“Publish” in Jeffrey’s Export-to-Flickr Lightroom Plugin

This page documents plugin version 20130612.310 as of June 12, 2013

This page describes the Publish aspect of my export-to-Flickr plugin for Adobe Lightroom. The “normal export” portions of the plugin work in all versions of Lightroom from Lr 2 on, but its Publish features, described on this page, work only in Lr3.3 and later. (Users of Lr3.0 or Lr3.2 should avail themselves of the free Lr3.x upgrade from Adobe: see Lightroom's “Help > Check for Updates“ menu item.)

Warning: The idea behind Publish is simple enough, but if you hope to avoid unpleasant surprises, you must understand important details before getting started with it.

The premise is simple: drag a photo to a special collection in Lightroom, and voila, it's sent to Flickr. From then on, changes that you make to the photo in Lightroom are automatically kept up to date in the copy at Flickr.

Ah, but the devil is in the details...

First of all, Publish is an extra feature in addition to the “normal” export offered by Lightroom via this plugin (and earlier versions of this plugin all the way back to Lightroom 1). Publish allows you to set up an ongoing relationship between specific images in your Lightroom catalog and their appearance at Flickr. This kind of ongoing relationship makes a lot of sense for some situations, while the normal export we've had since Lr1 makes more sense in others.

Here's a hint: if it's a situation where you'd consider setting up an export preset that you'd use via “File > Export with Preset”, Publish is worth a look.

Because Publish involves setting up an ongoing relationship, it's more complicated than simply firing off an export. The length of this document, which covers only Publish and assumes you're already familiar with normal export, attests to the extra complexity. But once the initial up-front fee has been paid with your time and attention, you'll reap the benefits from then on.

Generally speaking, Publish functionality is provided by a Publish Service Provider. Lightroom comes with a few publish service providers: the built-in “Hard Drive” provider, a bare-bones Flickr plugin and a Behance plugin. You can add additional publish service providers by installing appropriate plugins, such as this fuller-featured Flickr plugin. (I have plenty of other publish plugins available on my Lightroom Goodies page, and there may well be other Publish plugins available on Adobe's Lightroom Exchange site.)

After installing the Flickr plugin, you
can configure your publish service

Before you can use Publish to send images to Flickr, you must first configure the particulars about how the exports are to be done, such as deciding on the size and quality of the exported images, and the details about which account at Flickr they should be sent to. This configuration, which you generally do only once, creates a Publish Service in your Lightroom catalog.

You can have multiple Flickr publish services (all provided by the one plugin), but it makes sense for most people to have only one. However, if you have multiple accounts at Flickr that you'd like to send images to with Publish, you'll need to configure multiple Flickr publish services.

Important details about creating a publish service are covered below, but for the moment, let's wave our hand and say that the publish service has now been set up as you like.

After you've configured a publish service in your Lightroom catalog, it is represented in your Lightroom library as one or more publish collections, each holding a group of photos that are to be sent to Flickr. The standard publish collection, “Flickr photostream”, holds photos to actually be rendered and uploaded, while any other publish collection you might configure represents Flickr photosets and/or group pools to add those photostream images to.

Several publish collections in a
Flickr publish service

For example, you might create a publish collection named “Vacation 2010” that you configure to send photos to your “Vacation 2010” photoset, but another collection named “B&W” configured to send photos both to your “My Best B&W” photoset, and to Flickr's “Black and White” group pool: if you drag a new photo to the “B&W” publish collection then press the “Publish” button, it is uploaded to your Flickr photostream, added to your “My Best B&W” photoset, and added to the group pool. (Just like on Flickr, all photos added to any collection in the publish service automatically get added to the Flickr photostream collection, and any photo deleted from the Flickr photostream collection is removed from all other collections in the same publish service.)

I sometimes refer to the publish-service's Flickr photostream collection as the local photostream.

Just like regular Lightroom collections, a publish collection can be either a regular publish collection that holds whatever photos you manually add to it, or a smart publish collection whose list of photos is computed by some criteria that you set up (e.g. “all five-star photos taken this year”).

A published photo is a photo that's part of a publish collection. At any particular time, a published photo is in one of four publish states:

  1. New Photos to Publish — photos that have been added to the publish collection, but have not yet actually been sent to Flickr. They'll be sent to Flickr the next time you launch Publish (via the “Publish” button).

  2. Published Photos — photos that have been sent to Flickr and have not been modified in your Lightroom catalog since.

  3. Modified Photos to Re-Publish — photos that have been sent to Flickr, but which have been modified in Lightroom since. They will be re-sent to Flickr the next time you launch a Publish action.

  4. Deleted Photos to Remove — NON_FACEBOOK { photos that have ostensibly been removed from the publish collection, but have not yet been removed from Flickr. (Whether to actually remove a photo from Flickr when it is removed from your publish collection is controlled by publish-service options, discussed below.) }

Segmented grid showing photos in a publish
collection in various states of Publish

When viewing a publish collection in Grid mode, you can see the photos partitioned into their various states in the segmented grid with headers as listed above (and illustrated in the screenshot at right).

