Point and shoot.
When I was your age, that’s how we took photos. We have any of this “digital” nonsense where you could see if there was something in your teeth or if you gut was hanging out in the shot. If your eyes were closed in all the Christmas photos, that’s how you would be remembered in the photo albums.
Now with all this newfangled technology, people can edit the photos before they even take them. Honestly, kids these days have it so easy.
Flickr updated its app last week to let users apply filters to photos before they even take them. Rather than previewing filters after the shot is taken, users can flip through their options and apply a Louisiana or Ice Tea hue before they even take the photo.
You can see what the photo looks like with each filter in the preview boxes.
Flickr is shamelessly trying to pull users away from Instagram and they’re doing it by adding more advanced editing features. Before you take the shot you can straighten the image, crop it and even flip it. Flickr gets really fancy when you can remove certain colors, blur and sharpen the image.
Do we need these editing tools?
A popular hashtag on Instagram is #lategram, meaning it’s a picture that someone took hours earlier, but only now had time to edit and upload. It could be a shot from last night’s concert or a view from the road. The user didn’t have time to stop what they’re doing to edit the photos and share them on social networks.
If people are taking the time to upload photos hours after the event, why is Flickr bringing editing to the here and now?
Flickr wants to be the Target to Instagram’s Wal-mart. They want to showcase their similar products and position themselves in a more high-end light. Real photographers edit photos on Flickr, amateurs use Instagram.
Flickr users are out sightseeing in a foreign country or going for a hike. They grab their phones and take all the time they need to perfectly capture the wings of a butterfly or shadow cast by a church. Instagram captures the moment, Flickr captures art.
This positioning might actually work. Little by little it’s working. TechCrunch reported that ever since Flickr’s site relaunch that jumped on the tiling craze, site visits jumped from 90 million to 107 million, and the site has seen steady growth ever since.
They also found that Tumblr brings the highest level of referral traffic to Flickr. Like Instagram, users can share photos to Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook when they upload an image, but Twitter and Facebook didn’t even crack the top ten. Tumblr was bought by Yahoo earlier this year, which makes it Flickr’s step-sibling.
Flickr seems to be courting the art community with their features. They want users that carefully take photos and curate them on Tumblr accounts. They want a higher quality audience and user-base.
Back in my day, we had to leave the house and drop off rolls of film if we wanted to see the photos we took. I remember walking uphill both ways barefoot in the snow just to see what our Halloween photos looked like. The hardest decision my grandchildren have had to make is whether to use the Mayfair filter on the Instagram or the Throwback filter on the Flickr.
PSA: This Sunday (September 8) is Grandparents Day. Be sure to tweet, text, call, or mail good tidings to your respective nanas and boompas.