The NFT photography marketplace boomed in 2021 and even more is expected from it in 2022. With millions of dollars worth of artwork processed, it goes without saying that more and more individuals (both photographers and collectors/investors) are interested in this digital market.
Having created my own photography collections on the photography NFT marketplaces OpenSea and Foundation, it’s allowed me to research the best marketplace to mint, sell, and invest in digital artwork.
But what exactly is NFT photography, how does it work, and is the market as big as they say? This is your ultimate guide to all the answers you’re looking for to get started in this exciting space!
WHAT IS NFT PHOTOGRAPHY?
NFT (Non-Fungible Token) photography is a one-of-a-kind, verifiable asset that is easy to trade on the blockchain. NFTs transform digital works of art and other collectibles into one-millionth shares in a company worth billions.
In simple words, photographers can upload their photos to an NFT photography marketplace and sell them to investors (collectors) on the blockchain.
On the other hand, investors, once they buy photography NFTs, can hold on to them in a virtual gallery, and eventually resell them in the future making a profit out of it.
Make sure to read this NFT Photography Guide to get started today and learn how to make money online with your photos.
NFT photography is the same principle as stock photography only that the cryptocurrency market is involved and both parties – creators and investors – can benefit financially.
In the digital world that we currently live in, selling your work online as a creator is much more beneficial than curating in an art gallery. Likewise, investing in NFTs has become much more common than buying physical pieces like wall art.
HOW TO SELL PHOTOS AS NFT?
Listing and selling your images on a photography NFT marketplace isn’t as complicated as you may think and pretty much anyone can do it. While the process varies slightly between platforms, the principle remains the same.
First and foremost, you’ll need to connect your crypto wallet to the marketplace where you plan to sell your photos as NFTs. The NFT market, as you may have understood, is closely connected to the crypto market and, therefore, cryptocurrencies are needed to mint, sell, and process NFT transactions.
Click here to learn more about crypto wallets and the best cryptocurrency exchanges to buy crypto.
Secondly, you’ll need to “Create an item” to start selling your photos. It’s a simple process where you’ll have to fill in all your details. For example, the name, external links, the price, description of the image, and more.
After that, you must pay a “gas fee” to mint your photo as an NFT and sell it on the marketplace. The gas fee can fluctuate anywhere between $50 – $500 depending on the time of day and how many users are trading on the network.
I’ve gone into more detail about “gas fees” in this NFT Photography Guide For Beginners
I want to highlight the fact that some sites in the NFT marketplace for photography allow you to mint your artwork for free – this is called lazy minting. You essentially mint the photos for free and pay the gas fee once it’s sold.
Last but not least, if you don’t want your NFT to be advertised on the marketplace anymore, you can simply remove it or “burn” it which is the terminology used. However, you will have to pay a gas fee to do this process.
As you can see, minting NFTs isn’t a complicated process and you’ll be familiar with it even after the first time doing it.
HOW BIG IS THE NFT MARKET?
The NFT marketplace has existed for years but it is now bigger than ever. Given that worldwide-known celebrities and brands entered the NFT market, it skyrocketed its popularity especially in 2021.
Eminem, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, and Naomi Osaka, to only name a few, are part of the NFT market and bought art worth millions of dollars. On the other hand, famous brands like Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Nike are part of the marketplace.
According to a report by Forbes, the NFT photography marketplace generated over $23 billion in 2021 coming from less than $100 million the previous year.
Needless to say, it’s a booming market and one of the best ways for photographers to sell their art online and make a living out of it.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU MAKE SELLING PHOTOGRAPHY NFTs?
The short answer is that you can make a lot of money minting and selling NFTs, but how much? Well, there are several factors to keep in mind which include:
- Your reputation
- How good of a photographer and editor you are
- How you advertise your artwork (social media, blog, etc…)
Be sure to check out this awesome guide: How To Sell NFT Photography – Marketing 101
If you already have an established audience, fans, and followers, and they believe in your work, you can easily earn thousands of dollars and even millions. To give you an idea, the most expensive NFT sold in 2021 is “Everyday’s: The First 5000 Days” for $69.3 million.
But, more realistically, if you are a small creator with a limited or no fanbase, you can still make some serious income each month. According to a report by Yahoo, the average price for an NFT on OpenSea is $500 but Ethereum prices usually decrease on weekends due to the on-chain activities.
To put it into perspective, selling only a few photos as NFTs each month can potentially earn you over $1000.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST NFT PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETPLACE?
The biggest NFT marketplace is OpenSea by far with more than 80 million pieces of digital artwork and over 1 million users registered.
It’s also the go-to platform for many creators and investors and transactions worth millions of dollars are recorded each day.
CAN I SELL OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS’ ART AS AN NFT?
As a general rule of thumb, yes, you can sell other artists’ artwork as an NFT but is it morally the right thing to do?
If you do go ahead with this, and let’s say you want to collaborate with another photographer or artist, you will need to make sure you have permission from the owner.
The copyright law in the United States and the European copyright legislation are pretty strict when it comes to using content that isn’t yours, especially when it comes to making a profit.
