Thing 6 - Photo Sharing with Flickr

Photo sharing websites have been around since the 90s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Photo sharing is simply the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos to an online site, enabling the user to store photos and share them with others – either publicly or privately. Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web with over six billion images, and is known as one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site. (More about tags in Thing 13.) The key element that makes Flickr so unique is that online collaboration and community are interwoven as main components. Flickr also provides safe online storage of your photos.

Watch this video to better understand how photo sharing works.

Photo sharing with Flickr incorporates visual literacy into teaching and learning. Students can search for photos to help with research or projects, and educators can upload photos for classes, school events, special projects and so on. Think about using Flickr for presentations, art history/appreciation courses, geographic or historical tours, writing prompts, digital portfolios, field trips, simulated travel for foreign language classes, visual documentation of school events and student artwork, digital storytelling, and illustrating poetry. The possibilities are endless.

To complete Thing 6 you must:
A. Explore the Flickr site
B. Search for and download a photo
C. Reflect on Thing 6 on your blog
(include the photo you downloaded)

A. Explore Flickr
For a quick overview begin with the Flickr Tour. Click on "Start the Tour" button. (It's not necessary to create your account yet - we'll be doing that later.) When you've finished the tour, watch the following video to learn about ways to explore the pictures on Flickr.

B. Search for photos
Go back to the main Flickr page and try searching by tag. Tags are keywords people use to organize their photos. Enter a tag in the SEARCH box. Try volcano, Thoreau, frog, perspective, happiness, or some of your own. Remember that all photos are self-tagged by the person who uploads them. Your idea of the meaning of a tag may be something entirely different than another person’s. Also be aware that because anyone can upload photos and tag them as they wish, you may come across images during your search that you feel are inappropriate.

Find a photo you want to download, and click on it to go to its page. To download the photo, right-click on the image and choose "Save image as..." Rename the photo and save it in an appropriate folder so you can upload it to your blog later.

Be sure to consider copyright laws when using pictures from the site. When viewing a photo on Flickr, scroll down the page and look in the right column where you will see rights to the photo under Additional Information. If it says All Rights Reserved, you do not have the right to use it without obtaining permission from its owner. A good solution is to use photos that have Creative Commons licensing which gives certain rights to users. Flickr photos licensed under Creative Commons can been accessed by using Flickr Advanced Search or the online tool Compfight. (Be sure to choose Creative Commons only at the top of the Compfight page.) The Library of Congress also has a collection of public domain photos on Flickr.

C. Reflect - Blog Prompt for Thing 6
Create a post on your blog about one of the photos you downloaded. Why did you choose a particular photo? What is it about the photo that you found interesting? Be sure to include the image in your post. Use Blogger's photo upload feature to do this.


  1. In this post, I posted a picture of a sailboat and asked those responding to answer the question, "where would this ship take you?". Bloggers were also to consider, and describe, the possible dangers they might face, their role on the ship, and their hopes and fears as they began the voyage. Photos are a great way to spark creative writing and help sutdents write more descriptively.

  2. I chose the fish swimming in circles. I don't even have to elaborate. I sent it from the flickr site so I uploaded Mullan pass photos using the blogger feature.