What's the difference between a digital photo and an NFT photo?

published on 25 August 2022

If you’re not familiar with NFTs, you would be forgiven for thinking that they’re just images, no different from any other digital image that you can screenshot, download and share to your heart’s content. So, why would anyone pay for what amounts to just another digital image?

That’s where we want to clarify what the difference is. Buckle in, and let’s take a trip through what differentiates digital photos from NFT photos.

Photo by Rohit Gandhe, one of ARC's founders.
Photo by Rohit Gandhe, one of ARC's founders.

NFT photography is not just another genre of photography.

NFTs are digital, but they’re not the same as digital photos. Firstly, an NFT can take the form of any digital media. We’re starting to see the emergence of audio NFTs, for instance, with music and sounds being sold as NFTs. Indeed, one day, you could download your consciousness and memories as NFTs.

As with photos, these aren’t just the same as MP3s or other digital things online. 

NFTs are part of a blockchain – most being created on the Ethereum blockchain, for instance. This doesn’t mean they’re a type of cryptocurrency either. The blockchain is like a ledger where information is recorded.

What’s recorded?

For NFT photos, all details related to the photo are captured at the moment when the NFT is minted (AKA created). This includes the photo itself, but also a timestamp of when it was minted, where it was minted, and who is minting it – all information unique to each NFT.

This all has to do with the provenance of the photo being minted, and this is precisely why the art world was one of the first to embrace NFTs. For artists wanting to share their work digitally, NFTs gave them a way to protect their work, as each NFT has its own unique record of provenance. 

In addition, each NFT is assigned a unique ID. While you can screenshot a photo, you cannot copy the metadata or ID associated with it, which means unlike digital photos, NFT photos can be verified as being originally your work or, well, a fake. 

NFTs are tokenized digital assets.

That’s a couple of buzzword-sounding terms there. Let’s break it down.

The “T” in “NFT” means token. When you create an NFT photography, it becomes a token, with all recorded provenance information and IDs being part of this token in addition to the visual itself. 

And given that your customer can purchase this unique NFT version of your work, they own it as a digital asset.

NFTs aren’t here to replace digital photography. They’re here to complement it.

We firmly believe that NFTs will be instrumental in the future of photography for many reasons, including the fact that they allow photographers to retain control over the copyright and provenance of their photos. (Check out this post for more details on the benefits of NFTs for photographers.)

And while NFT photos give photographers a new way to monetize their work and reach a whole new digital and global audience, it’s another stream to help bolster a photographer’s offering, alongside digital downloads, prints, and more. 

ARC wants to make NFTs accessible for all photographers, no technical expertise needed.

We also know that NFTs can seem overly technical and difficult to even begin getting started with. That’s why we’ve built ARC specifically with photographers in mind, to make it effortlessly easy to create NFT photos and sell them from your existing website. It’s even possible to integrate ARC with existing sites on Zenfolio, Smugmug, and more.

Interested? Get in touch with us here!

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