Instagram? Flickr? 500px? Where to Share Your Photos Online?

Remember how great Flickr was at its peak? It was an active photography community to share and discuss images with other photographers all over the world. While the site still functions, it's nowhere near as popular and active as it once was, and it hasn't had a decent refresh in years. Oh, how the mighty fall. Where else can we share images with other photographers? 

Who else remembers posting photo sets to Flickr, joining groups, entering weekly image challenges? It was great for me at the time to have a direct line of contact with other photographers. I enjoyed a particular weekly challenge that involved submitting one image of a specific subject each week, as this forced me to go out and be creative with a subject that I might not have chosen myself. Then, there was the enjoyment looking at other submissions from all over the world and their interpretations, giving and receiving constructive feedback on the images before the next subject was announced and we did it all over again. Sadly, Flickr hasn't been getting the attention it needed to stay popular, daily users are down, and the community just isn't as active as it once was.

This video from Micael Widell discusses a few major photography community sites and how they just aren't effective as a photography community in the way that many photographers would like.

Instagram was built on the sharing of images, nothing else. Instagram also introduced the masses to photo filters; these filters just served the purpose of making up for the low quality of cellphone cameras back then. Instagram has changed focus since it started. Now, you certainly don't need to take beautiful or highly technical images to be popular on Instagram. The Facebook-owned Instagram figured out much more effective algorithmic ways to keep users engaged than simply sharing beautiful images. We've witnessed the rise of the Instagram influencer, monetization, and much more powerful image filters as cellphone cameras and processing power have improved year on year. I wouldn't say that Instagram isn't a still very popular network in 2022; it just isn't the photography-focused image-sharing service it once was.

An obvious option would be Facebook groups for photography, but my experience with those has often revealed several trolls that can dishearten newbie photographers; perhaps, this is more a reflection of the online community, as the same can be found on most social platforms. Facebook also isn't exclusively about image sharing, and their community standards can be restrictive for some types of photography.

Many creatives have been turning to Patreon or other premium subscription services for image sharing and community development. Many premium subscriptions include access to a Discord server or other online community features. The cost of entry may put some people off in 2022, as we've all become too used to getting these types of services for free, despite Flickr having a premium tier of membership in its heyday. I like the Fstoppers community features and regularly have some great interactions with other photographers on this site. 

Now, in 2022, where can photographers share images with like-minded people? Where can we learn from others, help others, and see great images? Maybe the best places for this type of community are real-life camera clubs and local photography communities?

What do you think about online photography communities? Do you have any recommendations? Any to avoid? Let me know in the comments.

Brad Wendes's picture

Brad Wendes is a British photographer and travel lover.
He began photographing parkour and acrobatics in 2010 and has since taken to portraiture and fitness photography.
Brad is a self-confessed geek, Star Wars fan, tech enthusiast, cat lover and recently converted Apple Fanboy.

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Gonna watch this, I really like Flickr right now, good community and the photos are much more honest in general than the other sites (less over processing etc).

Instagram just pisses me off these days, I get more likes from posting a picture of my DJ decks in a bar than I do a photograph I took time to shoot and edit... its shallow.

Glad to hear that you’re still enjoying Flickr, maybe I should give it another try after a few years away

It’s well worth it in my opinion.. 500px was just a photoshop contest by the time I left it… I don’t mind the fact you can see peoples snaps on Flickr as much as world class shots, makes it feel much more genuine.

For what it's worth, I'm also still enjoying Flickr.

It's the primary platform where I post my images, where I go to see images from others, and also where I have most interaction with other photographers (besides Discord servers, but they're not really suitable for image sharing, only for the interaction).

I have been back on Flickr for the past two years and ...well... me think the writer needs to give it another try as I am active in groups, enjoy the behind the shot podcast from Flickr has interactions with many active to me Flickr is going strong and I wish people wouldn't write about a community based on old information...true it might not be as strong as it was at one time but it is still a good community for photographers.

Thanks guys for your input, I also left Flickr a few years ago but now I may give it another try.

R.I.P. Flickr

I agree that the functionality of Flickr is limited, but it really is not true that no-one uses it or that it is no longer relevant.. Some groups are run by admins who insist on quality and create communities of like minded photographers.

