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Flickr Hacks: Tips & Tools for Sharing Photos Online

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Over two million registered Flickr users and counting have discovered the ease and fun of organizing their photo libraries, showing off their favorite pictures to the world, and securely sharing their private pictures with friends, family, or ad hoc groups. But Flickr's own plethora of intuitive menus, options, and features just scratches the surface.

Flickr Hacks goes beyond the basics of storing, sorting, and sharing your photos to the much bigger playground of what's possible. Whether you're a beginner looking to manage your metadata and play with tags, or a programmer in need of a detailed reference of Flickr API methods, you'll find what you're looking for here. In addition to getting under the hood of some of the most popular third-party Flickr toys already in the wild, you'll learn how to:

  • Post photos to your blog directly from your cameraphone
  • Mash up your own photos or others' public pictures into custom mosaics, collages, sliding puzzles, slideshows, or ransom notes
  • Back up your Flickr library to your desktop, and save the comments too
  • Set random desktop backgrounds and build your own Flickr screensaver
  • Geotag your photos and map your contacts
  • Download a list of photos and make a contact sheet
  • Make your own Flickr-style tag cloud to visualize the frequency of common tags
  • Build a color picker with a dynamic color wheel of Flickr photos
  • Feed photos to your web site and subscribe to custom Flickr feeds using RSS
  • Talk to the Flickr API using your web browser, Perl, or PHP; authenticate yourself and other users; and build custom API applications

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7 Slices

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1. Sharing Photos

ePub

Sharing photos has been a popular activity since the invention of the portable camera. Most of us regularly pore over photos during gatherings with friends and family, whether flipping through a stack of photos, looking through albums, or enduring projected slideshows chronicling every detail of a recent vacation. Flickr helps you share photos in many similar ways [Hack #1] , and it gives you control over who sees which photos [Hack #2] .

Now, instead of waiting for a gathering to share your photos, you can make them available to your friends and family almost as soon as you take them [Hack #6] . You can even add the photos to your own web site [Hack #9] if you want. And in addition to friends and family, Flickr can connect your photos with a wider audience of people who might be interested in them. Sharing photos is nothing new, but Flickr gives you the opportunity to share your photos in new ways.

 

2. Tagging Photos

ePub

Before web applications borrowed the term tags to mean keywords about pieces of digital information, we thought of tags as something you added to a product to give a bit more information. For example, you might add a sale tag to a shirt to let everyone know its new price.

Photo tagging isn't much different, in the sense that you're adding keywords to a photo to let everyone know a little more about that photo (and to provide terms that people can search for to find photos of specific subjects). You can think of tagging as a way of describing your photos [Hack #10] for a larger audience, while organizing them for your own use.

Imagine you have a picture of a shirt, and you'd like to be able to find that picture in the future. If you add a few tags to the photo, such as shirt, clothes, or fashion, when you want to see that picture in the future you can simply browse your tags and view all of your photos tagged with shirt as a separate collection of photos. Also, anyone else interested in pictures of shirts will be able to see your photo as part of the larger, global collection of photos tagged with shirt.

 

3. Viewing Photos

ePub

One of the most fun aspects of using Flickr is discovering amazing photographs. Clicking through the pages of Flickr is like walking through an enormous public gallery where anyone can hang a photo and have a conversation about that photo with someone else. You'll find several ways to view photos on Flickr, and getting to know the basic page layouts will help you navigate this gallery and find photos that you connect with.

One basic page you'll encounter frequently is a Flickr photostream. A photostream is all of the photos that belong to a specific photographer, displayed in order from newest to oldest. For example, Figure 3-1 shows a Flickr photostream for one of the authors of this book, with the most recently added photo at the top and the rest following in reverse-chronological order.

Figure3-1.Flickr photostream

From the photostream page, you can navigate to other Flickr areas related to a particular photographer. Clicking the Profile link will reveal more information about the photographer; the Favorites link will show you photographs by other members that this user has marked as favorites, and the Sets link will show you all of the photographer's groups of photographs.

 

4. Community

ePub

Flickr is part of a new category of web applications called social software. It's considered social because Flickr lets you connect with other members in a number of ways. Sharing is built into the fabric of Flickr. Instead of posting your photos to a personal, isolated gallery, you can share them with friends by passing around your URL. By inviting people [Hack #24] to participate at Flickr, you can build a contact list, and by posting comments and adding other members to your contact list you can meet other photographers and have conversations about photos across Flickr.

This chapter will show you how to add contacts at Flickr and follow their activity both on and off Flickr. You'll find out how to track your friends' favorite photos [Hack #25] , visualize where your Flickr friends are located [Hack #27] , and even compile a list of your Flickr contacts' web sites [Hack #29] .

By extending the social features of Flickr, you'll discover some new things about your Flickr contacts and see their photos in a new light.

 

5. Maintenance

ePub

 

6. API Basics

ePub

 

7. Custom Applications

ePub

 

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