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By Derrick Story | Thursday, May 08, 2014

Use the New Flickr to Promote the New You

Use the new Flickr to promote the new You

Flickr’s new “People You Follow” stream does an excellent job of showcasing photographers you like. But don’t forget this is a two-way street—there are also people following the images you post.

Are you leveraging this opportunity to shine in the eyes of thousands? Here are a few tips to improve your Flickr presence.

Think of Flickr as a showcase, not a dumping ground. Yes, you have one terabyte of free storage. And yes, you can put a whole lot of photos there for safekeeping. But only make your best shots public.

Trust me, no one wants to see 500 images of your Hawaiian vacation in your Photostream. Keep 495 of them private, and showcase your five best. If you have friends and family who want to see more, Flickr lets you set up a special filter just for them.

Use Flickr as a tool to help you develop your photographic style. When people come to my Flickr page, I want them to recognize immediately that they’re looking at Derrick Story’s pictures—and I hope some of my techniques shine through the collection of images presented on the page.

For example, I prefer to have my horizon lines low to show off big dramatic skies. I think it’s best to move in and out when presenting a collection of images. I like rich blacks. These are some of the characteristics that I want to dominate the pictures on my Photostream page.

Choosing good profile images

Stay out of ruts. Photographers can be habitual creatures, often approaching subjects the same way. Having a page filled with landscape shots from a long perspective is not “style”; it’s boring. Browse your own Flickr page to help you identify the habits you’ve developed, then consider changing things up a bit.

Post-processing is a good thing. Sure, we all like to get it right in the camera. But even good captures can be improved with thoughtful image editing. Think about cropping, shadow and highlight adjustments, color temperature, and sharpening. Can you better draw the viewer’s eye to an important area of the composition by using vignetting or a graduated filter? These are just a few of the ways you can make a good picture even better.

Don’t be afraid of filters. Flickr, Instagram, and many of the image-editing apps for iOS provide interesting filters that we can take advantage of. I’ve found that exploring my pictures through filters helps me discover things about them that I didn’t initially see.

Even if you end up not using the filter for the final product, it may still have given you an idea of how to approach the image with standard editing tools.

Follow interesting people. Just like reading great authors can help you develop your writing, browsing Flickr can inspire you to take better pictures. But in order for that to happen, you need to be looking at great photography.

When you open your Flickr app on the iPhone or the iPad and begin to browse those whom you follow, you want to see inspiring imagery. If things are getting dull, go to the Explore page and find new photographers who are shooting exciting stuff. Then follow them so they show up in your feed.

Look at the metadata of the images that you like. This is a feature of Flickr that I just love. When you’re looking at an image in the lightbox and want to learn more about it, tap on the “i”.

Flickr will display a metadata overlay that shows you the camera, lens, focal length, aperture, exposure, ISO, and white balance setting. And if the photographer included the geotags, the location of the shot will be there, too.

This information, combined with what your eyes see in the composition, can help you better understand how interesting photographs are made.

It’s never too late to improve or even reinvent yourself as an artist. Take advantage of Flickr’s tools and large community to help you improve how you present your images to the world.

To Learn More about Flickr

In Flickr Essential Training, I explore the entire Flickr universe, from posting, organizing, and editing photos to participating in the Flickr community. Stop by and take a look.

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

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