Binding of an extracellular signaling molecule to a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) results in G protein activation, which in turn triggers the production of second messengers. Although many advances have been achieved in understanding GPCR activation, the early steps of GPCR of this process are still poorly understood. In the case of rhodopsin, the paradigmatic member of class A GPCRs, the endogenous ligand is retinal which is covalently bound to K296 through a Schiff base. The activation of rhodopsin is triggered by the absorption of a photon and the isomerization of 11-cis-retinal to all-trans-retinal. When rhodopsin in ground state (λmax = 500 nm) is photoactivated, it progresses through short-lived intermediates leading to the Meta-I state (λmax = ~478 nm), which then establishes an equilibrium with Meta-II (λmax = 380 nm), the G-protein binding state. We have developed a llama antibody (nanobody Nb2) that binds to bovine rhodopsin and stabilizes its early activation intermediate Meta-I. Here we present the crystal structures of Nb2 in complex with ground-state bovine rhodopsin, as well as Nb2 in complex with apo-rhodopsin (opsin). The binding site of Nb2 includes rhodopsin's N-terminus and extracellular loops ECL2 and ECL3. Whereas rhodopsin's structure in the ground-state rhodopsin/Nb2 complex is virtually identical to that of rhodopsin alone, Nb2 binding induces a dramatic structural change in opsin, trapping it in a conformation similar to that of ground-state rhodopsin. In a similar way, when Nb2 binds in solution to photoactivated, deprotonated rhodopsin (Meta-II) it shifts the equilibrium towards a protonated Schiff base state corresponding to the Meta-I conformation. Finally, co-expression of Nb2 and P23H mutant rhodopsin in HEK293 cell lines is able to rescue the phenotype of misfolding and degradation in vitro, suggesting a therapeutic potential of this nanobody. In summary, we have developed a nanobody that traps photoactivated rhodopsin in the elusive Meta-I state; in addition, Nb2 stabilizes a misfolding-prone mutant of rhodopsin. Nb2 might also be a useful tool to facilitate the crystallization of wild type and mutants of rhodopsin in different conformational states bound to different ligands. Current efforts include solving the crystal structure of the Meta-I rhodopsin/nanobody complex.