Flickr’s point of no return

July 26, 2009 / Somehow, I knew this would bite me in the bum.

[can’t download original files from free accounts]

Somehow, I just knew that my free Flickr account would find a way to bite me in the bum. It’s one of the main reasons I was so slow to get into it, having previously hosted all of my own photos. Here’s how it happened:

  1. Once personalised, Flickr URLs cannot be changed.
  2. Original files cannot be accessed unless you have a paid account.

Regarding #1, I want to change my Flickr URL because I recently changed my primary domain name from to and my Flickr URL is The only way to do this is to delete or transfer the account and start a new one with a new personalised URL. Okay, it’s not ideal but I can work with it. Only…

Regarding #2, to get my photos out of Flickr programatically, and at their original size, I need to have a paid account. The Flickr API makes the first part possible, and Dan Benjamin’s modified version of is the perfect tool for making the backup. But for the whole paid account thing. Flickrtouchr can download my Favourites (other pro users’ photos that I’ve starred), but not any of my own photos.

I’m at the point now where I actually don’t mind paying for an account, but not if it’s one I’m planning to delete later that day. Mother of pearl.

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