Photography Statistics


Snapping moments in time is a wonderful and amazing gift that modern technology brought to us and that we often take for granted. Nowadays, photos are everywhere, from our walls to our screens. In fact, we can snap a photo and send it across the globe with just a flick of the thumb. A lot can be said about this subject, so we’ve prepared the most essential photography statistics to give you a comprehensive image of the latest goings-on in the field.

Photography Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Canon and Sony combined own 70% of the camera market. (DigitalCameraWorld)
  • It’s estimated that 1.6 trillion photos will be taken in 2023. (Mylio)
  • Android devices record somewhere around 93 million captures every day on Android gadgets. (3dInsider)
  • Nearly two-thirds of German households own a digital camera. (Statista)
  • 22% of returned products ordered online are due to disparities between the displayed photo and reality. (PixelPhant)
  • 12,458 companies are currently operating in the photography services industry in the US. (Splento)

Statistics on the Photography Industry

1. The photography industry value in 2021 was projected at $36.42 billion.

This represents a solid recovery from the slowdown caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, as the industry expanded with a 10.6% CAGR from 2020’s $32.92 billion. Forecasts for 2025 place the sector’s value at a massive $44.07 billion after a steady growth with a 5% CAGR.


2. Canon owns 48% of the market, with Sony (22%) and Nikon (14%) trailing behind. 

Fujifilm is also a solid competitor, boasting a not too shabby 5.6% market share. Panasonic comes in last with 4.4%. As photography industry statistics reveal, small manufacturers like OM Digital Solutions (Olympus), Hasselblad, Pentax, and others account for the remaining 6.3%.

Compared to pre-pandemic figures, Canon and Sony’s combined share climbed 4.4%, Nikon dropped by 4.9%, and Fujifilm grew by 0.9%. Even as such, product shipments declined dramatically, going down by 40.3% year-on-year. Only 8.85 million cameras were shipped in total. The top five manufacturers accounted for no less than 93.8% of those, according to photography market size data.


3. The share of pictures taken using a mobile phone will reach 93% in 2023.

Photography market statistics reveal that this number has been on the rise continuously, increasing from 89% in 2020. Of course, the real explosion in smartphone photos happened around the dawn of the 2010s when the devices and social media networks started gaining mainstream adoption, as photography industry trends reveal.


4. Camera sales have dropped 84% since 2010. 

No doubt, the overall fall in sales and subsequent damage to the photography industry were also largely caused by the widespread adoption of camera-equipped mobile phones. While the technology on those initially lagged way behind the well-established traditional cameras, statistics on photography reveal that the industry has never been the same since.


5. Photos on Facebook get 20% more engagement than videos. 

Not only this, but the difference in engagement between image and text posts is a whopping 352%. What is more, articles accompanied by a relevant image get 94% more views. 


6. It was estimated that 1.12 trillion photos were taken in 2021 alone. 

This places the average number of photos taken per person somewhere around 185, according to photography popularity statistics. A gigantic amount of digital storage space is required to maintain this immense volume. Current estimates place the number of stored photos at 8.29 trillion while projections for 2022 say the number will hit 9.29 trillion.


7. 90% of consumers only took photos with a smartphone. 

When surveyed, 223 out of 400 respondents admitted to taking between one and four selfies per day. Google meanwhile claims to record somewhere around 93 million captures per day on Android devices. Photography facts and statistics from one photography industry analysis further show that 48% of Americans edit images before posting them on social media. 


8. The average family adds more than 3,000 photos and videos per year to their collection. 

However, 11% of them would delete over 50% of their library if they had the time to do so. Organizing a backlog as large as the one the typical family holds is estimated to take 45 hours of work per year in maintenance. Family photography statistics also tell us that 30% of households own more than 15,000 accumulated pictures and videos. 


9. UK digital camera sales totaled £37.16 million ($50.42 million) in 2020.

Although globally sales are declining, UK manufacturers are doing better than ever, since in previous years their revenue was on the rise. In 2019, there was £33.39 million ($45.28 million) in total sales while in 2018 the number was £28.3 million ($38.38 million), which points to a healthy consistent increase. 


