Using Flickr photos in listing presentations

is one of the most popular online photo sharing services and known for their high-quality photos – uploaded by amateurs and professional photographers. This tutorial will show how to use Flickr images with the RealBird Listing Publisher service for creating a great looking online listing presentation.

RealBird allows you to spice up your listing websites with background images. This is a great feature for visually highlighting some of the main characteristics of the property. Many of our members are using high-quality property pictures or a nature photo to capture the mood of the property, like ocean or mountain view or to emphasize that it is a horse property. The challenge for the high adaptation of this visually captivating feature is that many agents do not have access to high-quality, royalty free images to upload as a backdrop.

This is where Flickr comes for our rescue. Flickr provides a way for its members to decide under which licensing term they are sharing their photos with the public. While the default setting I believe is "All rights reserved", that is, fully copyrighted and no reuse is permitted, many Flickr users opt-in to share their photos under one of the variations of Creative Common licenses.

In order for you to reuse Flickr photos, you have to make sure that the creative common license is such, that it allows commercial reuse. There are other details which you have to pay attention to. See the tutorial below.

Let’s take an example of property which has an ocean view. Probably you will want to upload a background photo of the ocean, sunset or similar. Besides searching for "ocean view" or "ocean sunset" on Flickr, you can also add some additional characteristics, e.g. California, so that the random images will more likely represent the natural attributes of the California coast vs Florida or the South Pacific.

While it is not a licensing issue, but more of a best practice consideration, selecting a general purpose design with no geographically specific visuals is advised, to avoid confusing your visitors. The background image is a very powerful visualization tool and you may mislead visitors unintentionally, if they think that the background photo was actually taken from the house or relates to your property. The goal here is to choose an image which symbolizes the main characteristics, but in the meantime, does not imply that it is an actual photo of the property or its surroundings. (Of course, this is not a problem if you are using your own images of the listing for the background overlay)

The tutorial assumes that you already created a RealBird single property website.

Step 1 – Search for photos with proper licenses

  1. Go to Flickr’s advanced search
  2. Enter your keyword: ocean view
  3. Check all of the following checkboxes for the following restrictions at the bottom of the search form:

Creative Common Search Criteria

Step 2 – Choose the photo and download it

Once you found the image you like, you will have to get the link to its high resolution version:

  1. Click on the photo that you like in the list
  2. Click on "All version" above the image on the left side
  3. Select a large size version (1024×768 or bigger)
  4. Double check that you performed a correct search. Below the image, it should state with the corresponding icons, that it is a Creative Commons-licensed photo, and most likely also, that it requires attribution
  5. Click download image and save it to your local computer

Look for these logos below the Flickr picture:


Step 3 – Using the image on RealBird

One of the options of the RealBird listing website theme customization feature is using an uploaded photo as a backdrop. To use the Flickr photo downloaded in step 2, follow the steps below:

  1. Login or register at RealBird
  2. Add/edit a listing
  3. On the list of listings page, find the subject property and click "Change design theme" on the right side
  4. Select the "Single, large background image" tab
  5. Upload the image from your local computer through "Browse…" and "Upload"

Step 4 – Attribute the work

From the Creative-Common license: "Attribution. You
must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or
licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or
your use of the work).

The best way to do this is by adding a link to the Flickr photo page (the Url in Step 2, Item 2 above) at the bottom of the description of your property using the RealBird editor. The link should say something like "Photo courtesy of [Author’s name]"

That’s it, you are done.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful for your next RealBird listing presentation.

— Zoltan

I hate to do this in a blog tutorial, but since we touched some licensing issues, here comes the RealBird disclaimer: This is not a legal advise on how to interpret the legal context of the copyright and licensing terms on Flickr. We are providing a technical tutorial about how to use Creative-commons licensed photos if you decide that you have the rights to do so. Please do not use copyrighted material with RealBird, unless you have proper permission from the copyright holder.

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  1. Attention all readers. Please be super careful when using images that are not yours. Whether or not they are marked as Copyrighted is irrelevant based on Copyright laws. I was recently targeted for $13,000 litigation as an image appearing on my site was not licensed. They’re instructions above are good and should protect you but there are very hungry photographers and stock companies who actually use image tracking devices and web site archives to determine length of use!

  2. Ashton makes a good point about using the photographs and images of others! I’ve had my pages up for what seems like an eternity and I’ve had ny images “clipped” and “pasted” everywhere! I’ve “clipped” the images of others too, it appears to be a harmless practice. With the incredible amout of information, data and images so easily obtainable it seems that what is not copyright can be used.

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