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Flickr backup utility

Project description

A tool to incrementally backup your photos from Flickr.

Note: As of version 0.9, this now uses Python 3!


Reqiures Python 3 and pip.

$ pip install flickrbackup


Note: You must have a Flickr Pro account to use this tool, since Flickr only allows access to original-scale images for Pro members.

The first time you run flickrbackup, you should specify a start date, using the format YYYY-MM-DD:

$ -f 2012-02-28 photos

This will ask you to visit a URL to authorize flickrbackup with your Flickr account, if you haven’t already. You will then be given a short token by Flickr, which you must type into the console. This token is saved for future use so you shouldn’t need any manual intervention again, unless you or Flickr revoke the token.

Once authorised, flickrbackup will download all photos and videos for the authorised account that have been created or updated on or after the “from” date (February 28th, 2012 in this case) into the directory specified (photos in this case). Items are organised into subfolders by set and the year, month and day they were taken. If an item appears in multiple sets, it will be copied into both set directories. Metadata such as the title, description, tags and other information will be placed in a file with a .txt extension next to the image file. The image file name is based on the Flickr id of the image.

After the first successful run, a special file named .stamp will be placed in the download directory, containing the date of the last backup. This allows flickrbackup to be run again without the -f argument, for example in a scheduled nightly “cron” job, picking up from where it left off:

$ /path/to/photos

Here, we have also omitted the “-v” (verbose) flag, which means only errors and important messages are output to the console, as well as a log of the ids of the photos that have been processed (mostly as a progress indicator).

It may be useful to log important messages to a file. In this case, use the --log-file (-l) option (with or without the -v flag to control the amount of information output):

$ -l /var/log/flickrbackup.log /path/to/photos

The log file will contain the type of message (e.g. INFO for informational messages or WARN for warnings) and the date and time of the message as well.

What if there are errors, e.g. due to a temporary conneciton problem? flickrbackup will attempt to download them again (you can control how many times or turn this off using the --retry option; the default is to retry once), but if there are still errors they will be printed to the console/log file.

We can store a list of the ids of the photos and videos that were not correctly processed by using the --error-file (-e) flag:

$ -e /path/to/photos/errors.txt /path/to/photos

Later, we can attempt to manually re-process just these photos using the --download (-d) option:

$ --download /path/to/photos/errors.txt /path/to/photos

If this succeeds, you should delete errors.txt, since the -e option will always append to, not replace, this file.

As of version 0.10 it is also possible to download the authenticated user’ favorite photos (which could be uploaded by another user). In this case, files are always organised by date and not set:

$ --favorites /path/to/faves

To see further help, run:

$ --help

Known limitations

  • Movie files will always get the extension .mov, even if originally uploaded as e.g. .avi or .mpg, because Flickr doesn’t provide a means of discovering the original file extension.

  • Photos that are deleted or moved between sets after being backed up will remain in the backup.

Logging out

OAuth tokens are stored in a database in ~/.flickr/oauth-tokens.sqlite. If you need to, you can delete this file to force re-authorization.


Version 0.9.1, released 2019-08-15

  • Make metadata files use UTF-8 by default

Version 0.9.0, released 2019-08-15

  • Migrate to Python 3 and new flickrapi library

  • Make use of new command line solution for getting the auth token, thereby making it easier to run on a remote server.

Version 0.8.4, released 2019-01-08

  • Fix README to stop referring to a defunct website in the installation instructions

Version 0.8.3, released 2018-10-03

  • Fix encoding error with set names

Version 0.8.2, released 2013-07-29

  • Attempt to fix missing README.rst issue in tarball

Version 0.8.1, released 2013-06-01

  • Fixed potential issue with copying directories to sets they are already in

Version 0.7, released 2013-01-01

  • Added --log-file option

  • Added -download option

  • Added --retry and --error-file options

Version 0.6, released 2012-12-31

  • Exit with a nonzero return code on failure

Version 0.5, released 2012-12-31

  • Allow set names with characters that are not valid directory names

  • Print erroneous items at the end of the run

Version 0.4, released 2012-12-31

  • In non-verbose mode, print photo id instead of just “.” for each completed download.

Version 0.3, released 2012-12-31

  • Added --store-once and --keep-existing options

  • Removed --username option - you must authenticate as the user to use

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