How To Download A Photo From Flickr

Many of the photos that photographers have uploaded onto the Flickr website are strikingly beautiful. Others deliver messages with real impact. If you seek high-quality photos to upload to your blog or website, is, without doubt, an excellent source.

Photo of purple (Shooting Stars) and yellow wildflowers in a field with a large dead tree on a hill in the background

Photo by Linda Tanner

Unfortunately, downloading a photo from Flickr is not an entirely intuitive process.  If you follow these simple instructions, though, you’ll be able to download photographs from the site with ease.  Here are the steps for downloading a photo from Flickr to your computer:

Image of screen showing "Explore" menu and Creative Commons selection1. On your Flickr home page, you’ll see a menu bar with several options. Click on the “Explore” option, and a menu will drop down. From that dropdown menu, select “Creative Commons.”

2. On the “Creative-Commons” page are six photo-licensing classifications. You can read about the parameters of each license type on your own, but for the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you want a photo submitted under the “Attribution License,” which allows you to copy, distribute, display, and perform the author’s copyrighted work and derivative works based upon it, as long as you give the author credit.

Image of partial screen showing the (see-more) choice under Attribution License3. Under “Attribution License,” click on “See more,” which will take you to a a page that is a portal to thousands of photos.

Image of partial screen showing search box4. Type a search term in the box above the photos, and click on “Search.” I’ve entered the term “wildflowers” for the purposes of this demonstration.

Image of screen showing selectors for refining a search5. A screen will come up with hundreds of photos from which to choose. Above the photos, to the left, you will see three selectors: “Relevant,” “Recent,” and “Interesting.” “Relevant” gives you photos that are relevant to the search term you entered. “Recent” produces images that have been uploaded to recently. And “Interesting” displays photos that are a bit different from the run-of-the-mill ones. Click on “Interesting” to get a better selection, then click on the photo you would like to download. Each photo exists on as a separate page with a unique url.

Image of Flickr screen showing the "Actions" dropdown menu6. Once you’re on the page that contains the photo you selected, you’ll see above the photo a button called “Favorite,” another titled “Actions,” and some shortcut icons for sharing the photo by email or on Facebook or Twitter. Click on “Actions,” and a menu will drop down. Select “View all sizes,” and a larger version of the photo will appear with six size options above it.

7. Select the size you want, and the photo will appear again in the size you’ve selected. It may be advisable to choose a size a bit larger than the one you would like to use on your blog or website so that you can crop and edit the photo as you wish. Just above the size options, you’ll see a line titled “Download.” To the right of that title, click on “Download the (small, medium, etc.) size of this photo,” and a dialog box will open and prompt you to save the file. You have no control over the file type or the destination at this point. The photo will be saved to the “Downloads” folder on your computer.

Image of Flickr "All sizes" page with "download" link highlighted
Once you’re located the photo in your downloads folder, you can move it to another folder, open it in a photo-management program, and prepare it for posting on your blog or website. It’s that simple! Thanks for stopping by!

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