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Is it Time to Go Back to Flickr?

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SmugMug recently acquired Flickr after some mismanagement by both Yahoo! and Verizon. Now that it’s owned by an actual photography company run by real photographers, is it time for us to embrace Flickr again?

I, like many others, had a Flickr account that just slowly went by the wayside. There was just too much else to keep up with and something had to give. Flickr was it for many users, while other photographers thrived on the platform.

Those of us who abandoned Flickr for Facebook, Instagram, and Google Plus – at least to build a community – might be second-guessing ourselves now.

Social media platforms for photographers

Google Plus was a fun forum for photographers. The images looked great and there were some fun groups. There were also the added SEO benefits. But it’s officially dead, and there’s nothing else to say on the subject.

Facebook…ugh. First, business pages had to pay to advertise to new followers. Then business pages had to pay for those “bought” followers to see their posts. Now Facebook doesn’t want to show those posts at all in order to promote a more “organic, friend-centric experience” on Facebook. Which I think is great. Some photographers are still hanging on, but it lacks the character we seek in a photography community.

It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. It’s important to have a presence on there, but it’s saturated with narcissists, bots, and fake accounts. I recently cleaned out half of my followers who were all comprised of such accounts. I’m sick of the “algorithm rules” to get my photos seen. Instagram has the potential to be a user-friendly community where people can discuss photography, travel, and inspiration. But so much of it lacks sincerity and authenticity.

Even though I haven’t posted anything to Flickr in years, I’d still occasionally visit the platform to look at images created with certain cameras, lenses, and photographers. It still maintained that genuine community feel, tucked away in a quiet little corner of the Internet.

What’s next for Flickr?

What will the future hold for Flickr? You can read about many of the upcoming changes in this Flickr blog post. Some of them include dropping the Yahoo login, being even freer of spam and bots than they were before, analytics, and being ad-free.

A Flickr Pro account is less than $5/month when billed annually. This includes an ad-free experience, unlimited storage, and deals on other photography-related services.

Worth it?

I think so. I’d easily shell out $5 a month to finally have a photography community created by and for photographers. No sponsored posts, no product-pushing, no spam comments (👏 nice photo, now please follow me!👊)…just photography. I have a strong feeling that Flickr is better than Instagram for that purpose, though Instagram retains its own, different, wider purpose.

I’ve happily used SmugMug for years for my own photography portfolio and was rather excited to hear that they’d be bringing their ideas to Flickr.

You can bet I’ll still be active on Instagram, but right now I’m figuring out how to go forward with Flickr (more than just adding photos).

Now what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Simon Wallace

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Thanks for getting back to me. I know what you mean about number of channels and trying to leap between platforms.

Simon Wallace

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Hello - just stumbled across your piece whilst reading up on Flickr - procrastinating about whether or not to resurrect my account. Really interesting reading your article and am left wondering whether you went back to the platform?

Am liking your work and that your shoot with Fuji!

All the best

Simon

John Peltier

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Hi Simon, thanks for the note. My return to Flickr was short-lived. I just don't think my brain has the bandwidth to keep up with so many different "channels"!

Mike Schmitt

Thursday 14th of February 2019

I like Instagram better than FB, but definitely like Flickr from the past. I just didn't get a sense of community and interaction. I considered deleting all my images on Flickr, but instead paired it back and stayed with a free version. Let us know if start a community.

John Peltier

Friday 15th of February 2019

Thanks Mike, I will. I'm still assessing how I will use Flickr and if I can sustain its use - that will be a huge consideration in whether or not I create some kind of group there. Last thing I want to do is create a group and shortly abandon it!

Craig D.

Monday 21st of January 2019

I so enjoyed the image quality on G+ but it sure felt lonely over there! I get weary of trying to reconfigure my workflow to the winds of app popularity (or data breach or nefarious manipulations or...). I don't have many followers, but I do enjoy the little communities I've actively pursued and curated here and there. I don't think I want a lot of followers, but things like your posts about Photographers Without Borders need a gazillion views! As you know, I tend to prefer blog post comments, but that's 'conversation' not 'community', I think. I often wonder, how many really want community? "I'd love to hear your thoughts below" has become practically click-bait. It's an SEO tactic (especially on YouTube, where the easy money is!). But, I mean, what are we supposed to do? You do honest, good work around the world, so I'm not poking at you here -- you mean it (I hope) and you deserve the SEO. Anyway, I'll shut up (#tldr-life). Oh, yeah, I'll probably re-engage Flickr now that the Yahoo connection is completely gone.

There's some beautiful squalls rolling over Freel-Jobs right now! I should be out there...

John Peltier

Monday 21st of January 2019

I've actually thought about starting a community on Flickr because, yeah, blog post comments are more of scattered individual conversations, if they start at all. It'd be kinda nice to create a support group of folks like myself who are trying to transition from gearhead to artist...but it would require going back to Flickr like I've be contemplating, and I just don't know if I have the energy for that right now! Too many other things to do!