The NFT ecosystem has grown significantly since it first became well-known. Aside from being used as PFPs, individuals and businesses have used NFTs for a variety of purposes, most notably in bringing us closer to full virtual reality. Similarly, NFTs have aided in the promotion and protection of creators’ rights.
One of the reasons NFTs grew in popularity quickly was because of their uniqueness when it came to ownership. In particular, image ownership. One could even argue that NFTs have benefited photography more than any other industry. We share pictures every day for a variety of reasons and purposes. Unless you are a corporation or an individual with a large following, you can probably get away with using a downloaded image from the internet. After all, the owner isn’t present to object to the use of the image.
One way creators use NFTs to protect their intellectual property and income is through NFT photography. This guide looks at NFT photography and how it can be used by photographers and collectors. Let’s dive in.
What exactly are NFTs?
To start with, what are NFTs? NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. A fungible asset is one that can be replaced by another item of the same type, implying that it is not unique and can be used interchangeably with other assets of the same type. Five $10 bills, for example, can be used to replace a $50 bill, and one ounce of gold equals another ounce of gold. These are assets that can be traded. Non-fungible assets, on the other hand, are one-of-a-kind assets.
NFTs have been used as digital representations of assets on the blockchain due to their nature. These assets can include music, movies, works of art, or physical assets such as real estate or diamonds.
Simply put, NFT photography is the digital representation of an image on the blockchain. This makes it easier to determine who owns the image at any given time. Aside from that, it allows the creator to assign multiple features to the picture. If that doesn’t make sense, perhaps our auction system analogy will.
Buying and selling NFT photographs is easier to understand when compared to something that has been around for a longer time – art auctions. If you are unfamiliar with an art auction, it is a public sale in which original works of art are displayed and sold to the highest bidder, who also receives bragging rights.
NFT photographs are similar to this, except the materials are digital, and the prestige of owning something unique and authentic is emphasized. The more important detail to consider when purchasing an NFT photograph is how they protect the creator’s rights and originality. Unlike art auctions, NFTs make it simple to transfer and protect ownership.
For example, unless an artwork is well-known, it is difficult to determine who owns it. However, with NFTs, ownership can be easily confirmed and tracked. In addition, the owner can put the NFT to many different uses, such as lending it to others.
What sets NFT Photography apart?
In our increasingly digital world, it is difficult to track originality. A simple screenshot can send a photograph or painting around the world. For example, if you see a beautiful picture on Instagram and you like it, connect with it, and are inspired by it, you could screenshot it. That does not make you the owner of the picture; you are simply a consumer.
As a photographer who has worked hard to capture a great shot of something rare, you could share the image with your audience. Once you’ve posted it, it’s difficult for other users to trace the image back to you. This is usually because someone picked up your work and reposted it without giving you any credit. The originality of your hard work has been lost, and there is no real proof of ownership that can be traced back to you. It simply becomes another one of those photos floating around, and you are just another photographer.
NFTs help to solve this problem because they allow the photographer to claim full ownership of their work. Photographers can easily tokenize their work by minting NFTs of their images. This would allow them to easily obtain proper compensation for a job well done while also allowing those who want to download and post their work without claiming ownership to do so.
As previously stated, blockchain technology, which functions as a public ledger, supports NFTs. This allows ownership and transactions to be digitally tracked and safeguarded, making them unchangeable. The blockchain eliminates duplication and counterfeiting, ensuring authenticity.
Is NFT Photography different from regular photography?
NFT photography is not so different from regular photography; it is essentially the same. The difference is that your photographs are tokenized on the blockchain and can be traced back to you with NFTs. You enjoy this benefit whether or not a customer purchases the NFT photograph. This is made possible because NFTs have a tracking history.
In other words, when an NFT is viewed, we can see who purchased it, when they purchased it, and who the creator is. This allows for greater transparency and honesty in the art world. It also means that NFT photographers are given the credit they deserve, regardless of how many times an NFT is sold or bought in the NFT marketplace. There will always be a link back to its original creator. Thus, creating a chance for the NFT photographer to be handsomely rewarded for their work.
Types of NFT Photographs
There are several types of NFT photographs, but here are a few examples:
This is an individual piece of an artist’s work. Because they act as the digital equivalent of limited-edition paintings or other tangible works of art, they are frequently the most prized items in an artist’s collection.
NFT collections are typically made up of multiple different works of art. They can contain two, three, or as many pieces as the artist desires. These could number in the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands. Mike Winkelmann’s (popularly known as Beeple) Everydays, which consisted of the artist’s daily creations, is an example of an NFT collection. His collection, the first 5000 days, is one of the most expensive NFTs ever sold.
Open edition NFTs are typically available to collectors for a limited time (usually 24 to 72 hours) set by the artist. There is no limit to their supply. Isaac Wright’s well-known First Day Out NFT is an excellent example. For a prize of 0.2 ETH each, he sold over 10,000 pieces, with 15% of the profits going to The Bail Project.
Unlike the open edition, this type of NFT release has a limited supply and a time limit. As soon as their designated limit is reached, they can no longer be collected.
