Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flickr Synchronization Woes

Aperture 3 inherited the ability to synchronize with Flickr from iPhoto 09. I was pretty excited to use this feature but after dealing Aperture's native synchronization, I think I'm going back to the Flickr Export Tool for Aperture. Creating a Flickr album is as simple as creating any other album so I won't go into the how. I'd rather get into what's wrong with this feature.
  • It deletes then uploads. Flickr allows its Pro users to replace a photo so it retains its comments and view count. With Aperture sync, the photo is deleted then uploaded AND it's tagged that it's been replaced. So now I fear tweaking any of my photos after I've uploaded because I don't want to lose my count and comments if I accidentally hit the sync button. This is my #1 peeve and my deal breaker.
  • No individual picture permission controls. While 99% of the pictures I upload are available to anyone, I like to upload the occasional pre-processed image. Then I link to it within the comments so people can compare without having the picture show up in my stream. Example.
  • It's slow. Aperture and Flickr initially syncs a bunch of metadata before the actual picture uploading. As the album grows, that sync gets longer and longer. I would edit photos, add to album, upload, and repeat. Now I'm adding a bunch of sync time every time I add some photos to upload. I would have been better off creating a local photo album, process all the photos, then create the Flickr album. It really doesn't save me any time. If anything it's just extra processing.
  • There's no synching of existing albums. It would have been nice to be able to pull all or some of my old photos in from Flickr, but there's no ability to do that. Aperture only has access to the albums that were created within Aperture. I deleted my Flickr login from Aperture, entered it back in, then lost the connection for that album between Aperture and Flickr.
It's not all bad. There are some nice features. It has two-way sync similar to MobileMe albums. If you add photos to a sync'd album, then Aperture can pull that picture in. GPS coordinates are also shared between Flickr and Aperture.

The tool can be useful as long as you are aware of its limitations and are willing to work within its confines. For me, it's just too restrictive.

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