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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:

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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 consumerist.com, 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 moo.com 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 bighugelabs.com.  Like moo.com, 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.

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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 iffles.com – a site for photography beginners. She’s also addicted to flickr and you can follow her stream here.

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