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A return to the new Flickr

A return to the new Flickr

After a two-year absence I’m back to using Flickr. I had lost interest and let my pro account lapse but with the new user interface announced this week and an improved smart phone app, Flickr has piqued my interest. As if I really need to tinker with another social media avenue.

The Flickr announcement almost went off without a hitch until Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Flickr parent Yahoo, said  there’s really no longer such a thing as a professional photographer. This came website during a question-and-answer session after the announcement as Mayer talked about how everyone needs more online space. She received a lot of flak from photographers for the remark and has since apologized, but I don’t think she really meant to slam professional photographers. Maybe she should have used my favorite line: “Everyone is a photographer now.”

I am amazed at the sheer number of quality photographs I see every day on the Internet. There certainly is still a difference between professionals and amateurs, but the line is getting very blurred. Today’s amazing smartphones and other easy-to-use cameras have taken the complicated science out of photography, letting people concentrate on the image.

Time to bring this tangent back to the new Flickr.

Flickr, which predates a lot of other successful photo sharing sites such as Instagram, makes it easy to upload and share lots photographs, with an emphasis on organizing them into sets and collections. Flickr also makes it simple to join photography groups with similar interests, critique photos, make comments and interact with others.

I forgot I had started my own group called “Cool Cell Phone Photos.” It’s not too late to join up. I’m back.

The new improved Flickr is great for me because I can get 1 terabyte of space for free if I don’t mind an ad on my page, plus lots of room for video, along with a much nicer interface to show off my photographs.

Here are the new stats provided by Flickr:


    1 terabyte of photo and video storage
    Upload photos of up to 200 megabytes each 
    Upload 1080p HD videos of up to 1 gigabyte each
    Video playback of up to 3 minutes each
    Upload and download in full original quality
    Unlimited monthly bandwidth

Ad Free:

    $49.99 per year
    All the benefits of a free account
    No ads in your browsing experience


    $499.99 per year
    2 terabytes of photo and video space
    All the other benefits of a free account

When you look at the figures, I can’t imagine many going for the ad-free $49 version. I almost didn’t notice the ad, but if you’re really interested in keeping your site pure, $49 a year is not a high price to pay. I think most people are used to ads on the Web pages they see.

It’s hard to understand the $499.99 annual price of the Doublr account. You get double the space for 10 times the price. Who is going to go for this option?

The user interface is the most noticeable difference. Gone are the small thumbnails and a lot of white space with all sorts of metadata. Now it’s the more fashionable big-photo look with a nice black-and-white background. Also, your site looks more like a typical blog, with large photos of those you follow in a single column in descending order by date posted when.

When someone clicks on your photo stream, they see all your uploaded photos in order by date. I wish they gave you more control over this page. I want people to see my favorite photographs, not my most recent. You can make photos private and they will not show, or you can change the upload date on one or more photos to change the order of the pictures, but these are only work-around tricks.

I use Instagram as my main photo app to send photos to my social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook, and directing a photo to Flickr is just one extra click.

But it adds up to a lot of time. I thought computers were supposed to save us time. Social networking has become a full-time job.

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Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman


  1. May 26, 2013, 1:33 am

    You are about the only person to actually like the new flickr that I have come across. But then as one of those dreadful smartphone happy snappers that give photography a bad name, I'm not really surprised. Aren't you a little old to wannabee a hipster?

    Check out the flickr help forum and see over 25,000 replies in 4 days, mostly filled with contempt for the 'new flickr'. It proves that not all of us are trying to get down with the kids, nor do we want to.


    By: jon_smith
  2. May 26, 2013, 10:29 am

    The new interface is awful. It vomits photos all over your screen in the terrible, resource hogging, "justified" view, and worst of all you cannot customize it! One of the best things about the old flickr was that the user had a great deal of control over the experience. Now the user has none.

    The kick in the crotch to paid account holders is especially insulting.

    By: Brian
  3. May 26, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Hi Robert,_I fully respect your opinion and if the new Flickr is an improvement for you, well and good. However, in the interests of open and fair journalism I feel you should also have noted that there are users with a very different opinion- some 27,000 plus generally hostile comments have been posted on the Flickr Help Forum in only six days, not to mention many thousands of posts in the various “report bugs” forums, all of which attest to the angst that has arisen from the change. It was done badly, with no warning and no guides in place to assist members how to use the new format. The additional bandwidth that the new format requires caused the site to slow down badly for many. As a professional commentator on digitalia you have, I imagine, very good equipment and excellent connectivity, but in the real world that is not a given. I see no reason why users cannot have a choice of formats, those who were OK with the older version could easily be allowed to continue and those who prefer the newer version should continue with the site as it now is. All industries, apart it would seem the digital sector, pride themselves in giving customers choice. Consider what would happen if Starbucks, for instance, decided to abandon choice and insist that its customers could only have filter coffee, in one size only – no latte, no cappuccino, no iced tea. Why then can’t digital and media companies also provide options for their customers’ individual tastes? _With best regards._

    By: andrewcuthbert
  4. May 26, 2013, 9:10 pm

    The recent changes at flickr have produced a groundswell of dissatisfaction among longtime users, yet Lachman — a journalist (?) — seems utterly unaware of it. He natters on like a flak for Yahoo.

    By: joey harrison
  5. May 27, 2013, 5:44 am

    I am very unhappy with the new flickr! I use flickr primarily to share photos to my knitting blog and to Ravelry (a fiber community). The new flickr loads VERY slowly on my ipad and also on my laptop. I just spent the last two minutes trying to get to the photos in one of my sets.

    (…I was unable to post a comment as a guest and the system wasn't taking my wordpress info, so I had to reset it, and my comment got lost!)

    Anyhow, the new flickr is very attractive, but VERY slow.

    The images I used for thumbnails worked great for the smaller versions, but now they are zoomed in tight to some part of the photo… so I don't see a sewing machine for my sewing set, but rather a close in view of the plain green metal of the machine, which isn't especially helpful.

    I have a Pro account, not because I'm a professional photographer, nor an amateur claiming to be, but rather because I have a lot of photos in there (more than the former free version would allow). I'm debating whether to keep the pro account (at ~$24/yr) or to switch to the free version.

    I use flickr to organize and share photos for ME. I don't need or want it to be another social media outlet. I'm disappointed that performance seems to have taken a huge nosedive. In a nutshell, I guess I'd consider that the new flickr is:

    Pretty but not performing well.

  6. May 27, 2013, 7:51 am

    Depressing puff piece. Why not report actual news, that is 30,000 complains from Pro users. Also, Flickr Pro had *unlimited* storage which is much more than a terabyte. Shame.

    By: john h
  7. May 28, 2013, 3:50 pm

    But the real question is — are you really going to use the new Flickr more than you did the old? As a core user, I find the changes to Flickr have made it more difficult to use and much more difficult to view. Pages on black with white writing might look new or cool — but they are fundamentally difficult on the eyes to view. The only reason I read this article is because of the content, but it was hard going on my eyes. There is a good reason that books are published on white pages with black print.

    By: kirsten1961
  8. August 29, 2013, 9:48 pm

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on

    whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the

    exact same comment. Is there an easy method you are

    able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    By: Richelle

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