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Tag Archives: flickr
Something incredible happened last night. Flickr surprised everyone by upgrading its iPhone app. Not *just* updating – upgrading. Revamping. Relaunching as something completely new – and in fact, usable. Yay.
That’s when – and if – you can log in. If, like me, you were forcibly logged out during the update, you were asked to log in using either your existing Yahoo! credentials, Facebook or Google.
Sadly, despite numerous attempts the message was always the same for me:
I requested a new password, but I was ignored.
Well, not just me:
@michald Same here. Asked for password reminder but never got email including log in details. That’s me never using Flickr again.
— James Seddon (@jamesseddon) December 12, 2012
Frustrating, unnecessary. But there seems to be an easy – if completely baffling – “workaround”.
When you get the above message, ignore the main screen, but instead go to the next screen with captcha.
Type in your email and password – plus the captcha bit – and if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll be logged in and redirected to your welcome screen.
No idea why you need to do it this way, and sadly, neither the Flickr blog nor the Flickr dev blog offer any clues.
But the app is actually quite cool and seems to define the direction in which Flickr is likely to go now. An overview of the new features is here.
If the complete overhaul of the app is a sign of things to come, Flickr may still rise from the ashes. Hope it’s not too late.
At least for my photography. First, the image I submitted for a project by the New York Times called “Picturing 7 billion” was chosen for their Facebook page. That made my day on Friday. Later that day I got a mention on the Lens blog too, which was great.
The idea behind the project is to create a time capsule for those who were born around the time when we broke the 7 billion people barrier. Time will tell whether my picture – taken during a rather rigorous walk with friends in Petersfield, Hampshire last weekend – will make the cut.
Then another picture I took yesterday outside the British Museum got ‘Explored” on Flickr. Not sure what it means – apart from the fact that I was noticed by some Yahoo! algorithm – but it’s nice to get all those nice comments anyway.
At least there’s something I can now add to my bragging rights.
- Ever wanted to be featured on Flickr’s explore page, but didn’t know how others get there? Photopreneur has an interesting post explaining how Flickr’s algorithm selects images for the Explore page. Worth a read, even if you hate Flickr or don’t give a damn about reaching a wider audience.
- Abelardo Morell’s fascinating camera obscura technique, which fills darkened rooms with amazing landscapes. National Geographic put together a gallery of his best images and posted a video explaining the technique.
- Wartime photographers: the New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller talks to war photographers Joao Silva and Greg Marinovich. Both were wounded while on assignments as war photographers, both saw their colleagues die. The transcript is called “The inner lives of wartime photographers” and is essential reading for everyone, not just photographers.
UPDATE: If you’re looking for the February 2012 Flickr update, it’s here.
Oh, I do like nice surprises! Last night I discovered a preview link on my Flickr page, which takes users to what will ultimately become the new Flickr interface.
The facelift was long overdue. I can’t remember any substantial changes to the interface over the last few years, but the latest overhaul is really good – and, more importantly – useful.
The first thing you notice is that the images in your photostream are bigger (the default size is now 650px). And that’s a good thing. Services like boston.com’s The Big Picture or Pictory prove that large images work better.
Depending on your layout, if you choose to display collections next to your photostream, you can now see usage stats for them and edit the mosaic for each of them from your photostream page.
But the biggest changes are visible when you go to an individual photo page.
Those of you who often post images which require black background will be pleased to know that the third-party “view on black” workaround has been replaced by a permanent ‘zoom’ feature. It allows users to see a bigger version of the currently viewed image in a ‘lightbox’ on black bacground with hardly any distractions on the page. Neat.
What’s more, it comes with a keyboard shortcut too – just press ‘f’ to toggle between regular and lightbox views. You can now also use keyboard shortcuts to scroll through images while in the lightbox mode.
The same shortcuts can now be used to browse through the photostream, collections and sets. Alternatively, use the newly added ‘newer/older’ arrows above the image. I’m also glad that the photostream thumbnails have been revamped – thanks to a wider page you can now see five instead of the uselessly minimalistic two thumbnails before.
The whole page looks and feels lighter now. All the various functions – like tagging, adding notes, adding to or removing from sets, editing, choosing sizes, etc. – have now been grouped under one drop-down menu called ‘Actions’, just above the image. Right next to it a new ‘Sharing’ menu appeared, making it easier to share Flickr images elsewhere. The sharing functionality hasn’t changed though. Twitter and Facebook integration would have been a nice addition to the new page.
