If you're an avid photographer or a rabid photo organizer, or if you just love looking through photo albums, Flickr is the social network for you. It's the most widely used free online photo sharing service, thanks to its user-friendly organization tools and straightforward tagging system. The site uses an algorithm to rank the "interestingness" of photos, which helps photos explorers find stunning images and lets users search by tags, so you can find plenty of kitties to turn into Internet memes. Flickr recently updated its photo pages to put more emphasis on the individual photos while still keeping the tools for tagging, geotagging, adding people, and blogging close at hand.
1. Tag your photos
Tagging your photos properly is essential for helping your friends and others find your pictures. Use tags to describe where a photo was taken, what's in it, the image size, and what camera you used. For tags with two or more words, use quotation marks. For example, an image on Flickr of a man on a park bench included tags such as "urban," "sun flare," "nyc," "iPhone," and "black and white."
2. Use a Flickr slideshow in your blog
Linking to a set of Flickr images from your blog is one thing, but if you've created a blog to show off the newest member of your family, a slideshow of baby's first Christmas is the way to go. The site flickrslideshow.com creates a customizable slideshow of your images based on tags and text in them and generates the HTML code to put in your blog.
3. Geotag your vacation photos
Your friends will never have to ask where you took that picture again. After uploading your images to Flickr, click on Actions and select Add your map. Drag and drop your picture on the map or enter a town or address to pinpoint your photo's location. You can even geotag entire photo sets from the Maps tab under Organize & Create.
4. Join a Flickr group to share your photos and get inspiration
Part of the fun of Flickr is sharing your photos and seeing others' visual interpretations of a place. Join a group by clicking on Groups at the top of a page. Search for what you're interested in or what you have photos of, such as cats, sunsets, or the Queen Mary 2.
5. Post Flickr images and videos to Twitter and/or to your own blog
Go to Your Account, click on Sharing & Extending, scroll down to Your Blogs and click Configure your Flickr-to-blog settings. Then choose Set up your blog and enter the necessary info. Flickr supports Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, and Twitter. Once your blog's account has been linked with Flickr, simply click Blog It from the Share This bar above photos to tweet them or add them to your blog.
6. Keep your photos private
One of the best things about Flickr is its front-and-center privacy controls, which you can easily modify when you upload images. You can set photos to be viewed by only you, your friends, family, or all Flickr users. Likewise, you choose who can comment and who can add notes, tags, and people. Specify your settings under the Privacy & Permissions tab under Your Account.
7. Easy e-mail uploading
Don't have time to log in to Flickr or want to quickly send a photo from your phone? On the Emails & Notifications tab under Your Account, Flickr can generate an e-mail address to which you can directly send photos. Flickr can also generate specific e-mails for sending photos to Twitter and your Flickr blog.
8. Upload photos from your smart phone
Both FlickrFree for Android and Flickr for iPhone allow you to directly upload and download photos and browse through all your photos and sets. Flickr for iPhone also supports geotagging and instant uploads to Twitter.
9. Bring certain contacts closer
Click on a contact's name or go to their photostream, and Flickr will state your relationship with another user as contact, friend, or family. Click on edit to change your relationship. Promoting a contact to friend or family will give him or her access to any photos, comments, or tags that you've assigned as friends or family only.
10. Tag your Flickr friends in your photos
Much like Facebook, Flickr lets you tag your Flickr contacts in your photos along with friends who are not on Flickr. Just click Add a Person under the Actions menu. Flickr notifies both members and non-members via e-mail that they have been added to a picture. Want to remain anonymous? Click the X next to your screen name under the People in this Photo section and no one (except for you) will be able to re-add your name.