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Today's the last day to download your Flickr photos if you're not going pro

Flickr will keep only your 1,000 most recent shots for free accounts, or you can pay $50 a year for a pro membership.

Photo-sharing site Flickr has billions of images, but it's begun restricting free accounts to 1,000 shots.

Photo sharing site Flickr has billions of images, but it's begun restricting free accounts to 1,000 shots.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

If you're a paying pro subscriber or are happy with Flickr's new 1,000-photo limit for free usage, you're fine. Otherwise, today is the last day to download your archive.

Flickr, now under SmugMug ownership after Verizon sold it out of its Yahoo family of brands, made a sharp turn toward a subscription business last year. The move is designed to restore the site's status as a great spot for photo enthusiasts while ensuring it pulls in enough money to pay the bills, Chief Executive Don MacAskill has said.

But if you disagree, now's the time to download your Flickr photos, because Flickr will keep only your 1,000 most recent shots for free accounts.

You can check our instructions on downloading Flickr photos if you need to figure out how. In brief, though, you have to use Flickr's camera roll interface to select the photos you want to download in batches of up to 500. Flickr then compresses the files and sends you download links over its Flickr Mail messaging system.

The move away from Flickr's former free terabyte of storage and toward subscriptions is aggressive -- but also in tune with some modern thinking. Ad-supported sites can be free, but SmugMug management didn't like the privacy tradeoff that comes with a lot of online ads, not to mention the amount that ads intrude on the experience of browsing through photos.

Several web browsers are moving to crack down on online behavior tracking, and people are becoming more aware of privacy erosion after problems like Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Flickr pro costs $50 a year

Flickr pro accounts cost $50 per year, a fee SmugMug promises will go toward running the site, showing higher-resolution shots, cutting out spam, getting rid of the Yahoo login system and making other improvements.

Flickr announced three months ago it'd delete the photos after Feb. 5. If you haven't done so yet, you can pay $50 and give yourself a year's breathing room.

Flickr, founded in 2004, grew in popularity as a hub for photography enthusiasts who could share their daily lives through its "photostream" and join groups devoted to things like animal photography or "lomography" photos taken with the Russian Lomo film camera.

Yahoo acquired Flickr in 2005 but struggled to keep it relevant as people moved to social-savvy services like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. SmugMug's plan to restore Flickr's reputation is aimed squarely at photography enthusiasts, though, not the broader market.

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