PicFair – A Tool for Buyers and Sellers
I recently started looking at PicFair. What is it? Should you use it? Is it any good?
This review looks at these questions…
PicFair – What Is It?
PicFair is designed for two purposes:
- To allow buyers to find and purchase images, either as prints or digital downloads
- To allow sellers to upload and sell their images
PicFair for Purchasers
PicFair offers purchasers of images up to four options:
- Digital Downloads
- Giclee prints
- Framed Giclee prints
- Canvas prints
In addition, PicFair offers purchasers three licencing options:
- Personal and Editorial
The full Terms and Conditions of these licences are explained by PicFair here. Put simply, if you’re looking to just the use the photo on your desktop or to include in a non-commercial blog post, then Option 1 is for you. You use option 2 if you want to use the image to advertise a product on a blog or email compaign. Option 3 covers wider use of the image, such as for product packaging or commercials.
The cost of the image goes up when you want to use it for Commercial or Advertising. Not all images are available for each licence – the contributing photographer has control over what the image can be used for.
Purchasing Images on PicFair
It’s easy. You go to picfair.com and search for what you want. Add it to the cart. Check out. Pay up. Etc. It’s all standard and easy.
If you buy a print, then PicFair will fulfil it and send it to you. Buy a digital product – they will send you a download link.
The licence you buy is for one use only. For personal use it means you can add it as a wallpaper on your devices. There’s nothing to stop you printing it. But you can’t share it with anyone other than in an editorial context, such as putting it in one blog post.
PicFair, thankfully, provide full details of what each licence means and, for once, the terms and conditions are clear and straightforward.
Picfair for Photographers
Setting up a photo website to sell your images is hard. Really hard. I’ve been doing it for years and there is so much to do. Site design. Prepare images. Set up e-commerce. Get the site seen. Fulfil orders.
THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO.
So what do we do? We look for tools to make it easier for us. But there are limitations to using each tool and, heaven forbid, you could end up just being a subdomain of a large image collection. And that means almost no visitors. No sales. No point.
PicFair can help here
The basic, free, PicFair solves a number of problems. It:
- Displays your images as a collection
- Has an easy web interface for uploading images
- Lets you set your profit margin
- Fulfils all purchases – digital downloads, prints, framed prints and canvas prints
The last point is important. You go on holidaty, don’t you? What do you do if someone buys your print whilst you are away?? It can be a problem for the solo photographer trying to make some extra cash. And it happens. Twice, I’ve been travelling away when a purchase came in and it feels terrible telling your customer they’ll have to wait longer for their product.
With PicFair, these problems just evaporate. It really is set it and forget it. Once they have accepted your images, they do the rest. The only thing you need to do is tell them when and how to pay you. One one thing I really liked was that they will pay direct into your bank account. No more PayPal fees. Because you set the amount you get per download/print you know upfront what each sale will give you.
It’s hard to overemphasise how good that is. But there’s even better news for those who decide to go to PicFair plus.
The standard PicFair is great for the casual photographer and hobbyist who is looking to showcase their images and, maybe, make a bit of cash as well.
PicFair plus adds the following features for professionals:
- Your own domain – if you own a domain, PicFair can use it. This is much better than being just another of PicFair’s subdomains.
- More display options
- More configurability
- Personalise banner, etc
- Use of FTP uploads to make submitting images quicker and easier
- Commercial licencing of your images
The last option offers far greater rewards – purchasers who want to make commercial use of your images pay much more for them.
Currently, PicFair Plus costs just £49.99 a year. Frankly, that’s peanuts.
PicFair Plus features
Here is a list of extras you get for your £49.99 a year:
- Connect domain to your store
- Choose from multiple Store templates
- Custom image ordering on Store home page
- Albums within Stores
- Add your own logo & bio
- Full-screen slideshow functionality
- Add social media profiles to your store
- Remove Picfair branding from your Store
- Guaranteed access to Picfair’s FTP upload server
- Customise watermarks on your store
- Enable search on your store
- Access to Picfair Plus customer service
- Early access to new features
Not bad, eh?
PicFair in Practice
So, does it work? I’d been looking for a good way to display and sell my images for quite a while. I rejected SmugMug as too expensive and so was doing it myself. It’s so much work setting up prices, sorting out delivery charges and fulfilling orders.
What I like about PicFair Plus is:
- Easy to set up – even setting up my own domain was easy as PicFair tell you everything you need to know
- FTP uploads – if your image has the right meta data: Title, caption, keywords; then you FTP it in and it is made available in one business day
- Pricing – you set the level of profit you want and PicFair do the rest. If printing charges change PicFair handle it.
- Setting up my own Menu, linking back to my blog, was easy
- Links to Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter is simple
- PicFair offer various print sizes, depending on the resolution of your images
- PicFair don’t require exclusive use ofyour images. You can sell them on PicFair and anywhere else that suits you.
- Your images can be found by someone searching the whole of PicFair and not just your specific area.
- Really good value for money.
What could be improved:
- Print sizes seem limited. I uploaded a 9000 pixel wide image, which should be good for a 30 inch image print was offered as a 24 inch maximum print size.
- Digital downloads – I think the Personal use/Editorial use download should be limited to 2048 pixels along the longest side. Currently, there’s nothing to stop someone buying the full resolution image under the personal licence and then making a large print of it. PicFair can easilly downsize images for download under thic]s licence.
- Framed prints are limited to two frame styles, and no preview image is available. Hopefully, they will offer a wider range of frames and implement some form of preview.
PicFair – conclusion
Occasionally I come across a product with major plusses and almost no downsides. PicFair is one of them.
The free package allows casual photographers to have an online presence in a good-looking site. Photography enthusiasts and professionals can use PicFair to enhance their existing site and take away all the fuss and trouble of maintaining their site and fulfilling orders. For the price, it’s great value for money.
I recommend PicFair – the downsides are not major and I’m sure they will keep on improving it.
Hi Andy, great article about Picfair. All sounds great. One question, how about SEO? Selling image licenses I can also do via agencies. However, for people not wanting or can set up their own website it may be a solution. I have been with PhotoShelter for a few years and run away! Reason, their SEO is not good. I assume with Picfair it is just the same, or not?
I am happy to have by now my own website, and yes time consuming until all was set. Now it is a bliss to work with. I never look back to PhotoShelter.
Of course, easy to set up… that had PhotoShelter until you really want to set up a nice look!
Anyway, while writing my cents, I even look deeper of the pro & cons!
I better stop now ?
PS Check out my website how it works! Have fun
That’s a good question. SEO is not easy and the search engines sometimes change their algorithms so it’s a moving target.
I can’t say whether PicFair’s SEO is good or bad as much depends on the content and text provided to them.
The PicFair people are very reasonable – it might be worth asking them about this directly.
Hi Andy thanks for the insights.
I noticed that limitations on print sizes do not allow a panoramic landscape to be purchased. That is to say that the image is severely cropped and therefore not the appealing product. This is a major drawback/hesitation for me as predominately a landscape photographer.
I also think the thumbnails are not clear and do not show the quality of the actual print (not even close), in my experience.
I recently purchased a Plus package purely off online recommendations such as yours but unpublished and cancelled subscription due to these two issues alone.
I would appreciate any further advice on this if you could.