Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir’s Tips For Flickr Success

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has had more success on Flickr than Icelandic photographer Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. Rebekka joined the site back in April 2005 when she was looking for a place not to share images but to store her drawings. Her art attracted comments so she added some old photos. When Flickr members raved about those too, she picked up a camera and began taking unique, haunting photographs that soon won her a cult following.

Her page views and praise might have been success enough but Rebekka’s photos were spotted by a member of the marketing team at Toyota who commissioned Rebekka to shoot a series of photos for a billboard campaign for the Prius. More work has followed, as has the press coverage, and Rebekka — who is now in her final year of a BA in Visual Arts at Iceland’s Academy of the Arts — already has the sort of resume that many professional photographers would be proud of.

So we contacted Rebekka and among the questions we asked were how can a photographer use Flickr to become well-known. “There are supposed to be many, many ways to make much more of [Flickr] than I have,” she replied — then gave us three outstanding tips.

1. Interact With People
“You can’t just put your pictures up and leave them there,” says Rebekka. “You have to drag people back to your photostream.” That means being an active part of the Flickr community. It means joining groups, taking part in discussions and offering sound suggestions and answers to other people’s questions.

Flickr was set up to help photographers share ideas and advice as much as to swap images. If you’re prepared to invest time in the Flickr community, you should find that other members look at your photos — and discover what you can do.

2. Comment On Other People’s Photos
Perhaps the best way of interacting on Flickr though is to leave comments on images. “I know when I started I was very careful to go around and comment on other people’s photos,” Rebekka told us.

Leave a comment on someone’s photo and you can almost guarantee that they’ll look at yours and return the favor. That won’t just help you to improve your images and become a better photographer, the long comment list will also show that you’re a photographer who’s attracting attention. And that can get you noticed even more.

3. Upload Selectively

Each of those two suggestions sounded like good advice but Rebekka’s last idea was the best. “The most important tip for becoming recognized on Flickr is only to upload the very highest quality materials,” she said. “There are so many people who upload ten pictures of the same subject. And the next day, ten more pictures of the same subject.

“You really want to be sure that you’re showing what you want to show, that you’re not just throwing everything up there.”

That might mean thinking of Flickr in a differently to the way most people think of it — not as a place to store images and show everything you’ve done, but as a kind of portfolio where people can see what you can do.

That could be the beginning of a whole new Flickr — and a whole new photographic career.

[tags] make money on flickr, flickr success [/tags]

7 comments for this post.

  1. Jason Rainsford Said:

    Thanks for these great tips. I've already implemented some tips and hope to sell more photos on Flickr. I've not sold many but I'm pleased someone out there likes my pictures. Also, I've come across an American aviation advertisement that I suspect has used one of my images in an advertisement. The picture has been heavily modified in Photoshop. The problem is with it being in America I apparently need to register each picture. Thanks AGAIN

  2. Harold Said:

    The ideas regarding using flickr in a more promotional way is really eye opening. I have sold one photo and purchased usage rights on another. The one I sold was for a single use and was selected mostly because it was the right subject not because it was a technically perfect shot. Thanks for this great resource, it should help with future sales.

  3. (nz)dave Said:

    All sensible tips, and ones I can say work as noted. I recently sold a photo, that the editor found on flickr, to San Francisco Magazine, as I noted here -

  4. Jason McKinney Said:

    I am currently getting ready to send out a usage agreement for an image I sold to the state of Alabama tourism website. They found me on flickr and asked to use it. It almost seemed that they expected to get it free but were than open to my negotiation. I will be licensing it for electronic use for 3 months.

  5. Adrian Baillie-Stewart Said:

    Being a South African photographer based in Cape Town, can anyone share their story of the successful sale of their photographs, across foreign currency lines and international borders?

  6. Wendy Said:

    I admit I don't have a clear understanding of lisence agreements. I had a request for one of my photos on flickr and I'm afraid I let it go because I didn't know how to start 'negotiating.' Lisencing terms are a little fuzzy for me. Is there a site I could go to for a quick education?

  7. David Burner Said:

    Being a picture editor of Caters News Agency, an international photo agency based in the UK, I totally agree with the comments made by Rebekka.

    Very sound advice and worth implementing.

    We are constantly searching through sites like FlICKR for new, stunning content that have never been published before.

    We collaborate with the photographers, agree a percentage deal in advance and have made great sales for some Flickr contributors.

    Your images,though they may be taken purely for fun, can have serious sales potential.

    To add to Rebekka's advice, you never have to give away your copyright away ....the image is still yours.

    You are just giving someone the licence to use, print or syndicate your image for an agreed fee.

    Hope this helps Wendy

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