The first problem was the 20MB/mo upload limit, and the fact that they would automatically resize your images and only store a limited-resolution version. With what I wanted to do (that is, upload large original files), that would be gone in 5 photos. So I’d have to upgrade immediately (for $24.95) to the “pro” account…the problem is, there didn’t seem to be a trial, and it explicitly says it’s non-refundable, so I couldn’t really try it out first. Hmm. I might have left right here, but the entire world seems to love Flickr, so I continued on.
They do have a “gallery” concept, called “photosets”. These seem to work pretty well. You can only have 3 in the free version, but an unlimited number in the pro version. I can already feel my credit card sliding out of my pocket.
You can, in a way, make photos private. The downside is, users need to have a Flickr (or yahoo) account in order to access your private photos; this is kind of a hassle. If I take some quick pictures of something, and want to share them with a small group of people, I’d rather just send them the URL and a password, rather than make them sign up for an account. Hmm…this is a big one for me.
It doesn’t appear you can customize the interface. Not a show stopper here, as things are pretty clearly laid out…but if you wanted to use your site to show off a portfolio for commercial purposes, you might be out of luck. You also have to live with a Flickr-provided URL, something like http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourname, which may or may not make you happy. I wasn’t thrilled, because I couldn’t call someone on the phone and say “hey, check out my new photos” without reading them a long URL.
I love the community aspects of Flickr. The community is huge – there’s no doubt you can find someone that shares common interests, or someone who shot the same event you did. Comments are plentiful, and there are even discussion areas in the site. And I LOVE the Organizr, with the cool expando-thumbnail thing, and the drag-drop organization.
But all in all, it wasn’t the experience I was looking for. There are some things about Flickr I will miss (like the HUGE community of folks), and I’ll still use it for some specific purposes (for example, sharing photos at particular events), but for most of my pictures, I’ll be somewhere else.