The challenge

Use the Flickr API to get photo images from this Flickr gallery.

Flickr Overview

In this Flickr API example, you’ll see that our goal requires us to call several endpoints. You’ll see that just having an API reference that lists the endpoints and responses isn’t enough. Often one endpoint requires other endpoint responses as inputs, and so on.

In this example, we want to get all the photos from a specific Flickr gallery and display them on a web page. Here’s the gallery we want:

Flickr gallery

1. Get an API key to make requests

Before you can make a request with the Flickr API, you’ll need an API key, which you can read more about here. When you register an app, you’re given a key and secret.

2. Determine the resource and endpoint you need

From the list of Flickr’s API methods, the flickr.galleries.getPhotos endpoint, which is listed under the galleries resource, is the one that will get photos from a gallery.

Flickr getPhotos endpoint

One of the arguments we need for the getPhotos endpoint is the gallery ID. Before we can get the gallery ID, however, we have to use another endpoint to retrieve it. Rather unintuitively, the gallery ID is not the ID that appears in the URL of the gallery.

We use the flickr.urls.lookupGallery endpoint listed in the URLs resource section to get the gallery ID from a gallery URL:

Flickr lookupGallery endpoint endpoint

The gallery ID is 66911286-72157647277042064. We now have the arguments we need for the flickr.galleries.getPhotos endpoint.

3. Construct the request

We can make the request to get the list of photos for this specific gallery ID.

Flickr provides an API Explorer to simplify calls to the endpoints. If we go to the API Explorer for the galleries.getPhotos endpoint, we can plug in the gallery ID and see the response, as well as get the URL syntax for the endpoint.

Using the Flickr API Explorer to get the request syntax

Insert the gallery ID, select Do not sign call (we’re just testing here, so we don’t need extra security), and then click Call Method.

Here’s the result:

Flickr gallery response</a>

The URL below the response shows the right syntax for using this method:

If you submit the request direct in your browser using the given URL, you can see the same response but in the browser rather than the API Explorer:

Flickr response in browser

4. Analyze the response

All the necessary information is included in this response in order to display photos on our site, but it’s not entirely intuitive how we construct the image source URLs from the response.

Note that the information a user needs to actually achieve a goal isn’t explicit in the API reference documentation. All the reference doc explains is what gets returned in the response, not how to actually use the response.

The Photo Source URLs page in the documentation explains it:

You can construct the source URL to a photo once you know its ID, server ID, farm ID and secret, as returned by many API methods. The URL takes the following format:

Here’s what an item in the JSON response looks like:

"photos": {
  "page": 1,
  "pages": 1,
  "perpage": 500,
  "total": 15,
  "photo": [
     "id": "8432423659",
     "owner": "37107167@N07",
     "secret": "dd1b834ec5",
     "server": "8187",
     "farm": 9,
     "title": "Color",
     "ispublic": 1,
     "isfriend": 0,
     "isfamily": 0,
     "is_primary": 1,
     "has_comment": 0
} ...

You access these fields through dot notation. It’s a good idea to log the whole object to the console just to explore it better.

5. Pull out the information you need

The following code uses jQuery to loop through each of the responses and inserts the necessary components into an image tag to display each photo. Usually in documentation you don’t need to be so explicit about how to use a common language like jQuery. You assume that the developer is capable in a specific programming language.

img {max-height:125px; margin:3px; border:1px solid #dedede;}

<script src=""></script>


var settings = {
  "async": true,
  "crossDomain": true,
  "url": "",
  "method": "GET",
  "headers": {}

$.ajax(settings).done(function (data) {

$("#galleryTitle").append([0].title + " Gallery");
    	$.each(, function( i, gp ) {

var farmId =;
var serverId = gp.server;
var id =;
var secret = gp.secret;

console.log(farmId + ", " + serverId + ", " + id + ", " + secret);

//  https://farm{farm-id}{server-id}/{id}_{secret}.jpg

$("#flickr").append('<img src="https://farm' + farmId + '' + serverId + '/' + id + '_' + secret + '.jpg"/>');



<h2><div id="galleryTitle"></div></h2>
<div style="clear:both;"/>
<div id="flickr"/>


And the result looks like this:

Flickr gallery demo

Code explanation

  • In this code, the ajax method from jQuery gets the JSON payload. The payload is assigned to the data argument and then logged to the console.
  • The data object contains an object called photos, which contains an array called photo. The title field is a property in the photo object. The title is accessed through this dot notation:[0].title.
  • To get each item in the object, jQuery’s each method loops through an object’s properties. Note that jQuery each method is commonly used for looping through results to get values. Here’s how it works. For the first argument (, you identify the object that you want to access.
  • For the function( i, gp ) arguments, you list an index and value. You can use any names you want here. gp becomes a variable that refers to the object you’re looping through. i refers to the starting point through the object. (You don’t actually need to refer to i beyond the mention here unless you want to begin the loop at a certain point.)
  • To access the properties in the JSON object, we use instead of[0].farm, because gp is an object reference to
  • After the each function iterates through the response, I added some variables to make it easier to work with these components (using serverId instead of gp.server, etc.). And a console.log message checks to ensure we’re getting values for each of the elements we need.
  • This comment shows where we need to plug in each of the variables:
    //  https://farm{farm-id}{server-id}/{id}_{secret}.jpg

The final line shows how you insert those variables into the HTML:

$("#flickr").append('<img src="https://farm' + farmId + '' + serverId + '/' + id + '_' + secret + '.jpg"/>');

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