One question I frequently get from Flickr photographers is how to get on the coveted “Explore” page more often. Flickr is an extremely popular photo-sharing website that allows photographers to socially connect with other users and view their photos. Every day, the “Explore” page is updated with the most popular photos on Flickr based on how many people view the photo, comment on the photo, or mark it as a “fave.” Photographers always want to get on the Explore page so their photos will be recognized by more people.
Most photographers have noticed that one photographer's photo may appear on the Explore page even if it has fewer views, faves, or comments than another photographer's photo from the same. This can be frustrating and leads photographers to ask what the secret is. I've spent a good bit of time researching the issue and testing out a few theories.
This post is a conglomeration of all the factors that I have personally seen to affect the “interestingness” ranking, articles by Flickr employees, and factors which have been released through Flickr's 2006 patent application for the Interestingness formula. After the factors that impact your Interestingness, I'll give some tips on the subject.
Factors that influence the “Interestingness” rating
- Date the photo was added
- Number of groups (More groups brings down the rating)
- Number of contacts had by the photographer
- Amount of metadata made available concerning the photo (tags, description, geolocation)
Ten Tips for Increasing Your Chances of Getting on Explore
Flickr Tip #1: If you really want to get on Explore, you have the best shot of making it on a Saturday. Curiously, Saturday is the slowest day for Flickr, so you have less competition.
Flickr Tip #2: Be social! People will only comment and fave your photos if you do the same for them. If you read the post two weeks ago from Algo, who took the most popular photo ever on Flickr, then you'll remember that part of his success was due to the fact that he spent a lot of time commenting and faving the work of other photographers.
Flickr Tip #3: Don't add your photo into too many groups. Go through your groups and decide which ones give you the best return on investment. Which groups produce views and comments, and which ones don't? Adding your photo into an excessive number of groups will hurt your interestingness score.
Flickr Tip #4: Post your photo early in the morning. Remember that explore includes the most interesting photos on the site during one calendar day. Common sense says that the longer you have your line in the water, the more fish you'll catch.
Flickr Tip #5: Take eye-catching photos. For more tips on this, check out the post from 4 days ago entitled “A Step-by-Step Guide to Creative Photography.” Sometimes I see absolutely stunning photography on Flickr which never gets noticed by other photographers. I think one reason for this is that your photo has to look creative or unique from a thumbnail size. Photos that are not colorful, or photos with fine detail that can only be noticed when enlarged will not get as many views because it won't prompt people to click on the thumbnail if it looks dull from that size. Let's be honest, just because your photo appears on the explore page doesn't mean that it's a great photo.
Flickr Tip #6: One thing I often do that usually works is to put a tiny little note at the top left of my own photo that says something like, “Come on… you know you want to fave this photo.” It reminds people to fave when they see it and I've gotten a lot of faves when I've done it.
Personal Note: If you've checked my Flickr photostream lately, you know that I rarely update it. I'm mostly wrapped up in paying photography gigs lately, so I don't have much time to be social on Flickr. Personally, I really don't care how popular my photos are. I really use it as a way to share photos from photowalks to my local group of photographers. However, I used to be active on Flickr and I admit that I used to LOVE seeing how many comments and faves I could get. It's just a fun thing and a lot of people want to know how to get on Explore. That's why I wrote this article.