Flickr photo download HOWTO

How to save those beautiful images


flickr has a beautiful collection of photographs. Enjoying them in a simple webbrowser won't always give them the attention they need. Althogh the slideshow is nice, when you look at it with a large resolution setting, the photo's tend to be pretty small.

However, downloading doesn't seem to be an option, as a transparent image has been placed over the photo's. This transparent image will keep you from being able to right-click on the real picture and download it.

Here I will show you how to use the features of Firefox to take back the web and control your own resources, by allowing you to download the photo's with ease. Currently there are (at least) 4 solutions to this problem:

  1. Using the default Firefox menus
  2. Installing the AdBlock extension and configuring that
  3. Defining a Bookmarklet (= bookmark with Javascript)
  4. Installing the WebDeveloper extension and disable the stylesheet
  5. Installing the Nuke Anything extension and removing the protection image

For all options, you will need Firefox. So get it now if you don't have it.

People who enable this protection, don't want you to download the pictures. If people don't want you to be able to use another viewer, please consider just asking them a copy via e-mail or don't bother with their pictures. So make sure you review the license, and if needed, remove the picture after viewing it.


Using the default Firefox menus

Step 1.

Go to your favorite flickr homepage. And first try to simply download the image by rightclicking in it and choosing "Save Image As...". If you get an image called spaceball.gif then you should follow the rest of the steps to get the real photo. Otherwise it's probably no problem.

Step 2.

Right click next to the photo, you should get the menu displayed at the right. Choose "View Page Info" from the menu.

Right click menu

Step 3.

From this window, choose the tab "Media" at the top of the window (see figure below). Then in the list of media, scroll down to the image you want to save.
The best way to do this is to try any image with "static" in the address.

Step 4.

Click on "Save As..." and save the image where ever you want.

Page info dialog

Step 5.

Review the copyrights. flickr doesn't seem to want you to download the images, so just enjoy them and throw them away when you are done with them or find out the copyrights.


Using the Adblock extension

This method was brought to my attention by mail, and here is how it works:

  1. Install Firefox
  2. Install the Adblock extension from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/10/
  3. Restart Firefox: close all browser windows and start Firefox
  4. Right click a flickr photo you want to download and choose Save As...
  5. If the file is called spaceball.gif cancel the download and...
  6. Right click on the photo again and choose Adblock Image...
  7. If the link contains something like 'http://www.flickr.com/images/spaceball.gif', choose OK.
  8. Reload the page.

Now the spaceball image will never be shown again and right-clicking with Save As... should work normally on all pages.


Using a bookmarklet

The following bookmarklet should also allow you access to the pictures. Matej 'Yin' Gagyi mailed the following:

javascript: location.href=document.evaluate('//div[@class="photoImgDiv"]/img',document, null, null, null).iterateNext().src;

You use this by bookmarking: Flickr current photo and then using the bookmark after visiting the flickr page you want.


Using the WebDeveloper extension

If you don't include the stylesheet (this is what makes the page look nice) then the images won't overlap. Here is how to disable all layout:

  1. Install the WebDeveloper extension
  2. Go to your favorite photo page
  3. Open the "Tools" menu and select the following as they appear: Web Developer, CSS, Disable Styles, All Styles.
  4. The page will look very basic and ugly. Now, find the image and download it without any problems.
  5. Enable the styles again by selecting the saim option in the Tools menu: Web Developer, CSS, Disable Styles, All Styles.
  6. And all is well

This method was suggested by Matti Laakso.


Using the Nuke Anything extension

This method was brought to my attention via the contact box. It involves removing the transparent gif using the Nuke Anything plugin:

  1. Install the Nuke Anything Firefox addon (Make your own between normal and enhanced)
  2. Restart Firefox: close all browser windows and start Firefox
  3. Go to your favorite photo page
  4. Right click on the picture and choose "Remove this object"
  5. You won't see anything change because you should have just removed an invisible image
  6. Right click on the photo again and choose Save As... as you would do normally

This is a one-time solution and (as far as I know) has to be repeated when you reload the page for any reason.

Last update: April 03 2011
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