Use Flickr photos in WordPress

Some time ago I wrote something about the product policy of Google regarding Picasa. At that time I was very annoyed about the fact that my set workflow for publishing photos for a club site doesn't work anymore. The reason was that Google apparently changed an API after spinning off Google Photos from Google+, so my previous WordPress plugin didn't work anymore. This was the reason for me to think about switching to Flickr in the long run.

Why host photos at a service provider?

First of all, the question arises why photos should be hosted on an external service at all. WordPress has a built-in media management, which is quite useful.

An obvious criterion is the required space. The disk space for hosting packages is sometimes a bit tight. In the concrete example of the club site it is about photos of sporting events. Per event there are several hundred images together. The images should be displayed in a reasonable size on the page and the compression should not be set so strong that it leaves visible traces. Of course this needs a certain amount of disk space. The current storage space of 1 TByte at Flickr is sufficient for really a lot of images.

The next criterion is the traffic. Maybe not everyone has this problem on their mind right away. However, many hosting packages have a limit on monthly traffic. In this case it is 10 GB. This seems to be a lot, but if the site is well visited, then this threshold can be reached. There are usually additional costs.

Another important thing is the loading time of a page. If you have an inexpensive hosting package, then you can usually assume that you share the server with many other sites. The delivery of the images can happen at a snail's pace.

If you host the pictures externally with a provider who is specialized in this, then you can usually assume that the pictures will be delivered much faster. Flickr, Google and Co. use special CDN for this .

How the outsourcing of the photos affects from the SEO point of view, I am not quite clear at the moment. From the feeling I would say that the outsourcing brings certain disadvantages, because the URLs of the images is not identical with the URL of the page. On the other hand, the speed of page load is also a ranking signal. I will try to find out the real effect of outsourcing in a test. I will report about it here in due time.

If you have your own well-connected server for your site, then it is not necessary to host images with a service provider. In all other cases it is worth to think about the advantages of outsourcing the pictures.

My workflow

Now I would like to describe in detail how I proceed to make the pictures available on a club page. This site runs with WordPress. But also on sites with other CMS you can certainly do something similar.

Embedding into the local image management

First I integrate the local folder of my images into my lokake image management system. For this I use as a Linux user Shotwell. With this program it is very easy to upload the pictures to Flickr.

Publish images with Shotwell on Flickr

Of course this could also be done via browser upload. However, with a relatively slow internet connection, the browser upload is a bit error prone. For Windows users Flickr offers a program for uploading.

Create album in Flickr

In the web interface of Flickr is not much to do. I tag the images and add them to an album. I give the album a name that makes it easy to find again.

Create an album in Flickr

Embedding the album with Awesome Flickr Gallery

To embed Flickr images I use the WordPress plugin Awesome Flickr Gallery.

Plugin setup

After the plugin is installed, it must first be set up. A Flickr User ID and a Flickr API Key are required. This does not mean something to everyone. But there is an explanation and a link to each of them. So the setup is very simple.

Set up Awesome Flickr Gallery

Then there are a few default settings to make for the galleries. But these are only defaults and can be overwritten for each gallery.

Create gallery

So, now the first image gallery can be created. The corresponding link opens the input page for it.

As Gallery Source I select Photoset. This means the Flickr albums. After the selection all albums defined in Flickr are available in a dropdown list.

Select Flickr album

Now the default settings for the gallery display can still be overwritten.

Once all the entries are done, click on Add Gallery and a shortcode for the gallery will be displayed in the upper area.

We need this shortcode in a moment. That's why it's best to copy it to the clipboard.

Include gallery in post

Embedding in a post is very simple. To do this, simply insert the shortcode at the desired location. Ready!

Insert shortcode


The only drawback is that the embedded images is only a maximum width of 500 pixels. This seems to be a limitation of Flickr. But when you click on the image, it will be displayed in full size.

With Flickr and the WordPress plugin Awesome Flickr Gallery, I have built a very effective workflow for me to publish photos on a WordPress site.

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