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Flickr API Image search with Python

This post provides a quick example of how to search the Flickr API for images using the flickrapi Python library.


Flickr API Keys

First, you need to create a pair of Flickr API keys by visiting https://www.flickr.com/services/api/keys/. Note: A Yahoo! account is required to generate the API keys.

Flickr will generate two keys:

  • A public key, which they call key
  • A private key, which they call secret

flickrapi installation

Create a virtual environment, and then install the flickrapi Python library via

$ pip install flickrapi

Search Flickr Images

Here's an example that searches Flickr for the term "kitten" and retrieves the first 10 results.

from flickrapi import FlickrAPI

FLICKR_PUBLIC = 'Your Flickr Key'
FLICKR_SECRET = 'Your Flickr Secret Key'

flickr = FlickrAPI(FLICKR_PUBLIC, FLICKR_SECRET, format='parsed-json')
cats = flickr.photos.search(text='kitten', per_page=5, extras=extras)
photos = cats['photos']
from pprint import pprint

raw source

The output:

{'page': 1,
 'pages': 65078,
 'perpage': 5,
 'photo': [{'farm': 1,
            'height_c': 800,
            'height_l': '1024',
            'height_m': '500',
            'height_n': 320,
            'height_o': '1080',
            'height_q': '150',
            'height_s': '240',
            'height_sq': 75,
            'height_t': '100',
            'height_z': '640',
            'id': '23890667535',
            'isfamily': 0,
            'isfriend': 0,
            'ispublic': 1,
            'owner': '58844113@N02',
            'secret': '2a4d6d2d9e',
            'server': '744',
            'title': 'This mine now. Go sleep with the dog. #dailyozkitty '
                     '#oldman #tigertom',
            'url_c': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_c.jpg',
            'url_l': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_b.jpg',
            'url_m': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e.jpg',
            'url_n': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_n.jpg',
            'url_o': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_ec66e73bfc_o.jpg',
            'url_q': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_q.jpg',
            'url_s': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_m.jpg',
            'url_sq': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_s.jpg',
            'url_t': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_t.jpg',
            'url_z': 'https://farm1.staticflickr.com/744/23890667535_2a4d6d2d9e_z.jpg',
            'width_c': '800',
            'width_l': '1024',
            'width_m': '500',
            'width_n': '320',
            'width_o': '1080',
            'width_q': '150',
            'width_s': '240',
            'width_sq': 75,
            'width_t': '100',
            'width_z': '640'},
 'total': '325388'}


If you examine the Flickr API Endpoints, you will see the API methods are listed in the form

  • flickr.galleries.addPhoto
  • flickr.galleries.create
  • flickr.galleries.editMeta

The flickrapi library we're using allows us to follow the exact same format. So for the search API endpoint flickr.photos.search, the method we use for the Python library is photos.search.

The extras argument is actually what's in charge of instructing the Flickr API to provide the URLs. The Flickr documentation itself does not describe what the values of the extras parameter actually mean. The only information provided is

Extras: A comma-delimited list of extra information to fetch for each returned record. Currently supported fields are: description, license, date_upload, date_taken, owner_name, icon_server, original_format, last_update, geo, tags, machine_tags, o_dims, views, media, path_alias, url_sq, url_t, url_s, url_q, url_m, url_n, url_z, url_c, url_l, url_o

However, this Flickcurl C library has documented what these parameters mean.

  • url_c: URL of medium 800, 800 on longest size image
  • url_m: URL of small, medium size image
  • url_n: URL of small, 320 on longest side size image
  • url_o: URL of original size image
  • url_q: URL of large square 150x150 size image
  • url_s: URL of small suqare 75x75 size image
  • url_sq: URL of square size image
  • url_t: URL of thumbnail, 100 on longest side size image

If you add the url_m option in the extra parameter, which represents small/medium sized images, you will receive back the following in the response:

  • The direct url of the image (url_m)
  • The height of the image (height_m)
  • The width of the image (width_m)

Tagged as python, apis, quick tips

Date published - December 21, 2015