Flickr – Social Networking for Artists

Flickr is a great place for artists to begin their social networking, because it doesn’t tend to have the same time sink hold that others like Facebook and Twitter have. It’s simple to use and allows you to build an online library of images that reaches millions. Its interface allows web visitors to see the images without logging in, which means you have a far wider web reach to be seen by potential buyers and fans. Many other systems require a person to have an account in the system before they can see images, which becomes a hurdle to that wide reach.

The icon for Flickr is a pair of dots side by side.


To begin with, go to

Flickr is associated with so you’ll need to create a account to work with Flickr. This is quick and free. Once you have your account set up, it’s time to start loading in photos!

You can always delete a photo and start over. You can always edit every aspect of a photo including its title, tags (key words), groups, and other identifiers. So don’t worry about doing something “wrong.” Just play for now.

Click the “upload” icon they show you or, if you’ve moved off of that screen, click the arrow-into-cloud icon in the top right of any Flickr page. This is your upload option. You can normally upload lots of photos at once but let’s begin with one :). Navigate your hard drive to your photo and load it up. Give it a brief title and description. Remember, you can edit all of this later.

Voila! That was easy!

Now, to help this image be found.

Tagging your Image
Let’s start with tags. Most people understand the idea of key words. This allows a visitor searching Flickr to find your images. If your image has a seagull in it, and the visitor searches on “seagull,” then you would want your image tagged with the key word “seagull” so they can find you.

Go into You -> Camera Roll. Select the image or images you wish to tag. Click the “edit” button in the lower part of the screen. Type the tags you want, one at a time, into the tag field. There you go – the images are now tagged with those key words.

Albums are ways to organize your photos into categories. A photo can be in more than one album. So with the seagull photo you could have an album of Massachusetts, one of Seagulls, one of Beach, and the image can be in all three. Having albums makes your library much easier for visitors to navigate – meaning they’re far more likely to share and perhaps buy something. You can share the Seagulls album with one person, the Massachusetts album with another, and in each case the visitor sees exactly what you want them to see. It’s ideal for sharing different groups / types of images with different audiences.

Again, go into You -> Camera Roll. Select the photo or photos you’d like to put into an album. Use the “Add to Album” button at the bottom of the page. You can put these photos into as many albums as you wish.

A powerful way to be found in Flickr is by adding your photos into one of the tens of thousands of groups that exist. Groups are organized, generally, by topic area. So there is a group for seagull photos, a group for Boston photos, a group for winter photos, and so on. People who are seeking to buy a photo often go into a group based on a theme to see what their options are. So someone looking for a farmhouse photo for their living room might go into a farmhouse group and browse all the options there. That’s why you want your photo to be included!

Click in the grey search box in the top right of your Flickr screen and type in your search word. Let’s say “Massachusetts” as a test. On the results page click on “groups” in the white band below the main menu. This will filter the results to only show you groups.

You’ll now see a variety of groups dedicated to Massachusetts. For each you can see the number of current members, the number of photos in the group, and the number of discussions. It’s the number of photos you mostly care about. It’s good to be in a big group because someone looking for photos will tend to want to look through a range of options. That will have the most traffic.

Click “join” to join!

Once you’re on a group page you’ll see a button right there to add a photo to the group from your library. Add just a few to start and make sure the photos fit with the group’s theme. If the group is about Massachusetts, make sure the photo was taken in Massachusetts.

Groups are by far the best way to spread the reach of your photo.

If you’re a member of the Blackstone Valley Art Association, make sure you join our group! We have fun monthly themes.

BVAA Flickr Page

Customizing your Page
If you want to get a little fancy, you can use a squared-off image for your profile picture. You can also use a banner for the top of your photo library. 2048×492 is the ideal size for that top banner but you can use any size you want; it’ll just crop it to fit.

Start slow with Flickr, and add in a few photos each week. The more you practice with it, the easier it’ll get – and this is a great way to expand the reach of your photo library.

BVAA Members with Flickr Accounts
If you’re not on this list yet, let us know and we’ll add you in! Be sure to follow your fellow BVAA members so you can see what they’re up to. You can “like” and comment on photos to add your support.

Joe Altruda –
Michael Backunas –
Bob Evans –
Emily Gould –
Bob See –
Lisa Shea –
Mike Zeis –

Flickr is an ideal way to start out in marketing and social networking. It’s not a huge time sink. It has wonderful categorization options so you can easily organize your photos in multiple ways. The keywords and groups give each image a large audience. There is little “adult escort” or other spammy activity going on in Flickr, so it’s low stress. It doesn’t require friending or following or anything else to see content, so it’s ideal to use as an image storage system that the entire world can then see and navigate.

The only main downside with Flickr is that people don’t tend to “live in Flickr” like they do on other systems. So while Flickr is an ideal way to build a library of your images, you’ll still want to create accounts on other systems to help publicize and market them. One step at a time!

Social Networking for Artists – main page