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]