In Part 1 of this series, we covered the basics of setting up a brand new Flickr account, uploading photos, organizing them into Sets and Collections, linking to them and displaying them in slideshows. In this part of the series, we’ll cover some of the finer points of getting your images noticed and interacting with other Flickr members.
When you add someone as a contact in Flickr, you are essentially bookmarking them, so you have ready access to their photostream and can see any new images they upload. When someone adds you as their contact, it’s considered polite to reciprocate and add them as yours.
You add a contact by going to their profile and selecting “Add as contact” under their name. When you do this, you also have the option of adding them as Friend or Family.
This corresponds to the “edit who can see what” options under Your Account, as well as the privacy options you set for your photos when you upload them. Using these options together, you can make certain images available to the public, or only to those you designate as friends and/or family.
Note that if you’re trying to get attention on Flickr, keep in mind that your contacts have the option of seeing one upload per person or five. This means anything you upload beyond the first five probably won’t be seen unless they take the time to actually visit your photostream. Upload the one you want to bring the most attention to first.
Just as adding a contact bookmarks that person’s photostream, “faving” an image bookmarks it so you can easily find it again. You do this by clicking on the star above someone’s photo.
When you add someone’s image as a favorite, they see that action in their Recent Activity, along with a link back to your photostream, so faving images can be a way to bring some attention to your own.
Flickr is a social photo sharing site, and commenting on images is a standard practice. It’s a great way to give or receive feedback and build relationships. To leave a comment, simply type into the comment box below someone’s image. You can include some basic HTML tags in your comment as well.
Groups are created to collect images from several sources into a single pool. One of the best ways to give your images some visibility is to join groups and submit your images to them.
When you find a group you like, go ahead and join it. In doing so, you are sometimes presented with a page where you have to ask for permission to join. If this happens, simply type in a polite request to join the group and embed a small or medium-sized version of your image.
Some groups are invitation-only. As your images become more visible, you will eventually have visitors post these invitations as comments. It’s important to follow the rules of each group as they are set by its administrators. Typically, they have to do with the types of images that can be posted or how many can be posted in a day.
They can also include directives, such as “Post 1, Fave or Comment 2”, meaning for every image you post to the group pool, you have to fave or comment on at least 2 existing ones.
There is usually some HTML code provided that they will want you to include in your comments. All you have to do is find that code in the group’s front page, then copy and paste it into the comment box.
Last but not least, the Explore section on Flickr is a collection of the images with the most Interestingness on any given day. Interestingness itself is a secret algorithm that Flickr uses to determine which images should be highlighted in this section. While the exact method used in this determination appears to be a closely guarded secret, it’s not hard to guess what it does in broad terms.
If your image gets the right kind of attention, meaning it gets a certain number of views, comments and faves, there’s a possibility it will appear on Explore. The higher it ranks on Explore, the more people see it. One of the easiest ways to track your images on Explore is to use the Scout application from Big Huge Labs.
Please let me know if this two-part series on Flickr was helpful to you. If you feel there was anything I didn’t cover, or if something wasn’t clear, I’m happy to fill in any gaps.