You can add and remove photos from a normal publish collection as you like (and they are automatically added and removed from smart publish collections as per the criteria that you've set up), but nothing is actually done with them until you launch Publish, via the “Publish” button. The Publish button appears in the lower left of Lightroom, in place of the “Export” button, when viewing a publish collection, as in the screenshot at right.

There's also a “Publish” button in the upper right of the segmented grid.

When you actually launch a Publish action, Lightroom fires up an export under the hood, and photos are rendered as per the various settings configured when the publish service was created (the details of which follow in the next section of this document). As each photo is uploaded to Flickr, it's moved to the “Published Photos” section. You can click on each segmented-grid section's header to expand and collapse it; if they're all collapsed you can watch their photo counts, shown at the right side of each segmented-grid header, update in real time.

Let's look in detail at configuring a publish service to export to your Flickr account. Make sure that the Flickr plugin is installed and enabled, then click on the “Set Up...” of the Flickr header in Library's list of publish services. (Take care to differentiate between Adobe's built in plugin and mine.)

This brings up the Lightroom Publishing Manager, a dialog that looks like a cross between the normal export dialog and the Plugin Manager...

Items show up in the list of Publish Services (highlighted in the upper left) when their plugin is installed and enabled in the Plugin Manager. Old Lr1 or Lr2 plugins won't provide this new feature, of course, but most of my “export to...” plugins, including Flickr, do.

If any of the plugins you have installed provide export filters, they are listed in the middle-lower-left section of the Publishing Manager, just as they are in the normal export dialog. Lightroom does not come with any export filters built in, but they can add powerful features to your exports — both normal and publish — so it behooves you to know what's out there. Popular ones include my Metadata Wrangler for controlling exactly what metadata is included in exported copies, my geoencoding support shadow injecter for ensuring that the geoencoded location is properly included, and Tim Armes' LR/Mogrify plugin for advanced watermarking and image borders.

The main panel of the Publishing Manager shows the export/service settings for the Publish Service that's about to be created (an export-to-Flickr service in the example above). Like the normal export dialog, it has numerous sections; let's look at them in detail....

The first section allows you to give your export service a name, so you can keep them straight if you have more than one.

If you have only one Flickr account, you probably want to leave it at its default of “jf Flickr”. It looks ugly in this dialog, but when left at its default it won't even be shown in the list of publish service in Library, as seen in the screenshots above. If you set your own name, such as “My Flickr Stuff”, it shows up in the Library list as “jf Flickr: My Flickr Stuff”. So if you need just one Flickr publish service, it's cleanest all around to just leave the name at its default. You can always change it later.

However, if you have multiple accounts, you'll want to name them, e.g. “Flickr Work” for one and “Flickr Play” for another.

The next section is where you authenticate to your Flickr account. (Before starting the authentication, be sure that you are logged in to Flickr in your system-default web browser, to the Flickr account that you want to use with this Publish service.)

Once the publish service has been created, you can not change the associated account for the publish service, and this section becomes deactivated during a publish-service edit. (You can make another publish service for use with a different Flickr account, or even for use with the same Flickr account but with different export options.)

The next section is also available only at publish-service create time: setting the export location:

Most people leave the export-location setting at the default of “Temporary folder”, but you might set it to some specific named folder if you want to keep a local copy of all the images that have been published to Flickr. Again, Lightroom does not allow this setting to be changed once the publish service has been created.

The next sections are all the same as in the standard Lightroom export dialog...

These settings, such as the image size and quality, can be changed later, but doing so means that you have to re-publish (re-render and re-upload) everything you'd already sent to Flickr, at least if you want the setting changes to be reflected in the images already at Flickr. More on this later, but it's best to pick the settings you want up front, so you don't have to change them later.

The next sections are for export filters you have installed and enabled, if any. Here's an example illustrating what some sections from Metadata Wrangler, Run Any Command, and LR/Mogrify might look like...

The blue rectangle marks Lightroom's controls for adjusting the order that the filters are applied, and for removing them altogether.

Each section can be opened to reveal the filter's particular settings, of course, but the filter details are not relevant to this overview about Publish, except to note that like the standard Lightroom settings (image size, etc.), changing these filter settings after a publish service has been established means that you have to republish everything if you want the changes to be reflected in images previously published to Flickr.

Moving along to the next section, we have three photo-deletion options that allow you to decide which kinds of local Lightroom deletions should result in something actually getting deleted at Flickr.

The option first concerns straight-up removal from the main “Flickr photostream” publish collection. If you remove a photo from this collection, it is automatically removed from all the collections in the service, but should it actually be deleted from your account at Flickr? You decide:

If you delete a photo from Flickr, you can always upload it again, but all its “value add” at Flickr will have been lost forever — notes, comments, inclusion in photosets and group pools, etc. — will be disassociated from the photo and lost. On the other hand, if you don't delete it at Flickr, it's still there, which is perhaps not what you want if you're deleting it from your local photostream collection.

I strongly recommend that you leave this option at “Ask” until you're so comfortable with the idea that photos at Flickr will be deleted when you delete from your local photostream collection that you become annoyed at the “Ask” dialog.

