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Artful Resources: Using Flickr to Share Your Art

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To find an audience for your art online, images are key.

Previously in this space, we’ve encouraged artists to start a blog to share their artwork and reach new audiences. What if you don’t have the time or energy to keep a blog updated? Using an image sharing site like Flickr might be your next best bet.

Flickr is an image-hosting and -sharing site under the Yahoo! umbrella, used mostly by photographers but by lots of artists as well. You can upload images (and videos), share them with others, and join groups and make contacts to see what other people upload. It has the advantage that it’s a very popular site, so with all that traffic, people are bound to see your artwork if you describe and tag your uploads correctly.

UK artist and blogger Kirsty Hall wrote a helpful series on Flickr covering why to use it, how to set it up, and how to make the most of it (with a part 2). The highlights:

  • Flickr is free to use, with restrictions on the number of uploads you can make — or, for a few dollars a month, you gain unlimited use and other features like Stats.
  • Make sure to set your account to public instead of private so people can see your artwork!
  • If your artwork isn’t photography, mark it as “Illustration/Art” when you upload to make it easier for people to find — use lots of tags to help people search, too.
  • Group your images into sets and/or collections to organize them.
  • Help people find you — link to your website or Facebook page (if you have one) in your profile and in your image descriptions. Under Flickr’s terms of service, you can’t use Flickr to sell, but if you include contact info, interested people can still find you.

Since Kristy wrote that guide, Flickr has grown much more and now has a variety of apps built to make using it easier. You can also set up your account to automatically publish your uploads on Facebook — to do that, find your avatar image at the top of the page, click on “settings,” then click on the “sharing & extending” tab.

Also, if you have a Pro account with Flickr, you can see your “Stats” here. They’ll show you all sorts of useful things about how many views your photos and collections are getting, how people are finding your photos, and more.

Stats on Flickr.
Stats on Flickr.

More links:

  • Flickr alternatives:
    • In the past year or so, an alternative photo-sharing site specifically for photographers has gained a lot of steam: 500px. Like Flickr, it has free and paid options for users. Adopters have praised its attractive design, ease of use, and the option to sell prints through their Market.
    • Other top alternative photo-sharing sites: Google’s Picasa (free), SmugMug (paid options only), and, of course, Facebook. (If you want to share a lot of your artwork on Facebook, you should create a fan page instead of using your personal profile — here’s why.)
  • Read PC Magazine’s latest review of Flickr with its updated features, and their reviews of other photo management and sharing software and sites.
  • While you’re on Flickr, check out The Art League Gallery’s collection!

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