What is Flickr?

Flickr is an online photo community where members can share photos with the world. It’s also one of the world’s largest sources of Creative Commons photos.

Check out this article to find out exactly what Flickr is, how Flickr works, and why the website still matters in 2021.

Flickr is one of the Internet’s first social sharing sites. The photo service was launched in February 2014 and used to belong to Yahoo. It is now owned by photo software company SmugMug.

Here’s how Flickr works:

  • With Flickr, members with an account can upload their own photos and share them with other users.
  • Just like on other social sites, you can comment photos and add the ones you like most to your “Favorites”
  • Photos that receive a high number of favorites within 24 hours of uploading are feature in the site’s “Explore” section.
  • You can add tags to your photos to improve findability. You can click any tag to find similar photos.
  • Each user has his or her own profile, on which their own photos are displayed, sorted by album.
  • You can also add other members as contacts on Flickr if you like their pictures.
  • If you frequently upload photos on specific topics, you can join groups that share photos on your favorite topics.
  • Flickr encourages sharing. It’s easy to download the photos of others. Certains photos licensed under Creative Commons can be reused for free.

How many users does Flickr have?

Flickr has more than 100 million users and according to its own information, more than 10,000 uploads are realized per minute. According to Google, the platform is one of the 50 most-used websites. For some years now, it has been available in English, German and many other languages. How popular Flickr really is can be seen from the impressive statistics. Already in 2007 more than 2 billion photos were stored on the photo sharing platform, one year later it was over 3 billion and by 2012 the number of uploaded photos could increase to 8 billion.

Is Flickr free? Is Flickr Pro worth it?

Flickr has always been free to use and Smug Mug has promised to continue his. The website used to offer each user with up to 1 TB of storage space for photos and videos up to a maximum length of 3 minutes. Flickr ended this generous offering in 2018 and now limits free users to only 1,000 photos. Still, this is more than enough for most people.

You can upgrade to Flickr Pro to get more storage and additional features. For $50 per year you will receive unlimited storage space for photos and videos in full resolution,an ad-free experience, additional statistics on the popularity of your photos and priority customer service. Pro users can also upload videos up to 10 minutes in length.

Flickr also occasionally offers partner discounts for photographer-centric products and services, including Adobe Photoshop and SmugMug hosting.But these promotions are easily found through other providers online.

Overall Flickr Pro is worth it if you have thousands of photos and are really dedicated to photography. Otherwise a standard free account will satisfy most people.

Flickr vs. Instagram– What’s the difference?

As successful as Flickr is, it’s popularity has been eclipsed by rival Instagram over the years. Instagram has vastly outgrown its older brother. The trend graph below speaks for itself:

Flickr vs Instagram
Instagram now has many more users than Flickr. Source: Google Trends

But more popular doesn’t necessary mean better. Instagram took off in large part because it is a mobile-first, whereas Flickr reached its peak at a time when people used computers exclusively. This has allowed Instagram to target a much larger group of users. Although Instagram is a photo-sharing site, it’s focus is much more social. The site is designed for everday people to connect with one another. The focus really isn’t on photography. You’ll find lots of memes, video clips, and selfies on the site.

In contrast Flickr is still oriented toward more serious amateur and professional photographers. You’ll find black-and-white images of architecture, bird photos, stunning landscapes, and creative artwork. Instagram also has some of this content, but it’s all you’ll find at Flickr. The messaging feature on Flickr is not wide used. It’s not a place were you would share content to collect with others. Flickr is mostly a photo gallery where people can walk by and awe.

We recommend Flickr if you are a serious photographer. We recommend Instagram if you want to connect with friends.

Flickr in 2021 & Beyond

SmugMug has promised to continue improving Flickr in 2021 and we’re excited to see what they introduce. Although the site sometimes feel ancient compared to next-generation social media sites, don’t let this fool you. The site has a very active core community and a clear focus. It does one thing and does well– providing a home for serious photographers.