What use is Flickr?

There has been some interesting comments in other threads about the utility of Flickr. What use is it?
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,351Moderator
    edited April 2016
    We use it a lot in our club for members to add their images from their own accounts into the club pool group. Images are then reviewed by the selection committee and invited into specific competition threads under the selection group. It provides free and easy hosting, simple management of monthly competition and the ability to have conversation threads for various topics i.e. 'items for sale' etc.

    It is also a useful way to evaluate real world use of photography equipment by searching for images that use that lens or body for example.

    I am not a fan of it as a method of judging whether any image is good or bad and to that end I don't tag my images much or at all or pass comment on may others images. As said on another thread, if you follow somebody and they follow you, if they pass comment on an image of yours, out of politeness you feel obligated to 'be nice' back to them which gives you ego-boosting statistics, but the comments are of little to no value mostly. When somebody passes a comment other than 'nice' or 'beautiful' etc., but of a constructive criticism nature, it stands out from the praise and spoils the feel good factor of the rest of the comments even if it is true so we end up not doing it.

    I would really like to know the system under which images are 'discovered' too as I can't judge its usefulness without knowing exactly how it is done.

    I don't have experience of other services so if anybody knows of another service that is similar, I'd like to know about it if Flickr is going away.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    edited April 2016
    Not a whole lot anymore.

    Back during its heyday 7-10 years ago it was a staple for pretty much anyone that wanted to show off photos, share photos, or interact with the community. It has since been succeeded by personal websites for portfolio work, instagram for community interaction, and dropbox for sharing photos.

    There is a great article here which talks about the downfall of flickr after they got bought out by yahoo: http://gizmodo.com/5910223/how-yahoo-killed-flickr-and-lost-the-internet

    Overall I see Flickr as just another relic of the previous decade in the ever developing internet. A jack of all trades yet master of none.

    Post edited by safyre on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    Yup, all true in my opinion - though I have to take Safyre at his word on certain points because 4 years ago I barely knew what Flickr was and I derided all social websites except LinkedIn. Facebook is my favorite to hate.

    But I would not bother much with Flickr if that was all I could come up with.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,796Member
    Flickr is a way to share photos at a decent quality. Facebook used to (might still be?) have pretty terrible quality photos. Also, their terms of use are fairly slack, so I don't like sharing stuff there.

    I pretty much use Flickr to share to Nikon Rumors and stuff I thought was interesting or nice. Otherwise it gets very little use from me.

    From what I hear Yahoo may even be selling it off.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 927Member
    I use flickr mainly for the quality and size, I have made many international friends through Flickr and found some of the groups helpful for information, Downside is, it seems anything you put in the public arena, copyright seems to go out the window, I have had lots of images used by so called reputable establishments without asking any permissions or recognition. It would seem that you are fare game if you use Facebook or Flickr, and water marking does not stop them.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,552Member
    edited April 2016
    I used to use Flickr, but in the last 4-6 years it's been going down hill fast. For a site that soon may die, I just don't see much point in continuing to use it. Even if Yahoo! doesn't end up selling it, there were rumors they were going to put it on the chopping block.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    I meant the question as "What Use is a Site Like Flickr". Since there is really nothing like it, I just omitted "a Site Like". There are other sites that are technically good, but none have the reach. And I consider Instagram more of a social media site while Flickr is a Social Media Site for Photographers (I am sure that this statement will generate lots of debate).

    In any event, while Flickr isn't perfect and has issues being owned by a declining internet firm, I think that it is a long way from being on the chopping block.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,552Member
    Don't be so sure about that. The rumors came about because Yahoo! said Flickr was loosing money, and that they wanted to drop parts of the business that were loosing money.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,796Member
    The weird thing is that Yahoo isn't really even losing money based off the NPR article I was reading.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/04/17/474411832/for-sale-one-used-internet-company-called-yahoo

    They just aren't successful enough to investors. Especially with the investment they made in Alibaba, they financially should be sound to some extent.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    edited April 2016
    Yahoo really screwed up Flickr as a social media website, but it still remains as the best solution if you want a website that has a large user and serves the needs of photographers.

