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Flickr Hacks by Jim Bumgardner, Paul Bausch

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Hack #5. Add Photos Quickly

Flickr uploading tools can speed up the process of adding photos to Flickr.

Adding a photo to Flickr isn't hard. If you browse to Flickr, log in, and choose Upload from the menu, you'll find the upload page [Hack #1] , with six empty fields waiting for photos. Click the Browse... buttons next to the fields and choose some local files, and your photos will soon make their way from your desktop to Flickr.

If you want to add more than six photos at a time, though, the upload page begins to look like an awfully slow way of transferring files. You have to upload in batches of six, and wait for each group to transfer before starting the next group. Uploading 30 photos would require 5 trips to the upload page, and constant monitoring to find out when the last batch of photos was done transferring.


Another factor to consider when uploading photos is the size of the photos themselves. A larger image file will take longer to transfer, so you might want to resize your photos [Hack #4] before adding them to Flickr.

Luckily, Flickr has provided several tools to make uploading easier. An uploading tool is simply a program you can install on your computer that communicates with Flickr. You can find a list of uploading tools created by Flickr developers at http://www.flickr.com/tools/, along with some tools written by outside developers. This hack discusses how to use some of the available Flickr upload tools.

Granting Your Permission

Any tool that uses the Flickr API to add photos to your photostream needs your explicit permission. As you install software that communicates with Flickr, you'll likely encounter a Flickr permissions page like the one shown in Figure 1-26.

The Flickr permissions page

Figure 1-26. The Flickr permissions page

This process ensures that you give access only to programs that you're aware of, and you can view a list of the applications you've approved at any time by logging into Flickr and browsing to the Authentication List page (http://www.flickr.com/services/auth/list.gne). If you see the permissions page while using an upload tool, you'll need to click the OK, I'll Allow It button; otherwise, the upload tool won't be able to add your photos to Flickr.

Batch Uploading Tools

Batch uploading tools save you time by letting you upload entire groups of photos at once. Let's take a look at some of the available options.

Uploadr for Mac

The official uploading tool for Mac OS X users is called Uploadr. Download the program from the Flickr Tools page (http://www.flickr.com/tools/), and double click the .dmg file to mount it. Drag the Flickr Uploadr application icon from the Flicker Uploadr window to your desktop or Applications folder to install it. Once it's installed, double-click the Uploadr icon and grant your permission to the application. After you're logged in, you can start dragging and dropping photos into the left pane of the Uploadr, as shown in Figure 1-27.

Flickr Uploadr for Mac

Figure 1-27. Flickr Uploadr for Mac

You can set titles, descriptions, and tags for each individual photo, or you can click the Batch tab to set global privacy attributes and tags for the entire group of photos. You can also set the Uploadr to automatically resize your photos before sending them to Flickr, saving transfer time and bandwidth. Choose Flickr Uploadr → Preferences from the menu to set your preferred maximum photo size.

Once your photo attributes are set, you can click Upload to send your photos to Flickr, and they'll be transferred in the background.

FlickrExport for iPhoto

If you manage your photos with iPhoto on your Mac, you might want to try the FlickrExport plug-in written by Fraser Speirs (http://www.connectedflow.com/blog/). The plug-in lets you use the iPhoto interface to select photos to send to Flickr.

Download the plug-in from http://www.connectedflow.com/flickrexport/, and follow the installation instructions once it's on your desktop. Once the plug-in is installed, open up iPhoto and select a batch of photos from your Library. Choose Share → Export from the iPhoto menu, and click the Flickr button at the top of the page. You'll see the Flickr Export dialog shown in Figure 1-28.

FlickrExport for iPhoto

Figure 1-28. FlickrExport for iPhoto

As with Uploadr, you can set titles, captions, tags, and privacy settings for each photo, or you can use the "Apply to All" buttons to set attributes for the entire batch. Once your settings are in place, click Export to send the photos to Flickr.

Uploadr for Windows

Mac users aren't the only ones who can benefit from official Flickr tools, and there's a version of Uploadr for Windows available at the Flickr Tools page (http://www.flickr.com/tools/). Be sure to choose the proper version of Uploadr for your version of Windows; download the program and double-click the icon to start the installation.

Uploadr for Windows is a bit more simplistic than its Mac cousin, and you won't be able to add titles, captions, or tags until you've transferred the photos to Flickr. To transfer photos, simply drag the images to the Uploadr window, as shown in Figure 1-29, and click the Upload... button.

