm

    The three reasons I like flickr so much are the Groups, the easy interface and the community of photographers built around Flickr.

    It's an easy way for professionals, amateurs, hobbyists and the like to share their work and view the work of others.

  • Tanya November 15, 2009 02:37 am

    CLR Photo .. you can disable 'Right Click' ... I'm not sure if this is only available to PRO accounts though. You just have to go to your settings and choose the option that restricts who can download your photos. You can also make it so only your friends and family can save your pictures. The only downside to this is that now no one can click on a picture to see the larger version, but I just deal with that.
    Flickr is great ... I really love looking at my stats and I love the Favorite button. So easy to look back on pictures you liked and find inspiration

  • Dave November 14, 2009 10:12 pm

    Todd, with flickr being owned by yahoo...I'm pretty sure that all the content is backed up multiple times a day.
    Yahoo couldn't afford for people's to start losing photos or videos.

    Flickr open APIs are great, the iphone app makes it super easy to get stuff up on the go.
    Flickr is top notch at all they do.

    The ability to share your private photos, with friends and family without them having to sign up for an account is great also..
    I hate services that force me to sign up to view content a friend has sent me..

  • Randy Pollock November 14, 2009 03:50 pm

    Fickr only has groups going for it if you ask me.

    For much better support, customization, purchasing, HD video, Pro accounts that work well.

    It has to be Smugmug

  • Han Cheng November 14, 2009 03:16 pm

    I use flickr too. but only the free version. But I kind of like the simplicity of flickr user interface.

  • Rick November 14, 2009 02:18 pm

    True communities are formed in Flickr, and I've been able to form some valuable friendships through people I've met there. Never discount the social power of photography.

  • CLR Photo November 14, 2009 01:50 pm

    thanks for the post. i use flickr myself, but i think they should have a right click not available. so that people cant take our photos. flickr is good but i think it needs more prtection on our photos. heres my

    thank you

  • Christoph November 14, 2009 12:17 pm

    Taking pictures for me is always about sharing pictures as well. I want to get feedback and love to browse through photos by people around the world. The new printing service is exiting as well - maybe we will see an option to customized pricing, so people can buy our prints directly over flickr?

    I invite you to have a look at my photostream, where I share photography from Africa, Japan and other places. :) See you over at Flickr!

  • Connie T November 14, 2009 10:21 am

    I like Flickr too but the Picnik is limited on there. If you go directly to, (it is free) you can get a lot more free features to edit with, than when Flickr has up. If you upgrade you can get amazing editing, but I don't upgrade, I just use what is free.

  • Nicky Jameson November 14, 2009 10:21 am

    And that link to my photostream should be
    feel free to edit

  • Nicky Jameson November 14, 2009 10:17 am

    Interesting post. I've always used Flickr because, despite its UI I've found it far and away the best option for sharing my photos and getting them seen because of the great tagging options. Truth be told I'm not as active on it as I could be... I also tend to share my photos on Facebook first... there's something more immediate about FB, maybe because so many m more of my friends are on it. In terms of content safety I don't trust Facebook as far as I can throw them, so it may only be a perception that FB is quicker, easier or what have you. On Flicker I upload my best photos, and I too like the group option. I think Flickr is one of those underused resources I could and will use better. Have to say though that I was on the free account for all of 10 mins... there was no question. $25/year for unlimited storage? No contest at all. It was the best $25 I've spent online... well worth it. Plus I must say that I've received numerous requests to use my photos, all of which I have granted as long as they agree to properly credit. It's odd, whenever I need photo stock I buy from istockphoto... great stock and inexpensive. Maybe I should explore Flickr for photos in the future. Then again I am that seemingly rare person who doesn't feel everything on the Internet should be "free" for the taking :)

    On Flickr I am

  • melissa stover November 14, 2009 08:56 am

    i love that it works with livewriter so i can pull my photos right in from flickr and they are sized perfectly for my post. love that.

