How to use Flickr to get creative with your photos

Flickr, the photo sharing site and social network, is probably right behind Wikipedia on the list of social media tools journalists and newsrooms avoid. Journalists have every reason to be wary of uplaoading content to Flickr — without the right controls photos uploaded to the site can be downloaded and used without permission elsewhere on the web.

But there are so many other ways to use Flickr besides uploading photos from the newsroom. Flickr is, after all, a social tool and news media can harness the power of the site to improve the news-gathering process. For starters, newsrooms can take a cue from Slate and The Consumerist and create a photo pool or group where readers can submit photos that fall into a specific category. For Slate’s “Shoot the Recession” photo pool, readers and photogs were invited to submit photos that captured the economic recession. The Consumerist, a consumer affairs blog, asks readers to submit photos that capture commerce in America that are selected by editors and featured on the site.

NPR recently used Flickr to crowdsource information and asked readers to identify individuals in a series of photos from a US Senate meeting. Members of the site used Flickr’s photo tagging feature to add notes to the photo about individuals in the image. Getty Images even tapped into the great talent on Flickr and partnered with Flickr photographers to sell their work under the Getty name.

If you are thinking about uploading your photos to Flickr and are also handy with geotagging, you can use iMapFlickr to create custom embeddable maps that feature geocoded photos. Like most third-party mapping tools, iMapFlickr is very easy to use and requires just a few steps to identify photos from Flickr and plot them on a map.

There are, of course, much more creative ways to use Flickr such as using the API to recreate an entire city, identify the dominant colors of a physical location, or to view the day’s headlines in photos.

As the previous examples show, Flickr is more than just a tool for sharing photos. The site’s many features means there are many different ways you can use the site for your own unique projects.

Also on 10,000 Words:

30 Amazing photoblogs (and a few tips for creating one)
Composite photography: A new twist to an old medium
5 Creative uses of Flash and interactive storytelling
Creative and innovative uses of online video
Photojournalism: Where to find the best in news photography