How to Back Up Your Full-Size Flickr Images by Set

August 5, 2009

Flickr backup folderIf you email photos to Flickr directly from your phone like I do, you probably don't always have a copy of the images you've published online on your computer. There are a few applications that back up your Flickr photos, but right now I'm digging Dan Benjamin's (admittedly geeky) Python script, FlickrTouchr.

FlickrTouchr doesn't support video uploads or grab any metadata about your photos (like tags, comments, favorites, etc). But it does arrange your backups by set name. In one command, you authorize FlickrTouchr to access our Flickr account, and it gets busy downloading your files. You'll need Python to run this and a folder to save your images. (Python comes in OS X, install it on Windows from here.) Here's what FlickrTouchr looks like in action.

Download FlickrTouchr and as per the README, invoke it using the commands:

$ mkdir FlickrBackupFolder
$ python flickrtouchr.py FlickrBackupFolder

FlickrTouchr will launch your browser and open a page asking you to authorize it to access your Flickr account.

FlickrTouchr authorization

When it starts going you'll see it grabbing your images. Wherever you get the error "Failed to get original", FlickrTouchr is trying to get a video. Currently the script does not back up video files.

FlickrTouchr CLI

Once the script gets running, you can see it create folders of images on your hard drive based on your Flickr set names as it goes. If a photo isn't in any set, it gets saved in a folder called "No Set."

Flickr backup folder

If you schedule this script to run on a weekly basis as Dan suggests, it will simply update the photos that don't already exist in your backup. Just the other day I was complaining about how non Flickr Pro users lose access to photos beyond the latest 200; this is a good way to ensure the full-size image files don't get lost in the ether once they're past that number.

Backing up Flickr [Hivelogic]

Looks good, but do you have a recommendation for those that DO want the video uploads and all metadata? I’ve been looking for a complete Flickr backup solution for awhile and have yet to find one I like.

Ted Avery [+13]
Aug 5 09 at 2:30 pm

+1 to @TedAvery question.

@Gina oh ya on the side note I LOVED TWIG!!
Can’t wait to hear more!

digideth [+6]
Aug 5 09 at 5:07 pm

I wrote sort of the oppposite Python script a few weeks ago. All it does it download the metadata and store it in an SQLite database locally. It can then export it to CSV if you need. Flickr Metadata Downloader

It isn’t pretty (I’m no programmer), but it gets the job done.

Joshua Hunter
Aug 5 09 at 6:27 pm

@Joshua: That looks very handy, thanks!

Gina Trapani [+195]
Aug 5 09 at 7:24 pm

hey Gina!

I already reached my 200, so will this still back up my original photos?

FlickrLube will download all of your photos, and store the accompanying info(titles, descriptions, etc) in a YAML file. It will even leave it ready to display in a gallery website.

The guys over at Free Art & Technology lab released protest software over Yahoo’s cooperation in imprisoning chinese journalist Shih Taoh. FuckFlickr is a good gallery, but it didn’t have a great migration path. http://dev.eyebeam.org/projects/fuckflickr/wiki/FuckFlickr

So I created FlickrLube to help you, uh, keep that option greasy. http://svn.morelightmorelight.com/trunk/personal/fflickr/

It should be pretty simple to use – I’d appreciate any feedback I can get.



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