Only 7.5% of photos are taken with cameras – phones now rule photography

Young woman surrounded by smartphones.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you remember the days before Instagram, TikTok, and even Facebook? One of the biggest revolutions in the photographic industry came in the form of a social media asteroid wiping out traditional image sharing and production.

According to new research from photo printing chain Max Spielmann, over 90% of daily photos are now captured with smartphones as opposed to professional or even film cameras. In fact, only 7.5% are taken on 'proper' cameras. But how exactly has social media evolved (or hindered) the progression of photography?

• If you're not using a camera, make sure you get one of the best camera phones

Max Spielmann, also known as Max Photo, offers photo printing services in the UK – and is on a mission to determine the impact that social media has had on the wider photographic industry.

We're pretty divided when it comes to social media at Digital Camera World. As photographers we understand the benefits of image-sharing online, but we're sick of Instagram glitches and the constant algorithm changes. Some of us feel that Instagram is the worst thing to ever happen to photography, whereas others feel that it's a great way to find work opportunities

It's not all about Instagram, though, and other apps such as TikTok are aiming to replace still images with a preference for video content instead. And then there's BeReal, the Instagram rival encouraging more honest daily snaps with no filters. Compiling its results into a handy infographic, Max Spielmann has kindly shared its social media findings with us – and the data is surprising, yet not completely unexpected. 

(Image credit: Max Spielmann)

It's amazing to think just how many images are captured per second (54,400, according to the research), as well as Clarendon being the world's most used filter, and not forgetting the surprising rise in disposable camera sales despite their eco-unfriendly nature that companies are trying to replace with digital-film hybrids

What didn't shock us, however, is that up to 82% of those aged between 18 and 34 have taken a selfie, and 44% of those aged 55+ engage in the activity as well. Selfie-taking might be considered a generational thing invented by teens, but it's also one of the most simple and easiest methods of photography that anyone of any age can now do, using pretty much any type of camera, even instant ones. 

The invention of the selfie stick itself is proof enough that photography as we know it is an enormously smartphone-based practice now, at least for everyday images as opposed to professional work. 

Other interesting stats around the use of smartphones and social media in relation to photography has been gathered by Photutorial, which found that by the year 2025, more than 2 trillion photos will be taken each year! And did you know that 12.4 trillion photos have been taken throughout history? By 2030, Photutorial calculates that this number will increase to 28.6 trillion.

Interestingly, data research has also found that in 2023 the average person has around 2,100 photos stored on their smartphone. How many do you have? Let us know if you found these statistics interesting. 

(Image credit: Amy Davies)

You might also be interested in the best camera phones for video recording and vlogging, or if you're serious about your smartphone shooting consider investing in some of the best lenses for iPhone and Android camera phones

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.