Starting off in Flickr?
April 2, 2007 9:50 PM   Subscribe

Flickr Newb Question: I have a free Flickr account and have uploaded a dozen or so pics over the year or so that I've had it. Now I'd like to put all of my family photos (about 17GB worth) up on Flickr for 2 reasons

1) I like having an online/offsite backup and 2) I'd like to be able to access the photos via some of the cool options afforded by Flickr like the flash badge thingee and RSS feeds.

My question is how do I best upload AND ORGANIZE the photos? I have a (fairly) deep directory structure that organizes them on my home server. For example: Outdoors\Hikes\Geocaching\Atlanta has the photos we took on that trip. Is it best to just use tags? Would 'sets' or 'collections' help? Is there an uploadr (ha..get it??) tool that will assign tags/sets/collections/whatever based on my directory names?

Of course, I'm happy to pay to upgrade my account to Pro if I can find a good solution for this.

Thanks for any help y'all can offer.
posted by spifl to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, and its called Flickr Uploadr too.
posted by dendrite at 10:15 PM on April 2, 2007

Flickr Uploadr is really good. It allows you to create "sets" and add tags to photos, as well as edit titles and descriptions on the spot. You can download it for free and see if you like it before upgrading to a paid Fiickr account.
posted by Brittanie at 10:56 PM on April 2, 2007

If you are planning to upload all 17GB of photos to Flickr, you really have no choice but to go Pro - the 100MB limit for a free account is well nigh useless unless you plan to upload very low-res images.

Flickr doesn't lend itself quite so easily to a hierarchical system of organizing photos - while collections do work like "containers" you can only nest them 4 levels deep and there are many restrictions on what can and cannot be in a collection (i.e, mixing sets and collections).

Converting to directory paths to tags - the Flickr uploadr is a very simple program. It expects you to actually populate tags and descriptions for images. All it does is to store the photo on Flickr and group it into a set.

If you are really interested in converting your directory path to tags automatically, you would probably need to use a relatively high-end photo management software that supports some sort of scripting. I recommend Iview Media Pro. Iview Media does support VBScript and Javascript and there are plenty of ready-made scripts in the forums to try out. You can even download a 21-day trial if you want to do this as one-time exercise.

Curiously enough, I just ran across an article on Lifehacker about a newbie's guide to Flickr - you might find it useful reading.
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 11:10 PM on April 2, 2007

You can use Flickr fairly effectively as an off-site backup, though personally I use my sets and collections simply to highlight stuff from the archives I'd like people to see, or show off new stuff. It's also trivial to 'private' anything you want, hence keeping it completely out of the public eye.

I think tags are the answer for you - Flickr Uploadr lets you process photos in batches, so you could do it folder folder by folder, and, in your example above, put 'outdoors hikes geocaching atlanta' for that batch. Then it's a quick search on any or multiple of those tags to get into pics tagged that way.

And in case of the inevitable crash, here's Flickr Downloadr.

Also, here's a great tutorial that walks you through all the features. Flickr Beginner's Guide.

I can heartily recommend 'Pro' status. With a 2GB upload limit and unlimited storage, it's a whole lot for the cost of a few beers. Might take you a while to upload all those pictures, but I heard a rumour they're thinking of scrapping the upload limit.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:11 PM on April 2, 2007

Happy Dave - it's not a rumour; it's already happened :) (link) ... And it looks like we were reading Lifehacker at about the same time :D
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 11:41 PM on April 2, 2007

I'm not sure how much of a programmer you are, but the Flickr API is fairly easy to use. I would imagine that you could use a perl module and a little perl script to do the directory structure tagging idea.
posted by yellowbkpk at 5:28 AM on April 3, 2007

Another reason to go Pro: the free version only lets you display 200 pictures at a time (you don't even get to choose which ones - it's the last 200 you uploaded). Plus, you only get 3 sets.
posted by desjardins at 5:35 AM on April 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

Flickr won't let you reproduce your current multi-layered hierarchy, but frankly, I think that's OK. The best you'll do is two layers (sets, and then collections of sets). But with tagging, descriptions, etc, you can add a lot of other metadata to your pictures, making that less of an issue. These different facets let you look at your photo library in ways that a hierarchical structure does not.

Flickr respects embedded IPTC tags in jpegs. So you might want to A) find a good photo organizer that lets you quickly edit this metadata and embed IPTC tags; B) go through a folder at a time and annotate your pictures; C) Upload. There are a lot of uploading tools—Flickr's own is fine, but there are other more featureful ones as well. I use one that's a plugin for iPhoto.
posted by adamrice at 7:23 AM on April 3, 2007

Check the upload speed of your internet connection. Even the broadest broadband tends to have a weedy upload speed, and 17GB is a lot of data. I tried doing this with my photo collection, but gave up after calculating that I'd need to upload continuously for about 9 weeks.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 8:22 AM on April 3, 2007

Collections can be nested -- you can have up to 5 levels deep.
posted by treebjen at 11:21 AM on April 3, 2007

Although it requires you to have a Mac, organizing and tagging the photos in iPhoto and then uploading them with the FlickrExport plugin is one way to achieve the results you seek.

To get around Flickr's basically flat organization strategy (yeah, you can now nest collections, so it's not as flat as it used to be, but still it's designed around the concept of tags, not nested folders like most desktop programs), you'll want to tag your photos with the name of the album you want them in, and probably the entire hierarchy.

So, if you have a photo that's in Outdoors>Hikes>Geocaching>Atlanta, you'd want to select those photos and apply the tags (in iPhoto) "Outdoors," "Hikes," "Geocaching," and "Atlanta." The easiest way to do this would be to select all the photos in Outdoors, tag them at once, and then proceed down though the chain.

Then upload to Flickr, and put them either directly into a Set as you upload, or you can pretty trivially use the Organizr to sort them out later, by filtering for particular combinations of tags. The key is just to tag them before you upload, according to the organizational scheme you want to use.

(Although it's probably not something that you want to run right out and buy just for this purpose, Aperture does hierarchical keywords automatically. Too bad it's $300.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:09 PM on April 3, 2007

Flickr have recently added other limits to free accounts, such as:

Max of 10 groups free users can post a pic to.
Max of 3 sets.

So a free account will probably be pretty limited for trying to share all your pics with your familly. If your technically minded you could purchase your own domain name then get web-hosting w/ someone like Dreamhost and use Gallery.
posted by zaphod at 7:15 PM on April 3, 2007

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