Sometimes it seems that all good things – yes all free things – must cease, at least for internet services. In this case, we are talking about Flickr, one of the most popular free storage services. The service was purchased by professional photo care service SmugMug, and in November it announced that free users will be limited to 1000 images instead of their previous 1TB storage.
According to Flickr's blog, January 8, 2019, users who have more than 1000 photos on their accounts can no longer upload additional files. Worse, as of February 4, some pictures over the 1000 limit "risk of deletion", starting with your oldest photos.
Do you want to avoid losing these pictures? Flickr hopes you decide to upgrade to Flickr Pro, which costs $ 5.99 per month (or $ 4.17 per month if you pay annually). But if you want to stay with the free plan and have over 1000 photos, you'll want to move all your photos to another service, such as Google Photos.
There are two ways to download your photos, and which you prefer depends on how much information you have placed in Flickr.
Just load the pictures
If you just want the pictures, there are several relatively easy ways to do that (but make sure you have enough space on your hard drive first). Each process begins to be understood by logging into your Flickr account and going to your photo stream.
First, you can select photos from the Camera Roll tab. Flickr allows you to organize your photos either by date or date uploaded, choosing the easiest for you. Then run down the list and click "Select All" for each date that has photos you want to download. (To download them all, click on the top photo, hold down the Shift key, move down to the last photo and click it.) Then move the cursor down to the window; a popup menu contains a selection to download. Click "Create zip file."
There is a catch, but Flickr lets you download 500 images at a time.
If you want to download more then you have a couple of options. According to a Flickr help file recommended earlier this year, you can download up to 5000 photos at a time from a single album. However, in several threads in the Flickr Help Forum, many users reported problems with these mass downloads and suggested that album downloads to 500 images were also good. Click the Album tab, rotate the cursor over the album you want to download and click on the "down" arrow. Flickr then offers to download the album as a zip file; just click on "Create zip file."
Download images and information also
If you would rather just download everything at once – and also get all the metadata, comments and GPS data that comes with the pictures – then it will be more complex. Click your avatar icon in the upper right corner of the page and select Settings. At the bottom of the Settings page there will be a large button labeled "Request my Flickr data". The above message indicates which email address the link to your data should be sent to; You can change it if you need to. After clicking the button, the message will change to "Flickr data requested."
It will take a while. I had an old Flickr account with hardly anything in it, so I just needed to download 13 pictures. I hit the button at 11:30 am and it was ready to go in about 15 minutes. (Users with much more extensive file numbers have reported much longer times – one that had about 13,000 images said it took four days.)
Don't expect your photos to be accompanied by their data – images and information will arrive separately. The zip files containing your photos contain up to 500 images each, so you can have a lot of downloads in front of you.
The information comes in a zipped series of files in a format called JSON. JSON is relatively easy to read; You can use a simple text editor to see all your information, including comments. But while you get the information secure, you can't easily transfer it to another service, such as Google Photos.
If you are ambitious, try using a metadata tool like Phil Harvey's ExifTool to re-associate your data with corresponding images. You can also try an app like IFTTT, which has several tools for, for example, moving tagged pictures from Flickr to a service like 500px. And if you don't want to disturb any of it yourself, Flickr lists several tools on its website that are designed to make the download process easier and / or faster. (One of our employees has successfully used an open source tool called flickr downloadr.)
Once you've downloaded your photos, you can upload them to another service, such as Google Photos, 500px, Photobucket, or DeviantArt. Remember that if you have not been able to connect your data to the associated images, you can only upload the images and not the metadata, such as location or related comments, since none of these services offer any form of specialized upload from Flickr.
But while you may lose your Flickr comments, you have saved your photos – at least the older images that are at risk of being deleted.