Are you a photographer looking to dominate the NFT space?
It’s exciting stuff. If Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) can sell his first-ever tweet for $2.9 million (tweeting “just setting up my twttr”), and local photographers like Uncle Jut can make more money in two months selling NFTs than six months in a corporate job, there’s no reason why photographers like you can’t take a shot at it.
At the Million Dollar Token Page, we’re setting out to teach you everything you need to know about NFT photography and best practices to start earning what you deserve as a talented photographer.
What are NFTs?
An NFT is a non-fungible (i.e., non-interchangeable) token, which is a digital certificate of ownership for a unique cryptographic asset that cannot be replaced with something else.
For photographers, that means putting a stamp of authenticity on a captured photo (i.e. the unique cryptographic asset) – indicating that it is the original and true version, and that the photographer taking credit is who they say they are. The nitty-gritty technical details aren’t necessary, but you should understand that thanks to blockchain technology, your NFT photography contains an unchangeable digital code identifier that keeps it unique and irreplaceable.
Why do NFTs matter for photographers?
Now that you have an idea of what an NFT is, let’s take a look at why you, a talented and busy photographer, should bother getting involved. Non-fungible tokens allow photographers some really cool benefits:
- Tokenization (give your photos the stamp of authenticity). In the old days, you had to copyright your photos before commercialization so no one could duplicate or fraud your work. Nowadays, an NFT delivers this kind of security in the digital world. But instead of lengthy government rules and a tedious application process, everything is set with a few clicks and transactions, on a decentralized platform maintained by blockchain technology.
In fact, there’s one funny story about Cath Simard, a Canadian photographer who was sick of chasing down copyright infringers, so she decides to sell her most-stolen photo as an NFT for $300k and then releases the photo’s usage rights to the free world.
- Scarcity (sell your photos for more). We all know that limiting the quantity of a product can increase its value from scarcity – that’s basic economics. Photographers can worry less about counterfeits and offer limited verifiable quantities of their exceptional captures, which can generate high demand quickly.
- Tap into an excited and eager community. The crypto market is breaking records with its booming popularity. Early token investors are getting rich with smart investments in fine art they appreciate, just like the old school millionaires who’ve bought master paintings. Artist Mike Winkelmann, for example, sold his NFT photo collage “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” for $69 million.
Get recognized and appreciated for your talent. By immersing yourself in NFT photography communities online, you dive right into the craze of art enthusiasts in the crypto space. Another avenue of admiration and critique can motivate you to get even better at your craft.
How to sell NFT photography the right way
You’ve got the photography skills and you’ve taken some one-of-a-kind photos. Now, it’s time to convert your regular photo into an NFT. Wondering how that works? Here’s a step-by-step:
1. Create a digital wallet
Before buying or selling NFT pictures, you’ll need a digital crypto wallet that holds cryptocurrency (most commonly Ethereum or Bitcoin). This will allow you to mint an NFT and perform transactions. You wouldn’t visit the mall without some cash or a credit card, right? Same thing, but on the blockchain.
Some popular digital wallets are Coinbase or Binance where you just download the app on your phone, create an account, note down your private key (12-word phrase that acts like 2-step verification), and transfer crypto to your wallet via traditional currencies (e.g. USD/Euros).
Here’s a video on how to set up a crypto wallet when you’re ready.
2. Set up an account on an NFT marketplace
Once you’ve set up your wallet, now it’s time to create an account on an NFT marketplace, where you’ll be doing business. At its core, it’s really no different than having a Facebook account to buy or sell items on Facebook Marketplace.
You’ll be prompted to link your new digital wallet to your NFT marketplace account. Do note that you’ll need to verify your identity with many of the platforms. Here’s a shortlist of the most popular NFT marketplaces for NFT photographers:
- Nifty Gateway
Aside from marketplaces, you can also explore NFT galleries and platforms to show off your projects to increase visibility and branding, as well as boost your NFT’s value.
3. Upload your digital image
Really simple step: just upload your digital asset (aka photograph) – the accepted formats are most commonly JPG, PNG, and MP4.
4. Mint the NFT
Minting your photograph into a non-fungible token means assigning a tamper-proof identifier (like a digital serial number) to your photo on the (again, most commonly Ethereum) blockchain.
You’ll need to add a title and description, which can never be edited once the minting is complete – so make sure you have no typos and that you’re satisfied with the content!
Keep in mind that minting your NFT pictures may incur gas fees which are also paid in cryptocurrency like Ethereum.
What are gas fees?
They’re charges for blockchain users to compensate for the computational power required to process and validate transactions. For reference, the gas fees on OpenSea can range from 10 to 300 USD depending on the nature of the transaction.
5. How to price your NFT photography
It’s admittedly difficult to price your NFT pictures the right way. The last thing you want is to be the artist who spent hundreds of dollars minting your NFT artwork, only to be stuck with it. But what is the ideal price?
The truth is that there’s no cut-out formula for every photographer. But there’s a handful of considerations and practices you can do when approaching a price for your NFT photo.
First, ask yourself the following:
- Am I an emerging or established artist? Generally, if you’re new to the NFT photography space, you don’t have much street cred yet, so don’t charge an absurd amount for your photos. Focus on building your audience and community (covered in a following section), and once you’ve gained some popularity, it’ll be much easier to sell your photos and justify a higher price.