This automatic deletion is not something yet familiar in the Lightroom world, and just a bit of forgetfulness about these new things can lead to a very unpleasant sinking feeling.

Actually, to be clear, when a photo is removed from your local photostream collection, it goes into the collection's “Deleted Photos to Remove” section, as mentioned above. It's only when you then initiate the Publish action on the collection that this option comes into effect, and that photo copies at Flickr are deleted (if you've so instructed).

Moving on to the second option, we have the less-drastic case of simply removing a photo from one of the other publish collections in the service, which represent photosets and group pools at Flickr. Should a removal here result in a removal from the associated photosets and/or group pools at Flickr?

Finally, we have an option that covers the most drastic case, of a photo that happens to be published via this service being deleted from Lightroom altogether.

If you want to protect photos that have been published at Flickr, choose “Disallow”.

For a more general way to protect images from deletion from the catalog, you might also want to consider my PhotoSafe plugin, which allows you to specify specific photos that can't be deleted from Lightroom, and/or rules describing the kinds of photos that can't be deleted (e.g. “all five-star photos”). You have to explicitly remove the restriction to remove a protected photo from the catalog, making it highly unlikely to do accidentally.

Then we have some huge sections allowing you to configure various Flickr-related metadata options, just as in a “normal” Flickr export.

Finally, we have a section that deals with populating the “Flickr photostream” publish-service collection that the plugin will make with photos in you Lightroom catalog that are already at Flickr.

This is a fairly complex section, so let start out with these points:

  • If you want to use this publish service for only new uploads, and not re-uploading photos already at Flickr, you can ignore this section.

  • If you don't want to deal with this section now and don't mind using the publish service for only new uploads for a while, you can ignore this section and come back to it later.

This section deals with two very different — but directly related — issues:

  1. Getting Lightroom to understand which photos in your catalog are which photos at Flickr.

  2. Claiming those photos for the specific “Flickr photostream” publish-service collection being created now.

Let's look at them each in turn...

Step 1: Connecting Lightroom Photos to Copies at Flickr

Step one is not specific to creating a publish service. Generally speaking, if you do any uploads with this plugin — publish or “normal” export — you want the plugin to know whether the photo is new to Flickr, or should replace some copy already there. This first step is about teaching Lightroom about the photos you've already uploaded to Flickr.

This all assumes that there's at most one copy of a Lightroom photo at your Flickr account; if multiple copies of the same Lightroom image exist at Flickr, tread very carefully. I have not tested this situation.

There are two ways to teach Lightroom photos about their counterparts at Flickr, but you might not even need to....

Were they uploaded from this catalog with any version of this Flickr plugin, any time going all the way back even to Lr1?

If so, voila, Lightroom knows. You can confirm this by looking at the “All Plugin Metadata” metadata-viewer preset, as illustrated by the yellow arrow at right, to see that the Uploaded-to-Flickr information is present, as highlighted with the blue box.

Actually, there's one potential gotcha here, for those who use more than one Flickr account: the data shown in the Uploaded-to-Flickr plugin-metadata area is that for the most recent upload to Flickr for any account, but all the image-reconnecting stuff talked about in this section is handled on a per-account basis. So it's possible that data is shown there even if the photo was never uploaded to the current Flickr account in question.

If Lightroom doesn't already know about it, we have two options...

  1. Were they uploaded from this catalog with Adobe's Flickr plugin?

    If you'd uploaded them with Adobe's simple built in Flickr plugin, we can copy that data over. In the dialog screenshot above, the “1)” section shows the situation when the Adobe Flickr plugin is not enabled, or is enabled but has no collections.... unfortunately, the plugin can't tell the difference. If indeed this catalog has no Adobe Flickr collections, there's nothing to do here, but if you'd simply disabled the plugin, you'll want to dismiss enable it before continuing. (To avoid having to re-fill in this entire dialog, go ahead and save it without doing anything in this section, then after enabling Adobe's plugin, return back here via the “Edit Settings...” context-menu item.)

    If there are collections in the Adobe Flickr publish service that relate to this Flickr account, the dialog becomes:

    Click on the “Import data from Adobe's Flickr plugin” to launch the data copy; it should be fairly fast.

    Once you've imported data from Adobe's Flickr plugin, you probably want to disable it in the Plugin Manager so that two publish services aren't trying to upload the same photos to the same Flickr account. Later, after you're satisfied that you want to use this plugin for your Flickr publishing needs, you can go ahead and actually delete the Adobe Flickr publish service from your Lightroom library.

  2. Try to match up photos via image time

    You can have the plugin scan all your photos at Lightroom and Flickr, looking at photo capture times and linking photos when it finds a one-to-one match.

    This method is not sure-fire, but can be quite successful for many people. However, it fails for photos that were uploaded to Flickr without metadata, and for groups of photos taken during the same second (such as a group of photos taken in burst mode, or one photo for which you've made virtual copies in Lightroom or have multiple copies at Flickr).

    Pairing up the wrong photos could make for disaster, so the plugin is very conservative about it. Click on “Launch Deep Scan” to give it a try. It could take a while.

It's been a long haul, but we're getting close to the end.