Flickr Uploadr for Windows

Figure 1-29. Flickr Uploadr for Windows

Uploadr will automatically resize your photos if you'd like, and you can set that preference by clicking the light switch icon in the main Uploadr window. Figure 1-30 shows the Flickr Settings window.

The Flickr Settings window in Uploadr for Windows

Figure 1-30. The Flickr Settings window in Uploadr for Windows

Windows XP Import Wizard

Windows XP has some nice built-in features for working with photos, and Flickr has a tool that extends the publishing features to send photos directly to Flickr. On the Tools page, look for a link titled Download "Send To Flickr" Windows XP Explorer Wizard, right-click the link, and choose Save As... to save the file wizard.reg to your computer. Double click wizard.reg, and approve the additions to your Registry. This will install the necessary settings to export images to Flickr.

To try out the wizard, browse to any folder that contains pictures with the Windows file explorer. Choose "Publish this folder to the Web" to start the wizard. If you don't see the Publish option, choose Tools → Folder Options... from the menu and make sure the "Show common tasks in folders" option is selected.

After you click "Publish this folder to the Web," you can select the photos from the folder that you want to add to Flickr. Figure 1-31 shows the selection process.

Selecting photos to upload with the Windows XP Import Wizard

Figure 1-31. Selecting photos to upload with the Windows XP Import Wizard

Once you've made your selections, click Next and choose Flickr from the list of options. The first time you run the wizard, you'll need to grant permission to the program. Once you grant permission, you'll get an authorization code to enter into the wizard. Enter the code into the application, click Next, and you'll be set to send your photos.

You can't add titles or captions to photos before sending them, but you can set tags and privacy options for the batch. You also have the option of resizing the photos automatically before they're sent. Once your photos are available at Flickr, you'll have the option to add titles and descriptions, and you can use batch editing [Hack #35] to speed things up.

Desktop Uploading Widgets

Desktop uploading widgets are small applications that run on your desktop and transfer images to Flickr. They won't help you upload images in large batches, but you can drag and drop a single photo onto the widget to send it to Flickr. This can save you the steps of opening your browser, finding the upload page, and browsing around for the photo you'd like to send. Instead, you simply drag the photo onto the widget, drop it, specify your tags, and click Upload. (Unfortunately, you can't specify a title and description while uploading—the widget is built for speed, so it's tags only.)


If you're running Mac OS X Tiger (Version 10.4) with Dashboard, you can use Flidget (http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/blogs_forums/flidget.html). Download the widget and double-click it to add it to your dashboard. Click the "i" icon in the lower-right corner to set your Flickr login and password.

You'll need to be sure you have an Active Screen Corner set for Dashboard so that you can drag a file to the widget. To set an active corner, click and hold Dashboard in your Mac Dock and choose Dashboard Preferences... from the menu. Choose Dashboard from one of the Active Corners.

Once you're set to go, grab a photo you'd like to send to Flickr and drag it to the active corner you set up. You should see Flidget appear on the screen. Drop the file onto Flidget. You'll see a thumbnail of the image, and you can add tags to the photo, as shown in Figure 1-32.

Flidget Dashboard Widget for Mac OS X

Figure 1-32. Flidget Dashboard Widget for Mac OS X

Click Upload, and Flidget will send your photo to Flickr.


If you don't have the latest version of Mac OS X, or if you're on a Windows machine, you can still play along by using widget engine Konfabulator (http://www.konfabulator.com). Once you have Konfabulator installed, you can grab the Flickr Upload Widget from http://flagrantdisregard.com/flickr/uploader.php.

As with Flidget, you can simply drag and drop an image file onto the Flickr Upload Widget. In addition to tags, you can add a title and a description and set your privacy preferences before clicking Upload to transfer the file, as shown in Figure 1-33.

Flickr Upload Widget for Konfabulator

Figure 1-33. Flickr Upload Widget for Konfabulator

If you find yourself posting one or two photos at a time rather than large sets, these desktop widgets might speed up your routine.

Beyond the Tools

If the tools mentioned here aren't quite right for your Flickr-flow, you might want to investigate rolling your own [Hack #42] . The Flickr API gives you programmatic access to all of Flickr's features, including uploading photos, so with a bit of development you might be able to build your perfect uploading tool. Also, be sure to look at the official Tools page (http://www.flickr.com/tools/) at Flickr to find the latest available tools.

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