Ask the Readers: To Pro or Not to Pro….

This post is going to be a little off-topic today. It verges on “how the sausage is made” in the blogosphere. Yesterday, Flickr sent an email out, in what can only be described as a last-ditch attempt to save the photo-sharing site from absolute demise.

Flickr is limiting the free accounts on the site to 1000 images starting in 2019 unless free Flickr account holders upgrade to the Pro account or back-up their images elsewhere. The Pro accounts will be $49 per year though they are offering a 30% discount if users upgrade before November 30, 2018. There is also a discount if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account (the discount is on your Cloud subscription which basically covers the $49 you’ll be spending on your Flickr Pro account).

I have been a member of Flickr (most of that time as a Pro account holder) since 2004 and for many years, I thought it was the absolute best community on the internet. I met some of my favorite people through Flickr and have accrued over 10,000 photos on their site.

Over the last couple years, I’ve only used the Flickr to back-up my Instagram images (because who knows what might happen with THAT service in the future!?!?!?) and after 14 years, I’d gotten pretty confident about Flickr’s longevity. This move, limiting accounts and insisting on Pro accounts makes me wonder how much longer they will last?

Flickr was slow to come to mobile devices and the service was eclipsed by cloud sharing, Instagram, YouTube and so many others. In the time that it took them to move to mobile, most users had found other platforms to share images and video. And even when they did move, the mobile app was just okay.

Much of what lives on my Flickr account is not relevant to what I do now. I have changed in the last 14 years. But its also a history in images of my creative journey, my life, my travels and everything in between.

So, I am stuck trying to decide if I pony up for the Pro account or if I officially walk away from Flickr forever.

So my question to you, dear readers, is where do you store your digital photos? Did you use Flickr or do you still use Flickr? What is the best way to store images to share online in multiple places — blog, Instagram, Twitter, etc?

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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Like you, I’ve had a Flickr account for many years. I don’t have anywhere near 1000 photos, and rarely upload anything anymore, so the change doesn’t affect me very much. But I have a feeling that Flickr will close down in the next few years. Better find another home for your photos!

  2. Hi Ana. I’m a Flickr user, and remember an email annnouncing SmugMug had acquired Flickr. Wonder what happened to that?

    I don’t use Instagram because they are owned by Facebook. Just don’t like that connection.

    It’s disappointing. I like Flickr, and now I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t have 1000 photos, so I guess I will keep the free account. If Flickr goes away, I don’t know if I’ll move to another photo sharing site.

    1. Hi Lori,

      SmugMug did acquire Flickr; they are the ones making this change. I figured that it was coming at some point, as SmugMug has no free option, so I figured that, at some point, they would do away with Flickr’s free option as well.

  3. I’ve used Smugmug for many years and found the MacAskills to be outstanding overall. They’re fully into supporting the photographic community while still making money.

    Their vision is for Flickr to be a photo community site and not a photo storage site. The people with over 1000 photos are a small fraction of the entire Flickr users.

    Personally, I share my photos with others through Smugmug (the cost is well worth it). I store my photos locally on a NAS, and back the NAS up to both Crashplan Pro and Amazon Glacier.

  4. Thank you for this post. I’d lost track of Flickr.. it was just too sad to watch it suffer resource depletion and strategic misalignment with its owners. I was glad–relieved, almost–to see that Oath made the correct decision to sell it and that they found a suitable buyer.

    So, what to do now? Commitment is a two-way street. They can have my $49 and–more importantly–my effort to join and contribute to the community, but first I need to develop conviction that SmugMug has a credible business model, both strategically and financially. Is it sustainable? Will it evolve with technology and UX trends? I suspect it’s the same for many folks who have ridden the Flickr roller coaster. This is an investment decision.

  5. I don’t know what to do, either. On the one hand I don’t upload to Flickr often anymore. But it houses a well-organized collection of my photos and I do refer to it fairly regularly, for photos of vacations, old photos of my daughter or my knitting. I don’t really want to continue paying for a service I don’t fully use, but Instagram is not a replacement.

  6. I’m one of those people who never stopped using Flickr, mostly because it’s the only place I could find to upload my photos where I could share them as I wanted to, make a public gallery of albums, and also make it clear what my Creative Commons license type entails, among other things. I have long thought about getting my own website under something like Zenfolio, but the idea of creating a new separate site for more investment of money was never that appealing. I have thousands of photos spanning many years, and no other site will give me absolute unlimited uploads for a mere $50 a year. Plus, they are adding the ability to sell your work right from your own profile. This is something I’ve always wanted to try, but again, didn’t want to make a huge migration to another site to do so. Now that Flickr is owned by SmugMug, (which is 16 years old now) I think it will be better managed and hopefully the uploading and organization will be improved as well. Even if Flickr didn’t survive as a separate site, I would guess that SmugMug could integrate Flickr users to their site to continue doing what they do.

  7. I have been an avid flickerer since 2008 (www.flickr.com/photos/stevmorpix). I always assumed flickr was forever, your blog makes me sad thinking my favorite community will be gone someday. It IS a supportive, welcoming community.

  8. I agree with Patrice. Instagram is about trendiness and FOMO while Flickr has always been more of a photographic community, with many professional and semi professional photographers creating interesting portfolios. The groups are a great resource too – I’m in groups with subjects as diverse as Eure-et-Loir, Orthodox monasteries, Buddhism, and Indian architecture. That’s something I wouldn’t get if I just set up my own portfolio. I hope SmugMug can take on the positive aspects of Flickr and not try to take it a trendy social media route.

  9. I’m having the same dilemma. I joined Flickr 7 years ago as the first place I shared my sketches online, since Flickr is where Urban Sketchers first began. I have nearly 6,000 images there now (mostly sketches), and I love being able to organize them easily into albums. But I don’t really use it as social media (who does?), and I also post to Instagram and Facebook, so what do I need Flickr for? I might pay for the first year, just to buy myself some time to continue thinking about it.

  10. The only reason I am on Flickr is that some online courses I have enrolled in use Flickr groups as a class and critique space. I have just cancelled my Pro account–not sure why I ever even had it. I’ll just continue as a free user.

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