Review of Flickr

These are the pros and cons of the popular photo-sharing website

Hiker taking photos
freemixer / Getty Images

Flickr is currently the top dog in photo sharing. Owned by Yahoo and most probably the most commonly used photo sharing site, Flickr is a photo sharing site you cannot avoid on the Internet. Even if you do not currently use Flickr, someone you know does or the photo links in an article you'll read will lead to Flickr. Over 6 billion photos "live" on Flickr (at the time of this review) and those photos run the gambit from professional to undecipherable snaps. With free membership and the convenience of built-in social media options, Flickr can easily be described as the Facebook of photography. In fact, convenience is the most stated reason for using Flickr in our reader-submitted reviews.

Flickr - Macro shot of real monitor screen
Christian Rummel / Getty Images

What Is Great About Flickr

  • Ability to Tag Licensing Notices
    At one point Flickr was the wild west of copyright but now there are easy to use options for setting your licensing notices with each photo or batch of photos. Unfortunately, the licensing and copyright data is almost hidden in the bottom corner of the screen and is often overlooked.
  • Social Networking
    Because social networking, photo tagging, and groups are built into Flickr there is no need to use multiple social platforms if all you want to do is be part of a photo community.
  • Photo Visibility Settings
    Individual photos can be marked as public or for a set group (or individual) only. This gives Flickr users a lot of flexibility in sharing photos with only those they want to share with.
  • Integration
    In addition to its own mobile application, Flickr is integrated into many of the big photo editing software programs (Aperture, iPhoto, Photoshop Elements, etc) so you can upload directly from editing.
  • Organization
    Drag and drop organization makes moving photos on Flickr much easier than other sites requiring text-based folder system sorting.

    What Is Not so Great About Flickr

    • The Thefts
      While Flickr has added licensing tags it still uses Creative Commons format which many people mistakenly believe means "free to everyone." Also, Flickr is still fighting its old reputation as a free for all copying ground and even some companies have been caught stealing photos from Flickr to use in advertising campaigns.
    • It's a Dumping Ground for Bad Photos
      We certainly don't think that every photo must be gallery worthy, but when the first 50 photos to show up on a search are so out of focus and badly exposed as to be unrecognizable it gets old quickly. It is an unavoidable fact that at the size of Flickr, a huge number of the 6 billion uploaded photos will be nothing more than clutter in searches.
    • Site Design
      Each time Flickr adds an information feature (maps, tags, licensing terms) it seems to just "stick it to the bottom" of the right column. As such, information is becoming hard to find information quickly and important information (like licensing) is hidden without scrolling.

      How Much Does It Cost?

      Flickr offers both free and paid (pro) accounts. Pro accounts are $24.95 a year (at the time this review is posted although Yahoo and Flickr could change the terms or fees at any time).

      Free Account Details

      • 300 MB monthly upload limit with photos limited to 15MB each
      • Photostream shows only the 200 most recent photos
      • 10 group pools allowed
      • Resized smaller images accessible only​​

      Paid ("Pro") Account Details

      • Unlimited monthly photo uploads but limited to 20MB per individual photo
      • Unlimited storage
      • Unlimited bandwidth
      • Original photos archived at a higher resolution than allowed with free accounts
      • Can replace a photo (rather than delete and upload a new one)
      • 60 group pools allowed
      • Ad-free browsing and sharing
      • View count and referrer statistic data for photos