10. 61.4% of households in Germany own a digital camera.

While this is the current number, the figure has been falling from an all-time high of 75.6% recorded in 2014, according to photography industry trends. Although in the 2000s many Germans bought cameras, as the technology shifted, so did consumer preferences. As such, fun facts about photography reveal that the share of households owning a digital camera grew from 19.4% in 2004 to 48.7% in 2007, while the latter part of the 2010s witnessed a steady decline.


11. According to a photography industry analysis, action cameras sold a total of $2.3 billion worldwide in 2020.

Of course, this segment is dominated by the well-known GoPro brand. Forecasts meanwhile place the future value of sales in 2028 at $4.4 billion, after growing at a CAGR of 8.3%, according to photography stats and facts.


12. GoPro shipped a total of 282,000 units in 2020.

Although this number may seem pretty impressive, photography market research reveals that GoPro has been actually facing declining numbers since 2019’s 426,000 units shipped. This doesn’t come as a surprise since many people were stuck indoors for much of the year. However, even when looking at the overall data we can see the trend of declining shipments. The all-time high was hit in 2015 when 658,400 units were delivered. 


13. Digital imagining accessories recorded $39 million in total wholesale trade volume in 2021.

Interesting facts about photography show how auxiliary devices and accessories are also suffering falling sales. As such, in 2020, total wholesale sales were worth $55 million, dropping from $83 and $116 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The future isn’t looking bright for this segment either, with projections placing the total 2022 wholesale trades at $30 million, marking another significant year-on-year decline. 


14. There were only 2.38 million shipments of DSLR cameras in 2020.

As the available information on the photography market size shows, all device types are losing ground rapidly to mobile phone cameras and not even DSLRs can save themselves. To be more specific, statistics about photography show that in 2019, the number was much higher, at 4.5 million total shipments. Moreover, even this is small considering that the figure stood at 10.55 million in 2014 and a whopping 16.2 million at its all-time high of 2012. 


15. Wearable cameras will hit 814 million in sales by 2025 in China. 

Although facts about photography point to a general decline in the majority of the market’s segments, some niches seem to be booming. Wearable cameras are definitely one, especially in China where sales are growing tremendously year-over-year. Currently, $341.24 million worth of sales were recorded in this niche in 2021. This represents a rather rapid growth from as little as $52.3 million in 2014. 


16. 50% of adults believe selfies are annoying. 

Although the photography industry overview shows that cellphone cameras are shooting up in popularity to the detriment of their traditional camera counterparts, the staple of the newer photography trends, the selfie, is hated amongst the general population. 38% of Gen Zers would choose a vacation destination based on its ”instagramability”.


17. 62% of adults in the US have taken a selfie at least once, according to portrait photography statistics.

The group that comprises most of the figure consists of those between the ages of 18 and 34 since no less than 82% of them ever took a selfie. 63% of people aged 35-54 and 44% of those 55 and older have taken a selfie at some point in their lives.


18. Half of all Americans take pictures of their food.

31% only like to snap images of the food they cook while 22% do it for meals from special occasions like parties and weddings. According to food photography statistics, 20% like to immortalize the courses they ordered while 13% do it for meals that someone they know cooked. 


19. 2.5 billion unlicensed images are stolen every day. 

This figure places the estimated total damages at a whopping $600 billion per day. Intellectual property theft is just one of the industry’s risks though, which is why a lot of professionals opt for photographer insurance. 


20. Videographers and photographers pay a median price of $65 per month on insurance. 

This amounts to a median photography insurance cost per year of $295 and a policy deductible of $500. Freelancers operating in the industry have lower costs, at only around $22 per month or $259 annually. 


Photography Business Statistics

21. The US photography industry is among the 40% most profitable ones. 

12,458 registered firms are operating in this niche in the US and the number is growing at an estimated 2.5% each year. In the UK, there are 8,119 companies and the industry’s annual growth rate stands at 2.2%.


22. 75% of shoppers base their decision on the product photos they see on an ecommerce website. 