In the NFT market, some types of NFT photography are performing better than others. These are just a few of them:
- Fine art photography
- Documentary photography
- Landscape photography
- Conceptual photography
- Black & white photography
How to sell your NFT photos
Selling NFT photos as a photographer is quite straightforward. But if you are new to the NFT ecosystem, it might not be an easy ride. Nonetheless, here are some steps you should take:
Get a crypto wallet
A cryptocurrency wallet, which you can use to manage your trades and store your balance, is one of the first things you’ll need to start trading, buying, and selling your NFTs. Among the finest crypto wallets for NFTs are AlphaWallet, MetaMask, and TrustWallet. If you’re new to the NFT photography community, you should start with MetaMask; it’s extremely user-friendly and popular among creators.
Carefully study the market in relation to your assets
Before minting your first NFT photograph, it is best to take your time and consider a number of factors. As a creator, it is crucial that you present the type of art users want on the market.
Most art collectors are interested in the visual appearance of images and, at the same time, the story behind them. Thus, having quality images and stories behind your NFT photos will help push your brand and drive sales.
Join a marketplace
An NFT marketplace is a platform on which NFTs are traded between the collector and the owner. You can sell NFTs as a photographer on a number of these platforms. Some are open to anyone who wants to sell digital versions of their work, while others are by invitation only.
OpenSea, SuperRare, and Foundation are three of the most popular NFT marketplaces that operate on the Ethereum blockchain. These platforms support NFT photographs, with dedicated sections on the platform to it. It’s important to remember that there are numerous alternatives to these NFT marketplaces, each with a unique selection of artwork, functions, and operating protocols.
Create/Mint your NFT
Many NFT marketplaces allow users to create/mint NFTs on them. By “minting,” it means the process of having that image registered on the blockchain with a unique token. That is when images become NFTs and enjoy the benefits of the blockchain. After minting, the NFT photograph gets listed on the platform.
How and Where to buy NFT Photographs
The first step to purchasing any NFT is to create a cryptocurrency wallet. The next step is to buy some cryptocurrency, which you can do quickly by going to an exchange. Once you have some cryptocurrency in your wallet, the fun part begins: browsing NFT marketplaces until you find something you want.
After that, you’ll need to look through the NFT listing data to see if anyone has previously purchased it. It is yours to take if they haven’t and you can afford it. Most of the time, if someone already owns it, the possibility of making an offer is to see if they are willing to sell it.
NFT pictures and photographs can be found on most NFT marketplaces. However, some of such marketplaces are dedicated solely to photographs. One of such is Quantum Art, which is one of the most popular and reputed. The platform has a section set apart for curated digital art, and NFT photographers can even get recruited into the platform’s primary photography division.
Top artists in NFT photography
Contrary to what many may think, there are many artists in the NFT photography space. Before the PFP boom, photography ruled the NFT ecosystem. But now, it is difficult to notice because of the many use cases of NFTs. Nonetheless, the space remains active with reputed artists known for their unique and compelling works. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Cath Simard is one of the leading pioneers of NFT photography. The Canadian-born photographer is a leading digital artist in the NFT ecosystem. Her artistic style combines reality and imagination in composite photography. She is notably renowned for the efforts that go into making her photographs. According to the details on her website, such efforts include walking 250 kilometers, trekking for 18 days, and shooting at an elevation as high as 5,900 meters. It is no surprise that she releases 5-7 images a year.
Drift is an NFT photographer known for his daring photographic exploits, which often include scaling bridges and skyscrapers. A more interesting fact about the photographer is how his photography is a way out of the PTSD he suffers from. The photographer, an Army Special Operations veteran, started after he was honorably discharged from service in 2020. However, his daring exploits led to his arrest in Cincinnati, Ohio, for over two months. Since his release, the artist has channeled that episode of his life to release works like First Day Out in 2022. His other NFT photography collections are some of the most popular works out there.
Justin Aversano is not only reputed as an artist but also as a creator, having co-founded Quantum Art – an NFT marketplace dedicated solely to NFT photography. In addition, Justin is the Co-Founder of SaveArtSpace, a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing community art to public spaces. His NFT photography collections have generated millions in primary and secondary NFT marketplaces.
Guido Di Salle is one of the most successful artists in the NFT ecosystem. Many of his works have sold for upwards of 50 ETH (about $72,000) and have been featured in notable magazines like Playboy. The artist described his art style as just capturing moments, people, and memories. His photographic style is, however, reminiscent of the 80s and 90s photographic style – sensual, bold, and visceral.
For both amateur and seasoned photographers alike, NFT photography is unquestionably the new frontier. It makes sure the photographer receives the credit they deserve for a job well done. With this recognition and credit come endorsements and also a deserved financial remuneration.
NFTs have gained ground over time and are set to do so repeatedly as the word continues to get out on NFTs in general and NFT photography in particular. Consequently, it is smart for both NFT photographers and collectors to take advantage of the increasing interest to get what they both need.
NFT Photography FAQs
Can you sell photography as NFT?
Yes. Remember, NFTs are tokens that represent assets. That asset could, for instance, be an audio, video, or photo, as in this case. Thus, if you mint your photograph as an NFT, then you can list it for sale on any NFT marketplace.
How do I create a photography NFT?
NFTs are created through a process called minting. When minting occurs, the photograph is represented on the blockchain by a token. That token, aside from representing the image, also contains certain metadata. For example, if the image is a GIF, the NFT could be programmed to replicate whatever the GIF does.
Can any photo be an NFT?
Definitely. There's no standard as to what NFT photography can be. You don't have to be a professional photographer or have a massive following on social media platforms.