Is Picfair worth the Money

Is Picfair worth the money?

Do Prints Sell?

In 2023 my income from prints is a fraction of what it was ten years ago. What does this tell us? I may be shooting less popular subjects, or are people just not buying prints these days? It may be a mixture of both.

Digital downloads are honestly not worth doing. The pricepoint is so low that you are just undermining your ability to sell actual prints. Talking to other photographers, I’m not the only one who sees a reduction of income from prints. So in talking about Picfair and other online print marketers, this is something to take on board – prints by photographers with low profiles tend not to sell, unless they are of subjects that the audience directly relate to. Like stock photography, the market is a fraction of what it used to be.

What is Picfair?

Like a stock provider Picfair supports a marketplace in which all of your pictures are available, visibility is based on keywords. Unlike a stock provider, they also offer customised galleries for the photographer to promote.

What Problem does Picfair Solve?

If you run a WordPress website and want to integrate an e-commerce platform to sell images, Picfair is a good solution. It’s easier to manage and set up than WooCommerce. Squarespace, where a lot of photographers host their sites already has e-commerce built in.

Is Picfair worth the money?

I’ve sold prints through Alamy and Smugmug over the years and although I like Alamy and have sold quite a few pictures there, I abandoned my Smugmug subscription about four years ago due to the price. It simply wasn’t worth the money. The galleries on my website are not e-commerce enabled and even if they were, not all of the pictures I take are suitable for mainstream sales.

Picfair is only worth the price of subscription if you make more profit than that figure from selling prints. You might want to check out their current Facebook ad campaign where they quote actual sale prices. The median price seems to be about £10. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t make money selling prints for £10 a shot. I sell outside of Picfair for minimum £50.

If you’re happy to sell for £10 or less then it may be worth having a closer look.

The User Experience

The UI feels modern and intuitive, it does two things only and it does them well. My experience with Smugmug was very different and possibly a result of the Smugmug team trying to be a Swiss army knife – viewing gallery, website, e-commerce etc.

There is a free version of Picfair, but I signed up for the paid “Picfair Plus”  with a Black Friday discount of 50% – that makes it affordable if I sell two pictures this year.

The free version offers

  • Images listed on Picfair’s global marketplace
  • Set your own prices
  • Sell digital downloads
  • Sell high-quality printed products
  • Your own Picfair powered store
  • Upload up to 20 images

Is Picfair worth the money? Well, this is what you get with the subscription…

  • Images listed on Picfair’s global marketplace
  • Set your own prices
  • Sell digital downloads
  • Sell high-quality printed products
  • Your own Picfair powered store
  • Upload unlimited images
  • 0% commission on all your image sales
  • 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

The free version works on a commission basis – it’s a small commission (20%) compared to many providers, but nonetheless, it’s a commission and as it is charged to the customer, it drives the price up.

Integration with your Website

More important for me was the ability to connect my own domain to the store and style it similarly to my own website. So I’ve added a logo and short biography added my social media links and removed Picfair branding. I used a white theme, so it looks like a part of my website, accessible through the prints menu. This whole process took about an hour. If you don’t understand the details of DNS then PicFair has a decent tutorial that will guide you through the process.

Once you’ve set up your store, you can create albums, add a splash screen if you like, upload some photographs and you’re good to go.

Added Value

The other thing Picfair do that adds value is provide marketing tips in the form of manuals devoted to the main social media platforms. This is good, because selling prints is a very competitive business, think about it for a second – how many images get uploaded to the internet a day? Something in the region of 300 million. There are only 7.8 billion people on the planet. Do the Maths.

The only way a new photographer gets to sell images is by creating images that are commercially viable and mastering every aspect of marketing. In particular, keywords. Keywords will help your pictures be found in the Picfair marketplace. After that, promoting the gallery consistently on social media so that people who are interested will be prompted to look at new content. The guides produced by Picfair are a good place to start, covering Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If I have one gripe it is that sharing an image to Facebook doesn’t give me the option to share to my photography business page. But that is a Facebook issue and I can always reshare it from my personal account.

So, Is Picfair worth it?

For simplicity, elegance, ease of use and accessibility, Picfair does a decent job of presenting your images, but it doesn’t promote them in any meaningful way. And there’s the rub, an e-commerce solution is only worth investing in if you sell more than you spend. With Picfair it is clear from the beginning that it is the photographer’s responsibility to take their pictures to market effectively.