Despite many years of frustration under Yahoo, Flickr is still the place for my needs. And while everything definitely isn't perfect now, it is much better than a few years ago. "It hasn't had a decent refresh in years" was true a few years ago, but not any more. Flickr is moving and mostly improving again.
But I'm probably not the average guy I guess. Instagram have never caught me with its "only latest uploads counts" mentality and lack of ways to organize and present your photos in other ways than just latest upload.

Biggest drawback with Flickr today is in my opinion, that there's no way to feature albums directly on your profile's "landingpage"/photostream.

you should try this add on called "Flickr Fixr" it puts your albums on your landing page. ;)

Thanks :-) I don't mention it every time I talk about Flickr. It makes it looks like I'm just spamming.

I like to bring it up because it's great. Thanks for making it. :)

I first joined Flickr in 2005. Deleted my account and restarted a new one in 2007. I have been on ever since. Certainly agree that the site weathered an awful period in the pre and during Yahoo period. But despite imminent threats from 500px, Google+ (yes once upon a time), Facebook and Instagram it has held out as the one non-monetizing forum for photographers to post and appreciate each other's work. Could it be better? Definitely. But all that would take largely is for everyone that would love to be a part of that community to come back and start posting and join the dialogue. Also fwiw - it's still the number one place to check out camera's you are interested in buying before you pull the trigger.

Gotta go where the people are. Videos are the thing now and one has to adjust if it's your business to be considered by others, otherwise steady as she goes in whatever platform you use and the art you are making

You could give up spending your time photographing and just start a YouTube channel dedicated to gear reviews or acting like some sort of camera disciple for newbies à la Jared Polin and the Northrups. Photography is a passion for many people and not even a main job. People should never create an online presence for the sole purpose of chasing likes. Besides the sorts of videos getting the most likes are pretty low brow stuff.

Just throwing this out there... have you thought about developing your own website - there are plenty of web hosts out there and plenty of different ways to use WordPress or Coppermine or even Joomla to display photographs, to allow comments, etc. Like I said, just a thought.

Looks like Coppermine was last updated 4+ years ago...

I started photography with Flickr. I admit that in some period the site strugelled, but for me in Flickr I feel like being at home. Flickr is still the best platform for all kind of photographers, with various types. There is a community where you feel like you are between your friends. Yes, it has not changed much, it has not improved much, but change is not always good and sometimes you need to feel the warmness of the same format you used to know.

I still enjoy flickr as it is really meant to be a photo sharing site for photographers (and of course FStoppers, too). So much genuine content to get inspiration from. I only use Facebook and Instagram to stay in contact to non-photographers i.e. clients and friends. Instagram in particular is a mess from an artist's point of view as it doesn't really provide proper features to present pictures (zoom, full screen, EXIF etc.). Not to mention their obscure algorithm how they push or downvote the visibility of your profile.

If you're serious on photography, you'll have your own website. Besides this, Flickr is still a very nice platform which is serious about photography and the last couple of years they are improving their business. Instagram isn't.. I get so tired of this platform. The algorithm, advertising, video's getting worse day by day..Their isn't a day I'm not thinking about leaving this platform!

Working on something (photography platform), coming soon (march '22)

Well, keep us posted!

Thanks, I will.

One more pro Flickr vote ! I also have, now inactive, profiles on 500px, Instagram and I post on some Facebook groups. I have three websites, but the one which I am most excited to post a new image to is Flickr. Yeah it's basic and it hasn't changed much but maybe that's why it still works, the community of photographers hasn't changed much either.

Flickr was life-changing for me.
It first came to my attention when I read an article in Wired about a small start-up in SF, Ludicorp, that had produced this photo-sharing website and it was the place to be.
I wasn't a photographer but the geek in me found my interest piqued and I signed up.
I posted crap but people liked it and my crap became acceptable, I was in a terrible place in my life at the time and a bunch of Parisian Flickrites bought me a flight ticket and found me a place to live and completely unplanned Paris became my new home.
Whilst in Paris one of my followers on the site contacted me, she was visiting Paris from Moscow and asked if we could meet up.
A month later I was living with her in Moscow, 2 years later we were back in Paris, now married, and have been together now for 15 wonderful years, we both went from knowing zero about cameras to shooting Runway in Paris.
What killed Flickr in my opinion was the explore whoring, the endless comment groups trying to manipulate this, and the inability of the management to adapt.
My original Flickr account is long since dead, I'm Bipolar and destroy a lot I create, other accounts have also come and gone.
Maybe it is time I kickstarted my existing dormant account, see if I can reignite that spark again...