Apart from that, OpenSea states “Infringing on others’ intellectual property rights – whether copyright, trademark, or publicity rights – violates our Terms of Service”. To compare it with music, it’s the same principle as asking a label to use a song as a remix and commercialize it.
To sum up, yes, you can sell someone else’s digital artwork as an NFT but you need to make sure to get permission from the original owner before going ahead and minting it.
From my own experience in the NFT community, I have not come across anyone selling another person’s art or photography as an NFT.
BEST NFT PHOTOGRAPHY MARKETPLACE
Now that we’ve covered some frequently asked questions about NFT Photography, let’s dive into the 10 Best NFT Marketplaces For Photography!
Whether you’re already familiar with NFTs or you’re a complete newbie entering the space, I guarantee you’ll gain a ton of value from this guide.
Let’s start with OpenSea, the biggest NFT marketplace that has over 80 million tokens and more every day. But why is it so popular?
First of all, there are over 150 cryptocurrencies supported on the marketplace and, therefore, it’s easily accessible for nearly everyone. Sure, the core currencies on the site are ETH (Ethereum), Dai, and USDC – however, more are accepted to process the transactions such as UNI and WHALE.
In addition, most crypto wallets are accepted on OpenSea and that is a massive advantage.
CHECK OUT MY NFT PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTION ON OPENSEA
One of the greatest things about OpenSea is that they give photographers the ability to mint a collection of images of any volume. So for example, my NFT photography collection on OpenSea consists of twenty-five images, and each image is a 1 of 1.
I’ve also seen other photographers and artists minting collections of up to 100 images, so it all comes down to personal preference and how you want to curate your collection of images, whether that be by geographical significance, the color tones, a collection of portraits, etc.
It’s also possible to mint editions of your images on OpenSea. So for example, you could mint one image that has 50 to 100, or even more copies/editions of that one single image.
As discussed above, OpenSea has what is called a lazy-minting feature that allows creators to publish their tokens for free and pay only once they sell. Thanks to this, you can edit the token and its description after publishing and that won’t cost you anything.
OpenSea supports both standard and Dutch auctions and creators can start private, scheduled, and bundle sales, as opposed to other NFT photography sites.
The gas fees can be seen as high – especially for expensive tokens – but they’re only 2.5% on primary and secondary sales and up to 10% for royalties.
OpenSea is not only one of the best photography NFT marketplace but it also plays home to other forms of art. For instance, you can invest in music, collectibles, sports, trading cards, and even virtual worlds.
Simply put, OpenSea is arguably one of the best NFT sites for photography and it’s an automatic choice for creators, including myself.
As mentioned previously, OpenSea is the biggest platform when it comes to non-fungible tokens. However, when it comes specifically to the NFT photography market, Quantum Art is the most popular platform for photographers.
The main difference compared to OpenSea is that not everyone can mint NFTs on Quantum Art and, rather, only approved artists. There are currently 14 photographers registered on the platform and more applications come in by the hour.
In order to be selected to sell on Quantum Art, you’ll need to apply to give the team the following details:
- Your Twitter username
- Your NFT portfolio
- A project statement
- 10 to 15 JPEGs that you’d like to sell
- An artist statement and your resume (optional)
Apart from that, Quantum Art also has a profile on OpenSea where they sell unique photos worth tens of thousands of dollars worth checking out.
While this may look like a long and tedious process, it allows Quantum Art to remain a top and unrivaled platform in the NFT photography marketplace.
Image source: QuantumArt
Foundation is another platform that every creator and investor should take a look at if they want to make a profit and collect unique pieces of digital artwork.
Foundation is a unique platform and a little more exclusive since you can only mint your photography once you’ve been invited to the platform. Creators that are already on Foundation must have sold at least 1 NFT on the platform before they can receive invitations to invite other creators to join.
CHECK OUT MY NFT PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES ON FOUNDATION
Foundation is built on the Ethereum blockchain and all transactions are processed using this cryptocurrency. At this moment in time, no other currencies are used on the platform.
While some cool 2D artwork and GIFs are available, just like on other sites like OpenSea, Foundation hosts professional and unique photography that are worth collecting.
All photos on Foundation are 1/1 tokens which mean, once you buy one, you’ll be the only owner of that image.
Foundation is where I host my standalone 1/1 photography NFTs and I love the interface of the site. But, you will want to consider the differences compared to other platforms:
- Creators must pay minting and listing fees upfront for each piece
- Investors/collectors have to pay gas fees when placing bids
- You cannot edit the NFT once listed – you have to burn it and list it again (hence more gas fees)
- A 24-hour bid is triggered once a token receives a bid
- The Foundation fees on primary sales is a hefty 15% and 5% on secondary sales
- No royalties are charged on primary sales but they cost 10% on secondary transactions
Despite some inconveniences, Foundation is still a great NFT marketplace to buy and sell non-fungible tokens for its friendly interface and nice design as well as its 24-hour auction process which can potentially get artists more profit.
SuperRare, as its name indicates, is another best NFT site for photography that all creators out there must check out at least once for the rare gems. Sure, other platforms also have unique content but SuperRare artists take it to a whole new level.
