Archive for Sunday, August 2, 2009

Behind the Lens: Flickr fast answer to family demands

August 2, 2009


I’ve spoken at length before in a column or two about my disdain for playing the role of the official family photographer. Far too often, the family photo enthusiast is saddled with the burden of documenting the big reunion or grandma’s 133rd birthday, and if you aren’t speedy about making them viewable, you’re likely to hear some serious whining.

The photography part is not the issue. It’s all the e-mailing of photos, burning photos to CDs, mailing of photo CDs and e-mailing to notify that a photo CD has been mailed that gets a little out of control.

Now I can’t say that I’m a huge supporter of mainstream social media platforms. I’ve refused Facebook for at least the last two years, and I tweet maybe once a month or if I feel like I need to complain about how “sooooooo exhausted i aaaaaaammmmm!” Flickr, on the other hand, has been an unlikely savior when dealing with the aforementioned persistence of relatives.

If you don’t mind 20 minutes or a half-hour’s worth of work cranking away on the keyboard, you can create a photo slideshow of images on Flickr that you can then link and send to whomever is griping.

Here’s a tutorial to get you going:

1. The best course of action is to first save copies of the images you want to a folder on the desktop of your computer. The reason for saving copies is that we’ll shrink these copied photos for the Web, but we want to retain the full resolution files elsewhere in case you need larger file sizes for a later date.

2. Now for the resizing. I would crop or resize all my images to 900 pixels on the long side with a resolution of 72 dpi and then resave into this desktop folder.

3. Next, set up an e-mail account with Yahoo at and remember your login and password. (Don’t worry, it’s free, and it takes just a minute.)

4. Now, go to and enter your Yahoo login and Yahoo password.

5. You will be redirected to a welcoming screen that gives you three options. Choose option 2, “upload your first photos.”

6. Then, by clicking “Choose photos and videos,” a browser window will appear. You should now navigate through your browser window to find the folder containing your resized images on your desktop. Select all of the photos in this folder and then click the “select” button at the bottom right.

7. The browser window will disappear, and you will be redirected to the “upload to Flickr” page. A queue with the file names of your photos should appear. Below the queue, you are given a choice of whether you want your photos to be “public,” where anyone can search your name and see your photos, or “private,” which requires you to invite family members, friends or both to view your pics. After you’ve made your decision, click the pink button “upload photos and videos.”

8. When the little green checkmark appears, signaling the completion of the upload, head to the top of this web page and select the category “you” just under the word “Flickr.”

9. You’re now directed to your “photostream,” and we’re getting closer to the promised land. In the top right portion of this screen, just below the search window are two options, “slideshow” and “share this.” If you click the “slideshow” option, you can copy and paste the web link and e-mail it to friends and family. Once they open the e-mailed link, they will be taken immediately to a slideshow of all your images. If you choose “share this,” a window will appear where you can send individual e-mails inviting whomever you choose to view your “photostream.”

10. Start sending out the link to the slideshow or the “photostream.”

11. If your viewers start e-mailing or calling for reprints, tell them to hang out for a few minutes while you then return to your “photostream.” Now just choose any photo in your gallery and click on it. An enlarged version of the image will appear with several functions directly above. Choose “order prints” and follow the directions to make reprinting possible for whomever you would like. This way you aren’t stuck with the cost of the reprint.

When you’re finally through, pat yourself on the back for being the positive and cohesive force that keeps everyone happy.


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