"Explore Whoring" on Flickr is certainly an issue, yeah. I have come to block the worst of these users.

Groups that ask people to leave comment-codes all over the place is another nuisance, not much one can do about it if one wants to stay on the platform... At least you can just avoid these groups if you don't want this comment-spam on your own pictures!

That's what newbies do, leave comment codes all over the place. When I started I did too. But now I don't even join groups that require comment codes. I don't like to have my pics plastered with "awards." I don't know about Explore Whoring, since Explore is not what it used to be. People figure out how to cheat the algorithm, and then they change it again. If a picture is "explored," it means some algorithm picked it, not that it was looked at and evaluated by a team of experts. I ignore "congrats on being Explored" because it's been picked by a computer algorithm and is basically meaningless.

Has anyone tried Ello? I’ve been there for a year or so. Seems cool but needs more legit photographers. There’s a lot of weird shit there but it might have potential.


I've never 'eard of this service before.

How does it work? What are its unique features that make it worth exploring, when compared to existing platforms like 100ASA, 500px, Flickr, Insta, etc. etc.?

Flickr Forever! :)

Most of the comments here seem to be about Flickr, so I thought I might throw my 500px hat in the ring.
After comparing what was available, I joined 500px in 2016, mostly wanting to have a place to show my growing portrait portfolio. I thought I might also receive helpful critique on my work, but I discovered that there is no real community-like interaction going on there. But I was satisfied with having a place to display my work, even if the free membership doesn’t allow you to arrange your shots: uploads are arranged chronologically.

Where I have to differ is where Brad spoke about 500px’s weakness being bot activity. I have invested thousands of hours on the platform, also observing member activity. There are simply numerous members (real people) who are on the site all day leaving comments on photos of other people they know or perhaps don’t know. There is one upvote pod in particular that is especially active and it’s not uncommon for them to give each other 100+ lavish, reciprocal comments for every new mediocre upload.

500px has maybe 20 million members, though 99% remain in total obscurity. In a feed called “Fresh” you can, in real-time, see all the hundreds of pictures, good and bad, being uploaded every minute by these members new and old. And while there’s not necessarily a correlation between the former and the latter, most of the incoming shots are just bad: washed-out mobile phone snaps of various ordinary things people happen to run across. These snaps might gather two or three random likes, because few people are looking in Fresh for gems, and then disappear.

On the other hand of the scale there’s the “Most Popular” feed. A newly-uploaded photo has one day to gain a score (“Pulse”) from likes, and at the top of this feed are the pics that have gathered the most love before 24 hours go by. Most shots are excellent, though a few mediocre ones make it near the top simply because the member has a large following. Still, it is simply a popularity contest, and it’s generally the same people that show up at the top, with few newcomers making it there. There is neither curation nor scoring based on quality.

Most people aren’t aware that in the upper 20 of the Most Popular pictures there are one or two, at any given time, that shot to the top with the help of automatically generated likes scripted from a set of approx. 20,000 fake accounts that the VCG office (the owner of 500px) has set up to promote pictures of their choosing. They can also give a user, even a brand new one, anywhere from 500 to 2,000 followers at the press of a button.

A month ago I got a bit too aggressive at pointing out which uploads got to the top via said fake likes, and as a result poof! my account was banned (forewarned: it’s not difficult to get deactivated at 500px), and my plea to be reinstated if I made no more such comments was ignored. Over the years I had gained 12,000 followers – and without my account I also lost my records (in “Galleries”) of all the excellent member pictures I had discovered over the years.

Aside from my business cards which I had to trash I also miss having those followers because it gave me a modern-world legitimacy: when I approach people on the street as to whether I might take their picture, they often don't understand my broken Russian or Italian. But showing them my follower numbers (even if not a single person had ever heard of 500px) is always more than enough to sway them.

Maybe I’ll have a look at Flickr. Or maybe just show my pics in Google Photos and convince my impromptu models based solely on the quality of my photography.

I use primarily Flickr. It is where I find the most authentic photography and I am growing a community of like-minded folks there.

