How to use Flickr groups to collect wedding photos from your guests

June 13 | Guest post by foxes.in.sockses

Flickr recently relaunched with a new design and 1TB of free photo uploads for everyone! To celebrate, we're posting this tutorial on how to easily use Flickr to collect guest photos.

Ariel totally used a Flickr group to collect her guests' photos.
Ariel totally used a Flickr group to collect her guests' photos.
Hey guys! I hope everyone else is as excited as I am about the Flickr relaunch! I know plenty of you Offbeat ladies and fellas like to use Flickr to store your photos (and woohoo, now everyone gets 1TB of uploads!), but you can also set up groups for multiple people to add their photos to. Wouldn't that be useful if, say, you wanted to collect all the photos from a particular day or event, like A WEDDING perhaps, without having to chase down everyone's USB drives, cell phones, and SIM cards?

Yes? That sounds amazing? I thought so! Follow me to Flickr.com as I tell you how to do it, step by step…

1. Sign up

Your first step depends on whether or not you already have a Flickr account. If you do, you can click Sign in and enter your login information. If you don't have an account yet, click Sign up. You can create a Yahoo! account, or log in with your existing Google or Facebook accounts.

flickr-sign-up-sign-in

2. Create your group

Once you're signed in, the Flickr homepage will be customized with some of your account information. Now you're going to create a group for your wedding photos. Look up in the top toolbar and highlight Communities. Click the bottom option on the drop-down menu, which is labeled Create a Group.

communities-new-group

There are three different kinds of groups:

  • Public, which means anyone can add themselves as a member
  • Invitation Only, which means you need to invite people to be members before they can contribute to the photo pool
  • Private, which means you need to invite members and only those members can view the photos in the pool

The photos in Public and Invitation Only groups are visible publicly on the internet. If you want your wedding photos to stay private, you should make your group Private. Just remember that a Private group can't be made public later.

create-new-group

Regardless of what kind of group you choose, the setup process is the same. First, you need to enter a name and safety level for your group. If you're having a more adult affair — at your local BDSM dungeon, at Burning Man (nipples everywhere!), or if your wedding is entirely clothing optional, you should probably choose the "18+" option. You can also enter a description for the group, but that step's optional. When you've filled out this page, click Next.

The page after that affects how people who aren't members of the group can view the group. Do you want them to be able to see the photo pool? Do you want them to be able to see the discussions in the group? Both of these options are checked automatically. Leave 'em alone or uncheck them, then click Next.

group-customize-1

The next page is completely optional, but can be fun: If you want to, you can set titles for different members of the group. You could give the Administrator a title like "Bride/Groom Supreme," the moderators "Maids/Men of Awesome," and regular members "Loving Guests." Tweak these options however you like, then click All Done.

group-customize-2

That's all you need to do to create a group!

Customize your group

You'll automatically be directed to the Administration page for your group, where you can customize it even more. Not all of these options will apply to you, so I made note of the more relevant ones below.

admin-page

  • Click Flickr web address or Name/URL/Description if you want to change the name and description of your group or add a custom URL. The default URL is a series of letters and numbers Flickr assigns randomly, so if you want something more user-friendly, you can change it to something like "foxywedding" from this page. I'd recommend doing this, because it will make it much easier for your guests to find the group — and it looks nicer!
  • Click Moderating your Group to change the permissions for photo and video submission. If you want, you can choose to review and approve everything submitted to the group before it displays in the photo pool. You can also choose what kind of content can be posted in the group; photos, videos, screencasts, and more.
  • Click Manage your Members to change the privileges for the members in your group. From here, you can designate other Administrators and moderators. Hopefully you won't need to, but this is also where you can remove people from the group or ban them entirely.

Invite your guests

When you've got everything set up the way you want, click the group title at top of page, which is linked in blue. You'll see the front page of your group, which is where pictures and discussions will show up.

flickr-group-page

The top of this page is a tabbed menu. Click Administration to see the Administration page you were just on, or click Invite Friends to start adding people to your group.

When you invite new people, you have two options:

  1. invite existing Flickr members
  2. invite non-members

Most of you will probably use a combination of both options. Both pages prompt you to enter an email address and custom message inviting a potential member to join your group.

flickr-invite-non-member

Now you've learned how to set up a group, change your group settings, and invite new members, which should be everything you need to get your wedding photo pool up and running.

Add photos

add-go-group-upload
Uploading photos and adding them to the group is super easy:

  • Click Upload in the top black toolbar to upload the photos to Flickr
  • Drag and drop the photos you want to upload
  • Click Add to group
  • Select the group from the list (heck, add 'em to the Offbeat Bride group, too!)
  • Click Upload to upload the photos and add them to the group!

