This post is part of a 2 part series.
There are so many great applications for uploading you photos to Flickr, the social photo sharing site. You could use ConnectedFlow’s FlickrExport series, but is there a way to do it without installing extra apps?
In this tutorial I’d like to show you a very easy way to upload images from the Finder with a little help from Automator. Making a simple Automator Workflow Plug-in for the Finder to move your images to Flickr is an excellent and unobtrusive method I’d like to walk you through.
The key to making this project easy is the OSX Automator Flickr Upload Action kindly created for free by TurtleHead. You’ll need to download the action to proceed. Once you have the disk image on your Mac, mount it and then open Automator. You’ll next import the the Flickr Upload Action by selecting “Import Actions…” from Automator’s “File” menu and then navigating to the “FlickrUpload” disk image and select the Automator action contained therein.
It’s good to note that Apple’s Automator Actions download page has a wide selection of useful Automator Actions to add to Automator this way. If you feel like what you’re seeing here is a bit over your head please go and check out the Automator Basics Tutorial.
When you first add the “Upload to Flickr” action you will need to authenticate it with Flickr. This will be fairly painless if you have a Flickr account but if you have network security app like Little Snitch installed you’ll need to allow Automator to connect to the Flickr server. I’m sure there are countless useful ways you can have your plug-in select which photos are to be uploaded. I’ll discuss two methods I’ve found particularly useful.
Easy Sync Upload Folder
Often after a trip or taking a number of photos I’ll slowly weed through my shots to find the ones I’m pleased with and temporarily drop them into, for example, an “Upload Soon – My Trip to San Francisco” folder. After I’ve collected all the best shots I’ll upload them together. Our first plug-in will help us do exactly this, when we activate it our images will be uploaded and then cleaned out of the upload folder.
To get started, create a new workflow project in Automator. The First step here will be to tell the workflow where you want the photos to be selected from. Drag a “Get Specified Finder Items” action into the workflow then press it’s plus button and select the folder you wish to have “sync” with Flickr. Next, to ensure you are sending images to the Flickr Upload Action as opposed to just sending the folder, add a “Get Folder Contents” action to the workflow. If for some reason you are uploading images within folders that are within other folders you will want to select the “Repeat for each subfolder found” option.
Finally drag the newly added “Upload to Flickr” action to the end of your workflow. Since I’ve already named my photos correctly I will leave the “Title” input-box blank. Next is the “Description” input, if you wanted to add a general description to the whole batch, that is give the same description to each photo, you would type it here. I’ll leave the description blank also, I usually add them once the photos are all on Flickr.
Finally you can add tags to your batch. In my case these photos are all from San Francisco so I will tag them as such. You’ll want to remember that as a good citizen of Flickr you are to tag your photos accurately; the Flickr team does not accept using your favorite tags as entirely appropriate. Simply put, don’t tag random photos and screenshots with the same name, instead, tag your photos in a relevant way.
After they have been uploaded I would like to have all the “Upload” folder’s photos moved to the trash so I can later toss other photos into this folder without worry of double uploading a bunch of them. To do this, in Automator drag the Finder’s “Move to Trash” action to your Automator workflow.
Finally we’ll make the workflow into a Finder Plug-in. This is done by selecting the “Save As Plug-in…” option from the file menu. In the ensuing info box you will want to name your Plug-in the title you wish it to appear as in you contextual menu. You will likely want to name it something like, in the case of my example, “Upload SFO Shots” so you can remember what the plug-in does a couple months or weeks in the future.
Here are a few further tips for using your new plug-in. To make tagging the photos a bit more simple, you might notice I choose to group them by topic (they are all from a trip to San Francisco). You might also want to do so. This sort of “syncing” method can be made even easier if you choose to put your “Upload” folder into the dock so you can easily drop photos into it whenever it pleases you.
If you’ve decided to move uploaded images to the trash, please be sure you have back ups of these photos elsewhere. Alternatively, you may just want to have the workflow move the images to a storage folder, for example the “Pictures” folder. Finally keep in mind that the Flickr Upload action retains the original names of photos you send to Flickr, as such I find it helpful to name my images as I add them to my “Upload” folder.
Check back tomorrow when I will go through the process of creating a plug-in that is better suited for uploading single images, with different attributes.