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.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Signed up to

Today I signed up to a new picture agency - the recently launched  British company I've been following their progress over the last few weeks and the time now seemed right to take the plunge.
Founded and run by British journalist Benji Lanyado (who writes for The Guardian newspaper amongst others) the agency specialises in licensing images for both Editorial and a variety of commercial uses. (Edited -please see the comment below from Benji on the licensing).
The exciting thing about PicFair is that you get to set your own prices and receive 100% of that amount if they are sold. PicFair make their money by adding a modest percentage on top of your price (as well as a transaction charge to the client for each sale). It's not unlike FineArtAmerica where you also set your price and receive all of it.

Images are licensed for single use each time (unlike the Royalty Free Microstock model where clients pay once only and can keep using your image without further payment). There is only one size available (i.e. the maximum) so that needs to be kept in mind when setting your prices and there are no Extended License options available either. I have initially set my prices at the £10 per license level. All prices are set individually on upload so you can vary the price of your images and also change your pricing at any time in the future. If there is a way of bulk editing your prices across your portfolio I haven't found it yet (but it is only my first day there!).

One thing that takes some getting used to is that you add your title/description/keyword info before uploading the image - the complete reverse of what I am used to.
At present there is only the facility to upload one image at a time -something that will put some off I imagine. That said, images uploaded very quickly so with a bit of determination (and time) you can build up a decent size portfolio.

Downsides? Apart from the one at a time upload there is certainly an issue with the security watermark -it is barely visible and I hope this will be addressed going forward. There was also a strange quirk when after uploading you get a nice "thank you" message pop up and a reminder that you can share news of the upload with social media (the site seems well integrated with Facebook and Twitter). My problem at this stage was that there was no way of losing the message let alone sharing anything. The only way I found to move on was to hit the back button on my mouse to take me back to the upload page. This did throw up one unexpected benefit though -the info entered previously was still there, so where I wanted to upload several images of the same subject I just had to add the next image and click upload again. It may just be my browser though (IE9) causing this. I've sent them an email asking about this issue and will post further when I get a response.

So far I've just put up 11 images to get the feel of things but it is certainly an interesting proposition. It's also nice to be working with a British agency again following the demise of PictureNation. First day images included (of course) Margaret Thatcher and also Phil Lynott. You can see my little (so far) portfolio here PicFair . Feel free to comment by clicking on the comments link below this post. Regards, David.


Benji Lanyado said...

Hello David,

Thanks for writing this, and thanks for your pics - they're great! Was about to email you but thought it might be more useful for others if I address what you've written here for everyone to see.

First up, a little context - I launched Picfair as a proof of concept three months ago, having written all the code myself after learning to code in the last year. It has taken off very quickly - but this means that there are a few sub-optimal bits which you've hit on very astutely!

Batch upload is the main one - it's coming soon, promise! I realise it's rather arduous to upload one by one, and appreciate your patience. That said, tens of thousands of images have been uploaded already, so thankfully it isn't putting people off too much. But, yes, it's coming.

The frozen "thank you" message is an IE9 issue I'm afraid - the site is built for modern browsers like Chrome. But I'll aim to get that fixed ASAP.

One slight correction - Picfair images aren't exclusively for editorial. Although the license is essentially Rights Managed rather than Royalty Free (as you touched on), images can be used for a variety of promotional uses, i.e. accompanying products or services, brochures, personal use and email marketing/newsletters. The only commercial uses that they are not allowed for are merchandising, retail product packaging, branding or corporate logos, trademarks or service marks, and external paid-for advertising (i.e. billboards, pop-uip ads, banner ads). This isn't to say these uses won't be catered for in the future - it's just the the current license is kept deliberately simple and singular, so that anyone can understand it. Getty currently has 320,000 ways to license an image - Picfair has one.

Finally, if anyone reading this wants to get in touch, please do - Picfair is young and growing very quickly - the more input/feedback I get from users the better!

Thanks again David, and I look forward to seeing more of your pics!

Benji Lanyado,
Founder, Picfair

David Fowler (Newsfocus1) said...

Thanks for your comment Benji, which I am sure will be of interest to many and thanks for addressing the few issues I raised.

I stand corrected on the licensing -that it is not just for Editorial only and that a variety of commercial uses are allowed.

Thanks again for your comments here.

Kind Regards, David.

David Fowler (Newsfocus1) said...

Just to update - I tried uploading via Chrome today and, as Benji said, that eliminated the frozen "thank you" message issue. My tip about using the back button to the upload page still works -making it easy if you have several images with the same info. Just select the next image and hit upload again! David.

Luis Santos said...

Thanks for writing this blog post David, cheers for Benji on replying as well! :D

David Fowler (Newsfocus1) said...

Thanks Luis!
I think PicFair is an interesting concept and has lots of potential. I'm certainly going to spend some time getting images up there to see how it goes.
Good luck with your own sales there as well!
kind regards,