Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Picfair: one license to rule them all

The biggest disadvantage for photographers trying to sell their work through traditional picture agencies is that a huge proportion of the fees go to the agency. Some realistic quotes place the percentage at upwards of 70%, meaning that the photographer, who has learnt his craft, done the legwork and edited the picture to an exceptionally high criteria, only gets a small percentage of the sale price.

Picfair is a comparatively new alternative, which allows photographers to upload as many of their photos as they like, set their own price, and directly reap the majority of the fee. (In the example on the Picfair website of a photo sold for £5, the agency fee is £1 and the stripe payment processing fee is £0.37, making the total cost to the buyer £6.37 for a digital download.)

By working in this way, the photographer can decide what his photo is worth and by setting more realistic prices, can be more likely to sell an image. Although one may earn less per photo, it’s still hundreds of times more than what one would earn through cheap stock photography websites like iStockPhoto, and a much better deal for those buying images than having to pay big fees at big agencies.

Through the single, simple license, the image is also available to everyone under the same conditions: whether a private person or a publisher looking for inexpensive photos for a publication.

Although my collection at Picfair is quite small for now, their new uploader tool – which recognizes the embedded image tags and descriptions from EXIF and IPTC data – makes uploading a much quicker and easier process. I’ll be adding more and more photos as time goes on, and a newer version of this website will include details of my newest photos added to the Picfair catalogue.

My pricing is variable: the larger the maximum resolution of the image, the higher the price. But images are still very inexpensive: for example, the image accompanying this blog post is available for £25 as a digital download.

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