  • Sally Monster November 14, 2009 08:29 am

    I met my boyfriend on Flickr a couple of years ago. He lives in San Diego, I live in the UK. I spend more time in San Diego now than I do at home. Flickr lets you get to know people you otherwise might not have a connection with. :)

  • Todd Eddy November 14, 2009 08:11 am

    (I can't edit comments?)

    That link is messed up, it thinks the ) is part of the url and it isn't. Should be

  • Todd Eddy November 14, 2009 08:09 am

    I host pictures myself (see: for a few reasons. I have full control over everything. As an example I got tired of Gallery2's bloat that I didn't need so switched to zenphoto and much happier. I can adjust the color theme to my liking, add a google analytics link (which I do) for tracking stats. Ironically those stats have led me to a flickr group I didn't know about but was interesting and I joined it. Control over ownership of the images. The images reside on my server not some third party that could could suddenly dissappear. As far as I know flickr doesn't have any guarantee that your pictures are backed up. Other more pro-oriented sites like smugmug do. Also I can host unlimited images for "free". Sure there's the upkeep on a server but overall the cost is minimal.

    I use flickr for a couple things because of the integration. For example I have mobile pictures sent to it. But I don't like the imposed limit to free accounts. It's like they hold your older pictures for ransom and you can't have them unless you get a pro account. Also it's downside is it's popularity. If some random company wants a stock photo, why pay for it when they can do a quick search on flickr? Sure they're supposed to honor the licensing terms of the image but there's been several cases where people don't. And flickr's UI just flat out sucks from a usability standpoint. Just because you're used to it doesn't make it good. It has gotten better but still not that good.

    Flickr is a double-edged sword for me. I like the ability of sharing with groups and such but don't like the loss of control that comes with it.

  • Andrew November 14, 2009 08:07 am

    I love the constructive criticism groups!

  • Zut LeFlash November 14, 2009 07:32 am

    Another good reason is the referencing of Flickr. Many time, my photo set on Flickr about a show or event will appear on Google search result, near are even higher then there own website. I really can not say the same for my personnal site...

  • PRH November 14, 2009 07:22 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jennifer. I use flickr myself and it'll be really interesting to see what other people use and how it compares.

    Stephen, perhaps you can write your own article

  • Dave November 14, 2009 07:19 am

    What I love is the fact that I don't have to ever worry about losing my photos.
    I remember when I tried using a CD...and 2 years later half the pictures were corrupted.

    the peace of mine of having my photos of flickr, is worth the 25/year.

    Then of course there's the community, and inspiration, and ideas to help make me better at photography.

  • dcclark November 14, 2009 06:46 am

    Personally, my favorite thing about flickr is pretty simple: it's a great place to store photos. I can easily display photos there (in sets or collections), and I can also easily display them elsewhere, just linking back to flickr. Basically, it's a no-hassle place to keep my photos handy, for whatever I want to do with them. I don't have to worry about my own server, my own gallery software, or anything like that.

    Because so many people are familiar with flickr, it's easy to say "check out my flickr photostream" and they know exactly what I mean, where to find it (if they don't know), and how to do things like leave comments.

  • Madzia November 14, 2009 06:20 am

    I put my pictures up on Flickr too, and though I was apprehensive about its original hype, I love it to bits now.

    I like that my pictures get great exposure there, among other photo enthusiasts, and flickr has become a well-known site to browse for inspiration and reference shots so I know a lot of traffic comes from searches. I want my photos to be seen!
    Also, Flickr's Pro accounts are really cheap for the unlimited storage they offer. I post a daily batch of my best photos, for backup purposes. It's cross-referenced like crazy, with calendars that note when you took the picture as well as when you uploaded it, there's the map so you can mark where you took the shot...if you ask me, it's the perfect photo diary. And to top it all off the website automatically creates SIX different size versions of your original photo, which you can hotlink elsewhere. I've never been so eager to pay for an online service, it's so well worth it.

    And it wouldn't have grown like this if not for the community aspect. It was pretty barebones at the beginning!

    disclaimer: I wasn't hired by Flickr to rave about it. I just love how much the developers of the site reach out to make my life easier.