11 Reasons Why Every Photographer Needs Flickr or Instagram


Before Instagram, it was Flickr, and frankly, Flickr is still more photography oriented than Instagram. Despite their differences, they are both quite seductive to any photography newcomer.

Today I want to share with you some brief thoughts on why you should have at least one of these platforms.

There are plenty of reasons to have an Instagram or Flickr (or both) account as a photographer. Even if you don't get them right now, you'll understand their value with time.

Trust us; this is a slow-paced introspective process. We've divided this list into two main sections, the first talks about how these platforms help us build a portfolio oriented mindset, and the other refers to things that span beyond that purpose.

Photography Platforms Simulate A Portfolio

Photo by Antenna

1. They Encourage You To Publish More Consistently

Flickr and Instagram push us to publish better and better photos each time. I don't know if it is because of an algorithm or simply because other people seem to publish better and better shots every time. This is good practice even if you have several years of experience as a photographer.

2. Platforms Help You Get Organized

This applies more for Flickr, but Instagram has its positives too. Getting organized as a photographer is fundamental, you can simply use hashtags or organize your images into categories. You'll understand what I'm telling you, especially if you suffer from some maniac organizing habits like me.

3. They Challenge You

Both Flickr and Instagram have groups that feature or showcase great work from others, and there is great satisfaction when without expecting it, somebody starts exposing your work. This challenges us to keep up and publish consistently of a high standard. Trust me, even if you are incredibly passionate about photography, without the challenge your photography can suffer.

4. Instagram And Flickr Will Help You Focus On A Genre

Photo by Ian Dooley

One of the greatest things about these photography-based platforms is that they teach us about other genres. This is extremely useful for anyone who is just starting out. I remember that before getting to know the genre “street photography” I thought that I simply liked “taking photos of people out there”, by being exposed to this genre through photography platforms such as Flickr, I discovered that it was way deeper than that.

5. They Ensure You Learn More About All Aspects Of Photography

There are plenty of accounts dedicated to gear, technique, history and other photography-related themes. Following these kinds of accounts will help you learn more about photography. From analogue to the latest and greatest technology, photography communities are generous, and there is plenty of information for everybody!

Ok, So These Platforms Are More Than Just Portfolio Simulators

Photo by Simon Shim

6. Platforms Make You a Better Consumer

Flickr and Instagram are way more than simply publishing places, they are also places for consuming high-quality photographs. If you are trying to detach from the social media vibe, there are two things you can do. First, you can start with Flickr. Although their mobile app is still quite clingy, Flickr is much less of a social media behemoth. 

Second, you can have two Instagram accounts. One for photography purposes, and the other for social interaction with family and friends. Many photographers do this last one since they find it fun to publish photos of their everyday lives just like anyone else.

But let's return to the image consumption habits. Having a clean and highly curated feed (ie accounts to follow) will make you a better-educated image consumer. There is a huge difference between being able to only view photos made by serious and passionate photographers, and consuming an endless and mixed array of images from selfies, cats, babies, food and the occasional landscape.

7. They Help You Build Your Own Gallery

You don't have to “heart” everything you see, you can be sort of strict when it comes to liking images. Instagram has a great feature that I love that is called “bookmarks”, it helps you organize photos according to your own criteria. I love images involving human beings, especially around a social theme. But there are plenty of genres that encompass these themes, therefore, bookmarks are a great way of “curating” the photography I enjoy the most – I encourage you to give it a go.

8. Platforms Ensure Photography And Photographers Are Respected

Photo by NordWood Themes

While sometimes it might be easy to forget, we are ultimately dealing with fellow photographers through these platforms and, therefore, a vibe of respect develops with time. These platforms are fantastic as they can allow you to interact with photographers you admire – they are amazing for this reason alone.  If somebody gets rude with you (it happens), just ignore them, that's the only way we can get rid of the people trying to insert noise into our beautiful photography centred lifestyle.

9. Flickr And Instagram Make You Write More

One of the worst things that can happen to a photographer is to get comments like “nice shot, what camera you have?”, or “you must have a great camera”. Please don't be that person, and start writing more conscientious comments about such things as composition and light.

Don't critique unless someone has obviously submitted a photo in order to get feedback. Your comment could be extremely well-intended, but the receiver might not see it like this. That's why I only give critique or thoughtful comments on threads, forums or groups where people have uploaded their photos in order to get feedback.

For the other cases, I simply heart or bookmark the images I really like. 

10. They Make You More Humble

At a certain point, you start developing a sense of humility as a result of the social interaction with many talented photographers out there. This is something so wonderful, and it is an amazing experience to learn from others! Many great photographers from our era are extremely friendly and love sharing what they know. This doesn't apply to all of course, but there are plenty of talented friends to find out there.

11. You'll Get To Know Other Photographers

Photo by Seth Doyle

This happens more on Flickr, where people start developing communities and groups and then eventually they get to meet each other away from keyboards! And trust me, it is one of the most nurturing experiences in the photography world.

It is important for you to understand that we are talking about the common things these two platforms offer. Who knows, tomorrow a new and smarter photography oriented platform could appear. For some people, creating a profile on any of these or any other photography platform is quite hard, for others is easy. It doesn't really matter as long as you understand how useful these platforms can be for you!

Joining forums is also a great thing to do as a photographer. Please feel free to share your images and thoughts with us at the forums! We'll be happy to check what your shots!

Further Reading

About Author

Federico has a decade of experience in documentary photography, and is a University Professor in photography and research methodology. He's a scientist studying the social uses of photography in contemporary culture who writes about photography and develops documentary projects. Other activities Federico is involved in photography are curation, critique, education, mentoring, outreach and reviews. Get to know him better here.

I rarely write comments, but after reading a few post from ”professionals” comparing Flicker vs Instagram, your post is refreshing and positive, enlightening factors too often overlooked about why we choose to participate and share our photographies: becoming better, learning, getting organized at low cost and time consuming efforts, and enjoying a sens of community. It focus on what it can bring us. It all depends of the intention of the user, and how we decide to use it. Thanks.

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