Starting with Flickr: The First Steps

Created: Monday, May 29, 2006, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:22 pm

Updated: at

Flickr is a site that lets you store, backup, organize, and share photos. Let me help you with this first tutorial about starting with Flickr.


Flickr (pronounced Flicker) is a site that lets you store and share photos. Plus, it also lets you backup and organize your photographs. I first started using Flickr in 2005, and have been using it all these years. So I do understand what you would want to know if you are starting with Flickr.

Having said so, don’t worry if you are new. After so many years, there’s so much that I still need to discover about Flickr! If you have a favorite tip, please do mention it in the Comments section so that together, we can help others get more from their Flickr accounts.

Flickr does so much; let us look briefly at what you can expect if you are new or are just starting with Flickr (see Figure 1).

Starting with Flickr
Figure 1: The Flickr site

Flickr Can Do This

In simple terms, you can:

  1. Upload your photos.
  2. Tag these photos to make them more discoverable.
  3. Arrange and group photos in sets and collections, making them easy to locate when you have many photos.
  4. Organize photos, so that you can make changes to the meta-data.
  5. Share photos with permission levels.

Flickr Can Also Do This

Of course, you can do more. There are some tasks you can achieve without even being aware:

  1. Your photos are all backed up.
  2. Your photos are available for others to see, and they can contact you.
  3. You may end up making money by just uploading photos on Flickr. There have been many stories of visual agencies approaching Flickr members and paying them to use their photos.
  4. Your photos will receive comments, and many people will mark them as favorites.
  5. Your photos may be placed into Flickr groups.

Sharing Options on Flickr

We will cover a lot more in this tutorial series on Flickr, but for now, let us explore several ways to share your uploaded photos:

  • Public: You can choose to share them with everyone–Flickr calls this sort of sharing Public.
  • Friends or Family: You can create two distinct sharing options called Friends and Family. In this case, anyone who is on your Friends list, or Family list can view the photos.
  • Friends and Family: Flickr also allows you to provide both Friends and Family sharing options–these contacts can view photos from either distinction.
  • Private: Finally, if you don’t want to share the photos with anyone but yourself–in that case you designate such photos as Private.

Whichever way you share your photos, the best thing about Flickr is that you no longer have to worry about web hosting, creating photo thumbnails, or sending huge email attachments containing your photos!

More About Starting with Flickr

Not surprisingly, Flickr has become immensely popular in a short time. In fact, it became so popular that Yahoo! acquired Flickr.

I really like Flickr–it’s easy to use and has so many features that you’ll need some time to explore them all. At last count, Flickr had over 87 million members and that number must have been old news by now!

Having said that, I found no good Flickr related site that explains everything that a beginner or even a seasoned user wants to know about starting with Flickr. Maybe that’s because Flickr is so easy to use–but Flickr has so many features that you’ll never know about if you don’t go exploring!

Luckily, I’ve been doing so much Flickr exploring these days. In coming blog posts, I’m going to discuss a lot of Flickr related stuff, beginning with getting started with Flickr. I’ll also look at other photo-hosting sites, free photo resources, stock imagery, etc.


Figure: A screenshot from the Flickr site (year 2006)

If you click the above screenshot, it will take you straight to my photo collection of over 12,000 (as of the time of writing) public photos hosted on Flickr. Remember the above link will open a new browser window or tab and if your popup blocker doesn’t allow you to open a new window, just right-click the image and choose one of the Open options–these options are a little different depending on which browser you use.

Feel free to sign into Flickr–if you already have a Yahoo! mail ID, you can use that to sign into Flickr. In fact, here is a tutorial on signing into Flickr for the first time.

Flickr is a great time-waster as well–just search for a picture on any topic and you might be surprised by the visual content that is shown. It’s almost like a photo dictionary put up by users all over the world! I found over 300 pictures when I searched for the keyword “gobbledygook!” Flickr also has a page with the most popular keywords people are searching.

Flickr Gobbledygook

Naturally many people won’t call that wasting time! And actually, you don’t even need to be a member to view all the public photos on Flickr. Membership brings you many more options though. Flickr provides two types of memberships–Free and Pro. I’ll tell you more about the difference and how you can use this wonderful site in upcoming posts.

See Also: Flickr Tutorial Series

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1 Comment

  • I am being told that I need to upload all of my yahoo photos to Flickr but that with a free account I am limited to 5 kb or 5 mb I am not sure but I don’t know for sure how large my photos are I I don’t want to lose anything HELP!

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