PS: We suggest using this method to remind guests at the wedding about your photo-sharing options.

  1. This is so very timely! I was desperately searching for a solution to the multiple devices, multiple photos issue. I know I can count on the Offbeat Bride Blog when I'm looking for answers to these wedding questions.

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  2. This is fantastic and very time appropriate! I'm a born-again Flickr user ever since the site's redesign (it's f'ing awesome!).

    A designated photo group is a wonderful idea. Think of all the different perspectives of one event all clumped together in a single spot – available for all one's guests to see… One sad-face that I experience over and over is that I've never been to a wedding where the couple has the foresight to set up a designated photo site/group for sharing. (Yeah, Facebook exists and you can tag people blah blah blah…but it's still not in one clean album. Besides, their whole heavy compression thing irks me. )

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    • Yeah, I think a lot of couples get nervous and overwhelmed by the idea of setting something up, or assume that guests won't use it. When we used Flickr for our wedding it was 2004 and folks were way less comfortable with photo sharing online… but having a Flickr group made it easy for everyone to share their pics.

      I do wish Flickr made it even easier… it's been crazy to watch how many wedding apps have popped up in recent years to basically do exactly what Flickr groups has done for almost a decade. They just make it REALLY easy, where-as of course Flickr has so many options that it can seem overwhelming.

      I've actually suggested to the Flickr staff that they consider having a really streamlined "SO YOU WANT TO START A WEDDING GROUP!" user flow on their site… it's just such a common need that couples have, and with the 1TB of free uploading, it's now the most awesome way to collect photos in one place.

      (Cuz yeah ug: Facebook. Don't even get me started.)

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  3. What perfect timing! Thank you so much for putting this together.

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  4. What about dropbox? Would be way easier than uploading all the photos to flickr.

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  5. I have a smugmug account (it's like $30-40 a year?) and I've been really happy with their relatively-new feature of guest uploads to a gallery. I set up a wedding gallery on my account, then they allow you to make a guest upload page (it's in the settings of the gallery). All you need to do is pass along a url to your guests, and they are greeted with the upload screen. Before or after they upload their photos, they can click on the gallery name to see all the photos that have been added. I used tinyurl to make the moderately-lengthy url into something easy to type in.

    I can manage the gallery like usual: hide photos, allow full sized photos, allow people to print photos they like, etc. Smugmug has a great simple design. The only downside is there's no free way (that I have found) to upload photos to a smugmug gallery from my iPhone. Hopefully soon!

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  6. Do people have to join flickr to upload photos to your group? My concern is always that people can't be bothered with that (I know I certainly wouldn't if I was the guest).

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    • Yes, but as Sarah points out in this post:

      You can create a Yahoo! account, or log in with your existing Google or Facebook accounts.

      So basically if you have a Facebook, Google, or Yahoo account, you can log into Flickr. That's pretty much everyone.

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  7. Can you seriously not sort your photos within the group in any meaningful way? I just uploaded a ton of dress pictures thinking oh yay this will be an easy way to share with my mother, FMIL, and MOH. And the photos sort great within my personal account – into sets by date/store and then within that they are sorted by number (dress1, dress2, dress3) so that they show in the order I tried them on which means the pictures of each dress are grouped together.

    But then when I added them to the group I created they are just in random order?? It's just a useless mishmash of white dresses. I am SO FRUSTRATED that I just spent 2 hours creating something that turned out to be completely worthless.

    If I'm missing something please PLEASE let me know. But otherwise consider this a warning to anyone who was thinking "oh yay, this will be great!" It appears to be the online equivalent of a shoebox full of random pictures of old vacations and you're not even sure which ones are which anymore :(

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  8. I just set this up today! Thanks for the easy step by step

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  9. It appears that people have to upload the photos to their individual photostream first, and THEN upload them to the group. BUT they can only upload them to the group 6 AT A TIME! I just did this for my bachelorette party weekend and we have over 700 photos so trying to load 6 at a time is just never going to happen. I was really hoping this was going to be a great solution for the wedding guest photos, but it seems to not be working/convenient for even a small group of tech savvy women. Still searching for something else…

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  10. I just tried to start a Flickr group. I consider myself a pretty technology-savvy person, but man was this a pain in the ass. Your tutorial was great, don't get me wrong, but there is a lot about their site that is really counter-intuitive and I don't think any of my relatives will enjoy using it. What are some names of those REALLY easy wedding photo websites?

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  11. picshareparty.com eliminates the need for hashtags or app downloads. Guests simply text photos/video straight to your private event gallery. Full disclosure: I am a developer for the project. Check it out.

    0 agree

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