Analysis Of The Top 25 Photos On Flickr For 2019


It's that time of year and Flickr has come up with its roundup of the “Top 25” Photographs for 2019. Flickr has been a great platform for sharing images, receiving feedback and is a community used by photographers with varying experience levels.

Image by Royce Bair

There have been many changes on Flickr recently, but it is still one of the most popular platforms among photographers. They showcase their images and increase their visibility with the help of hashtags and relevant groups. Images depending on their quality and other features get posted in galleries that have been created by other members.

Flickr is one of the earliest platforms that made EXIF data available for images posted by members. This means that viewers get an opportunity to learn how exactly a photograph was made.

When browsing through the photos that have made it to the Top 25 on Flickr this year, there isn’t much in terms of varying genre.

A majority of the images are wildlife, that is 9/25 (which is more than a third out of the 25 images), of which 8 are bird images. Since Flickr’s pick is based on an algorithm, this data (according to the algorithm) reveals that wildlife images are the most popular category for the majority of viewers. The next popular genre was landscape, then portrait (images with humans) and sadly no macro images made it to the top list.

Only 13 images out of the 25 had complete EXIF data. We have put together some information that we thought would provide an overview of the images that hit the top 25.

How Did Flickr Judge the Top 25?

For those interested, this is what Flickr has to say about it:

“To compile this top 25 list, we started with an algorithm that took into account several engagement metrics. The selection also involved curation by Flickr staff.

Most of the top photos come from long-term community members, professional and self-taught photographers from different countries around the world with an eye for people, nature, and beautiful landscapes.”

Basically, Flickr uses an algorithm that takes into account a combination of social and engagement data. This includes views, faves, and shares. Looks like the staff at Flickr curate this data to make sure that only one photo per photographer makes it to the top 25 list. 

Here Is A Summary Of The Data We See At The Time Of Writing This Article:

  • The views of the images range from 33,424 to 804,856
  • The faves vary from 1,027 to 4,200
  • 21 out of the 25 users have a Flickr PRO account
  • The images that have made to the top 25 have been posted to various groups and are in various galleries.
    • The number of groups that images were posted to average between 20 to 35, but there are images that have been posted to above 50 groups.
    • With regards to galleries, the images are roughly in between 20 to 50 galleries on an average.

What Subjects Do The Photographs Show?

Looking at the images on the list, we can see that only one image that has made to the list can be classified as street photography.

Nine are wildlife images, one a pet photograph, one a deep sky image, one night sky, seven landscape images, one is a photograph of a ship that looks more like a fine art image.

Orientation Of Flickr 2019 Top Photos:

20 of the 25 images were shot in a horizontal orientation. This could be because most photographers and viewers still feel more comfortable to view landscape orientation images or find them visually more appealing. It could also be that photographers find it more convenient to shoot in horizontal orientation. Such images also look better when viewed full screen, but we will leave it for you to decide!

Three images have been cropped to 1 x 1 ratio and two others have portrait orientation. One of them is a landscape image.

Image by Jim Patterson

Post Production Software:

When we looked into what post-production software was used by photographers on Flickr, we could see that Adobe stayed on top. We noticed that 12 out of the 19 images (with EXIF/Partial EXIF) were post-processed using Adobe’s applications – 8 using Photoshop and 4 using Lightroom. 

Other Plugins: There was no info available for any other programs or plugins used. The deep sky image had information in the caption about pre-processing and linear workflow done in PixInsight and finished in Photoshop.

Image by Martin Heigan

What Creative Choices Have The Photographers Used?

Surprisingly, only one black and white image has made it to the top 25  and all other 24 images are colour. All images look post-processed with acceptable level of saturation and no images look undersaturated.

One of the images looks over processed in terms of colour and quite overly manipulated as well. We can’t quite tell what has been done because the image neither has EXIF data nor any information on how it was made. 

Another portrait edited in Photoshop makes use of overlays!