    But frankly I am happy that they screwed up their social media strategy. Flickr is ignored by the Facebook and Instagram crowd. But if Flickr tried to pursue that crowd, it would probably morph into something I would not use.

    I see myself setting up an account on 500Pix and Photobucket, but Imgur is the one to watch if you are putting your money on something to surpass Flickr. It is fresh and new and growing rapidly. Its strategy may also shift in a way that challenges Flickr.

    Bottom line is that if you want to show your images to a wide audience of photographers, Flickr is number one and 500Pix is number two. 500Pix has a higher concentration of professionals, but only has 2% of the audience.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • SnowleopardSnowleopard Posts: 237Member
    Flickr is free right? I just invested money in my own website through Zenfolio, Smugmug or one of the other 5-10 decent sites and dropped Flickr completely Their user interface leaves allot to be desired.
    ||COOLPIX 5000|●|D70|●|D700|●|D810|●|AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D|●|AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D|●|AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G|●|AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D|●|AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (Silver)|●|AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III|●|PB-6 Bellows|●|EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8||
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    It is difficult to get a lot of exposure with your own website. With Flickr there are strategies to obtain this exposure. You can then use it to funnel people to your own website.

    That is part of my strategy, though I have not executed setting up my own website yet. I am thinking about biting the bullet and learning how to use something like Wordpress to do it myself.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 927Member
    edited April 2016
    Snowleopard You have to Pay for Flickr Pro but no limit on size or amount of images you put on.
    http://mashable.com/2013/05/20/flickr-pro-changes/#mAM3aKJtoEq3
    Post edited by paulr on
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • picturetedpictureted Posts: 143Member
    It's still cheap, easy to use and has a broad community of photographers and lookers. I like to see what people in my area are shooting and what's up with friends and family.
    It's likely to be purchased (perhaps by Verizon) when they blow up Yahoo for it's alibaba holdings.
    pictureted at flickr
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Flickr has supported apps on every mobile platform, good luck with keeping a website up to spec for every damn browser out there. Just look at the fun admin had with the last "upgrade" to this site. If you don't have a "mobile friendly" version of your website the search engines will ignore you, blah blah blah.

    Flickr is likly worth north of $1B, and will be better off without yahoo.
  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 318Member
    I think Flickr's algorithm and model for exposure (especially Explore) has too many flaws to be used for anything much more than a storage and sharing site. In order for you to have a photo displayed in Explore you have to have a lot of followers to get the click through's to be considered "Interesting". In order to get a lot of followers you have to spend a lot of time getting people to follow you. The people you invite may or may not Favorite your photos and if they do it does not necessarily mean that are doing it because they like it but in the hopes that you will like one of their photos. If I am not following you I do not see your photo and if it is an outstanding photo you have missed an opportunity for me to see your work. The following is a link to the algorithm for Explore that goes into more detail.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ironrodart/6144091654

    There are many sites that will allow you much greater exposure without having to depend on others that you have invited to follow you and favorite your photos. 500PX is a good site that allows your work to get a lot exposure and it is not dependent upon your followers to like your photo as anyone can see the photos you post and can like them. Their algorithm has a 24 hour window similar to Flickr to make it to their Popular group (similar to Explore) after 24 hours you start losing points. It is a site for your best work and it is not a place to share photos with Friend and Family. However, if you want to get your work in front of a lot of people it is really good but like all sites it has issues as well. There are a number of other sites as well that allow you to get your photos in front of a lot of people.

    Personally, I do not use Flicker for anything other than posting pictures for my daughter and family or friends. I had a Flickr account for my client work and had a number of my photos downloaded and used without my permission. I contacted Flickr (which was extremely difficult and time consuming) and they made several suggestions that did not fix the problem. I closed that account. I have clients now that specify in their contract that I do not post their photos on Flickr and several other sites. One of the other things that I do not like about Flickr is that during the uploading process they make adjustments to the photos. It seems that they increase the saturation and adjust the exposure (darken). Often I have two copies of the same image, one for Flicker and one that I use to print or display elsewhere. If you are looking to get feedback on whether your photo is good or not I do not think social media is the right place. I have several people that I have used for many years to review and critique my work. Each one has a different background, two are professional photographers, one is a professional artists specializing in paintings, one is a physician that is a avid photographer, one is minister and one is CEO and President of a Consulting firm. I trust them to be brutally honest with me and value their feedback. Ultimately my client approval and my personal impression takes precedence.








