The 1000 Photos of Dr. M
December 30, 2008 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Need a replacement, Mac-and-amateur-friendly service for Flickr Pro to host my 1000 photos.

I have a Flickr Pro account with about 1000 images arranged very nicely in nesting sets/collections. Unfortunately, AT&T has decided to end the practice of giving customers a Flickr Pro account, so it'll end in February.

What's a good replacement service that will let me keep my organization, more or less? Will Picasa work? Should I just suck it up and pay for a hosting service (I'm a writer, so having a site and a place to host clips would probably be useful to some degree)? If so, what?

How should I move it all? UGH.

For reference, I'm a complete amateur who likes taking pics of travel and stuff. I don't know HTML aside from inserting links into blogs and the like. I use Macs almost exclusively at home and work (I have a MacBook Pro).

posted by Madamina to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Flickr Pro is pretty reasonably priced -- $2/month more or less -- and easy to get someone to gift to you (hey what I'd really like for my birthday is two more years of Flickr Pro). Options that involve exporting and re-importing are going to be tricky if you'd like to keep the metadata [i.e. all the tags and collections] and the lack of bandwidth restrictions are nice. Used inconjunction with a freebie website option [Blogger possibly or WordPress] it's easy to have both a simple set of photos that are linkable as well as a place to put clips.

I totally understand the UGH reaction and I guess my question to you would be "Is it worth fifty cents a week to not have to fight with this problem?" For me, the answer was yes.
posted by jessamyn at 10:05 AM on December 30, 2008

You could always try Its a bit more expensive but the quality is worth it.
posted by newtux at 10:07 AM on December 30, 2008

Buy a pro Flickr account, why give yourself a headache?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on December 30, 2008

I would WAY rather pay $25 than move 1,000 photos anywhere else. Is the $25 a big deal to you? I ask only because you seem willing to pay for an alternative service so I'm confused.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2008

SmugMug is $40 a year. If the OP doesn't want to stay with Flickr because it costs money, why would they move to a service designed for professional photographers?

Getting everything off of flickr is also not going to be easy. There are tools that people have written for this purpose but it's seamless. I guarantee you that you'll spend $25 of your time in doing so.

Getting a hosting service is the opposite of solving your problem, because the photo management tools you've become accustomed to in Flickr will be gone. You'll have to buy or build a way to put your photos into galleries and make them displayable, and implement any of the other features you may (or may not) use. If you just need a place to host clips, I mean, Typepad or Wordpress or anything that doesn't cost $$ is available to you, and even if you wanted to spend $$ and have your own site, you would still not solve the problem of photo archiving, display and management.

Is the $25 a year that much of a barrier? I mean I juggle two Flickr Pro accounts so maybe I'm not a good example.
posted by micawber at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2008

So long as you link back to the photo pages you can sort of use Flickr as a hosting service within the terms of service. So far as I know, you're not going to find a free service that will let you upload 1000 photos at once and organise them in the way Flickr lets you.

That said, you're not without good, free alternatives. Better than a Flickr standard account would probably be an animus3 account. I know a few keen photographers that use this site pretty intensively. It's free, and includes unlimited uploads and page loads. I think there is a limit on photo size or resolution, but I don't think it's cripplingly small by any means. Maybe, if you decide you're happy to just upload some of your old favourites to begin with, something like this might suit: I'm not sure they allow huge bulk uploads, but they may do.
posted by nthdegx at 11:09 AM on December 30, 2008

I consider flickr to be a pretty good service, and worth the $25. For whatever it's worth, when your AT&T-provided pro account lapses, you'll be downgraded to free-account status (unless they're doing something very hinky just with their AT&T customers), but all your photos will remain, and if you spring for a pro account on your own, you'll be back to where you were.

You can have flickr send you CDs with all your photos on them, I think, but I doubt they will retain any of the organization. While it's possible that there are services or web-apps that will read in the organization scheme and photos from flickr, I'm not aware of such.
posted by adamrice at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2008

At $25/year, Flickr Pro is a good value, especially if you've already got 1000 photos on it.