Now that Lightroom knows which photos in your catalog also live at Flickr, the next time you do an export of the image, it'll be an image replacement rather than a straight-up upload.

If you'd like to pre-populate all those images into your publish-service photostream (get them added in there with an already-published state, so that they don't need an initial render/upload to make Lightroom happy), you can “claim” them to this publish service. This is not automatic because some users may want different export settings (image size, watermarking, etc.) for different photosets or groups or images, and that means creating multiple publish services with this plugin.

But if you want to do all your Flickr publish uploading with the settings defined for this publish service, enable the “claim” option...

If you don't do this, you'll start out with an empty photostream publish collection; photos will become part of it when you add them manually, though like all manually-added images, they'll be marked as needing to be re-uploaded.

I should point out that “claim” is not quite the right word, because a photo can certainly be part of multiple Flickr publish services. This makes perfect sense if each publish service is for a different Flickr account, but if you have more than one publish service trying to update the same photo in the same Flickr account, confusion and conflict will ensue.

Publish is all about maintaining a relationship between Lightroom and Flickr, and there should be only one relationship per image per Flickr account.

Phew !

Finally, you can press the “Save” button to create the publish service and the default “Flickr photostream” collection.

At this point you can drag photos to it and, upon invoking a Publish action (via the “Publish” button), photos are uploaded to your photostream at Flickr as per all the various settings configured above. Also, photo comments and ratings and pulled for each photo, appear in the “Comments” panel at the bottom of the right-hand-side set of panels.

If, after publishing a photo to Flickr, you make develop changes to it in Lightroom, republishing it uploads an updated version.

But the Flickr experience isn't complete without photosets and group pools...

The default “Flickr photostream” publish collection is created automatically and represents your photos at Flickr, but you can set up any number of extra publish collections to represet your photosets and group pools at Flickr. Any one publish collection can represent a single photoset or group pool, or any combination of any number of either.

Casual Flickr users may want a one-to-one correspondence between their Flickr photosets and the publish collections they set up, so, for example, 10 photosets at Flickr would mean creating 10 similarly-named publish collections in this publish service. You don't necessarily need to have every Flickr photoset represented in Lightroom... just the ones that you want to create an ongoing relationship with your Lightroom catalog, so that updates — additions and subtractions of photos, and developmental changes to photos — are automatically maintained. You'd still use a normal export for one-time uploads.

You create a new Flickr publish collection via the service name's context menu...

... which brings up a dialog like this:

Of course, your own photosets and permissioned group pools will be listed. (If you've recently added photosets or pools and they're not listed, click on the “refresh data from Flickr” button, but until I can push out a new version that works around some issues I've run in to, you'll have to then dismiss the dialog and bring it up again to see the changes.)

Pick any combination of photosets and group pools that you want this one publish collection to represent. Again, as I mentioned earlier, many users will want a one-to-one mapping between photosets and publish collections, so in that case:

  1. Check the box next to one photoset.

  2. Update the name at the top of the dialog to correspond to the photoset.

  3. Make sure the “include selected photos” option is turned off, unless you really want to add the selected photos to the photoset.

    After I Created Four
    Extra Publish Collections
  4. Click the “Create” button.

The new publish collection will now appear under the publish service's “Flicker photostream” collection, as with the four collections illustrated at right.

Astute readers will realize a few shortcomings of this situation:

  • There's no way to automatically have one-to-one publish collections made for all your photosets and group pools... you have to do each. one. manually.
  • There's no way to create a new photoset from this dialog.
  • The new publish collections aren't pre-populated with appropriate images from the local photostream.

I just didn't have time to get these working before Lr3 was launched. I hope to remedy them soon.

The previous sections describes creating normal Flickr publish collections, but you can also create smart Flickr publish collections, which incorporate Lightroom's smart collections features that allow you to set up rules that describe what kinds of photos should and shouldn't appear, such as “photos with a 5-star rating photographed this year”.

The thing about smart collections is that you can't manually add or delete photos from them, so this makes for some interesting gymnastics in this Flickr publish-collection world: you can't delete a photo from your local photostream if it's in a smart Flickr publish collection; you must have it removed from the smart collection before you can delete it from the local photostream.

Do not attempt to create smart collections via the “Import Smart Collection Settings...” item in the Publish Service context menu. A bug in Lightroom causes this to create a corrupt publish collection, and the plugin infrastructure doesn't offer me a way to disable that menu item.

You can create “publish collection sets” as you like, which are just like normal Lightroom collection sets: empty shelving on which to put your various publish collections. You can use collection sets to organize your publish collections as you like.

Publish supports the ability to fetch comments and ratings from Flickr (where in this case a photo's rating is the count of people who have favorited it, though since no one has ever favorited one of my pictures, so I don't know whether that actually works. 🙂 )

However, due to a bug in either Lightroom or my understanding of things, comments are shown only when you're viewing a photo in the Flickr photostream publish collection, and are not shown while viewing the photo from whatever photoset/group collections it might also be in.

