4 Unique Tools to Monitor Flickr via RSS

Ann Smarty 29-11-2010

If you often browse Flickr to find inspiration, you may be wondering if there are any good tools to monitor the resource for regular interesting updates.


One such way is tracking Flickr via RSS feeds. The site has a few handy RSS subscription options which, sadly, lack flexibility.

Flickr provides feeds for public photos & video, friends’ photostream, public favorites from a user, group discussions, group pools, forum discussions, recent activity on your photo stream, and recent comments you made.

Here are a few tools that allow more flexibility and let you gain a better control over RSS feeds of Flickr images

1. Daily Interestingness Flickr photo RSS feeds

“Interestingness” section is where Flickr lists most interesting, most rated and most commented photos that have become recently popular with the community. According to Flickr,

There are lots of elements that make something ‘interesting’ (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr.

Flickr photo RSS is a nice tool that allows you to subscribe to the “Interestingness” section using your preferred feed reader.


There are two feeds available:

  • Four recently popular photos daily;
  • One photo daily.

Here’s an example of the output when subscribed in Google reader:

Flickr RSS

2. Flickr RSS Feed Generator: by Tags (Keywords)

Flickr RSS Feed Generator is a great tool we reviewed at MUO already that uses the Flickr API to retrieve images determined by parameters you specify and returns an RSS feed, which you can use to subscribe using your favorite feed reader.


The parameters you can play with are:

  • Tags;
  • Tag mode (all of the listed tags or at least any of them);
  • Sorting order (by interestingness / date / relevance);
  • Maximum number of images to return.

The resulting feed has a direct link to the image page on Flickr, the preview and the direct link to the preview image file:

flickr rss feed url

3. digestr

digestr [No Longer Available] is a fun tool that allows to create a digest of all Flickr uploads based on the specified parameters. The tool was created to by-pass the exciting Flickr feed limitation: you can only see the latest 20 photos in your Flickr RSS for now.


The idea behind digestr is that multiple photos since the last update would be consolidated into one easy to view post.

Here’s a sample RSS feed from the bad signage photo pool (notice each update title: you can see how many new uploads were found for that day. All new uploads are listed right there in an easy-to-scan digest):

flickr rss feed url

This way you are unlikely to miss any important update even if there were dozens of them.


The tool seems perfect to use for actively updated groups or photo streams that are updated not too often but with large number of new photos uploaded all at once. According to the creator,

The idea came out of trying to make it more useful for friends and family to subscribe to photo’s of my kid Atticus. I only get around to updating my photos of Atticus about once a month, so there may be a backlog of 10 to 50 pictures. The default flickr rss feed show the last 20 uploaded pictures, each as an individual “˜post’. So if you were subscribed you would get a barrage of up to 20 new posts (and nothing beyond the 20 picture limit). The idea behind digestr is that those photos would be consolidated into one easy to view post.

Flickr rss

4. More Unique RSS Feeds from Yahoo! Pipe Users

Yahoo! Pipe users never cease to amaze me. I spent a couple of hours going through multiple mashups relating to Flickr there, picked 4 that seemed most interesting to me and I am sure I have missed more than I found. But here they are (if you find more interesting Yahoo! Pipes playing with Flickr, please share them in the comments!):

  1. Flickr – Group-pool top contributors: If you find yourself using the same group again and again (I love using Creative Commons for example), use this pipe to track its top contributors. Provide the group ID, number of photos to return per contributor, total number of photos to return in the output, the number of top contributors to go through – and you are done!

    Flickr rss

  2. Flickr User/Tag Feed Re-sizer: This pipe replaces the Flickr’s default (thumbnails) in Flickr feeds with the size of your choosing. Size may be any of the following (case matters): Original, Large, Medium, Small, Thumbnail, or Square

    flickr feed

  3. Flickr – Group pool photostream and resize: As the name suggests, this pipe allows to subscribe to any group RSS feed but it allows up to 500 photos to be retrieved instead of the standard 20 and lets you set the image size:

    flickr feed

  4. Most interesting Flickr Images (without flowers): You guessed it right, this pipe allows you to track the most interesting Flickr images, minus the “boring” photos of flowers.

    flickr feed

Do you monitor Flickr via RSS? Please share your tips!

Related topics: Flickr, Photo Sharing, Photography.

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  1. lorewarden
    December 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    If you just want to skim the current interestingness feed for a quick dose of inspiration you can check out [Broken Link Removed]

  2. Anonymous
    December 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    If you just want to skim the current interestingness feed for a quick dose of inspiration you can check out [Broken Link Removed]

  3. Rutger Blom
    November 30, 2010 at 7:48 am

    RSS is the way to go if you want to keep up with you contact's photostreams. I wrote a small article about this a while ago.

    • Ann Smarty
      December 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks for sharing your post! It is not that small after all :)

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