- How rare is my art/photograph? As mentioned before, the available quantity of your NFT photos can impact its valuation. Is your artwork truly one-of-a-kind? Are you selling multiple editions? 10? 100? As a rule of thumb, if there are multiple editions, it will be classified more as a collectible than a unique work of art. Experiment with what sells best. For some artists, high-priced, rare artworks sell faster than multiple-edition, cheaper ones, and for others, it's the opposite.
Once you’ve fleshed out the answers to the above questions, feel free to follow these pro tips that other successful NFT photographers employ:
- Raise your prices consistently. While many believe it’s easy to be successful and sell NFT pictures for a high price because that’s all they see on the news, again, as a beginner you want to start small and gradually increase your floor price with experience.
- Provide elements of value (to justify higher prices). In the long run, collectors may appreciate more than just aesthetics and favor the utility (unique features) of your NFT photo. As a little extra surprise, you could include cool unlockables, such as exclusive access to your next drop, a discount on your next piece, or a physical print of your NFT picture. Brainstorm fun ways to make the collector's experience worthwhile and to thank them for their trust.
- Categorize your photography for different customer segments. Several marketplaces exist with various customers in the NFT space. Depending on the types of customers you want to target, you can segment your artwork into two or three different categories. You can offer lower-priced work for buyers who are looking for cheaper NFTs, medium-priced multiple editions, and high-priced, rare pieces for high-profile collectors.
- Experiment with different blockchain platforms. Open Ethereum marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible can be a great place to begin while you wait for acceptance on more exclusive marketplaces. It may make sense to sell collectibles that are lower priced on non-Ethereum-based platforms, and higher-priced NFTs on more exclusive NFT marketplaces. That said, you want to remain consistent and honest with prices as an artist, so don’t try selling the same NFT pictures for 0.1 ETH on one platform, and for 1 ETH on another.
If you don't sell anything in the first month or even two months, don't beat yourself up. With so many artists competing for attention, it can be difficult to get noticed, especially when you're new to the scene. It's okay if your first few works sell for less than you expected. Prices can always be raised later. Don't be discouraged or regret it. Stay patient and continue to capture your favorite moments.
6. List the NFT & make sales
Bam. Once you’re done with the creation and planning, it’s time to put your NFT photo up for auction or sale. Of course, listing the NFT picture incurs another gas fee, but photographers can’t make a sale without it. After your non-fungible token has been listed, buyers can place bids – as the vendor, you can set this as an open-ended process, or a time-limited auction.
When you get a bid and accept it, you’ll receive the agreed amount of cryptocurrency while your NFT photo is transferred to the buyer.
Unique shots > stock photos
Although there aren’t any laws or regulations prohibiting users from selling uploaded stock imagery (that was of course purchased through regular currency), it’s important to remember that beyond the written rules, your NFT pictures are valued for their uniqueness and scarcity.
If someone can just go and purchase rights to your stock photo on Shutterstock for $30, why would they bother paying for it on the blockchain with Ethereum along with gas fees? You’re also risking your personal brand and integrity as a photographer, which isn’t good for business.
Promote your work & engage your community
When promoting and advertising your NFT, the community is the most important to keep in mind. A loyal and active community can appreciate and critique your captures, grow your popularity, encourage word of mouth, and help you price your NFT photos accordingly.
Without a community, you have no supporters. You’re a sitting duck. So how do you start building one out?
- Instagram – if you’re a photographer, then you know that Instagram is a major hub for sharing beautiful photography, and it’s probably where most of our audiences live – making it a great marketing channel. Just be sure to ease your followers into it, as many may not be familiar with NFT photography, or they may hold some skepticism or judgment toward the space.
- If you’re active on other visual spaces like Pinterest, it could be another channel for you to redirect your audience to an NFT marketplace where they can check out your exclusive pieces for sale.
- Forums (e.g. Reddit & Clubhouse) – a great avenue for open-ended and free-flowing discussions about NFT photography, its niches, and nuances. By sharing your inputs, you make yourself known amongst others, paving an organic pathway to your own NFT photography.
- Discord communities – NFT photographers have the opportunity to nurture their communities in a truly personalized setting with so many server customization features. Most NFT communities have their own dedicated server, you can create your own and be a part of multiple photography group chats to engage outsiders to turn them into insiders.
- Twitter – here’s where all the action happens first in the NFT space. You want to have a solid Twitter presence as it can boost your credibility, which as mentioned earlier, can help justify higher NFT picture prices. Reply to tweets, join space sessions, and share your NFT updates here.
Feel free to check out our more in-depth guide on how to build and engage an NFT community.
Show off your killer NFT photography on The Million Dollar Token Page.
If you want a clear stage and spotlight for your special NFT photography, you can get some great publicity by buying a block of pixels on milliondollartokenpage.com.
Like a big-ticket billboard, your NFT picture(s) can be on wide display on a dedicated web page. But unlike a big-ticket billboard, visitors can click on your creations, learn more about you, and visit your website or social media profiles.
The Million Dollar Token Page can be a great way to advertise your NFT pictures and attract new eyes whether you’re just starting out, or have been at it for a while.