I have been playing around with Flickr a couple of days and I have decided to give it a try and use it when publishing photos. If it turns out that I am happy with Flickr then it will probably replace SkyDrive for my public photo publishing needs.
Okay, so for the obvious question…why?
Well I had a number of reasons why I, at least, wanted to try Flickr.
One reason is the 1 Terrabyte of free space that you get with a Flickr account. This should be compared to the, comparatively, tiny 25 Gigabyte that I have on SkyDrive and I have 25 gb only because I signed up before they lowered it to 7 Gb. 1 Terrabyte means that I can upload photos of higher quality without fear of running out of space in the near future.
Flickr have a photo stream page where you can see the published photos in the order they are published without having to bother about where I have published them. That is, there is a single page where you can go to see the latest published photos. I have added a link to My Photo Stream on Flickr under the My Stuff heading in the widget bar to the left.
Another reason is the Lightroom integration. Lightroom have an out-of-the-box integration with Flickr. No third-party software necessary. This means that I can publish photos to Flickr in one go at the same time as I am doing the processing of the photos. Sure, you could do that with SkyDrive as well but with SkyDrive you actually published to the hard drive and then SkyDrive “synchronized” the photos to SkyDrive. This meant you had to have the structure you wanted as folders on your hard drive.
Of course Flickr have a means of structuring the photos as well. The most basic mean is the set. You also have Collections which is a higher level. I have not yet given it much though how I want to use collections but I have added a link under the My Stuff heading to my sets as well named My Photo sets on Flickr.
Then WordPress have a Flickr widget. If you look in the right widget bar below My Stuff you find the three latest photos that I have published. Thus it is really easy to see if there are any new photos.
Flickr is also a dedicated photo sharing site contrary to SkyDrive which more traditional file oriented cloud system. This means it has a few features especially oriented towards photos. One such feature is that Flickr automatically creates a number of versions in different sizes of an uploaded photo. Thus, theoretically, I could upload all my photos in full resolution and I would still get a size adapted for screen viewing when viewing the photos on the web.
There are one gotcha with this though. The resizing algorithm of Flickr is not at all as good as the one in Lightroom. Also, when publishing the correct screen size Lightroom can apply a sharpening that is much more adapted for the purpose of screen viewing than otherwise. The end result is that, during my tests, I got a noticeable crisper (sharper) image in the web interface when publishing images already adapted to screen viewing than when publishing the full resolution images.
I can still take advantage of the additional space by publishing images with muss less JPEG compression than I usually do on SkyDrive though.
Flickr is not perfect though. Once you have clicked on a photo and are viewing that single photo on the screen I think the SkyDrive user interface is a little bit better. Not by an enormous amount but still. It is just somewhat cleaner, better laid out and you can use the keyboard keys to move backwards and forwards. With Flickr you have to click on the left or right side of the screen. At least on IE 11. Flickr are having a new user interface in beta though but I do not really know what that will entail.
So, unless I find some big gotcha with this set-up I will use Flickr for now on when publishing photos, apart from the ones that I publish embedded straight into the posts of course. It will really not mean much difference for most people. There will still be a link in the posts to the newly published set although you can just have a quick glance at the previously mentioned Flickr widget in the left toolbar to see if there are any new photos. There will be a few new features when viewing the photos on Flickr but I will not go into all details here. If you are interested enough you might already be using Flickr and knows about them or it is easy enough for you to read up on the Flickr site itself.
Oh by the way, since I just made a bulk upload of photos from 2013 and 2012, the photos at top of the photo stream page might not really be the latest that I have taken but as I start to use Flickr in a more regular manner they will be soon.