Photographer Brett Walker wrote that "Flickr, for me, has been nothing short of a school for my eyes...". This is probably one of the most eloquent ways to describe one of the many ways that a photographer can go about using and enjoying the now famous photo-sharing website known as Flickr.
Here are the basics: Flickr is a site that allows you to create a user account and to post any of your photographs to your account. You can tag and label them to your heart's content and you can also supply all of the data about the camera settings, locations, etc.
What you will notice is that the site is equal parts genius in terms of good photography and equal parts junk in terms of amateur work. This is not important because there is more than just browsing and viewing to be done at the site.
The Many Uses of Flickr
Here, in brief are some of the ways that ensure I get the optimal amount of use out of my account on Flickr:
- Family photo storage - How many times have you been asked by a family member to send your copy of a group shot taken at an event, a gathering or just because? Forget all of the attaching of emails and confirming of receipt. When you post everything to the family page on your Flickr account you make it easy for the whole family to see and share their photos. Of course, the opportunity for a single "cloud based" space for family photographs also gives a huge amount of peace of mind because it means that precious photographs are no longer vulnerable to fire, flood and disaster!
- As Inspiration - Okay, so this is cheating a bit but when I am making a shot as a gift I often head to Flickr and explore what others have done. I have found great inspiration for baby gifts, Mother's day, and more. These are also the times when I am going to make canvas prints of images, and I want them to be the best quality possible.
- As a Mobile Tool - Any Flickr account can receive images from a mobile device. This is the way I can ensure that the cool shots I grab with the camera phone are preserved and even shared with my viewing public. Additionally, there is the option to send things to my blog via the Flickr app, and this means I can send "real time" shots to my account.
- As an effective sales tool - Because I am working on becoming a professional artist and designer, I post images of photographs and artwork I have printed to photo canvas. The ability to "show off" a display of my work in a virtual gallery makes it easier than ever to get potential clients to follow any "call to action" and to head to my blog or website.
While a Flickr gallery is not the same as a series of images on fine art photo paper, it can be used in ways outside of the classic "portfolio". Whether you intend to share with friends and family or to establish a career, Flickr is a "must have" tool of choice.