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Reasons Every Artist Should Have a Flickr: Part 3

Well, I did promise a third and final entry on the topic and, here it is. This final segment covers the values of archiving and sharing your work, for professional purposes. Not quite finished, but I'll be back to edit later!

Part of my point has already been clarified so well by a video that Victor shared in response to my first blog on the topic that I'm simply going to share the link and encourage you to watch it, first, and then come back. Don't miss the section on using Tags to index all of your photos into a searchable archive. Scroll down to comments when you reach the page.

.....back yet?

Because images saved on a computer are vulnerable to hardware failure (all my work up in smoke because the hard drive decides to give out, for example), I'm fairly diligent about organizing my work and burning it to disk. I often also make duplicate copies. The problem is, I can't see what's on the disks and, with hundreds of images, I often forget what I have, or which disk things are on. Although the disks preserve my work, there is no convenient way to search them or to keep a visual, or even written, record of what they contain.

On Flickr, I have tagged my images. Each image has key words attached that describe it. When I need to retrieve a particular type of image or example of my work, I can use the Flickr search engine to search the tags in my collection and retrieve the photos that match. If it's a web quality image I need (72 to 100dpi), I'm all set; I can download the image and get to work. (And, I might point out, I can work from anywhere I have an internet connection--no more forgetting and leaving things at home.) However, since I date the disks I burn, I've also found that the upload date on a Flickr image, and the images that surround it, help me recall the CD on which I've stored those images, making it quite easy for me to find the originals. (If you're prolific and it's very important to recall where your images are, you could even add the original file name and disk number to the Flickr image's description.)

Flickr Pro, which I use, also offers Sets and Collections, which further aid organization. For example, I have all of my handwork in one collection. Within the collection, I have separate sets for pendants, beads, metalwork, etc. Often, I don't even need to use the search engine, I simple go to the category in which I keep a particular type of image and do a quick visual scan of the thumbnails. One thing I especially like about this feature is that I can upload an image once, and then add it to more than one set. For example, if a piece of work incorporates both metal and ceramic, and is a pendant, I can include it in all three sets. If someone photographs butterflies, for example, they might want to have a Color Collection with Orange, Blue, and Yellow sets within it, as well as a Geographic Collection of European, Asian and African sets. Not only is the ability to classify, organize and search an invaluable time saver, Sets and Collections also function as an organized online gallery and archive of my work, to which I can send clients, from any part of the world.

Flickr Pro also allows files sizes of up to 20MB per image. This allows the storage of original, print-quality images. These high quality images may be hidden and made unsearchable, be made visible to a select group, or be made available to everyone.You may prohibit all others from downloading a particular image or you may include various combinations of people having permission to download: friends, friends and family, and/or contacts. I've used this feature to allow select others to view, critique, or proof images. Internet service providers often prevent sending large files and email is not the most attractive frame for good work. Flickr is clean and professional in appearance, and well organized. It is an easy and practical way to submit work to be juried or to provide high quality images of your work to a client that lives at a distance, while keeping them hidden from the rest of the world.

Yes, of course there should be some conclusion, but I'm tired! If anything, I hope the conclusion is that you want to get a Flickr account, at least a free account, to start, and give it a try! (Oh, and if you do, why not try adding it to your FresnoArts page via RSS feed? It's that little orange image and it' so easy!)

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