5 ways to download all of your original Flickr photos and albums

You have a ton of images on Flickr and want to leave? Me too!

Mike Lieser
Jan 26 · 8 min read

Flickr was a great website… around 12 years ago. And Flickr once had a 1,000 photo limit for free users and a pro plan. As pro, you could upload as many photos as you want. Some years ago they introduced their new free plan: 1TB photo storage for zero bucks and it attracted many new users… I guess. At that time I canceled my pro subscription. Why? I just needed a safe space for my photos, but I didn’t interact with the community for a long time and I never really had. No need for pro features like stats or anything else, even if the stats were interesting… sometimes.

And then SmugMug bought Flickr last year and now they force all users with more than 1,000 images to leave Flickr or to upgrade (again) to a pro plain, but this time for 45$/year (with a 15% offer, the original price is 54$/year), otherwise your photos WILL BE DELETED after February 5, 2019.

In 2016 I paid 45$ for TWO pro years and as you know… I just needed a safe place for my photos, not the community or pro features. And also as you know, storage prices are decreasing instead of increasing. Sorry, Flickr! And like a lot of other users, I do also have Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon & Co. and all of them provide storage for your photos. Of course, it’s not Flickr, but it’s storage. Safe storage for your photos.

To be fair here: Flickr pointed out, that they are pretty cheap compared to them, and that is totally correct, but Flickr only allows hosting of photos and short videos.

Therefore I still need at least one of the other storage services anyway to put my files and videos on.

My goal: Download all Flickr photos per album and put them on Dropbox.

I do have 22,310 photos on Flickr and a total of 113 albums. It’s not very much. I just use 5% of the 1TB free storage space. So it’s very likely a lot of users have a hell more photos on Flickr than me.

So, let’s have a look at how to export your Flickr photos.

1) Download a single image

Open a photo (example) in your browser, click on the download arrow at the bottom right and click on “Original”. Boom. Photo downloaded. That’s it!

Flickr single image export

It takes you just 5 seconds per photo, but If you have 22,310 photos like me, it would take you 31 hours plus some time to download into the correct album folder. Not so funny! But it’s ok if you have 20 photos on Flickr ;)

2) Download a single album

Open an album (example), click on the download arrow at the middle and click on “Create zip file”. Boom. You will get an email by Flickr after some minutes (or hours) with a link to a zip file. That’s it!

Flickr single album export

It takes you around 5 seconds to start the zip process per album, you have to wait a bit, open the E-Mail and just download and extract the zip file and…

Flickr album export email

… ARGH, Flickr does not mention your album name in the E-Mail. Maybe the zip file is named like the album? Nope! Maybe the album name is visible after extraction?

Flickr album export after extraction

Double Nope!

What does that mean? You have to match your extracted zip folder file count with the album photo count on Flickr if you trigger the export for all albums at once. Flickr E-Mails will not come in in the same order as you click “export”. It’s not a very fun thing to do. Check here, copy and paste album names there… All over again. I just started downloading my images like that but after 6 albums I thought: What the heck am I doing here? It’s ok if you have very few albums, but it definitely wasn’t ok for me.

3) Download selected images via camera roll

I didn’t even know about the Flickr camera roll before I tried different photo export options these days. It’s not that bad. You can sort the view by “date taken”, “date uploaded” or “magic view” which will intelligently categorize your photos into food, landscape, people, etc.

Flickr camera roll photo explorer

You can also select (!) as many photos as you want. But if you have a lot of images like me it’s not a very smooth experience to scroll through thousands of them.

And by the way: You are restricted to 500 photos if you want to download them.

Flickr camera roll photo export limit

And you are unable to see the album names or filter or sort by them. So it was no option for me and no option for anybody who wants to download photos by album. But it’s a good and easy way to download specific images which are connected in time.

4) Download all your Flickr data including photos

On your Flickr account page in the area “Your Flickr Data” in the bottom right corner, you are able to request ALL OF YOUR FLICKR DATA with just one click. It’s free. Do it now! Thanks to GDPR most big cloud services provide some kind of data export today, which is indeed a very nice thing.

It looks like that:

Flickr account data export

After some hours, or maybe days (depending on your photo count and current workload on Flickr), you will get this email:

Flickr account data export email

If you click on it, your account settings page will open again. But this time there are links. A lot of links in my case.

Flickr account data export finished

My first reaction was like: To click on 48 Files to download them suck, especially if something goes wrong during the download. If you are a tech-savvy user you know about download managers, and you know you just need to drag and drop all links into it.

Total download size in my case was 50GB. So maybe you should clean your hard drive to free some space before you start downloading everything.

After extracting the photos and videos zips into one folder, it looks like that:

photos and videos folder after download and extraction

These are ALL your photos and videos you uploaded to Flickr, but the filename changed. Usually, Flickr added a Flickr Photo ID and “_o” at the end.

After extracting the account data zips into another folder, it looks like that:

account data folder after download and extraction

There is one JSON file per photo and video. In it are all the details of your media in a structured tech format. It’s nothing for end users.

And additionally, there are more JSON files with metadata, like albums.json. In it are all the information about your Flickr albums with details and all photo ids, which are in a specific album. But sadly, this is nothing an end user can work with easily. But it’s a copy of ALL YOUR FLICKR DATA. That’s good.

To use this data in a way, that you can get album folders with all original photos in it, you need to apply some scripts and algorithms to it.

But be aware: Flickr made some mistakes with this data export and hence it’s not that easy to work with it.

5) Use the “Adios for Flickr” app to export all your albums in 3 minutes (for Mac/Win)

It’s free for up to 50 albums. To export more albums it just costs you 4.99 Euro. It’s a small app I developed in January 2019 after understanding that Flickr does not provide a quick and solid way to export all of your albums.

Adios for Flickr app for Mac/Windows

If you have over 20k photos like me and over 100 albums, it will save you hours, maybe even days, of nasty work. Just Download and open it, click through the step by step process, wait a bit, and all of your Flickr albums are magically appearing on your hard drive exactly as you want.

Adios for Flickr: Creating albums

The App does not use the Flickr API. No Flickr login data, personal information or images are shared with any server. The App downloads your Flickr data to your local hard drive directly from Flickr and creates your albums with all photos in a target folder you selected.

Adios for Flickr: Export finished

Download Adios for Flickr for Mac &Windows

6) More download options

Of course, there are more options out there to download your Flickr images. Apps can use the Flickr API to access your pictures and download them as Bulkr does. But the free version only allows photo download in large size, not the original one. Bulkr Pro version starts at 29$/year.

Plugins for Lightroom and other apps can synchronize images, etc. I did not find a quick and easy solution to my specific problem of easily downloading all my photos by album. And as I know more than 3 people personally, which are facing the same challenge I decided to find a super easy 5 click solution.

Thanks for reading! Enjoying every comment…

Mike Lieser

Written by

Web/App developer based in germany. I like photos and piña colada.

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