What Is an NFT?
An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.
NFT photography has been a boon for artists, allowing them to sell their work easier than ever before. To be sure, when it comes to selling photos, NFTs offer huge advantages over traditional models. By the same token, NFT photography collections have inspired a whole new wave of photography lovers to start collecting pictures from their favorite artists.
So without further ado, let’s explore NFT photography – why it’s so promising, some of the early pioneers in the field, and how you can get started selling NFT photography right now.
While they have been around since 2014, NFTs are now gaining notoriety as they are becoming an increasingly popular way to buy and sell digital art. Since November 2017, a staggering $174 million has been spent on NFTs.
NFTs are also usually unique, or at least a very limited number of them, and have a unique identification code.” Essentially, NFTs create digital scarcity,” said Arry Yu, chairman of the Cascadia Blockchain Committee of the Washington Technology Industry Association and managing director of Yellow Umbrella Ventures.
This is in contrast to most digital creations, which are almost always in unlimited supply. Hypothetically, cutting off supply should raise the value of a particular asset, assuming it’s in demand.
But many NFTs, at least in these early days, are digital creations that already exist in some form elsewhere, such as iconic video clips of NBA games or securitized versions of digital art already circulating on Instagram.
Famed digital artist Mike Winklemann, better known as “Beeple,” combined 5,000 daily paintings to create what may be the most famous NFT of 2021, “EVERYDAYS. The First 5,000 Days,” which sold at Christie’s for a record-breaking $69.3 million.
Anyone can view individual images – or even entire collages of images – online for free. So why are people willing to spend millions of dollars on something they can easily screenshot or download?
Because NFT allows buyers to own the original item. Not only that, but it includes built-in authentication as proof of ownership. Collectors value these “digital bragging rights” almost more than the items themselves.
Why Does Photography Make For A Good NFT?
While countless things can – and eventually will – be represented as NFTs, there are obviously some existing mediums that make for an incredibly smooth transition into NFTs right now. And photography is certainly one of them.
For one thing, most photography these days exists completely digitally. Even photos shot on film are scanned and turned into digital files more often than not. Given this, photos are perfect assets to exist as NFTs.
Another amazing thing about photography NFTs is that they can secure royalties for their creators. For those who don’t know, the ability to write perpetual royalties into smart contracts is a major reason why NFTs have gotten so popular with all kinds of artists. This is great for photographers who would usually only get paid for the first sale of a print, stock photo, or a commission, if they got paid for their work at all.
By the same token, the growth of NFTs has taken away the need for middlemen when it comes to selling photography. Whether in the form of galleries, outlets or even social media sites like Instagram, photographers and other artists have long relied on middlemen. Now, with NFTs, photographers have far more options to sell their pictures.
How To Mint Your Photos On The Blockchain
Fortunately, NFT photographers have many options for minting and selling their pictures. Not to mention the fact that the options for NFT creators in general, and NFT photography in particular, are growing every single day.
Mint them on NFT Marketplaces Specifically For Photography
Quantum Art is a photography-centric NFT marketplace co-founded by none other than Twin Flames co-founder Justin Aversano. Its goal is to provide a highly curated hub of quality NFT photography.
To that end, it operates similarly to the Art Blocks generative NFT art platform. That is to say that it has both a section of NFT photos curated by the Quantum team, and a community section that has the community of Quantum collectors vote on which collections to feature.
While Quantum Art is somewhat new, its co-founder’s major credibility in the field of NFT photography positions it as a potential leader in the field. To say nothing of the $7.5 million it recently raised to further develop the marketplace.
Savage is an NFT marketplace specifically for 8K photos and videos. The marketplace, currently in Beta, offers several amazing features for both amateur and professional NFT photographers.
To list a few, this includes a 98% payout to creators, which beasts most traditional and NFT marketplaces; a flat minting fee of $10; Stripe integration allowing buyers to purchase NFT photos via card or crypto, and its use of Polygon, resulting in lower gas fees and environmental impact.
Cheeze is an NFT entertainment and media company focused on photography NFTs. As part of that, NFT photographers will be able to sell their NFTs on its upcoming Cheeze Marketplace. Notably, the marketplace will be available for both iOS and Android and will allow USD and cryptocurrency transactions.
Although it has not yet launched, Cheeze’s list of high-profile backers certainly bodes well for the new marketplace entrant.
