For the longest time, Flickr was the destination for many of my images. But then the Internet grew up and my photography evolved but Flickr didn’t, and drawbacks of staying on a legacy, out-of-data platform outweighed the benefits of sharing images with a community on a social site. As a result, I moved my images to other sites or hosted them on my own domains.
Over the last few years, however, Flickr has undergone a bit of a revival, with a new interface and a host of new features. I’ve started exploring some of those features and have been impressed enough to consider doing more there. Of course, since my workflow is Lightroom driven, I had to make sure that Lightroom and Flickr would play well together.
It turns out, they get along just fine. In fact, Lightroom ships with a Flickr Publishing module.
Exporting vs. Publishing
A quick note about publishing compared to exporting. In Lightroom, exporting creates a version of an image that lives outside of Lightroom. Lightroom doesn’t keep track of that image once it leaves Lightroom. With publishing, Lightroom maintains an association between the original image and the published image, which means Lightroom knows when you’ve made changes to an image after it has been published.
In our Flickr scenario, if you export an image and upload it to Flickr, make a change, and export another copy of the image, uploading the new version will result in two images in Flickr. When you publish an image to Flickr, make a change, Lightroom knows there is a difference between the image and the last published image, and you can republish the image to Flickr, overwriting the Flickr copy with the changes.
The Publishing Services can be access in the Grid view in the leftmost panel. If you don’t see the option, right-click on the panel and select Publish Services, or navigate to Window > Panels > Publish Services.
Once the Publish Services are enabled, you should see the Flickr option, as shown below. If not, then you will need to go in to your Plug-in Manager and enable the Flickr plug-in.
Setting Up The Flickr Publisher
In order to use the Flickr publisher, you’ll need to connect Lightroom to Flickr first. Click on the Set Up… link, which will bring up the Lightroom Publishing Manager.
The Publishing Manager is similar to the export dialog, where you can specify formats for naming files, how to resize images, and sharpening and metadata management. At the top of the dialog under Flickr Account, click the Authorize button to begin the connection process.
Click on the Authorize and launch the Flickr authorization page in your browser.
Click the OK, I’LL AUTHORIZE IT button to enable the integration. Or not. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life. But if you click NO THANKS, the rest of this tutorial is going to seem pretty frustrating.
If you got this far, you probably clicked the AUTHORIZE button. Good job! This is totally going to be worth it. Even if you use Chrome and get this weird warning message (to which you should go ahead and click Launch Application to complete the process).
Back in Lightroom, under the Flickr Account section, it should now show that you are authorized as your user name and ready to take advantage of the publisher.
If you give the settings a description, click Save and close the Publishing Manager, you will also see that the Flickr publisher is connected.
Configuring The Flickr Publisher
Now that the publisher is authorized, pop back in to the Publishing Manager to configure the rest of the settings. As I mentioned above, many of the publishing settings are similar to the export settings.
The bottom of the Flickr options include the metadata options, watermarking, and some Flickr-specific privacy and safety settings. If you’re using Flickr, you are probably already familiar with what those settings mean, but if you aren’t, consult the Flickr documentation or refer to the help forum.
Great! Now you’re connected, authorized, and you’ve got your settings right where you want them. Now, it’s time to publish some images!
While there is a default Photostream listed underneath the Flickr publisher, you can also create a new photoset by right-clicking on your Flickr publisher and clicking Create Photoset… which looks a lot like creating a collection. It even has the option to include any selected images. Neat.
In the image above, I dragged a bunch of images in to a Pueblo Trip collection that I created. As you can see, they show up in the Library view under a group labeled New Photos to Publish. That lets me know that I haven’t actually published the images yet. I clicked Publish and Lightroom sends my images up to Flickr. It’s all braggy, too, so it will tell me it’s doing it.
Once the process completed, my images were in Flickr! Magic! Or technology. Or both.
In a future post, I’ll go more in depth on some of the intricacies of dealing with publishing, but at this point, you’re connected. One thing to keep in mind is that the terminology Lightroom uses for Flickr doesn’t exactly line up (photosets, albums, collections seem to be used interchangeably), but they’re close enough to be useful.