Pictage announced yesterday that it was closing its doors. I’ll have to say, I wasn’t surprised to hear the news, but I was quite surprised to hear they lasted this long. Started in 2000, Pictage was an industry giant when I first began my photography career in 2008. As one of the only online storage and workflow management systems for professional photographers back then, every photographer I knew used Pictage to host, proof, print and deliver their images. They were the big dogs in the industry, with one of the largest and flashiest booths at WPPI and sponsoring lavish Vegas parties during the convention.
Back then, Pictage was an easy, no fuss solution for the sea of photographers entering the field. With many free sources, community building groups, proofing and hosting options, and print delivery, it was easy for a new photographer to jump in and have a nice, professional, manageable workflow. The first signs of trouble began when word started going around that Pictage had been sold. Photographers began to complain loudly of their clients being “spammed” by the influx of email reminders Pictage would send to their clients reminding them to order prints. After all, Pictage’s business model was based on the high percentages they would take from print sales, and with photography as a whole becoming digital-centric at that time, Pictage needed to evolve or die. Pictage virtually disappeared from the industry overnight, no longer present at trade shows, in magazine ads, etc.
As their reputation continued to decline among the industry and photographers began leaving in droves, other hosting and proofing solutions began making themselves known, most notably, Smugmug, who quietly snuck in with more options, taking less percentages from photographers in print sales, and had a fun, company culture and brand. Then overnight, it seemed, there was an influx of new hosting solutions. The choices were plentiful and the breed of professional photographers seemed to be thinning out a bit. Pictage’s new management also began making some major missteps, making poor decisions, and yet, ever clinging to their outdated business model and doing nothing to repair their damaged reputation in the industry.
A few months ago, Pictage announced that they were going to change their business model entirely. But it was too late. Yesterday, Pictage sent an email to existing clients with the news that they would be closing their doors on September 27th and the site will go offline. This leaves current Pictage customers scrambling to download all their images from Pictage’s servers. Unfortunately, due to the number of images they have stored and the number of people trying to access their images, Pictage’s website has been down for the past few days. Pictage promises to restore the site as soon as possible. If you are a Pictage customer, you can read the official email that was sent on their blog here.