What Are The Takeaways From 2019 Flickr Images?

From the available data, it is evident that:

  • Adobe is a clear winner this year when it comes to preferred application for post-processing images. Not sure if photographers love Adobe’s software or they are using it because they already own the application.
  • Colour photographs are the most dominant.
  • Long exposures are on the decline this year with only 3 images coming under this category.
  • There are no panoramas, macros and HDR shots this year.
  • Portraiture as such has not made it to the top 25 this year.

Here's some data that we thought was worth mentioning:

Total Photographs: 25

  • Photographs with People: 5
  • Outdoor: 25
  • Indoor: none
  • Horizontal Orientation: 20
  • Vertical Orientation: 2
  • Square Crop: 3

Photographs Taken Outdoors:

  • Outdoor People: 5
  • Seascape / Waterscape: 3
  • Architecture: None
  • Landscape: 7
  • Underwater: None
  • Animal: 10
  • Astrophotography: 2

Photographs Shot in Color: 24

  • Oversaturation: 1
  • Undersaturation: none
  • Realistic Saturation: 23
  • Black and White: 1
Image by Koen Jacobs

Other Categories in General:

  • Macro: None
  • HDR: None
  • Focus Stacking: None
  • Combination of more than one image: 3


Out of the 13 shots that had full EXIF data (and 6 with very limited EXIF data), 14 showed that a DSLR was used and 4 used mirrorless cameras. 15 of the cameras were full frame, 3 were cameras with APS-C sensors and one MFT.


9 of the 25 shots are wide angle with focal length less than 35mm.

  • 13 of the 25 approximately used the “Rule of Thirds” in their composition which reveals that photographers are giving importance to compositional guidelines.
  • 16 of the 25 images had a “Center of Interest.”
  • 4 landscape/waterscape images had foreground elements while the others did not have obvious ones.
  • 4 images used “Leading Lines”, and two included “Symmetry.”
  • There were some interesting compositions that used curves and reflections!
Image by Jesse Moran

Time of Day:

Many images were taken during the golden hour. One at twilight, some on overcast days, some during early morning light just after the golden hour or early evening light.

From closely observing the images, this is what we came up with:

  • Overcast conditions: 6
  • Golden Hour: 9
  • Soft Daylight: 7
  • Night: 2
  • Blue Hour: 1

Smartphone Photographs:

There are no pictures taken with a smartphone that have made it to the top 25. With smartphone photography becoming ever more popular these days, it comes as a surprise that none have made it to the top 25. It could also be that viewers are more inclined towards the finest details in the images.


This was the breakdown of the results from Flickr's Top 25 images for 2019. The results are a bit disappointing – there isn't much in terms of variety and creativity. Many images look very similar (portraits and wildlife). Also, despite the increasing trend in aerial photography, none of such images have made it to the top 25. Take a look at the images here on Flickr's blog!

We personally think there are many amazing photographs out there in the Flickr community that have gone unnoticed. Maybe photographers need to use relevant hashtags and post images to relevant groups.

In general, we think it is quite difficult to make to the top 25 unless you post your images in groups. You also need to get posted in galleries and have a good number of followers for your images to get noticed. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below. We would also like to hear what you think about the top 25 on Flickr!

Screenshot of Flickr's blog

To learn more about Flickr photographers, check out the links below.

Further Reading:

  1. 11 Reasons Why Every Photographer Needs Flickr Or Instagram
  2. Flickr Debuts New Pic Printing Business
  3. Flickr Joins SmugMug
  4. Flickr Announces Policies For Creative Commons Photos
  5. Flickr Needs Your Help!
  6. Flickr Shows Off New Galleries

About Author

Dahlia is a stock photographer and full time educator at Light Stalking. You can find her on Gurushots and see some of her more popular articles at The American Society of Media Photographers. Get to know her better here.

Great read Dahlia lots of interesting stats , i enjoy Koen Jacobs work very much.
Thank you for the article i learned some good info 😉

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