If you thought there already was a Flickr Pro, you’re mostly right. Flickr offered Pro accounts for years, until Yahoo overhauled the entire service in May of 2013. Pro users were allowed to continue their subscriptions (and to keep their unlimited space), but no new sign-ups were allowed. Everyone else, meanwhile, got 1TB of space to play with, and an option to pay $50 per year for an ad-free Flickr experience.
Now the ad-free option is gone, replaced by Pro, which is basically ad-free plus a grab bag of perks. “Over the years, we’ve made changes to our account options as the needs of our members have evolved,” says Rajiv Vaidyanathan, product director for Flickr, in an email to WIRED that makes the whole thing sound much less confusing that it seems in practice.
All you really need to know, though, is that there’s plenty of good associated with these new Flickr Pro accounts, beyond just the big ol’ status-affirming Pro badge slapped on paid member accounts. In addition to the benefits mentioned earlier, annual subscribers (you can opt to go month-by-month for $4.99 a pop) get 20 percent off of an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, a $24 value, as well as free U.S. shipping on Flickr wares. If you embrace Adobe and mail a few jumbo canvas wraps, Flickr Pro could well pay for itself.
While it might sound odd to spend $50 a year for 1TB of free storage when you can get unlimited space from Google and Amazon, Vaidyanathan points out that Flickr has 113 million members, many of whom value more than just space. OR at least, recognize that in practice, there’s not all that much difference between “unlimited” and 1TB after all.
“Today, unlimited storage is not a top request for our users,” Vaidyanathan explains. “In fact, fewer than 100 members in the history of Flickr have exceeded the one free terabyte of storage we provide. It’s more important to our users that we store their photos in full resolution.”
Firstly, kudos to those hundred brave hoarders! Second, full resolution really is key here, given that Google caps unlimited storage images at 16MP or photos and 1080p for video. That’s fine for most smartphones, but should deter anyone using remotely pro equipment. And Flickr is willing to bet those are exactly the kind of people who use Flickr, and might be interested in Pro.
Vaidyanathan declined to say how big a subset of Flickr users are (or may be) interested in going Pro, but given the benefits it seems like an attractive option for anyone with photographic ambitions beyond what winds up on their Instagram. More important for Flickr, it’s yet another way to remind the world that more isn’t always better, especially when you’re working with the best.