Teaching with Flickr Groups

Flickr.com is a rich resource of ideas for photo themes. One Flickr feature worth checking out is Flickr Groups. Groups are areas on Flickr where users post photographs that relate to a common theme. One example is the Geometric Beauty group. This image from KrystiAn pAn.K's Flickr site is a good example from the Geometric Beauty group or "pool."

Here's another great photo from the same pool from Toetap's Flickr stream.

Here are some of the more interesting groups:

  • B&W
  • Catchy Colors
  • Frame Within a Frame

You can participate in groups created by others or create your own. Here are some guidelines for managing a healthy group and the Flickr Groups FAQ.

John Cohen

John Cohen has a great selection of portraits on his flickr stream. Be sure and see his B&W collection.

Theme Shoot - Your Town

used cars fine art and old stuff

From Joseph Robertson's Flickr stream - titled Astoria. Robertson managed to capture the spirit of Astoria with his photos. The challenge in a location theme shoot is to tell a big story with small details. Robertson does this with his subject choice and uses traditional composition techniques to make his photos visually interesting too.

Indy Charlie

They asked me for five cents but I only had a dime.
From Indy Charlie's Flickr stream. If you've ever thought of doing a photo essay on your favorite High-Top Keds, see Indy's for inspiration.


Self-portrait by Vincent Van GoghWho are you? Can a photograph tell that story? For many years artists have created self-portraits. Vincent Van Gogh painted this self-portrait in 1887. What would it take for a photograph to capture you as a person?

There are several ways for you to create a self-portrait with your camera. One way is to use a tripod or set the camera on a solid surface and use the self-timer shutter feature. Look for a button or menu option on your camera with this icon:

Self-timer icon

This is the self-timer setting. When you depress the shutter, you camera will wait several seconds before taking the photograph. This gives you time to get into position.

When creating your self-portrait, take into consideration the background. C.A.L.M. by Nameet PotnisYou may want to place yourself in an environment that says something about who you are. You many also want to use a blank wall or backdrop so that you are alone in the frame. Don't be afraid to do some serious cropping too. That's what Nameet Potnis did in this self-portrait posted to his Flickr stream. His photograph was part of a theme competition for self-portraits on Flickr. Follow that link to see some other interesting photographs.

You should also examine the self-portrait tagged images on Flickr. See how the use of lighting and cropping can create powerful images.

A Question of Balance...

What choices did Stephanie Deissner make in this image to achieve balance?

Consider the Rule of Thirds as well as the use of light, reflection and texture.

Composition - Rule of Thirds

In photography, composition refers to the placement of the subject within the frame of your photograph. Composition also deals with lightness, darkness, lines and balance of the image. One basic rule is the rule of thirds. Images with the subject aligned with the intersection of the horizontal and vertical thirds are usually more appealing.

Rule of thirds...This image by Stephanie Deissner from her Flickr stream is a good example. I've overlaid a grid of thirds on the photo to show where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect. Stephanie has placed the eyes close to the intersection of the upper-left third. You can read more about the rule of thirds on Wikipedia.org.

Gary H. Spielvogel

Soul Searching - Gary Spielvogel

Gary Spielvogel is from New York. He calls himself a "street photgrapher at heart." Be sure to see some of his street photography on his Flickr stream.

Yule New York

Yule New York, from Gary H. Spielvogel's Flickr stream.


There are two concepts that we'll deal with in this lesson. One is the simple act of framing a subject when composing a photograph. In the image below, an object in the foreground frames the image in the background. Focus is also used to guide your eye. Framing can give the viewer the impression of looking through something to the subject. The frame directs the eye's gaze. It adds depth to the image and gives the viewer a sense of being in the scene.CC License: Pnelson