A lot of people are bummed about dropping Instagram because of their shady new privacy agreement. Don’t be. Here are 11 reasons why Flickr is (and always has been) better than Instagram. Especially now that they’ve finally figured out mobile.
1) FLICKR DOESN’T TREAT YOUR PHOTOS AS TWEETS
On Instagram, your photos are essentially disposable. They’re in your news feed one moment and then, for all intents and purposes, they’re gone. Looking for that one specific photo you took last year? Good luck finding it.
Flickr simply gives more respect to your photos. You still have a news feed, same as Instagram. But your images are also cataloged, tagged, and put in albums. So you can go back and find them as easily as the day you posted them.
That’s not just important to me because I’m a photographer. It’s important because every one of my photos, whether a carefully composed landscape, or a blurry snapshot of my dog, are my memories.
If I’m going to go to the trouble of shooting an image, editing it (even if that just means picking a filter), and uploading it – chances are I’d like to be able to find it again.
It’s the difference between tossing your photos in a pile on the floor and having a shelf full of organized photo albums, where you can go back and find your pictures anytime you want.
2) ON FLICKR, YOU CAN FIND YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IT.
With Flickr, there are lots of ways to go back and find your old photos:
If you prefer seeing your photos in the order that you uploaded them like on Instagram, you can still scroll through your photostream and see them that way.
Add a few tags when you upload your photos. Then, if you want to go back in time and find those photos from your trip to Cape Cod, you can just search your photostream and they’ll all pop up. You can get as detailed in your tags as you want. Tag them all with “Mr. Sprinkles” and you’ll get every photo you’ve ever taken of your cat. Add “Driving” and you’ll only get the ones of your cat behind the wheel.
SETS AND COLLECTIONS
With sets and collections, you can see an album of photos, organized however you want. Photos of your cat by location. Photos of your cat by season. Photos of your cat by your cat’s current mood. And your photos can be in as many different sets as you want them to be in just by ticking a box. So you can have the photo of your cat being resentful on a crisp autumn day in Paris appear in all three sets without having to upload it three different times.
ON THE MAP
You can search your photos by map view and see down to the street level where you took them. This info is automatically embedded in your smartphone photos so you don’t need to do a thing. This is especially helpful when planning a trip somewhere and trying to find out what sites you want to see.
3) YOU CAN UPLOAD MORE THAN ONE
Flickr let’s you upload as many photos at once as you want. And you can tag, describe, title and file the whole batch instead of doing them one tedious photo at a time.
4) EVERY PHOTO DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SQUARE.
How many times have you taken an awesome photo of your cat that you just can’t share to Instagram because some of the best parts are cropped off when you make it a square? On Flickr, you can use whatever dimensions you want. You can even use your iPhone’s panorama setting to take a breathtaking panorama of your cat posing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Flickr will share the whole thing in all it’s rectangular glory.
5) FLICKR IS FOR YOUR PHONE PHOTOS AND YOUR CAMERA PHOTOS
If you’re like me, you have photos in more than one place. On a trip, I’ll have photos on my camera and also on my phone. With Instagram, my SLR photos are SOL. With Flickr, I can put them all together in one place so I can share photos from the whole trip, not just the phone shots.
6) YOU CAN SEE YOUR PHOTOS BIGGER THAN 3 INCHES
How many times have you felt like a boob trying to pinch and zoom into a photo on Instagram? It’s like waving your hand in front of the airport bathroom sink only to realize that this particular sink still has the pesky knob that you have to twist if you want water to come out.
On Flickr’s app, you can zoom into that cat photo till your heart’s content. Or pull it up on your computer or iPad and see those whiskers in their full resolution glory.
7) IT’S EASIER TO REVISIT YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM OTHER PEOPLE
Your favorite friends, your favorite photographers and your favorite photographs. On an Apple TV, you can even make a sideshow of your favorite images. So when you go to work every day, you can play your cat’s favorite song while showing her a slideshow of the very best cat photos from around the world.
8) YOU CAN CONTROL THE PRIVACY SETTINGS ON EVERY PHOTO
You can choose to make your photos public, or change the settings so they can only be seen by friends, family, friends and family, or just yourself. So if you don’t want the whole world seeing your kid’s naked baby photos, you can keep those just between you and your spouse. (And then, when your kid is a teenager, you can hold it over them just how easy it would be to make them all public.)
9) FLICKR IS TRYING TO SELL MY PHOTOS – SO I CAN GET THE MONEY
A few years ago, after realizing that lots of advertisers and publications look at Flickr to try to find photos, Flickr formed a partnership with Getty Images to help its members to sell the rights to their photos (ONLY if they want to). If you want to make your photos available for sale, Flickr will add a link to the bottom of your photo page (right next to the place where it says your photo is copyrighted by you, all rights reserved).
Granted, you’re not going to be able to quit your day job and, frankly, I think Getty doesn’t give the photographers nearly as much as they deserve for the photo rights, but I’ve personally made a few hundred dollars over the years by licensing my photos on Flickr. Which, given recent events over at Instagram, is a refreshing change of pace.
10) IT’S EASIER TO TALK WITH PEOPLE
Flickr let’s you email people directly. You can ask questions, share comments or even fall in love, get married and adopt a cat.
The activity panel on Flickr is more comprehensive, so you don’t miss any comments or favorites.
You can share links in your comments. Or other photos from the same shoot. Or those tiny emojicon things that I will never, ever understand because I’m older than 30.
11) FLICKR LETS YOU SHARE MORE ACTIVELY
On instagram, if people don’t see your photo in your news feed or search for the hashtag, they won’t see your photos. On Flickr, you can share your photos to groups – where they’re more likely to be seen. You can create an invite-only group to share all the photos of your cat from your family reunion. Or you can join a special interest group for people with cats who look uncannily like Robert DeNiro. Or people who take pictures of Dogs on Roofs.
So there you have it.
Here’s where you can download the new Flickr iPhone app
And here’s how download all your Instagram photos and cancel your account.
Uploading them all back up to Flickr is easy. You can just drag and drop the whole batch into the Flickr uploader.
Brian Eden is a freelance advertising copywriter, photographer, long-time Flickr and Instagram user and the founder of the blog MuseumOfFlickr.org.
He did not receive any perks, gifts or compensation from Flickr for writing this op ed article. Though he would certainly welcome some.
You can follow him on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/brianeden