Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

First sale at Picfair:

Having only signed up to new British photo agency Picfair just last week, I was delighted to get my very first sale there this week. First sales at a new agency are always exciting as, until then, you have no idea if you are going to get any interest in your images. Certainly there are views (and Picfair marks images clearly with the number of views they have had) but you have no way of knowing if these are serious buyers or just people having a look at your image -often, I am sure,  fellow contributors checking you out.

Anyway, week two of uploading and this image of RAF aerobatic team The Red Arrows performing at the Airbourne airshow in Eastbourne became my first sale. Picfair send you an automated email to let you know when you get a sale, which is always nice to find in your inbox. Better still, Picfair do not have a high payout limit that you have to reach before you can get your money and there is a "cash out" button on your profile page. I'm going to wait until, hopefully, I have a few more sales to claim.

Meanwhile I have been busy uploading and now have approaching 300 images online there. Looking forward to reporting my next sales! Regards, David.


Anonymous said...

So? How did it go? Any more sales since 2013

David Fowler said...

In a word -no! You can be fairly sure that I would have mentioned it if I had. I'm planning a follow up post on Picfair soon but to summarise I now have over 800 images online and still awaiting that second sale. Will I keep uploading? Yes. The appeal of a well presented site with no reviews and setting your own prices is strong. The buyers will come in time I hope. More when I write the post..Regards, David.

Lynn Fotheringham said...

I have 'sold' one image to an anonymous on picfair and have read of one or two others who have done the same. Could Picfair be doing this as a marketing strategy to encourage contributors to upload more images? I have emailed them and asked the question. I don't know if I will get a reply!

David Fowler said...

Good question Lynn! Anecdotal evidence on the forum suggests that it is not uncommon for new agencies to purchase a few images themselves to enourage uploading and good publicity. I was somewhat sceptical about my first sale as it was so soon after starting to upload and I didn't have many images uploaded. I also know that Picfair rather like the Red Arrows as they often tend to get the "starred" status! I do know that my second sale was totally real as I had an email conversation with the buyer (see my recent post here). Given that Picfair is not brand new anymore and that they have a ton of great images now I would assume that your sale (if recent) is probaly to an actual buyer. Either way you have the money :) Just keep uploading and hope that they can build up their customer base. Good luck. Kind regards, David.

Art Plrang said...

Hi, nice blog, I found it while looking for information about that Picfair agency.
A friend of mine just told me, he's uploading there and I'm gathering any news about it. Looked at MSG and here and I'm curious, what would you say today? Would you join it again, do you still upload? What's your advice or opinion? Best regards

David Fowler said...

Thanks for your comment Art. Yes, I would still sign up today and yes i am still uploading. Sadly, I still have had only two sales there but remain optimistic for the future. With no reviews and the ability to set and change your own prices, I see Picfair as very much like having my own selling site. They just need to keep building their customer base and sales will come. What I am still waiting for is a bulk price edit feature as I would like to experiment with different price points to see how this influences sales. At £10 my images are expensive for (say) a blogger but cheap for a National newspaper. I asked recently and they said this feature is coming in the future. They are willing to reset my prices from their end in the meantime -but I would prefer to wait until I can do it for myself. Regards, David.

Art Plrang said...

Thanks David for your comprehensive reply. I think £10 is not bat at all. Sure would be good to know at which price images would sell better. I mostly like everything about that site, except that large vertical previews and a poor watermark. I found people complaining about that on MSG, and about low sales. That would be the same for me as Stockfresh is, where 70% of my earnings came through the partner program and images stopped to sell. Still the upload process is very tempting. Need to think about it and wait maybe for the watermark change. Thanks again!

David Fowler said...

Art, I agree about the watermark but take two things into account. Firstly, I upload the same images to FineArtAmerica where the watermark is just in the bottom corner and easily cropped off -so the Picfair one is better than that. Secondly,any of my sold images can be displayed on the internet without any watermark at all -so again the Picfair one is better. Though I hate to think of anyone using my images for nothing I also accept that once out on the internet they are vulnerable. But as it is an internet based business that is just not avoidable. I like to think that the majority of image users are honest and those that do lift images without paying wouldn't have purchased them anyway. Kind regards, David.

Art Plrang said...

Well.. I forgot about FAA, as I have some images there. That's a good point with the watermark. I could upload only specific images then. Unfortunately there are people who use and share illegally our images in full resolution. From time to time I have to fill DMCA notice and those images got taken down. Sometimes it's not that easy. There are people who use watermarked images without even noticing them. I'm still amazed by that fact, yet it's true. Even some of my unaware friends did that;) Sure honest customers gonna pay for our job. Thanks for your time David!

Rainbow1 said...

Seems this simple approach could cause problems for some people who are not experienced photographers using agencies already.
For example Ive seen no warnings about how easy it is for photographers to get sued for infringing property owners copyrights etc.
You can take photos of almost anything you like and share them but once you start selling then its a different ball game.
I think you will find that even the Red Arrows have copyright in the use of their market brand.
You need to understand Copyright, Model and Property Releases.
You could well be sued for something as small as a picture of an owners dog. or indeed their house if it featured in a shot.
Seems to me this has been quickly glossed over by this site leaving the onus (which it is) on the seller who might be completely unaware of the hadr reallity of selling images.

David Fowler said...

My apologies for the delay in responding Rainbow1. You raise an interesting point, though it's worth remembering that Picfair only currently offer an editorial use license -where releases are not generally required. Ultimately it is the end user who bears responsibility for the usage not the photographer who has licensed their image. Of course, things were simpler before Microstock because most image users were professionals (media, designers, book publishers etc) who would have knowledge of what they could or could not do. Microstock has brought a much wider range of buyers into the stock image market who may not have this knowledge -the reason that microstock agencies cover themselves by requiring releases or making it clear that images are only for editorial use. Regards, David.

stock shooter said...

Its now 2018.
Any more licenses since first two?
Any more comments-advice wrt Picfair.
I know they now offer advertising usage
at 10X editorial-commercial usage rate.

David Fowler said...

Thanks for your comment Stock Shooter. My total sales now stand at five which isn't great but I still have confidence in Picfair to grow. When it started it was basically a one man band but in recent times they have now expanded to have a bigger team including sales and marketing people. They also now offer picture research services for customers. Other developments include distribution to other selling partners overseas (selected images only), a forthcoming photo assignments service (they are currently advertising for someone to run this) and they now have some five million images. They now also represent the famous Robert Harding (travel) photo library and Alamy's Stockimo division. I have recently upped my prices to £40 per image -so what sales I do get will be for more worthwhile reward. Kind regards, David.

Unknown said...

Am now at 37K images for almost month now.
Unreleased editorial style.
No licenses, not a good sign, IMO.
Was going to continue to 130K images,
but "on hold" until some kind of minimal
regular sales starts occurring.
Has anyone organized a Picfair forum
involving contribs willing to share info-data.

David Fowler said...

That's a lot of images -puts my 1.5k to shame. I'd be surprised if you didn't soon start to see some sales assuming your images meet buyers requirements. See my previous response above for some of the developments going on at Picfair which I hope will start to build sales. It all depends how much time you have to spare for uploading to them whether to upload more. Or, as you say, leave it at that for now and see what happens. You could also consider experimenting with different price points using the bulk price changer (assuming you have everything at the same price). You can change this up or down at any time. That said, when I previously tried dropping to a low price I saw no difference (or sales) at all! Best of luck whatever you do. Kind regards, David.