  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 199Member
    vtc2002 said:

    I think Flickr's algorithm and model for exposure (especially Explore) has too many flaws to be used for anything much more than a storage and sharing site. In order for you to have a photo displayed in Explore you have to have a lot of followers to get the click through's to be considered "Interesting". In order to get a lot of followers you have to spend a lot of time getting people to follow you. The people you invite may or may not Favorite your photos and if they do it does not necessarily mean that are doing it because they like it but in the hopes that you will like one of their photos. If I am not following you I do not see your photo and if it is an outstanding photo you have missed an opportunity for me to see your work. The following is a link to the algorithm for Explore that goes into more detail.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ironrodart/6144091654

    not necessarily... there are many assumptions made about the algorithm. i made explore once, i had probably around 40 followers at the time ( ihave 49 right now).
    i posted a photo of a flower and posted it to a flower group, most likely around a specific time, and thats all that really happened.
    still, odds of getting explore are incredibly low
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,351Moderator
    edited May 2016
    Computers can't understand 'art' and they never will. They don't have emotion so in my humble opinion 'explore' is a marketing tool designed to catch the desperate (by that I mean inexperienced or naive enough to think that being 'explored' means they have created an image that will do well in top level competitions).
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    VTC2002, you are right in many ways. However, I don't see how Flickr and 500px are any different in this regard. I have accounts with both and while I am not as "Popular" on 500px as I am "Interesting" on Flickr, that is because my presence on Flickr is greater. Otherwise, the methods to become "popular" are pretty much the same as becoming "interesting".

    I a curious about your experience with other people downloading your images. It is easy to disable this ability in Flickr, which is what I have done. You still cannot stop somebody from taking a screen shot, but that applies to 500px as well. And 500px loads a higher resolution file than Flickr (and with Flickr you can reduce the resolution displayed even more). So the problem you are left with is probably a bigger issue with 500px if you go to the trouble to protect yourself with Flickr.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    edited April 2016

    Computers can't understand 'art' and they never will. They don't have emotion so in my humble opinion 'explore' is a marketing tool designed to catch the desperate.

    I was curious about this and decided to test it. I found the first photo that I could download on Explore and selected it for download - you will usually find one in the first 10 or 20. I then counted to 100th position and did the same, again at 200th position. I got six photos off Explore this way. I did it for four days. I had 4 "sets" of six and recorded the "rank" of each of the four "sets" according to Flickr.

    I then took the sets to my camera club and had them rank it blindly. They did not know the rank from either Flickr or each other. I then averaged the results from the club and calculated the "correlation coefficient". This is easy to do in Excel and basically calculated how much the "average club member" agrees with Flickr.

    I then did this for another camera club (I lecture on social media, so this is easy).

    The correlation coefficient between "club averages" and Explore was never less then about 0.5 and was occasionally 1.0 (a perfect correlation).

    So clearly Explore is on to something if it can achieve these correlation coefficients. Or perhaps the club members are on to something?

    I have not tested this with 500px. However, I suspect that I would get a similar result as the two algorithms basically do a similar thing.

    Spraynpray, these algorithms are not "understanding art". However, they are tabulating "the response of people" to art. I am not saying they are perfect, but if they were totally useless, the correlation coefficient that I calculated above would be zero (if you understand the math, anything above 0 shows a correlation. You can also calculate the confidence and sample size of 6 is small, but doing it four times in two different clubs compensated for this and effectively increased the sample size).

