25 First Photos from the History of Photography

When was the first photo taken? And what was it of?

Photographs are an indispensable part of our lives today. There are many first photographs of different things like people, earth, etc. even the first photo on Instagram. We will see many different first photographs of various things below.

1. The First Photograph Ever

The world’s first photograph made in a camera was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The photograph was taken from the upstairs windows of Niépce’s estate in the Burgundy region of France. This image was captured via a process known as heliography.

first photograph ever

2. World’s First Self Portrait Photograph

Robert Cornelius’s 1839 image that lays claim to the first self-portrait. Taken in Philadelphia, Cornelius sat for a little over one minute before covering the lens.

world's first selfie

3. The First Photograph With People

Louis Daguerre—the inventor of daguerreotype—shot what is not only the world’s oldest photograph of Paris but also the first photo with humans. The 10-minute long exposure was taken in 1839 in Place de la République and it’s just possible to make out two blurry figures in the left-hand corner.

first photograph of people

4. The First Underwater Photograph

It was taken with a magnesium powder flash in 1856. Some sources claim that the portrait was captured at a depth of 164 feet.

first underwater photo

5. The First Color Underwater Photograph

6. The Oldest Photo of New York

This 1848 daguerreotype of Manhattan’s Upper Westside is the oldest surviving photo of New York. Unfortunately, the first photo of New York, which shows the Unitarian Church, is now lost.

oldest photo of new york

7. The First Aerial Photograph

The first aerial photograph was not taken by drone, but instead by hot air balloon in 1860. This aerial photograph depicts the town of Boston from 2,000 feet.

first aerial photograph

8. The First Colored Landscape Photograph

The first colored landscape to showcase the world in color was taken in 1877.

9. The First Photograph of War

Carol Popp de Szathmari is the first known war photographer, capturing hundreds of images of the Crimean War. But it’s this image from 1870 that is thought to be the first photograph of an actual battle. Showing a line of Prussian troops as they advance, the photographer shot the image as he stood with French defenders.

first war photo

10. The First Photograph of a Tornado

11. The First Lightning Photograph

12. The First News Photograph

This photograph taken in 1847 via the Daguerreotype process is thought to be the first-ever photograph taken for the news; it depicts a man being arrested in France.

first news photograph