This can lead to the odd situation where you add a comment to a photo yourself (via the “click here to add a new comment” box in the comments section of Library), but it doesn't show up if you're not in the Flickr photostream publish collection. If you were, it would show up right away. But if you're not and you don't realize what's going on, you might try adding it again, and again, until you get frustrated enough to move on. Who will be the first to admit that they added half a dozen copies of the same comment to a photo because they didn't know about this, or forgot? 🙂

Hopefully I or Adobe can figure this out before it comes to that.

You can edit the publish-service settings via the “Edit Settings...” item in the publish-service name's context menu. You can change all settings except the account at Flickr and the export location, but there's a catch: if the change relates to something about how each image is exported and uploaded (such as the size or image quality, metadata settings, etc.) and you want those changes to be reflected in photos already at Flickr, it won't happen magically: you'll have to republish them all.

Republishing can take a long time if you've got a lot of photos, and not all changes necessarily need to be reflected in every photo, so it is not done automatically.

With most publish services in Lightroom, you can invoke the “Mark To Republish” thumbnail context menu item, but that doesn't actually work in the Flickr one due to (extremely complex) issues under the hood. It'll indeed put them into the “Modified Photos to Republish” section, but when you actually Publish them, they'll immediately jump back to “Published Photos” without actually being rendered and uploaded. There's a kludge that works to get around this issue: after invoking “Mark To Republish” on them, make some small change to them (such as clicking one of the exposure buttons in Quick Develop, then clicking on the opposite button to effectively undo the change without actually invoking Lightroom's undo). Then publish, and they'll actually be rendered.

If you have another Flickr account you'd like to publish to, or you'd like to publish with different settings (e.g. your first Flickr publish service had full size exports, but you'd like to be able to upload to some collections with smaller sizes), choose

Create Another Publish Service via “jf Flickr”...

from the existing publish service's title context menu (where “Set Up...” had been before the first one was created.)

The following issues are inherent shortcomings in Lightroom's initial version of Publish, and apply to all publish services:

  • There's no way to tell which publish collections have photos awaiting action except by visiting each publish collection in turn and viewing the grid to see whether the “Publish” button is enabled or disabled.

  • There's no way to invoke publish on all your publish services in one go; the best you can do is address each publish service in turn, selecting all its published collections and then invoking Publish on them.

  • The photo-thumbnail “Go to Collection” context menu item does not list any kind of smart collection that the photo may be part of, including smart publish collections.

  • The use of undo with publish-related operations is likely to not work and perhaps even corrupt the publish parts of your catalog. Take care.

  • You can't import smart-collection settings to a publish smart collection; doing so creates a corrupt smart collection.

  • I have not tested export-to-catalog yet, but I would expect that Publish information does not go along with the images.

The 30 most-recent comments (out of 157; see all), most recent last...

Thank you so much for the plugin.

— comment by Pasha Belman on March 4th, 2014 at 1:15am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink


First thanks a lot for the plugin. it is really useful.

I am impressed it keeps track of single instances of my images on Flickr so I can publish various virtual sets without having multiple copies of a picture in Flickr.

The only thing I would say is it would be Xtra nice if the “Collection Sets” in lr would correspond to the “Collections” in Flickr, maybe as an option in the global plugin settings. Also, an option to “keep the order” of lr so that sets are sorted correctly in Flickr as they are in lr.

Everything else seems to work well, congratulations. I will donate next.

Jules, From San Francisco CA

— comment by Jules on March 5th, 2014 at 6:12am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

When I create a new catalog all my flickr export settings appear to be reset. Is there any way to copy the jfflickr settings from one LR catalog to another so I’m using the same setup? Am I asking for trouble to expect the same behavior from the plugin in different catalogs?

Unfortunately, I think you have to set everything up from scratch each time. It might be easier to copy the catalog file to the new one, then remove all photos (being sure to only “remove from Lightroom” and not actually delete the master images out from under the original catalog!). Then you’re left with an empty shell of a catalog with all the same settings. —Jeffrey

— comment by David B on March 21st, 2014 at 2:53pm JST (2 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Holy Crap! Am I ever glad you wrote this article…..THANK YOU!

— comment by Doug on April 2nd, 2014 at 9:39pm JST (2 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeff – awesome work! In my registered flickr plugin – I keep getting errored out after 50-60ish photos. Is there a way to send a log to find out why it’s erroring out? I’m trying to do a massive upload of lots of photos (and keep trying to do smaller and smaller to see if it helps) since flickr has the 1tb limit. I have about 30k photos so any help is appreciated!

It’s just Flickr’s servers being flaky. I run into the same problems myself so much that I gave up on Flickr. It’s been particularly bad the last six months or so. —Jeffrey

— comment by Geoff on May 11th, 2014 at 12:45am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

JP living in Georgia, USA …I’m having a problem taking my photos from Lightroom 2 and publishing them on Flickr. Error page reads SSL needed. I’ve been using your page for years without problem, until today. Please help!!!!

I updated the plugin on my site months ago, but you’ve got to upgrade to it to get the benefit. 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by JP Brady on June 29th, 2014 at 10:26am JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I am having constant issues with errors with LR5.6 uploading to Flickr.
Error during export
General upload failure
Aborting Export before any image was successfully uploaded

Any suggestions for me?