    For example, in my humble subjective opinion, there are lots of great images that don't get on explore (are interesting) or become popular on 500px. There are also many duds that seem to make it close to the top in both. But also in my humble subjective opinion, the average very interesting or popular image on Flickr or 500px respectively is better than the average uninteresting or unpopular image on Flickr or 500px respectively. Also, the quality of work seems to be generally higher on 500px than Flickr. Finally, portraiture tends not to be that interesting on Flickr as it is popular on 500px. That is probably why Pitchblack is on 500px and not Flickr (his girlfriend is on both). Pitchblacks images also score very highly on 500px.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,351Moderator
    edited May 2016
    I think we will have to disagree on this Jeff.

    I had one of my images explored once and had some 'adulation' heaped on it presumably because of that but in my opinion, it is nowhere need the standard of image that I would either select to go in a competition or enter into a competition myself. To be honest, I wouldn't ask the entire club a question like that, I'd ask the selection committee (assuming your club is doing well in external comps).
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,351Moderator
    BTW I only use Flickr because the club uses it as an easy way to form groups, run monthly internal comps and create image pools for club purposes. If it wasn't for that I wouldn't bother with it.
    Always learning.
  • vtc2002vtc2002 Posts: 318Member
    I agree with @spraynpray. I have had 30+ photos that were in Explore and only one or two were photos that I would consider worthy of recognition. I believe the issue is related to the algorithm. Almost all of the photos that made it to Explorer where when I was shooting primarily film and I would load one or two images a day. When I posted the photos the client and often times their staff and management group would view the images resulting in a high click through rate. According to the algorithm this and the click through's would have made the photos "Interesting". It had nothing to do with whether they liked the image or not.
    @WestEndFoto Flickr and 500px are very different in the way that the user community sees photos. Flicker you are limited to seeing the photos of the people you follow. 500px every user can see any photo that is posted as it is displayed in Fresh section of 500px and a user can like and or love your photo. The like and love clicks are used by 500px to assign points that help move your photo to Up and Coming and if you get enough points you move to Popular. There is also the Editors choice group that are photos that the editors find unique or outstanding by their account. This was one of the points that Pitchblack made in one of the forum topics that if you want maximum exposure 500px is one of the better sites.
    Concerning stolen images. About a years ago I was contacted by an attorney that was representing Robin Williams family. When I lived in Denver I took some portraits of Robin when he was filming Morky and Mindy in Boulder, Co. The family had been contacted by a photographer that was trying to sell them the portraits for an outrageous amount of money. The family contacted the attorney to make sure the guy was legit. The attorney did his due diligence and the guy had not removed my copyright from the EXIF data. The attorney contacted me seeking permission to buy the photos. I told him I did not know the guy and that he had no legal rights to the photos. We went to Flickr and they were aware that there was (and I believe it is still there) bug that certain paying members had the ability to download any image that they want regardless of the settings you have on the photo. The attorney contacted the police and the guy was arrested. Flickr banned the user from Flickr and required the him to turn over all images he had in is possession. I gave the Williams family digital copy of all of the photos that I had taken. I simply do not trust Flickr to protect my photos and I do not post any photos that I value on Flickr.
    @starralazn I am not sure how the algorithm would allow someone with a low number of followers to make it to Explorer but obviously it can happen. If someone has 10,000 followers and 20% of them like you photo they would have a higher click through rate than someone that has 1000 followers that had the same 20% like rate. I know that there are other factors that Flickr uses in its algorithm to assign a "Interestingness" score but it is not clear which carries the most weight.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    edited April 2016

    I think we will have to disagree on this Jeff.

    I had one of my images explored once and had some 'adulation' heaped on it presumably because of that but in my opinion, it is nowhere need the standard of image that I would either select to go in a competition or enter into a competition myself. To be honest, I wouldn't ask the entire club a question like that, I'd ask the selection committee (assuming your club is doing well in external comps.

    Actually, if the selection committee produced a different result in the scenario I described, I would think that is more likely an issue with the selection committee, not the overall club membership or an algorithm.

