Flickr is a cloud storage solution with a particular focus on photos and videos. First available in 2004, the service has changed hands three times. Most recently, SmugMug bought Flickr from Yahoo company Oath in 2018. Shortly after, Flickr’s free 1TB plan was retired and replaced with a 1,000-picture free tier.
In our Flickr review, we look at how the service is faring under SmugMug, to decide whether it’s worthy of being ranked among both the best cloud storage providers and the best cloud storage for photos.
Flickr: Plans and pricing
The free plan from Flickr is a fine option for getting started with the service, but most photographers will quickly outgrow the storage limit of 1,000 images or videos.
The paid plan, Flickr Pro, is unlimited and removes all ads from the interface for you and your visitors. It also includes advanced stats showing you which of your images have been the most popular.
In the U.S., you can pay for Flickr Pro monthly ($6.99 a month), quarterly (equivalent to $6.33 a month), or annually (equivalent to $4.99/a month). This pricing is very competitive, especially when you consider that you get unlimited storage.
While many of the best cloud storage solutions focus on private storage, Flickr was designed from the ground up as a photo- and video-sharing service. Many of the features are made with the Flickr community in mind. It’s a social media site at heart, with your own photostream, photo showcase, and cover photo.
People can follow your public photostreams, add your photos to their favorites, and leave comments. You can also connect your Flickr account to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to post your images there automatically. If you’d prefer to keep your media private, you can set it to be hidden from view or only available to your friends.
You can join Flickr groups to view other photographers’ photos or post your own. With thousands of niche groups, you can get inspiration for your projects and find the audience for your style of photography.
Tagging your photos can see them appear in trending lists. If you set them to public visibility, your photos can be shared in groups, albums, and user favorites, and commented upon by thousands of people, potentially getting you interest from visitors looking to purchase your images. You can specify the usage rights on your images when you upload them.
Unfortunately, Flickr supports a relatively limited set of file formats. Notably, RAW photos are not supported, and each photo can only be up to 200MB in size. Formats like HEIC will automatically be converted to JPEG. Videos can only be up to 1GB in size, and may require conversion to MP4 or MPEG before uploading.
Interface and in use
Getting started with Flickr is as simple as signing up on the website and uploading some images. There’s also a Flickr app for iOS and Android.
Flickr Pro users can use Uploadr, an application for Windows and Mac OS, for uploading entire photo collections from a computer, from iPhoto, or from cloud storage. Flickr photos can be uploaded directly from within Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture.
Flickr also has an advanced organizer where you can perform batch operations on photos, such as changing permissions, editing dates, adding tags, and organizing photos into albums. It’s very useful for photographers with many photos.
There are lots of ways to get support for Flickr. First, there’s the help center with FAQs on the service. Then, there’s a busy community forum, with answers to queries mainly coming from other Flickr members.
If you need to talk to a Flickr representative, there’s a contact form. Flickr states that Flickr Pro members can expect to get a reply within four hours, whereas free members get a reply within 24 hours. In our testing, we received an informative reply within 14 hours on a free account.
Google Photos is a more straightforward cloud storage solution than Flickr if you’re not interested in Flickr’s extensive social sharing features. You get 15GB of storage free, and paid plans start at $1.99 a month. However, Google Photos ends up being much more expensive than Flickr’s unlimited plan once you accumulate thousands of images. Read our Google Photos review to learn more.
Backblaze is another provider that offers unlimited storage for photos. Its $60 a year plan is comparable to Flickr’s pricing, and you can back up more than just photos, but pricing is on a per-computer basis. Flickr offers a more versatile service than Backblaze for photographers with more than one computer. Our Backblaze review gives more details on the cloud storage service and its features.
Check out our exclusive Backblaze cloud storage and VPN deal:
Get Backblaze for free with every ExpressVPN purchase
ExpressVPN, the best VPN service as rated by IT Pro Portal, is offering free unlimited cloud backup courtesy of Backblaze for a whole year with its annual subscription. Secure, business-grade online backup for everyone, no strings attached.
Flickr is undoubtedly one of the best cloud storage solutions for photographers. Once you pay for an account, you can upload an unlimited number of photos from all your devices. The organization tools are great, too.
On the other hand, professional photographers may find the relatively limited file format— particularly the lack of support for RAW files—reduces Flickr’s flexibility as cloud storage.
Overall, Flickr offers great cloud storage for photos and videos, particularly for photographers who want to share their creations with the world.