I use Flickr to index my Instagram along with having the larger and uncensored version of the images. With Flickr, I can search for the model or place within my own uploads, which in turn, the description has the link to my IG.

I use Flickr and all of my favorite people are still active there, even though I let it go for a few years, turning my attention to Facebook and learning from others there. Originally I got more social satisfaction from Yahoo groups, but host people transitioned to FB but I stayed stubbornly away. Then I got more social interaction from Flickr. It was quite active there for a time, focused on photography instead of all the caustic annoying things one encounters on FB, as FB is not a place exclusively for photographers. Anyway, I am active on Flickr again.
I love IG, but it is not the same animal as a Flickr. It is not a photographer nerd's dream. I tried 500px, but it was very slow there. I have not found any other platforms made for us yet.

I think Fstopper should come up with an app, so people can show their pictures in the fstopper community. since you have a great bunch of people around can assign photographers to choose the photo of the day easily. I would really love to volunteer for this.

Has anyone tried YouPic? It's a fairly new site with some very good photography. I have used 500px but switched to the free membership since they are aligned with Getty I think and a Chinese photo site. I have been on Flickr for years but don't take advantage of all it offers. As a Pro member you get unlimited storage. I just find it hard to upload images to Flickr and get them in the correct Album.

Yeah I did.. The first impression was okay but after a while I noticed it's mainly driven by computers (bots)

Yeah I did.. The first impression was okay but after a while I noticed it's mainly driven by computers (bots)

The only reason I have an instagram account is to follow my friends. I don't post my photos there. The little hearts are meaningless.

Make Flickr great again. Seriously, it's the same as it always was. Screw all the Tic Tok video-centric algorithms platforms. Just start posting on Flickr. It's a great place.

Flickr has reacted to changes in other platforms... the recent announcement is change of focus from Flickr looks to be the most interesting news for photographers in quite a while.

Great news for photographers! With more photographers moving away from Instagram, Flickr could really do well from their new change of focus

I joined lots of photographic forums and posted some of my self portraits, hardly anyone bothered to look and most often no one commented. Photographers take images to be looked at and it is very disappointing when very few do.

Most of these forums major on cameras rather than photographs. Camera owners can be split into two groups there are those who are too scared to take them out for fear of damaging them and/or increasing the shutter count. They wish to get the best possible price for them in order to buy the 'latest' model which will have been incrementally 'improved'.

The other group take photographs and couldn't give a damn and that's where Flickr excels. Photography is to be enjoyed not endured.

I'd been on Flickr for a year or so with landscapes and urban photos much like the majority of photographers on there. At least I received lots more views and some comments through posting in the groups on the site.

I decided to just post a couple of self images on Flickr after deleting all my previous work. I found someone else who made self images and used what they'd done to add mine to suitable groups. Five days later and having loaded six images I'd had 2200 views and 11 comments. To put it mildly I was astonished, self imaging is not the backwater I thought it was

Most of the communities are based on favourites where users like each other pics and comment on photos just to get a like back:
In the video, you show that. Comments like "well done" and "great job" is to attract attention.

Also, 500px, Youpic and flicker are very easy to be worked around with small code robots (there are many videos online to show how to do it), On 500px, I uploaded a photo of my foot, and it was on the popular gallery after 5 min thanks to a robot.
Also, the work is all the same: you upload photos, and you wait.

Recently I found, which seems to be different. They have curation, and they push users to provide real feedback.
Robots don't work on 100asa (I have tried them), and it is reputation-based, so even if you do it, it won't help much.
Of course, they cannot compete with the bigger platform as they have been online for just 2 years.

Have you guys heard about it seems quite promising

I'm not sure how it works. I looked at it and am reluctant to join it because it seems like there is potential to be scammed...having to pay to be a certain kind of commenter or mentor?

100ASA is entirely free! It's the only genuine platform out there.

What is the below based on? Why do you think that?

"having to pay to be a certain kind of commenter or mentor?"

It's based on looking at the website!

You didn't look properly (as most of people the problem today is lack of attention and focus)
I have been using it as free member for few months and I have never been scammed and I have received lots of valuable feedback. So your statement is based on drinking too much :-)

The concept of having a “currency” on the platform will likely put a lot of people off.
It’s doesn’t look like a pure photo sharing platform, more a game or possibly gambling platform

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