    How many of you have watched "Annie Hall". Perhaps quite a lot actually as this site is full of old white males. But if you are younger than me, chances are you have never heard of it. "Star Wars" on the other hand is a worldwide (at least in the West) cultural phenomenon. While Star Wars didn't win any non-technical Oscars in 1978, Annie Hall won four of the headline awards. This has to stand as one of the greatest critical blunders of all time. I have watched Annie Hall twice and I cannot even remember what it is about (I own every movie nominated for any academy award since the early 50s and I have watched the list in sequence twice).

    I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn't seem to appreciate the winners. Then it occurred to me that the problem was the Oscars, not me. Year after year the winners are overwhelmingly movies the public does not seem to appreciate - though there is a certain segment that watches movies just because they won an Oscar. It seems that the "selection committee" for the Oscars is living on a different planet than the rest of us. It is the industry talking to itself. And I have no time for the arrogant snobs that think the rest of us just don't appreciate good art. Neither does the wider public. The Oscar's ratings have been declining for years.

    The first club I joined in Vancouver was the club that won the most awards. It didn't take me long to realize that the condescending tone emanating from the "leaders" had the same arrogant stench as the Oscars. I have since joined a couple of less prominent clubs where the stench is easier to avoid. My photography school, recognized as one of the better ones in western Canada, has completely expunged the stench from its culture. I wonder if the photography culture that hands out the awards in Canada has this issue and successful clubs are successful because they parrot it.

    I am not saying I ignore the "experts". Nor am I implying that I am a great photographer by any stretch. My performance on Flickr is more due to my networking skills than my photography skills. But that is common in any business. As long as your industry specific or technical skills are good enough, the most successful companies are the companies with the most talented leadership - from a business perspective. I am not sure Ansel Adams would have been recognized if he was not personally connected.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I am going to lend more credence to a selection committee drawn from a broad section of the population, despite the fact that the population has its own flaws or the fact that the results are tabulated by an algorithm, than a selection committee composed of self appointed experts. The self appointed experts, just like the Oscar judges, deserve some credence, but I will reserve my own judgment.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 2,355Member
    vtc2002, I do like 500px. I actually think it is a superior site to Flickr. However, its issues are the same. While everyone gets a shot on the Fresh page, you are on the page for less than a minute until you are replaced by new images and only a very small minority of users scrolls down much beyond the first page. As with Flickr, the key to success on 500px is networking.

    I rather like this business analogy. No matter how good you are in say accounting (my profession even though I haven't done a journal entry in ten years), the most successful accountants are the accountants that network, not the ones that stand in the corner and hope someone "clicks" on them.

    Also, I do really like the Editors page on 500px.

    Now I have not completely groked 500px. But, I can tell you a few things about Flickr. First, comments don't seem to have much impact in Interestingness. Gross number of click throughs, while important, does not seem to help as much as you would think either. It seems to be the quality of Flickr members that are doing the clicking that is important. My latest two uploads, which are both currently number one on Explore, received barely 400 favorites before they were Explored. I have images with more than 800 favorites that don't even register in my top 200 for Interestingness. I have arrived at certain conclusions on why this is so, though they are tentative. I have also arrived at some conclusions on how to estimate how much influence certain Flickr users have on the Interestingness of images that they fave. I have tested this by engaging over 30 Flickr users to test this and observing their influence on Interestingness. It is interesting to note that despite being rated in the top 100 by Flickrrooster over the past several months, I am decidedly NOT influential. A fave from me does not get you far. Flickr's algorithm seems to be able to detect who is engaged in marketing and discounts them heavily.

    I have set up some other Flickr profiles besides the one that you guys see the most. These profiles allow me to express creativity from a different perspective. But there is one for which the primary purpose is testing assumptions about Interestingness and removing the irrelevant noise to enable me to evaluate how the public receives my images (and I put more stock in the general public than professional critics). That does not mean I take that as gospel. Far from it. I take their feedback with a huge grain of salt and give more credit to the professional critics than my previous rant suggests.

    Now if you just poke around on Flickr here and there and lament it for not picking your pet image for Explore, you are not going to learn much from it. If you appreciate that it is a massive database and learn how to mine the database, there is a lot of information to learn.

    IMHO
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