Melissa, from Perth, Western Australia

It’s a common problem with Flickr lately. Not much we can do but hope they get their act together, or switch to somewhere else /-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Melissa Shanhun on September 7th, 2014 at 11:08pm JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, i’m looking for a plug-in which can publish photo to flickr from lightroom, and add the photo to public group automatically depend on metadata. For example, I add a tag – “HDR Sunset ” to the photo, it will also be added to the public group”HDR Sunset” automatically while publish to flickr (of cos I need to match the group rule too).
Sure, just add a Smart Collection to your Flickr publish service, that identifies the “HDR Sunset” keyword, and have that smart collection publish to the appropriate group pool. —Jeffrey

— comment by XexeX on September 23rd, 2014 at 3:57pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey
David from Glasgow, Scotland here.
Hope you can help with an issue I have with LR4.4 and Flicker.
Not being able to publish an image i made a virtual copy of using normal publish services, I made the mistake of hitting re publish thinking it would only attempt to re-publish the one image.
As a result all the titles have gone from my Flickr photo stream for the images that were re published before i cancelled the process.
I would like to avoid trying to re- title 800 images.
How can I stop LR4.4 from re-publishing when i go to publish a new image?
Is there a potential work around by setting up another catalogue or publishing to Flickr in a different way that would leave my Flickr photstream as it is? Then using that method into the future.
I have spent three days now trawling the internet looking for a solution. I have learnt much but as yet not a result.
Your blog has been the best source I have come across, and i will be a regular visitor and user of your plug-ins.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Kind regards

David Watts

You can publish only selected images by selecting them and holding down the option/alt key. That turns the [Publish] button into [Publish Selected], which then limits the action to just those images actually selected. You can also select modified images in the photostream collection and, from the thumbnail context menu, “Mark as Up to Date”, and they’ll not get republished (until another develop change). —Jeffrey

— comment by David Watts on October 1st, 2014 at 9:45pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

When I manually associate an image at Flickr, it seems that the Flickr Upload Data and Time are set to the time I manually added the url, not the actual upload time from flickr. Is there a way change this?

Good catch. I’ve just pushed a version that handles this properly. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dustin Houseman on November 30th, 2014 at 8:42am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, I’d like to create 2 smart publish sets such that the same picture with keywords A and B is put into sets A and B on Flickr. Note that I don’t want the same picture to be uploaded twice. That is what the default Adobe Flickr plugin does. Is that possible? If not, are you planning to add that feature? Thanks!

So long as it’s within the same Publish Service, a photo is uploaded only once, then added to whatever sets and/or groups are specified via the various collections within that service. —Jeffrey

— comment by Kaushal Modi on February 9th, 2015 at 8:05am JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hello, I was wondering how to replace and subsequently re-publish an existing image with a new version .. for example one that has improved processing. Thanks!

If you’re using Publish, just make your changes, select the Publish Collection it’s in, and hit the [Publish] key. For Export, check the various dialog sections for the “Replace” option. —Jeffrey

— comment by James Stephens on March 3rd, 2015 at 4:29am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi there. Is it possible to, in a bit of housekeeping, remove sets/collections from displaying in the publish service? If I have what amounts to a closed set that I will no longer publish to, is there a way to hide it from the sidebar so I only see active sets?

Apologies if I failed to catch an answer to this above.

Lightroom doesn’t provide a way to hide collections. The best I can suggest is to delete it from the Publish Service, or perhaps rename the collection so that Lightroom orders it out of the way (e.g. prepend a ‘z’ to the name). —Jeffrey

— comment by Elliott Blackburn on March 13th, 2015 at 10:42am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Firstly, this plugin is absolutely outstanding and precisely what I have always wanted for integration with Flickr. I cannot thank you enough for your efforts and will be donating this day.

I have only one issue, but it is pretty fundamental… when I attempt to create a new Flickr Publish Collection, the “Create” button is greyed out. Sometimes if I cancel and then try again, it works; but currently I can’t seem to get it to work.

OSX 10.10.3. LR 5.7.1

— comment by Eric on April 18th, 2015 at 1:24am JST (1 year, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I finally figured out the reason I couldn’t click “Create” – I had a set on Flickr with the exact same name. Ha! Never mind and donation on its way good sir.

It’s pretty bad UI to not tell the user why the button is grayed out, so I’ve updated the plugin to make it clear. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eric on April 18th, 2015 at 11:20am JST (1 year, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Great plugin however I am confused / slightly concerned about 1 thing:
When I use grid view in any of the jf Flickr Publish Collections, including main “Flickr photostream” one – most of the time I see “Library Filter:” in top left corner and “Publish” button enabled, but no “Published”. “New to publish” and “Modified Photos to Re-publish” sections – even if there ARE new pics to be published / republished.
It is only sometimes that I see “Published”, “New to Publish” and “Modified Photos to Re-publish” sections, and that seems to be random, they appear and disappear at will – I googled it many times but I have no idea how to make sure that those sections appear all the time, or create a filter / smart collection which will show me which pics will be published / republished when I hit “Publish” button.
It happened just now – magically sections returned again, but they disappear and sometimes do not appear for days – and then I have no idea which pictures will get updated when I hit “Publish” button.

