Flickr is a great basic tool for storing and sharing photos, but it can also do much more, all depending on what your needs are. Get more tips from their site here.
First, if you haven't already, you have to go to the Flickr website and sign up for an account. You will need to create an account using your Google, Facebook or Yahoo login information. To start out, go for the free account so you can get accustomed to the site and see how you like it. When you create an account, you can also make a profile, with as much or as little information as you like about yourself.
At a certain point, you may decide to upgrade from a free Flickr account to a "pro" paid one. Whether this is worth it for you all depends on your usage. With the free version, you can upload two videos and 300MB worth of photos each month. The paid account allows unlimited uploads and storage. Your best bet is to start basic and see if you outgrow it.
Now that you've got your account, it's time to get your photos from the computer onto Flickr. Simply hit the "upload" tab at the top of the site and drag and drop the photo files. Once the photo is uploaded, you'll be taken to the "uploadr" tool where you can edit the title, description and settings (more on those below).
In addition to adding a description, you can also add "tags," which can help people (and you!) when searching for photos. If it's a photo of your recent cruise, for example, you might tag it "family photo," "cruise" and "Caribbean," for example. You can also choose to add the photo to a relevant group on Flickr — there's one (and often many) for every topic. Have fun browsing the groups and see if you'd like to contribute to any. This can also just be a fun way to interact with people with similar interests. If you find a photographer that you like, you can add them as a contact, which is like the equivalent of following someone on Twitter.
When you upload photos, you have complete control over who sees them. In the uploadr scroll down to find "owner settings." It is automatically set to "visible to everyone" but you can click on the little blue edit button to make it so only you can see it, or so that contacts who you have identified as your friends or family can see it. Once you've decided on these settings, it's a good idea to change your default settings. Go to the tab at the top called "you" and then "your account" and then "privacy & permissions." Here you can set the default settings for new uploads, including who can see your photos, share them and what license you have.
Also under owner settings, there's a section called "license." This gets into what kind of copyright you'd like to put on your photo and who can use it for what purposes. If you have no problem with people using your photo, as long as they give you credit, then choose "attribution creative commons." If you don't want anyone using the photo for any reason then select "none (all rights reserved)." Then there's a whole bunch of middle ground, which you can read more about here.
Besides providing backup storage, Flickr is also an excellent tool for organizing your photos. Click on "organize & create" at the top and you'll be taken to an area where you can make big batch changes to your photos (so if you want to change your privacy or permission settings, for example, you can do it all at once here). You can also create sets and collections. Sets are a small group, so for example that most recent cruise to the Caribbean. Then you might have a collection for all vacation photos, which will hold the various sets.
Once you've gotten your photos uploaded and organized in Flickr, it's time to share them. If you've made them visible to the public, you can send people a link to your entire Flickr account or a single photo via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. If you click on an individual photo, there is a tab right above it called "share," and you can send the photo to any of those services. If you want only your friends and family to see your photos, you'll have to encourage them to join Flickr, then add them as a contact and specify if they are a friend or family. Bloggers can also use Flickr to upload photos onto their site (read more about how to do that here).
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