Use A Popular No-Code Marketplace
As far as options for non-photography-specific NFT marketplaces, budding NFT photographers have an abundance of options to choose from. Of course, there is a tradeoff – the bigger audience of potential buyers on these platforms makes it harder to stand out. By the same token, NFT photography naturally gets less of a spotlight than on marketplaces that were created with it specifically in mind.
In any case, there are many platforms that provide creators with the tools to mint and sell NFTs with no coding knowledge required whatsoever.
There’s always the option to mint NFT photos on some of the major NFT marketplaces like Rarible, Foundation, Known Origin, and OpenSea. As far as non-Ethereum NFT marketplaces you can include Solana’s Exchange Art and Magic Eden, and Tezos’ Objkt and Hic et Nunc, among others.
For more information on some of the best no-code NFT creation tools out there, be sure to check out our guide on the subject.
Hire A Developer To Do It Professionally
This option is certainly the most involved, and honestly, it’s probably only suited in cases where it’s absolutely necessary. Especially for people just getting their start in NFT photography.
If you want to create a collection of NFT photos that grants significant additional utilities, need a bespoke smart contract, want people to buy NFT pictures directly from your website, or want 100% control over your collection, then hiring a professional Web3 developer could be beneficial.
Again, while this can have certain advantages, it’s undoubtedly a more costly option. Plus, given the ability to create custom contracts with platforms like Manifold, it’s easier than ever to gain more control over your smart contracts with low or no upfront costs (Manifold Studio is actually free to use!).
What kind of photos sell in the NFT Market?
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of NFT photography that has done well in the NFT space. To be sure, there are some genres that photographers in the space have favoured up to this point. For example, urban photography and landscapes are very common to see.
With that said, what seems to be a clearer factor in which NFT photos are successful is the style and story behind the actual pictures and the people that take them. Portrait series, photographs of rare cars, photojournalism, and collections of storytelling photos have all performed well in the space.
As cliché as it may sound, there is no formula. That being said, NFT photos with great storytelling and a clear and authentic voice are always more likely to find an audience. Equally important is taking care to establish a signature visual style as early as possible.
To that end, here are a few NFT photographers who have established just that in their work.
Some exciting NFT photographers to follow
Julie Pacino (@Julie_Pacino)
Julie Pacino is a visual artist who creates evocative art through photography and film. Growing up immersed in the film industry, she had been growing her skills as a photographer for years before immersing herself in the NFT space in 2021.
Her first collection of 100 NFT photos, I Live Here Now, sold out in less than 30 minutes. It also led to her selection as an artist for TIME magazine’s first-ever TIMEPieces NFT collection. Pacino followed up with a second NFT photography collection, Keepers of The Inn, which is tied to a larger Web3 film project she is currently working on.
You can learn more about Julie’s NFT journey from her interview with NFTevening.
Aimos Vasquez (@IAMAIMOS)
Pedro “Aimos” Vasquez is a New York-based, self-taught photographer. As a child of Dominican immigrants and a native of New York, the artist’s mission is to uplift the voices of underrepresented people through his art.
Vasquez cut his teeth collaborating with brands and taking breathtaking photographs of live performances featuring some of the biggest musicians in the world. His most famous work, Love Is War, sold at auction on the BlockParty marketplace back in 2021. The portrait of the late rapper XXXTentacion also holds the distinction of being one of the all-time most commented on photographs on Instagram.
Brittany Pierre (@redactedpride)
Brittany Pierre is a perfect example of a photographer who has built a thriving career by selling NFT photography. As reported by CNBC in a profile of Pierre, her steady NFT sales allowed her to finally pursue photography as her full-time career.
Pierre’s work and overall mission revolve around empowering Black and other underrepresented people. As she notes in the CNBC profile, “I definitely think that not only NFTs, but crypto in general, can help marginalized people, especially the Black community.” To that end, much of the Chicago-based artist’s work revolves around Black joy and the Black American experience.
Rizacan Kumas (@KumasRizacan)
Rizacan Kumas is a visual storyteller and documentary photographer. Kumas’ different NFT collections reflect his world travels and the various cultures in the places he has visited.
Certainly, much of Kumas’ work falls somewhere in the realm of photojournalism. That is to say that the photographer captures people around the world in their homes and local surroundings. In particular the photographer’s NFTs focus on telling stories through the emotions of the people that feature in the images.
It should go without saying but this is far from an exhaustive list. Not to mention that some readers may be wondering about the omission of a few of NFT photography’s biggest names.
Indeed, Twin Flames creator Justin Aversano, Where My Vans Go creator Drift and Drive creator Dave Krugman to have some of the best-selling NFT photos in the space. We wrote about them and others in a previous guide on NFT photographers and platforms. You can check out that piece here.
