Flickr (owned by yahoo!) is one of the most widely used “web 2.0” online applications. If you have never heard of flickr, it’s a photo sharing/social networking application and was one of the first applications to use “tags” (or folksonomy as it’s technically called). Flickr is free to use and upload 20mb of photos per month, but once you get hooked, and need more space, it’s a reasonable $20/year. Flickr has one of the more refined interfaces of all the web 2.0 apps, including online organization and editing tools. However, getting the photos to the site, especially if you have many photos to upload at one time, can sometimes be a chore.
Luckily, for all the OS X users out there, there’s hope in the form of some excellent uploading tools. Because of flickr’s popularity and excellently documented api, there are plenty of options out there for you.
If you use iPhoto to retrieve your photos from your digital camera, but don’t have a .mac account, and would like to use Flickr to share you photos, there are a few tools you can use. The easiest, most mature app is “FlickrExport” from ConnectedFlow Software, although it’s a bit hard to recommend because it now costs $15, almost as much as Flickr itself. Also, the demo version only uploads 5 images at a time, and adds an annoying (read: lame) advertising to the descriptions of the pictures you upload.
FlickrExport is a plugin for iPhoto that give you an extra option when you choose File->Export in iPhoto. The FlickrExport wizard loads and you are given the option to upload all the files you selected in iPhoto. You can also add tags, create a photoset and add all the photos to it, change titles, descriptions, as well as dimensions on all your photos. FlickrExport even keeps track of how large of files your uploading and how close you are to your monthly limit. Oh, and if you use Aperture, ConnectedFlow loves you too.
The other option for iPhoto users is Gleam. Gleam is hard to recommend because it’s a bit immature at this point (and really really really slow). You can select a range of photos in iPhoto, drag them to the gleam window, and upload them to flickr. Gleam also allows group editing of all the useful info. However, another bug in Gleam is the fact that the auto-resize tool does not recognize the difference in portrait and landscape photos, so you must do those in two different steps or it will distort them. Gleam is free and is supposedly going to stay that way. Also, it’s supposedly getting better iPhoto support, so keep and eye on it.
“But I don’t do iPhoto!”
If you don’t use iPhoto, there are other great options.
1001, dubbed a “flickr accessory”, is a flickr browser/uploader from the developer that brings us the great blogging app “ecto”. 1001 can either load photos from your hard disk or from iphoto and will allow you to change all the necessary information, dimensions, tags, etc. for your pictures, and upload them away. 1001 stands out because of it’s included screensaver that will pull your pictures from flickr and display them, much like the iPhoto screensaver will.
Another stand-alone uploader is PictureSync. PictureSync’s major feature is the ability to work with almost all the photo sharing sites out there (Yes, there is more than flickr). It features most of the same rotation, tag editing, uploading, tagging, etc. features that the others do.
If you are dashboard inclined, there is a nice little flickr widget aptly named flidgit. Flidgit is fast, cheap (Free!), and easy, but the only thing it can do is upload a photo with tags, no other options.
The Lone Ranger would be proud
I’m sure there are a few die hard Quicksilver fans out there say “Can’t I just use quicksilver?” Yes! You can. Download the “flickr upload” plugin, select a photo somewhere on your hard disk, hit tab, choose “Upload to flickr with tags”, add your tags and up it goes. I’m sure the more advanced users can tie this together with other plugins to really make a great workflow. Unfortunately, in it’s current form, it has only the limited functionality that Flidgit does, tags.
I’m sure there are even more tools out there, and I haven’t even touched all the cool alternative interfaces there. If you have a favorite, be sure to let us know in the comments, or our new forum. Hopefully, one of these options will fit into your workflow. Now get out there, take some pictures, and maybe, one day, you too can get a solo exhibit!