[Update August 2023]

I will be closing my Picfair account at the end of 2023. I do sell prints, but the pricepoint in online marketplaces is way lower than is viable. My experience has been that people will buy high end prints directly from me, if I arrange the printing and framing personally. Again, it’s only my experience but my feeling is that people will buy a personalised service much more readily and for more money than they will an anonymous print through an online marketplace.

Selling prints or downloads for small change is not worth anyone’s time and it seems to me that the online marketplace model implemented by PicFair and competitors simply drives the price ever downwards.

Read On…

This article is part of my “Business of Photography” series in which I discuss facets of the industry that are not directly related to taking pictures.

If you’ve found this post useful, check out the Guides, a series of comprehensive guides to specific types of photography aimed at photographers who want to extend their skillset and try something a little different.

Check also my article What Makes a Good Photographer – what do you think?

Happy Snapping!


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  1. Picfair is a nightmare. Horrible UI and no help from the associates. And you don’t choose your own price, theyve changed it on me. Not worth the money.

    1. Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience. I’ve found them pretty good. I haven’t experienced them changing the price – they add a small fee for payment processing, on the (paid) plus plan there is no commission.

  2. Hi Chris. . .Just wondering, how is sales tax handled by Picfair? I’ve read about it on other platforms and it seems incredibly confusing. I have a Smugmug website. . .thephotoartloft. . But it’s just to show my photos, it isn’t set up for sales. I’ve been thinking about Picfair as a possible site to see if I could get any interest, but the sales tax issue has kept me from getting involved. I’m based in the United States, so if you sold me a print would you need to collect sales tax and then send it to my state? Or how about sales to a different country? Any ideas about this based on your experience with Picfair would be most appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Michael,

      Its a good question – the price you set as a photographer selling through Picfair is the price you get paid. Picfair add their commission on top and presumably tax too. I did check the buying sequence today and there was a notice saying (in this particular case) that no VAT was applied to the bill.

      I’m not sure how it works un the US, but in the UK where I am based there is an earnings threshold below which you don’t have to claim VAT. Most photographers would be comfortably below this threshold I suspect!

      So I’m open to, correction on this, but my understanding is that as the selling entity, Picfair is responsible for local taxes and they are applied on top of the price you set as a photographer. That’s my opinion. As I said, I’d be interested to hear an accountant’s view!

  3. Hi Chris! I have recently found Picfair and your blog has been very useful.
    I just have one question; can I only sell prints or always have to offer to sell digital downloads?
    I couldn’t find it on their website.
    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      The default for commercial license and advertising license is digital download. To get a print, there is a third option “Framed Prints and Canvasses” that adds the cost of printing and delivery onto the price of the license.

      It’s not immediately obvious for sure.


  4. As of 2023 they’ve changed the place. Picfair non-Plus accounts are “Lite” now, added NFT sales and changed the UI. And now Plus users have a limit of 10,000 images while LIte users 200. I’ve used the place for 3 years and honestly, it’s obscure from anything unless you have social media attached which I don’t.

    1. They have changed the place. It’s a full relaunch. Easier to navigate for sure. Regarding NFTs, Picfair have always supported digital downloads as well as prints, but that’s not the same as an NFT which is individually unique. I’m curious about the 10,000 limit you mention. “Plus” accounts have unlimited uploads.

      1. Oh I know of digital downloads and the difference between that and NFT but still. I tried returning to it and as someone said of Picfair neutering Lite users I can confirm. You can’t even publish the store unless you pay for Plus and makes zero sense for anyone new to it. There are other sites, at least that I use now.

  5. Is this still worth it, given the “free” option is essentially completely neutered, so there’s no actual way to test the waters?

    Not in the business of punting £72 down the drain for a year’s subscription to make 0 sales again.

    1. Good question. I think there are few constants for comparison, but by far the most relevant for me as a fine art/landscape photographer is the inescapable fact that print sales are on a downward spiral. This is not true of portrait/wedding/product photography, but all of the landscape photographers I speak to acknowledge that print sales are vanishingly small these days. So for me it comes down to a business decision and factoring in the expense of actually taking the pictures, I’m doing a little. better than breaking even, but not much! I also factor in that all of the sales I have made this year are initially via some other medium, website, Twitter, Facebook even Flickr where I have an obsolete account.

      So to answer your question, if you have a sales channel that works for you, then Picfair and sites like it offer a smart interface and fulfilment. If you don’t have that then it becomes a gallery substitute for your website and compares reasonable well with the likes of Envira, costwise, but gives you the fulfilment option should you need it.

      I would also say that given all of the above, relying on print sales to finance a photography business is probably not viable. These days I make more money through education, mentoring and photography trips.

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