Getting Organized in Flickr

I’m a big fan of Flickr. Not only is it a great place to share photos, it’s a very affordable option for a photo archive. For $25/year, you can upload all the photos you want – at their original resolution. You determine who can view any or all of them and Flickr provides some very nice tools to organize and document them. And, those images are safely tucked away in an online archive should a disaster destroy the originals stored in your home/computer.

Flickr has several methods for uploading photos to your online collection – all of them quite easy. In this article, I’m going to demonstrate the how to best use the free Flickr Uploadr desktop app [Win & Mac]. The app looks and functions the same whether you working on a Mac or a PC.

Flickr Uploader screenshot

Here you see the empty screen waiting for me to add photos. You’ll notice I’ve already connected the app to my Flickr account. I did this once and the app remembers me from then on. To add photos, I can drag and drop the files onto the uploader or click the Add button and use my system’s file manager to find the photos I want. Each one added appears as a thumbnail in the app.

Flickr Uploader screenshot

Need to rotate a photo or two? No problem. I just select its thumbnail and then click the arrow key to rotate it until it’s upright. Also visible at the top of the screen is the size of this photo batch. In this case, these 11 photos come to a total 42.3MBs. This is important for users with free Flickr accounts. Free accounts have a 300MB/month upload limit. Pro accounts don’t have a limit.

Flickr Uploader screenshot

Next I’m going to select all of the images and choose the metadata settings that will apply to all. You see the metadata fields on the right. The settings I choose will be assigned to each selected image. I’ve set the permissions level for who can see these photos, added tags (keywords) common to them all, chosen the safety level, content type and added the sets where these photos will be placed. Sets are organizational elements within Flickr. You might want to think of them as albums. I can choose the set (or sets) by clicking the plus sign in front of the title. My selections appear on the right. If there isn’t an appropriate existing set, I can create a new one by clicking the button and entering the name for the new set.

When I enter tags for my photos, I think of the keywords I would use to search for a photo such as this one. In Flickr, multi-word tags must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Flickr Uploader screenshot

Now I can select each photo individually and add the metadata unique to it – usually titles and descriptions but maybe some additional tags too. Once all this is done, I click the Upload button and the app will do the rest. If I’m uploading a large batch, it can take some time to complete. The app displays the progress as it works and lets me know when it’s finished.

I can do all these tasks from within the Flickr platform, but it’s slower when working online because I have to wait for screens to refresh. And, since my first priority is to upload the images so there’s a off-site backup of these photos, I’m often uploading “raw” (unedited) images. In those cases, I upload them as private (for my eyes only) and then change that setting once I’ve had a chance to review, edit, cleanup, delete, whatever.

Flickr is a very affordable off-site archive solution for the family historian, but that’s just the beginning. There are many useful, fascinating and fun things you can do with your photos using Flickr. Stay tuned . . .

  • Nancy Hurley

    Thanks for the very understandable overview of Flickr usage. I’ve had an account for a while but haven’t taken the time to learn or think about how best to use it. This synopsis gave me a couple of ideas. I’m thinking this would be good to store my scanned images as a backup, before editing. I’ll look forward to reading your other ideas.