Picfair’s founder: Why we’re discontinuing free Stores

First published:
June 21, 2023
February 13, 2024

Picfair’s founder: Why we’re discontinuing free Stores

First published:
June 21, 2023
February 13, 2024

Picfair has announced that support for free Lite Stores is to be discontinued on July 27, 2023. Here, Picfair's founder goes deeper into the reasoning behind the change

Dear Picfair Photographers,

Picfair has announced that support for free Lite Stores is to be discontinued on July 27th, 2023. This was an incredibly difficult decision for us to make, so today I want to go deeper into the reasoning behind the change.

The key information:

- Picfair Lite Stores will be unpublished on July 27th. Keeping your Store published beyond July 27th will require a Picfair Plus subscription

- You now have access to Picfair Plus features until July 27th

- 50% discount on all Picfair Plus plans now running: use the code UPGRADE50 to keep your Store published after July 27th

Picfair’s goal is to make all the difficult parts of launching and running a photography store effortlessly simple. Since launching Stores in 2019, hundreds of thousands of photographers across the globe - from beginners to professionals - have launched a Picfair Store within minutes of arriving on the site.

To maintain this simplicity, we absorb as much complexity as possible. We’re incredibly proud of the deep technology and infrastructure we’ve built to support your Stores, but most of it is kept intentionally out of view. You do the beautiful images; we do the tech.

But this tech is at the heart of what Picfair does. And it’s supported by the revenue we generate.

Picfair takes a small commission on images sales from users on a free plan, but when Picfair was first launched, we were committed to ensuring that the vast majority of royalties generated by images go to the photographer rather than Picfair. This might sound obvious, but in the image selling world, it is radical - most image selling platforms keep up to 85% of the money generated by their photographers’ images. That’s where our name comes from - we wanted to make image selling fair.

While we’re proud of our industry-leading royalty share for photographers, the revenue it generates is unpredictable, and is pegged to the revenue generated by our photographers, many of whom are taking their very first steps into the world of image selling.

By launching Picfair Plus - a paid subscription that unlocks a wide range of additional functionality on your Store - we were able complement this unpredictable income with predictable revenue. With predictable revenue, we can plan, invest, and build.

Over the past few years, we have increasingly focussed on building and maintaining features for Picfair Plus, as we felt a responsibility to prioritize paying customers over those using Picfair Lite - the free version of Picfair. 

But the features included in Lite -  a dedicated and secure URL, the ability to sell a range of digital downloads with ready-made licenses, international print production and shipping, image security, and lots more - still demand a huge amount of care, resources, and investment.

While Picfair has incredibly loyal investors who have continued to support us through the hugely unpredictable economic climate of the last few years, increasingly it has felt like we are asking them to pay for the users that weren’t paying us.

Like all companies, our goal is to reach a position where we can sustain ourselves and grow independently, rather than rely on external investment. By making Picfair a paid-only product, we’re taking a huge leap towards this goal. It will also focus our efforts on building a single Picfair experience that gives our photographers everything we’ve got.

And, as part of the changes we’re making, you can experience the full Picfair Plus product suite right now. Ahead of the July 27th deadline we’ve made Picfair Plus features available to every user on the platform, so you can experiment with a huge new range of functionality before deciding if you want to keep your Store published after the deadline passes.

And to help as many photographers as possible keep their Stores live, we’ve launched a 50% discount on all plans that is running from now until the deadline passes. To use the discount, just use the code UPGRADE50 at checkout.

We know this will be a difficult change for many of you, but we’ll do everything we can to guide you through the process - please contact us if you need any help understanding the upcoming changes and your options.

But it is a change that will empower Picfair to do more for our photographers, and accelerate our mission to keep building the home your photography deserves.

We hope you’ll come with us.

Benji Lanyado
Founder & CEO