Breaking up is hard to do, right? I’ve been with Flickr since right before I graduated high school. I’ve uploaded over 600 photos (not all that impressive) and follow a few random friends and family. My Flickr Pro account started almost four years ago but I honestly can’t say I reaped much benefit from it over the last year. I still use Flickr as my primary photo presence on the internet. However, most photos get re-posted without much additional information to my photo tumblr or to Facebook — another place that I never venture, but enough friends and family do that they’ll see it there first, before they see it on my Flickr.
Flickr itself has grown less ideal as time goes by. In the last seven years I can’t really say much has changed. Yahoo! acquired them, I never remember my Yahoo! password. That bugs me, since logging in via Google doesn’t keep you logged in. I have barely ANY social interaction on Flickr, I don’t seek any, and it appears like there is little desire from others to reciprocate. There are great mobile apps like Instragram (brandonheyer) to share the everyday snapshot, and macro blogs like Tumblr which are great for the social network that Flickr now lacks. In the end, it is less about the rather inexpensive $25 dollars for another year of Pro, and more about the fact that I am paying to half use an application for the sole purpose of storing my photos and distributing them to other sites. I don’t care what is going on in any Flickr network, to me Flickr is desolate — it has become a corner bar that started serving skunked Bud Light and stale pretzels.
It is time for an alternative game plan…one that I think I kind of, sort of, maybe, probably don’t really have sorted out, but definitely doesn’t cost me any more money.
What a Photographer Wants
I remember Flickr was a great ego boost. That is actually why I stopped caring so much. How many groups were set up to ramp up your views and comments so you could get explored? Way too many. How many had some terrible gif you had to post along with your required reciprocated comments? All of them. That alone, the requirement to post a sparkly gif, should have been the sign of the demise of Flickr. But I’ve held on to my Pro account for various reason beyond stroking my ego:
- Accessibility of photos - Let’s face it, having access to your high def images anywhere is nice.
- Ease of use - Flickr makes uploading and organizing damn easy
- Unlimited - Pro is nice in that you don’t have to worry about how big your photos are.
- Pretty - Flickr has a decent interface, albeit slightly out of date, it does the job well
In the Spirit of Consolidation
Looking at those options, there isn’t a whole lot I couldn’t get through my current host. They offer a plethora of one click application installs, and if I don’t like those I could always just install one myself. Initially I had thought about setting up a hosted third party gallery application. Then I remembered how awful they all are — it is nice to see some things never change. I won’t even bother boring you by linking to any, they all honestly pale in comparison to Flickr. If they don’t they clearly need to get better PR because I didn’t even want to get past the front door.
Beyond just look and feel it’d be a whole other framework for me to pick up and I just don’t have the time to learn. So, why not stick with what is comfortable? Why not stick with WordPress. I’m already using it for this, maybe I can roll in some functionality and get a decent gallery with a photo blog as an added extra. I’ll still be able to share my photos, they’ll still be accessible anywhere, and WordPress is generally easy to use. I really would just need to substitute $25 for some elbow grease.
Out of the Box
Poking around my current WordPress install I can easily get a “gallery” posted to any page or post. With some CSS I could probably have a pretty awesome look and feel going. However, being able to place a gallery anywhere is not the same as being able to have a straightforward way to group up your galleries. I decided I needed something a bit more grandiose. I need a plugin. Sorry, that really needed to be in bold. And what better plugin then the aptly named “Gallery” plugin by BestWebSoft? It almost seemed to simple, and that is what I love about it.
This gallery has it’s own page or can be dropped into others, like above. The images are all part of WordPress’s Media library, so I can use them anywhere else on the blog that I’d like. There is even a parent gallery that automatically links up all of the galleries I have created. Pretty slick for something that took me five minutes of research and installation. What’s more, it gives me everything I ever desired from Flickr, and more.
Why is this so great? For me, photography has become an outing activity. I don’t typically go shoot a photo here or there, I plan a day out where I’ll go for a drive, check out a new area and try not to get shot. I can now create a gallery for my outings, write a post and include some choice photos, and then include the whole gallery in that post, or just link back to the original. I can also still share either that post, or individual photos across the web, Facebook and Tumblr included, and have access to the original high quality upload if need be. It also looks great in my current theme (which I’ll be changing any day now) and doesn’t cost another $25 for a service I barely use. I’ll still be keeping my Flickr account, but it will act as a link back to here.
In the matter of a post, I’ve gone from a wishy-washy theory of succession to successfully liberated myself from Yahoo!’s Flickr.