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How Omar Z Robles Made $200,000 from Street Photography


As wonderful as street photography is, most who practice it seldom make substantial money. Often seen as something you shoot on the side, professional photographers instead fund their life with other genres, like portrait and commercial photography. However, now and then, we see success stories. Stories that validate a photographer’s talent for street photography and earn them a decent chunk of cash. That’s what happened to Omar Z Robles, and on this episode of Inside The Photographer’s Mind, he tells us all about it.

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Omar Z Robles on Inside The Photographer’s Mind

Omar Z Robles is no stranger to our readers. We have featured his work on the site before, and it’s always been popular. However, Robles is most famed for his impressive dance photography, in which he places dancers amongst the hustle and bustle of NYC, creating a signature style in the process.

Some of you may not know that Robles is also a passionate street photographer. He’s practiced the craft for around 10 years, and his work, although different, equals the quality of work you see in his professional portfolio. And after putting his series City on the NFT market, it’s his street photography that’s stealing the headlines.

Omar Z Robles on the NFT Market

The world of NFTs keeps growing. Several photographers have created a new avenue of income with this new way of consuming photography and art. Although this wasn’t Omar Z Robles’ first venture into the NFT space, it’s certainly his most lucrative. And, as crazy as it may sound, he has COVID-19 to partly thank for it.

After contracting the virus, Robles made use of his time during isolation. He went through his street photography archives to create a story that reflects life in New York. What started as several hundred images quickly became 50, and finally 25. You can listen to his full process by hitting play on the audio or video player above.

Omar Z Robles on Marketing

Half the battle of becoming a successful photographer is knowing how to market your work. Robles has already cracked that code and remains a leading photographer both in work and spreading his message. Rather than put his full NFT collection out on the market at once, Robles slowly released it to his audience, teasingly. Not only did this create hype, it also allowed him to analyze what was working in the NFT space. His methods paid off as he sold all 25 pieces to 20 collectors, earning the equivalent of around $200,000 in the process.

But while the money is important (photographers have to eat), it’s not the biggest success in this story, at least not from Robles’ perspective. Instead, Robles finds the validation he got from others and how his work drove conversation and connection to be the most rewarding results.

Why People Collected City NFTs

A wonderful part of the NFT market is its transparency. Collectors are visible, as is the amount they pay for an NFT. This allows creators to interact with people who have invested in their work. Robles was able to share a couple of quotes from collectors, in which they explain their motivation for purchasing his NFTs.

By Citizen Chikai Ohazama (@lifeofc)

“Omar broke many conventions around NFT collections when he released “City”. Most photography collections dropped all of their pieces at once, but Omar did his in batches. Most collections are either color or B&W, Omar’s was a blend of both. [And] most collections have ordinal numbers in their titles; Omar’s had just one word. And even though he broke all of these conventions and released his collection in his own unique way, he sold out in one month. His collectors are some of the best people I’ve come across. They bought into the collections (many of whom bought multiple) because they love Omar and his work.

To use the modern parlance of the NFT world, they have “diamond hands”. I was lucky enough to collect the iconic “Fedora”, which is the banner image for the collection, and the powerful piece “Violence,” which always creates deep, meaningful conversations on a very important topic.”

Another collector wrote:

By Citizen @JOHNSIL40330556:

“I was, I believe, an early collector on the City collection.
I bought from the City collection because It is a fucking masterpiece on every level and leaves most street collections for dead.”

Listen Now!

We advise you to listen to the full conversation via the audio or video player above to really grasp the full story. Omar Z Robles will surely inspire you, and may give you the confidence to put your photography in the NFT space.

We’d like to thank Robles for taking the time to speak with us. Enjoy the show.

All images by Omar Z Robles. Used with permission.


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