Is there any way to “force” / “refresh” grid view so those sections appear? Or, alternatively, what attribute can be used for creating smart collection which has “New to Publish” and ” “Modified Photos to Re-publish” respectively?

Many Thanks for the plugin!

If you’re viewing a publish collection in Library Grid mode, you should definitely see the different sections (what Adobe refers to as the “segmented grid”). If not, it’s a bug in Lightroom. These kind of one-off inexplicable things are often fixed by flushing your Lightroom preferences file (see here), so perhaps give that a try. Otherwise, I’m afraid I have to refer you to Adobe, since that display is not influenced by the plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Andrew Szymanski on May 30th, 2015 at 5:30pm JST (1 year ago) comment permalink

How do you change existing photos on flickr (published photos) from private to public? Is it only possible from the Web site?


If you re-publish, whatever settings you provide should be applied, including visibility. —Jeffrey

— comment by Oded Shopen on July 6th, 2015 at 3:06am JST (10 months, 25 days ago) comment permalink

Follow up on the question above: I meant that I can’t see a way to define visibility on an album to album basis, only for the entire publish service. I want to keep some albums private and some public. Is that possible?

Thanks again.

Sure, by using keywords to set the visibility. See the “Flickr: Metadata Management” section of the Publishing Manager. —Jeffrey

— comment by Oded Shopen on July 6th, 2015 at 2:19pm JST (10 months, 25 days ago) comment permalink

Oh! missed that part sorry… Will changing adding a keyword for “public” will also require the image to be re-uploaded or is it just a metadata change? Meaning, will it take a few minutes to update 1000 images already on flickr or will it take several hours?

Thanks again.

You’re looking at several hours, sorry. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Oded Shopen on July 8th, 2015 at 2:51am JST (10 months, 23 days ago) comment permalink

Oded, you could also just use the Flickr website organizer to change your permissions? I feel your pain!

— comment by Geoffrey Hudson on July 11th, 2015 at 4:54pm JST (10 months, 20 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
first, thanks for your excellent work on the flickr plugin.
I recently switched to LR 6 and applied the new face recogintion function. In consequence, jflickr wants to republish *all* my now face tagged photos as “modified”. How can I avoid this?

Sadly, this is an area of Lightroom filled with bugs. The best I can suggest is to select all the thumbnails, then right click and choose “Mark as Up-to-Date” from the context menu. —Jeffrey

— comment by Stefan on August 31st, 2015 at 12:14am JST (9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

just trying out your flickr publishing plug-in and generally I love it! I have two questions (I’m still learning both flickr and lightroom, so apologies if these are obvious…):

– I don’t understand how the publishing naming and tagging works. If I add a custom name to my file, then that would be applied to every photo uploaded, right? Is there a way to manage this without having to go to Flickr and changing the filename/title manually?

as for tagging, my Lightroom tags are for organisation (and often only make sense to me), I don’t want most of them exported, however, I do like to add tags that would help others find my photos. Again, as far as I understand it, the tags in the publishing service are universal, so they would be applied to all published photos, all the time, right? Is there a way to manage each photo for both title and tags?

– Can I schedule when to publish, i.e. a picture a day?

thanks for your help!

Filenames on your system are unrelated to titles and descriptions at Flickr, except tangentially in that the default plugin configuration for titles uses the filename if there’s no “title” metadata for the image. But you can visit the “Flickr: Metadata” section of the export/publish dialog and configure the title/description as you like. As for tags, it sounds like you’re talking about Lightroom keywords. Lightroom allows each keyword to be marked for-export or not-for-export; the latter obviously won’t get sent to Flickr. —Jeffrey

— comment by kat on September 16th, 2015 at 5:57pm JST (8 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeffrey… I’ve been using your Flickr plugin for LR for ages, and therefore have quite a history of Flickr uploads. However, last weekend my main HD died on me, so I’ve had to reinstall LR now that I have a hard drive again.

During that process, something went wonky, and LR stopped recognizing the Flickr plugin location. I had to re-create all of my Flickr Smart Collections from scratch, which wasn’t a huge deal. However, LR is now asking me to upload all photos again, which will take ages, and is a pain since they’re all on Flickr already. I have no “Mark as Up To Date” or “Mark as Published” option either.

Am I just in for a ride now at this point uploading those photos, or is there another solution?


I’m not sure what might have caused the “stopped recognizing” thing, or even what that exactly is, but it’d be best to return to a backup of your catalog so that you keep the publish services that you had. Failing that, you can try to associate images with those at Flickr (see this section of the manual), but that’s a fragile/spotty process at best. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mike Pittman on September 17th, 2015 at 5:59am JST (8 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey – love the plug in.