But what has changed is how you add images to groups. Before it was one group at a time. And if your list of groups was long, the whole process was really time-consuming and painful. Now it’s just a question of ticking all the right boxes at once and your picture is automatically added to all yourchosen groups. It’s a bit weird that Flickr hasn’t improved this bit of functionality earlier – a much better solution was already available to Lightroom users. But thankfully Flickr has caught up eventually.
The right-hand column has changed dramatically too. The old version looked like this:
The new, wider page, has space for a short description of when the photo was taken and (if available) what camera was used. There’s also a new, permanent map for geo-tagging, plus the revamped thumbnails I mentioned above. If your image has been added to a group, set or collection, you can now preview thumbnails for the group, set or collection on the image page.
When you compare the two screengrabs, you’ll also notice that the commenters’ thumbnails are much smaller, therefore fewer things in the main column compete with the main image for attention.
Overall, it’s not a drastic overhaul, but it’s also much more than just ‘cosmetic changes’. The whole experience is now much smoother and user-friendly. The pages are more logical and lighter, the most important functionality is grouped together and is easily accessible.
If only they removed the ability to add ginormous badges to comments.
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Everyone is complaining that it’s more and more difficult to make money on photography and that the stock photography market has become too competitive. Stock libraries spring up every five minutes and they all overflow with images.
Yes, that might be true. But when you really need a good picture, micro stock libraries disappoint.
In my job I often need to browse for images to illustrate various stories. The subjects vary wildly, but in many cases the requirements are not too taxing: a picture of a child using a laptop; or an image of nice garden; or a messy room. You know the score – no latest Reuters shots from Afghanistan or galleries of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Just some interesting, clean, fairly generic, but hopefully inventive images. The last bit – inventive – is however the source of my frustration.
Photographers submitting their images to stock galleries seem to have a problem with thinking outside the box. They either repeat the same bland – and often detached from reality – clichés which over the years have become a norm, or go for very artistic images, which, although technically perfect, are hardly usable.
This morning I was looking for an image of a car with a few rust spots. Had I known I would need one, I would’ve snapped my own rusty car as it combines the two things I was after: it’s relatively modern and working, and it has a few rusty spots. But try searching for a such a car on a certain well-known stock image website and all you get is numerous images of old rusty Dodge trucks, abandoned somewhere picturesque and artfully photographed in HDR. It ticks all stock library boxes, so it gets accepted, yet from an editorial perspective it’s mostly useless.
Next one: knitting. Here’s where all those predictable clichés come out in force. Because if you were to believe in what stock libraries have to offer, you’d have to conclude that knitting is for old frumpy pensioners in rocking armchairs. Therefore, a story on young trendy mums meeting in gastropubs to knit and chat simply cannot be illustrated by a stock image.
And don’t even get me started on corporate photography. Or rather, don’t get me started on images with keywords ‘meeting’ and ‘office’. Seriously, have you ever been to a meeting, mr stock photography? Do you really think that all meetings involve extremely good-looking people in blue shirts, pointing at a laptop screen or shaking hands or gazing at a whiteboard graph?
I recently needed an image to illustrate a story about tackling challenging meetings. The choice was between a group of happy suits gazing at a graph/laptop/whatever else or a room full of snoring office workers. All looked very corporate because yes, in real life meetings only involve airbrushed 30-somethings in Armani suits, sitting in sterile air-conditioned office towers.
Stock photography now appeals to a much wider audience, the rules have changed a bit. It is no longer just a repository of clinical images for brochures and PowerPoint presentations, or at least it shouldn’t be. Media outlets use stock images to illustrate their content because it’s cheaper. This creates more demand for more original imagery. Stock photographers must start thinking like journalists to differentiate. There is no point reproducing the same old crap – find out who your audience is and do some research on what works for them.
I know there are people who probably make a fortune on those clinical corporate images – and I agree there is and probably will always be a market for those. But budget cuts and/or smarter thinking have forced many newsrooms to rely on cheaper alternatives. Therefore standing out in a sea of blandness is the only way forward.
Maybe the new Flickr-Getty deal will provide editors with more ‘real’ images? But I should deal with that can of worms in a separate post perhaps…
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- Buying Stock Images – Have We Met before? (jenifferthompson.com)
- Cut it Out! Find Stock Photos with White Backgrounds Lightning Fast (prweb.com)
- Stock Photography Rights (blogs.photopreneur.com)
- Getty taps into Flickr snappers (news.bbc.co.uk)