Flickr and iPhoto: Hand in Hand

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One of the best things about digital cameras is the ease with which one can share photos. You can print them on demand, email them, or upload them to websites, with the latter becoming more and more popular. In fact, some Web services focus solely on the sharing of pictures. These services give you tools to manage your images, as well as give visitors ways to find and interact with them. One such service has become particularly popular due to an array of services and a free membership level—Flickr.

At the same time, one of the strengths of the Mac platform is iPhoto, part of the iLife suite of applications, which makes it easy and fun to manage your images. iPhoto even lets you share photos through the three aforementioned methods, but it’s generally limited to publishing photos to Apple’s Home Page or to an HTML export. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to publish iPhoto images directly to Flickr?

Now you can, using the open-source (and free) Flickr Export Plugin for iPhoto 1.2.1 (   ). Once you install this plugin for either iPhoto 4 or 5, iPhoto’s export window includes an additional tab for uploading to Flickr.

The Export Window

The photos being uploaded are listed along the left side. You can specify a target Flickr Photoset, which is analogous to an iPhoto album, or create a new Photoset. Flickr, like many online services, supports “tags” (a.k.a., Folksonomies or keywords); recognizing that iPhoto’s keywords are essentially synonymous to Flickr’s keywords, your exported photos will be automatically tagged using any keywords you applied in iPhoto. The plugin will also fill in the image titles, as well as the descriptions, using the corresponding values from iPhoto. (You may override any of this data at time of export.)

A Customized Export Window

The plugin also offers a resize option that will resize or constrain your photos before upload. This can be useful, as the free membership level of Flickr allows only 10 MB of photos to be uploaded each month. Unfortunately, the plugin currently does not display the available amount of upload bandwidth, nor will it warn that you’re about to exceed that limit—you’ll find out when it happens. (I actually experienced a crash when trying to upload more than my limit.) According to the developer, both of these features will appear in a future version of the software.

If you use iPhoto to manage your digital photo collection but really dig Flickr’s handling of photo publication—tagging, photo sets, a photostream, and comments—the Flickr Export Plugin for iPhoto may be the bridge between these two worlds.

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