I just upgraded to Lightroom CC and upgraded your Flickr plugin. Now I get a couple of images uploaded follwed by and error and the upload canceling. Here is the error:

flickr#379 +532027.9: [x60801b9711c8] @Flickr line 4305:
Unexpected result from setDates

502 Bad Gateway

502 Bad Gateway




My first guess is that Flickr is just being flaky… they’ve been really bad this year. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brooks Tobey on October 15th, 2015 at 3:09am JST (7 months, 16 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Fantastic plugin. I use it quite some time now.
One question. I work with lightroom on 2 computers 1 iMac I used to publish to Flickr.
How can I sync my other computer (at work) to Flickr so my published photo’s will show up in the other computer?

regards, Ton

The simple answer is “not easily”. Lightroom’s whole design is very much single-computer-centric, though their Mobile apps are extending it. I also have two computers, but simply copy the whole catalog over each time I want to transfer. It’s a fragile operation… if you forget, you can easily end up losing data. —Jeffrey

— comment by ton on February 15th, 2016 at 6:03pm JST (3 months, 16 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

One last question.
Most of the time I export pictures to Flickr with your plugin but sometimes directly via my web browser.
How can I update my Flickt Library info in Lightroom there is no sync button.
And how can I get my Flickr albums synced into Lightroom?

regards and keep up the good work.

The design of Lightroom and my plugin assumes that Lightroom is the center of your workflow, but there are some rudimentary tools to try to link photos when they were uploaded outside the Lightroom workflow. See the “associate” options in the “File > Plugin Extras > Flickr Extras” dialog. The automatic version is fragile and often doesn’t have enough information to work, but it’s worth a try. —Jeffrey

— comment by ton on February 26th, 2016 at 9:28pm JST (3 months, 4 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks so much for making this plugin available. I wanted to ask, I recently upgraded my computer so I migrated my catalog to the new computer; unfortunately, I’m not seeing my already established Flickr albums on the Lightroom plugin section. Tried the syncing option and it only synced 2 photos out of 60 some I had… any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

If you copied your catalog to the new machine, your publish services should all be exactly as they were before. If you didn’t copy the catalog, then I suppose how it all works out depends on how the photos got into the new catalog… —Jeffrey

— comment by John on March 14th, 2016 at 1:42am JST (2 months, 17 days ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeffrey,

Quick question about image replacement. I have an image currently on flickr that I originally uploaded from lightroom directly from editing the DNG. I have re-edited the image in photoshop, so I now have a TIFF, but is there a way to associate the new TIFF with the current flickr image, so that it knows to upload that one (as obviously the DNG hasn’t changed a single bit)?

Thanks a ton.

Yes. Select the DNG and invoke “File > Plugin Extras > Flickr Extras” and [clear] the upload data. Then select the TIFF and bring up the same dialog, and choose [Associate Manually], and paste in the URL for the image at Flickr. —Jeffrey

— comment by Kenny Younger on March 15th, 2016 at 12:27am JST (2 months, 16 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery,
Thanks for making awesome products all these years!!!

I’ve noticed that my Zenfolio publishing service shows a much lower number of pics than what has actually been uploaded over the years in many of the galleries. I’ve tried the repop approach and things just don’t sync back.

I have, at times, published from any one of three machines,but have gone through the hassle of creating the gallery on my “master” LR system, and copying the LR DB, cleaning up all the hundreds of thousands of other things in it once I have the new DB copy transferred to my travel laptop. Then I update the galleries and publish from those systems. When I get home, I then mount the travel LR DB to the master system, and do an import of that travel DB to the master to get the new photos ingested and back off the travel system.

It seems that sometimes this process sync’s up, and sometimes it doesn’t.

For instance, I have a gallery that’s a manual drag/drop of all the photos in a collection. That collection has 19872 photos in it. 404 of them were published to the corresponding zenfolio gallery from the travel laptop. The entire travel DB and 19872 photos and collection were imported back to the master system. When I “repop” that gallery on the master system, I get only 14 photos listed in the zenfolio plugin gallery locally.

Why any, and why not all?

How can I get these galleries sync’d back up?


Lightroom ignores publish data when doing catalog import and export, which seems why you lost a lot of history. Lightroom doesn’t work well in a mutli-machine situation; your best bet when moving systems is to copy the catalog and use that catalog as is. Moving back and forth among systems is messy and inconvenient. As for the “repop” feature, that works only when Lightroom knows the connection between a photo in Lightroom and at Zenfolio. To regain that you have to try to “associate” them, which is a fragile operation that often doesn’t work. But it’s worth a try: see the options in “File > Plugin Extras > Zenfolio Extras”. —Jeffrey

— comment by Fabrizio on April 19th, 2016 at 10:08am JST (1 month, 12 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery,

Great plugin. I have an issue where images that I have previously uploaded to Flickr and then later modified are “stuck” in the Modified Photos to Re-Publish pane of the plugin. When I press the publish button LR seems to go through the process of uploading the photos and downloading the comments from Flickr, however the photos remain in the Modified Photos to Re-Publish pane. When I check in Flickr they were uploaded. Any suggestions on how to get them move to the Published Photos pane of the plugin? Thanks.


This is a well-known Lightroom bug that seems to affect people randomly. I’ve reported it for years, but Adobe has shown no interest in addressing it. )-: The best I can suggest is to select the modified photos, and select “Mark as Up-to-Date” in their context menu. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mark on April 28th, 2016 at 8:38am JST (1 month, 3 days ago) comment permalink
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