The photo sharing site has quickly become one of my favorites recently. Sure, I’ve talked about sites like Flickr and Picassa in the past but for some reason I seem to be getting a lot more out of it lately.

Flickr is much more than just a website to post your vacation snap shots . . . though it is great for that. Flickr also hosts a growing community of photo-lovers, camera enthusiasts, Photoshop pros and generally creative, outgoing people. Whether you’re a Flickr old-schooler or just getting your toes wet, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your photo sharing experience.

Uploading Tools
Flickr provide a range of uploading tools available for both Windows and Macintosh that will help you get your photos on Flickr.

If you’d rather not install any software, you can use a web form to upload your images via the upload page. To use this form, look in the navigation menu at the top of the page under “You.”

Those not enamored with desktop apps or Flickr’s upload page should have a look at the Firefox Universal Uploader plug-in which creates a two-pane window in your browser and allows you to easily move files from your hard drive to any of the four supported photo sites. Similar functionality is available from the free Firefox add-on FotoFox.

Mobile and E-Mail
Users are not limited to using a computer when it comes to Flickr. You can easily send photos straight from your camera-phone or email your photos to your Flickr account. Once you’ve signed up for an account, you’ll be given your own unique email address that you can use to add your photos to your Flickr photostream or to upload photos to your Flickr photostream AND automatically post them to your blog. You’ll have to configure this in your upload settings first, but setup is easy and straight forward.

Different Ways to Share
Other than the wide variety of widgets that are available for blogs, your MySpace page, Facebook profile, Dashboard or desktop, there are other more conventional ways to show off your Flickr photos.

Using services offered by Yahoo’s business partners, you can print your images or create business cards from your photos. You can also create hardbound books, make t-shirts, calendars, buttons, bumper stickers, ties—the possibilities are nearly limitless. In fact, Zazzle can put your images on just about any surface.

Get Out and Have Fun
Flickr is a popular photo-sharing and hosting service. It supports an active and engaged community where people share and explore each other’s photos. You can share and host hundreds of your own pictures on Flickr without paying a dime. There’s also a pro service that gets you unlimited storage and sharing for about $2 a month, making it one of the cheapest hosting sites around. So get out there and take lots of pictures, post them online, and make some books and t-shirts.