Among the most popular creators, we can find Michael Sidofsky (@mindzeye) and his travel photos of Paris, Florence, New York, and more. Also, Robness is part of the SuperRare family with artwork worth millions of dollars.
As you may have understood, SuperRare is one NFT marketplace for photography that is here to stay and definitely a great starting point for all photographers out there.
Image source: SuperRare
Another hidden gem in the NFT photography marketplace is Obscura. While it’s a small platform with only a few hundred NFTs available each year, they created a unique platform.
They operate every 4 months and, just like Quantum Art, they select the photographers and the shot they will put for sale on the platform.
Among the artwork available, we can find artistic and dramatic photos of destroyed Kabul, Afghanistan, stunning photos from the Salar de Uyuni, and the Coca plantations in Colombia.
Image source: Obscura
Rarible is another one of the best NFT sites for photography that you should consider when selling your photos as tokens. Based on Ethereum, the platform accepts this cryptocurrency as well as Tezos and Flow.
Compared to other sites like OpenSea that are home to any kind of creator from professional photographers to hobbyists, Rarible is mostly known for GIFs and 2D images.
That being said, some serious creators make a decent income from their photography NFTs on Rarible with tokens reaching $1,000 and even more depending on the collections.
In addition, it’s worth noting that Rarible recently started their cost-free minting process Lazy Minting. This essentially means that the creator doesn’t have to pay to mint the photo unless there is a sale.
This allows artists to save money since they’ll only pay if they sell their artwork. Also, should you want to burn your NFT, Rarible will charge you for this process.
Image source: Rarible
Makersplace is an Ethereum-based NFT platform and has been existing since 2018. Since then, endless artists shared their artwork as editions of one and more.
You can find photographs and tokens from both unknown creators and popular artists. The most notable artists on Makersplace are Dreamonaut, Dmitri Cherniak, Frenetik Void, and Yura Miron.
Also, some popular pieces of art sold recently include Blvck Lion from JTYauck for over $3,000.
The fees on Makersplace are much higher than on other platforms. In fact, the site charges 15% service fees and 12.5% depending on the sales type. These fees go to the platform itself and to the Ethereum network and its transaction processing fee.
For instance, if you spend $1,000 on an NFT, you will need to calculate an extra $150 or more for the gas fees.
On top of that, a unique feature Makersplace offers compared to other platforms is the possibility to pay by credit card and PayPal instead of crypto wallets only.
Image source: Makersplace
If you’re just starting in the NFT world, Nifty Gateway is one of the photography NFT marketplaces you’ll want to take a look at. While it’s far from being as well-known as OpenSea or Foundation, some celebrities have joined the platform.
Starting from deadmau5 to Carl Cox and even the musician Gramatik which have all advertised their investment on social media like Twitter and Instagram. Among the most famous NFTs dropped on the platform is the unique edition of CROSSROAD made by Beeple for over $6 million.
What I personally like about Nifty Gateway is that they are powered by Gemini custody technology which adds a layer of online security for both creators and investors.
Lastly, one of the biggest advantages of Nifty Gateway is the fact that they take care of gas fees, which means no money is wasted for creators and collectors. That being said, the gas fees will be collected from investors when transferring NFTs to the platform.
Image source: Nifty Gateway
While most NFT photography marketplaces focus on both photos and images, Ephimera, a lesser-known platform, mainly targets those interested in the field with incredible shots and movies.
In the most notable tokens we can find the following:
- [email protected] by Sarah Zucker sold for 10ETH (more than $33,000)
- All the artwork from Peter Molick who sold over $40,000 worth of NFTs on Ephimera only
- I Can’t Breathe – A Spoken Word (a short movie about George Floyd’s death) previously sold for 5ETH (over $16,000)
Ephimera, just like other NFT websites in the industry, only accepts ETH (Ethereum) as a form of payment. All primary sales are charged 10% of the final price while secondary sales are charged 5% + 10% as a royalty for the original creator.
Image source: Ephimera
Tux Art is the new kid on the block and it’s here to stay. It surely is a small platform with only a few NFTs available but these photographs are real pieces of art.
The most noteworthy ones are “Volcan de Fuego” available for 7ETH (about $23,000 at the time of writing) and Taranaki Dreams for 6.5ETH (around $21,600).
Of course, there are many more such as photos of national parks, glaciers, landscapes, and much more from all around the world.
It’s worth noting that Tux Art is a decentralized market and they recommend users to collect and sell at their own risk.
Image source: Tux Art
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE NFT MARKETPLACE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
I hope with this extensive guide you’ve gathered all you need to know about the best NFT marketplace for photography, from OpenSea to Foundation to SuperRare and more. While I’m personally a fan of OpenSea and Foundation, all of them are unique in their own way and deserve to be checked out.
Of course, with such a big market share, there are other sites that are part of the NFT photography marketplaces but they aren’t part of the list simply because I want to focus on the most popular and most accessible ones at the current time.
So, how to get started selling photos as NFTs on the photography NFT marketplace? Gather your most popular and highest-quality photos, get set up with a crypto wallet, purchase some Ethereum, and start selling.
Still need some further assistance? Be sure to read this related article — NFT Photography For Beginners: How To Get Started in 2022!
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