Famous creators and subjects of NFT Photography
Unsurprisingly, we’ve already seen a number of high-profile people and non-crypto native photographers and artists selling NFT photography over the past few months.
One of the most famous examples is Saudi Princess and art gallerist Reem Al Faisal who launched an NFT photography collection, Mekkah and Madinah, back in February. Then there’s the acclaimed photographer Frederic Auerbach who released an NFT collection featuring A-list celebrities in November 2021.
And institutions are in on the budding space as well. Associated Press put out its first NFT collection in October 2021. Shortly afterwards it even announced its own marketplace for NFT photography. Although after some public missteps, its launch timeline is unclear at the moment.
Other standout NFT pictures that have launched recently include some never before seen photographs of iconic rock band Nirvana. There are even NFT photos of the International Space Station!
Marketing Your Photography Drop
As with most business endeavors, marketing your NFT photography can be more than half the battle when it comes to selling pictures as NFTs. At the end of the day, no matter how good your art is, you still have to put in the time to put your NFT photos in front of as many people as possible.
When it comes to NFTs, it’s all about the community. Interacting and forming bonds within the community is by far the best way to push your artwork out there. And NFT photography works the same way.
Another thing to be aware of is not putting out too much content too soon. It’s better to focus on selling out well-priced 1-of-1s and smaller collections for those just getting started in the space.
NFT Photography accounts to follow
Following the top NFT photographers in the space (like those mentioned above) is a great start. Besides getting the latest updates on their own collections, they frequently showcase the works of other photographers and up-and-comers selling their NFTs.
Even better if you engage with their tweets as you can start conversations with them. As well as with other NFT photography enthusiasts who will be doing the same. Many of these artists even have their own Discord servers – whether for themselves or for specific projects.
There are also accounts dedicated to highlighting NFT photography. Celebrate NFT Photography (@photographyNFTs) and NFT Photographers.xyz (@NFTPhotograph) are two such pages.
Another artist we haven’t yet mentioned is Jonny Melon (@jonny_melon). Aside from being a talented NFT photographer selling his own NFT photography, Jonny frequently highlights all kinds of NFT pictures on his page. In addition, he writes about NFT photography on the blog linked to his page.
Best places to display NFT photography
From a marketing standpoint, Twitter may well be the best place to display your NFT photography. It’s where the community lives, and you can easily link to the marketplaces where your art is available.
Beyond that, you can get as creative as you want. Many people like to display NFT pictures in online galleries and metaverse platforms. And of course, as NFTs grow in popularity, there are more and more opportunities to display NFT photos and other artworks in IRL art galleries. These can be especially good when it comes to selling NFT photography.
Best events for NFT photographers
The rapid rise of interest in NFTs has led to more and more NFT events happening across the world. There’s everything from one-off gallery shows for NFT artists, to full-blown conferences with events catering to NFT photography.
A great example is the ‘NFT NYC Photowalk Through Central Park’. This will take place on June 22nd, during the 2022 edition of NFT NYC. What’s more, events are constantly popping up so it helps to search online to see what kinds of events could be happening near you.
In conclusion, there are endless opportunities arising that make selling NFT photography more feasible. Whether you’re a long-time professional, or a hobbyist looking for new ways to expand on your craft, turning your awesome pictures into NFTs is an avenue that is well worth exploring.
How to Sell your NFT at Marketplace
First you’ll need to make, or ‘mint’ your NFT. To make an NFT of your artwork, you’ll need to choose an NFT platform and a payment wallet, the latter of which you’ll need to use to pay fees – and to receive any payment if you’re lucky enough to sell your NFT.
There are lots of online platforms you can use to make and sell an NFT. Some of the most popular NFT auction platforms include OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, Foundation, VIV3, BakerySwap, Axie Marketplace and NFT ShowRoom. See our guide to NFT marketplaces for a comparison of some of the most popular options.
There are plenty of NFT payment platforms too, with Coinbase, MetaMask, Torus, Portis, WalletConnect, MyEtherWallet and Fortmatic some of the best known. For illustrative purposes, we’ll show the process involved in making and selling an NFT using the NFT platform Rarible and the cryptocurrency payment platform MetaMask.
You could consider using any of the platforms mentioned above, and many more besides, and in most cases, you’ll follow a similar process. We recommend checking the fees involved as closely as possible before choosing (we’ll come back to the fees later).
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