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Flickr RSS: How to display more than 20 photos in a feed

Photograph of a man descending a spiral staircase.
Feature photo courtesy Magdalena Roeseler / Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Are you integrating the display of photos stored in a Flickr account with your website or mobile app? Then, you’ve probably run into the limitation of native Flickr RSS feeds where you are only able to poll the 20 most recent photos.

Using the Flickr API

Kellan Elliott-McCrea wrote a detailed tutorial on how to code a solution using the Flickr API. The solution does work, however you need to have a significant amount of programming experience for this route to be an option.

Resources for using the Flickr API

Getting more photos in the feed using tools coded by others

Thankfully there is a workaround that doesn’t require you to go to the trouble of creating your own Flickr API key or using some other off the shelf solution.

  • Flickr RSS Feed Generator is a web-based form that uses the Flickr API. It that allows you to create a custom feed based on tags and specify the number of photos returned. The one limitation with this approach is that you would need to have a custom tag in order to locate your specific photos.

Flickr gallery plug-ins for WordPress

These don’t get you a stand alone feed, but do provide some easy ways to display assets from your Flickr account if you are using the WordPress platform.

Paid options and alternatives

  • The best solution to this problem was Yahoo Pipes, which unfortunately has been decommissioned. There are some tools that provide similar levels of routing/customization of an existing feed, but require a lot of effort to use. Some tools to consider include Zapier, Dlvr.it, import.io and Huginn.
  • You can build a chain from your Flickr RSS and route it through other applications in order to get the feed you need. For example, you could use IFTTT.com Flickr integration to route new additions to your Flickr feed to an alternate source that doesn’t have the 20 item limit. The chain might look something like Flickr RSS > IFTTT > New Tumblr Post > Tumblr feed > to you your output source. The limitation of this approach is that you will only start from the 20 most recent items. You would have to manually add and remove older items to get them to appear as new items in the feed. It’s messy, temperamental and takes a lot of testing to work.

How to find your Flickr RSS feed

Finding your Flickr RSS feed can be a challenge. Here is a quick process that helps:

  1. Go to your photo stream: www.flickr.com/photos/yourusername
  2. Add this to the end of the URL: ?details=1, so that the URL is www.flickr.com/photos/yourusername/?details=1
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  4. The RSS link is in the bottom left corner of the page

You can also check out the official list of available feeds supported by Flickr.

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