Anything that you find for free is likely to have the same problem your Flickr Pro account had, it could disappear, and you might not any warning. This is not to say that a paid service won't have its own chances of vanishing (like Digital Railroad), but at least they have a straightforward way of making money and keeping the service running.

SmugMug is a pretty small company, but they seem to be on solid footing. As I recall, they haven't taken any institutional investment, so they don't have VCs pushing them to either get big quick so they can cash out, or fail fast, so they can move on. They are funding growth out of revenues, rather than taking on large amounts of debt, so they are unlikely to end up in a desperate position because they took a big risk that didn't pay off. They are keeping their capital costs down.

Flickr has Yahoo behind it. That's not necessarily a great thing these days though, but Flickr is rumored to be a bright-spot for Yahoo. On the other hand, that may mean that they try to milk it and end up ruining it. Still, its decline will likely be slow, so there will be ample opportunity to bail out.

Picasa doesn't have the community Flickr has, and it doesn't let you organize things the same way (they have tags & albums, but photo a given photo can't be in multiple albums). Their free offering comes with 1GB of storage, which might be enough for 1000 photos (better than Flickr only giving you easy access to your 200 most recently uploaded photos). For, $20/year, you can add another 10GB (which you can also use with other Google services). Not quite as nice as Flickr's unlimited storage, but not bad. Picasa has Google behind them, which seems to be in a much better place that Yahoo, so even their free offering seems pretty stable.
posted by Good Brain at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2008

I'm not the OP, but I'm in the same boat. The problem with just paying up for Flickr is:

Value-added services should have some sort of permanence. Being offered Flickr Pro must have factored into at least some people's choices of ISP, no? If services need to be cut back, we should be grandfathered in, and new customers can go without. There's no way in hell I'm going to give them money to reward this kind of bait and switch deal. If you pay, you're essentially giving into a ransom demand.

At the very least, users should get to pick which photos can be seen under the free plan. My last 200 or whatever photos are cameraphone and house inventory crap, and the first 200 or so are the ones that are actually seen. So my choices are to either delete 1100 photos to force the 200 good ones to some sort of viewability status, or go to someplace like Picasa.

Picasa doesn't have the community Flickr has

(sounds like a plus to me.)
posted by sageleaf at 1:05 PM on December 30, 2008

There's no way in hell I'm going to give them money to reward this kind of bait and switch deal. If you pay, you're essentially giving into a ransom demand.

It seems to me like ATT are being the douche here, not Flickr, so your anger is kind of misdirected.

As everyone else has said, just pay the $25 a year. It's worth that and more, and will save you the time and hassle of trying to find something else that's just as good, which you probably won't.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2008

This problem can go away for the low, low price of $25.

Then you can use the time saved to somehow shaft AT&T, who are the villains of the piece.
posted by bonaldi at 2:29 PM on December 30, 2008

There's no way in hell I'm going to give them money to reward this kind of bait and switch deal.

Then don't devalue your photos by putting them in a situation where you could lose them. If you don't care about your photos, why should anyone else? There is nothing free in life and considering the infrastructure needed to host digital photos, a person shouldn't take any offer of "free" without realizing there are strings attached, be they stated or not.

Here's what I do that ensures Flickr doesn't have my photos by the balls, ever:
All my photos go into iPhoto (mac only). For there I use FlickrExport to export copies to my Flickr account. Yes, the plugin costs $18US, but that's a small price to pay knowing that I have copies of all my photos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on December 30, 2008

Then don't devalue your photos by putting them in a situation where you could lose them.

No idea what you mean by that. I have my photos locally, I have plenty of webhosting, and I've already cancelled Flickr and moved to Picasa.

My beef is getting a promised benefit yanked, with little notice and no option for staying that doesn't involve paying for something that I already paid for in a bundle.
posted by sageleaf at 2:54 PM on December 30, 2008

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