92.5% of photographs today are shot with smartphones

Jun 19, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

92.5% of photographs today are shot with smartphones

Jun 19, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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According to research by Max Spielmann, the UK’s leading high-street photo printing chain, 92.5% of the countless millions of photographs shot today will be on smartphones. As a species, we are now creating images at a faster rate than ever before. The shift in camera type use has largely come about because of social media.

As a leading high-street brand, Max Spielmann often conducts research in the photography world to better target its potential customers. Their latest study takes aim at social media and the effect it’s had on the wider photography industry. It brings up some very interesting information and insights. some of which might surprise you. Some, on the other hand, may just confirm a slightly depressing reality.

They say that by the end of the year, 1.8 trillion photos will be shot worldwide in 2023. To bring this into understandable figures, that’s around 57,246 photos shot every second of every day. 92.5% of those will be shot using the camera contained within a smartphone and a mere 7% using “real cameras” like DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The lion’s share of these images ends up on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Instagram sees 1.3 billion images shared every single day, and this is the smallest of the four platforms mentioned. There are over 15,000 images posted to Instagram posts, stories and DMs every single second. And while it’s not all selfies, selfies seem to be becoming more accepted among the masses. 63% of people aged 35 to 54 have shot a selfie, with even the over-55 crowd clocking in at 44%.

The birth of social media platforms like Instagram, designed (at least, initially) to share photos, spawned a whole new class of software. This is software that allows you to add filters and presets to your images to change their appearance very quickly and easily. More advanced applications such as Lightroom, Snapseed and others. also allow you to manually tweak specific image settings for finer control.

One thing I found particularly interesting in the data is that the sale of disposable cameras is on the increase. According to their research, Fujifilm has seen sales of disposable cameras almost double to 7.5 million since 2014-15. They also note that there are a number of apps out there designed to simulate the look and feel of film, particularly disposable cameras. We even featured a digital take on the disposable film camera recently here on DIYP.

Also of interest, and perhaps something that gives us a little hope. There are still many people searching for printing services in order to hang their photos on the wall. The numbers aren’t quite as high as those in the film and print business would like, but they certainly seem to show that there’s still a pretty significant interest.

The sheer number of photographs created each day in 2023 is mind-boggling. And it’s only set to increase in the future. And regardless of whether we love them or hate them, smartphones are not only here to stay, but they’re actually leading the way in terms of how many images they shoot. The onslaught of smartphones with ever-improving cameras over the last fifteen years has had a massive effect on photography. And social media has had a massive effect on those smartphone cameras.

I almost want to see similar stats from 25 years ago showing point & shoot usage vs 35mm SLRs. The overall number of images taken would be much lower, of course, but I’d be keen to see if the point & shoot gets anywhere near the 92.5% image creation share that smartphones currently possess.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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13 responses to “92.5% of photographs today are shot with smartphones”

  1. John Atkin Avatar
    John Atkin

    ‘According to their research, Fujifilm has seen sales of disposable cameras almost double to 7.5 million since 2014-15.’
    Maybe because putting them on tables at weddings became a retro ‘thing’.

  2. Nick Karen M Avatar
    Nick Karen M

    91.5% of photos taken are crap and never see the light of day. They reside on smart phone memory until the phone dies and are then discovered.

    1. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Nick Karen M A 10% keeper rate is completely normal for any serious photographer. I’m not sure what your complaint is.

    2. Nick Karen M Avatar
      Nick Karen M

      Its not a complaint its a statement. The fact that cell phones are ubiquitous and at least 60 % of photos are selfies.

    3. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Nick Karen M [Citation required]

      You appear to be somewhat biased.

  3. Vaho Mat Avatar
    Vaho Mat

    I can’t wait until the integrate AI into the phone photography then all of us professional photographers are doomed.
    Imagine 40 megapixel phone camera with a three different focal length lenses and AI that only needs a reference to make the photo better. Say goodbye to your fancy Sony or Canon cameras as well as your paycheck. Then everybody going to turn into the videographers for a while until the same thing happens to all of the video cameras. Then we all going to turn back to the film. And film going to be the next cool thing. “Hey I hired a real film photographer for my event! Oh my God was it expensive? Yeah I paid him 10,000 credits” 😁

    1. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Vaho Mat AI enhancement has worked out so well for Samsung…

  4. Andrus Chesley Avatar
    Andrus Chesley

    Well , so far, I’m still a camera guy due to the fact that I take a lot of pictures on the move and can only use one hand to get the camera, turn it on, point it and shoot. Without taking my eye off the road. 😉 ‘

  5. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    If social media is the platform for most most photos, then smartphone is the right tool.
    I started on film, color slides back in the 70s and end up on a micro fourthird a few years back. Now I shoot mostly with my phone.

  6. Carter Tune Avatar
    Carter Tune

    Isn’t that their problem?

  7. Lisbon's Carlos André Viana Avatar
    Lisbon’s Carlos André Viana

    It means that only 7.5% are worth seeing

  8. Mike Shwarts Avatar
    Mike Shwarts

    Does this surprise anybody? Many people carry phones, so they are convenient? Most people want a quick and easy snapshot. Not the hassle of carrying a larger camera even if it is a point & shoot that fits a shirt pocket. Despite the connectivity of newer cameras, or an OTG card reader, it is still more convenient and easier to use the phone if you want to quickly share a photo.

    I’d bet among those of us from the film days, if you weren’t a pro or hobbyist, you either kept a camera in a drawer that came out for special occasions, or you got a disposable camera when needed, That is the demographic only using phones today. Add to that the pro or hobbyist today does not carry a camera all the time, so we
    contribute to the 92.5% with our phones.

  9. Fred Stafford Avatar
    Fred Stafford

    Phone pictures are fine to view on computers and hand held tablets. The small size of the sensor in the phones and tablets doesn’t equate to fine photographs. Camera sensor are superior but phone cameras are just more convenient. I still shoot more pics and videos with my cameras.