I was started writing a guide for a client, to get them up and running using Flickr to upload photos and create galleries to feed onto their website, and I thought I’d make it available a quick primer for anyone starting to use Flickr.

Note: All of the images in this post are available at a larger size, simply click on the image to view.

Getting Started: Uploading

Once you have set your account up (which I’m not going to go into here) you will undoubtedly want to add some photographs.

The first step is to upload some images. When logged in you can access the upload page by following the menus in the header:

You > Upload Photos and Video

You will then be met with the “Upload to Flickr” page. Click on “Choose photos and videos” to have the file selection window opened.

Once you have navigated to the files on your computer you can select multiple files to upload in one go, by selecting all with “Ctrl+A” or clicking on the first, then hold down “Shift” while you click on the last in your folder. You can also select files individually by holding “Ctrl” while you click.

When you are done click “Open”, to see your files added into Flickr’s nifty Flash uploader:

Finally, click “Upload Photos and Videos” button to get the upload going. Presuming you wish for the wider world to view your images you can leave the “Set privacy” on “Public”.

Once all of the files are uploaded you will be greeted with “Finished!”:

Next you will want to add titles, descriptions and tags to the photos, so follow the link to “add a description”.

Tags are a useful way of keywording your photographs, as Flickr says “Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a photo to make it easier to find later”. People searching Flickr for certain types of photos will be met with your images if your tags are relevant to their search results. You can leave a space between tags, and add as many as you like.

You may also wish to add them to a set as a way of grouping them (more on this below).

Sets, groups, galleries and collections explained

Flickr has various ways of organising photos, using sets, collections, galleries and groups. This nomenclature can be confusing, until you understand what the intended use of each is.


Sets are just that, a set of photos. These might be a set on a certain topic, or you might simply want to pull together some photographs into one place, such as “The Seaside”, or “New Years Eve”, to link people to or to feed into a slideshow.

Sets are often used when you wish to make a slideshow, as they are an efficient way of pulling together a number of photographs to be displayed together.


A collection is like a set, but as well as a way of grouping individual photos, you can also group sets. It is a useful way of creating a looser collection of images, such as “December 2010” which may contain your sets “Family 2010”, “Christmas 2010” and “New Years Eve”, as well as some individual stragglers that don’t current belong in a set.


Galleries are a way of grouping or sharing other peoples photos, as opposed to your own. You act as the curator, bringing together photos into a themed gallery, from your friends’ or fellow photographers’ images.

Galleries support up to 18 public photos or videos.

For an example of a gallery have a look at “Broken wings and flying things” curated by helveticaneue.


Groups are way of collecting together with other photographers, and creating collections of photographs. You can set a group up and invite people to it, or join an existing group.

Groups are a useful way of sharing photographs, ideas and techniques with other people. Images can be added to a group’s pool, moderated, and discussed. They are a useful social tool, and used widely by those most active on Flickr.

Sets: Adding and removing photos

Once you have created some sets, and uploaded some photographs, you can add and remove photos from sets at any time by visiting:

Organize & Create > Your Sets or by clicking the “Sets” tab when you are in the Organize view.

You will then be met with your available sets (at the top) and your available photographs (along the bottom).

You are able to add photographs to a set by dragging them from the bottom (your available photographs) and dropping them in the set you want the photo to appear in.

You are also able to open individual sets and view the photos in them by double clicking on the set. You will then be able to edit that set’s title, description and photos. In the same way you can drag photos from the bottom to add them into the set, as well as see the existing photographs in that set.

If you want to remove a photo from a set simply drag it from that set and drop it into the bar at the bottom of the page. This bar will now say “Drop a photo or video here to remove it from the set”. This action will not delete the photograph, just stop it from appearing in that set.

Once you have made the appropriate changes to the set’s title, description and photographs make sure you save the changes by pressing “Save” on the left-hand bar.

What others see

One slightly confusing aspect of Flickr is understanding what other people will see when they look at your profile or your photographs or sets.

This is confusing when you are logged in as you will see a range of additional links, buttons and tools to edit your content, which other people won’t see.

If you want to check what others will see try logging out and having a look again at your profile. The link you will need is the one which you are taken to when viewing “Your Photostream”, or clicking on your profile photograph, the link will be of the form http://www.flickr.com/photos/12345678@N01/. This is also the link you can give to people to view your profile. Or, if you’ve created your own Flickr address your URL maybe http://www.flickr.com/photos/custom_username.

When logged in you are able to visit this link to pretty much see what others will see; uploaded photographs on the left, with most recent on the top, and sets and collections on the right.

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