Product photography statistics further reveal that 22% of the people who returned a product after purchasing it online have done so because it looked different than its advertised image. Also, quality visual content is 40% more likely to be shared on social media. 


23. 360-degree product photos lower product delivery decline rates by 15%-50%. 

This photo type also is known to increase the duration of online visits to a website by 32%. In consequence, customer satisfaction increases by 50% as well, according to photography statistics.


24. Properties with high-quality images in their listings get 47% higher per square foot offers. 

Although real estate agents who employ professional photographers earn twice as much, only 35% of them actually do so. Real estate photography statistics reveal that 32% of houses with high-quality pictures sell faster. Also, homes that have listings containing just one photo spend an average of 70 days on sale while houses with a minimum of 20 pictures stay for just one month. 


25. 72.2% of realtors claim that high-quality photos help them win more listings.

Considering that homebuyers spend approximately 124 hours looking for a house, studies have shown that using pictures can retain the viewer’s attention for 20 seconds. It’s no surprise that homes with professional images receive 61% more views. Moreover, drone photography for real estate statistics indicate that house listings that showcase aerial footage sell 68% faster than those that do not.


26. 87% of internet searchers found photos to be the most useful feature in a home listing.

This is especially important since Google searches regarding home buying have soared 950%. Those looking to buy a property meanwhile are spending 60% of the time looking at the photos and only 20% on the description. Professional real estate photography statistics reveal that 80.2% of buyers believe the front photo is the most important one in the photoshoot.


27. The commercial photography industry in the US averages an annual growth of 1.9%.

The total value of the market stands at a staggering $1.8 billion in revenue. Currently, 3,803 companies are operating in the industry. The average sales per company are $500,000 while the average employee productivity stands at $166,111. According to commercial photography industry statistics, the mean payroll per employee in this industry is $42,500. Of course, this is just an average and real figures vary, for example, in California, it’s $61,130.


28. Small businesses operating in the wedding photography niche reportedly make an average of $54,300 in revenue per year. 

The typical wedding photo package is priced at $3,000. These businesses also have some expenses, usually to the tune of around $17,400 on average. The majority of their operational costs consist of equipment, travel, and advertising. Wedding photography industry statistics confirm that photographers spend about $1,800 on advertising and $1,226 on continued education per year. 


29. 55% of wedding photographers use a Cannon device. 

27% prefer Nikon while 13% use Sony cameras. Fujifilm also manufactures equipment that 3% of photographers in question like to use. Finally, Leica holds 1% while various smaller brands account for the remaining 2%. Word of mouth is the most popular channel for acquiring leads in this industry, followed by Instagram and Facebook, according to wedding photography statistics. 


30. 67% of consumers believe the quality of a product image is very important when choosing what to purchase. 

Also, 90% of shoppers claim that a high-quality image is the number one factor in an online purchase decision. 60% of customers are more likely to contact a business they intend to buy from if an image shows up in their search results, instead of only text content. 78% of online shoppers want product images to represent their usage as it was part of their own life. 


Photography Career Statistics

31. Currently, there are 34,301 active professional photographers.

Out of those, 50.2% are women and 45.6% are men. The average age of somebody working in this business and earning a full-time photographer salary is 38 years old. The majority (71.8%) of professionals are white, while a significant part are Hispanic or Latino (13.8%). The remaining 5.6% is represented by African Americans. The majority of those working in this sector live either in New York or Los Angeles, according to photographer statistics. 


32. The average photographer income starts at $26,000 for an entry-level job. 

Of course, as with any profession, photographers wages also swell up alongside experience. The average experienced photographer’s wage gravitates towards a total yearly income of $44,451. Information on the photographer pay scale also reveals that the top 10% of professionals from this industry get to enjoy yearly earnings of $73,000 or more.


33. The median annual wage of a fashion photographer is $42,640, fashion photography statistics show.

This brings the median photographer hourly wage to $20.50. Nationally, there are 48,660 artists currently working in the industry. 


34. 54% of professional photographers hold a bachelor’s degree.

22% of them have an associate’s while 10% and 7% have high school and master’s level education respectively. The remaining 7% hold various other degrees. Those with a master’s degree earn about $50,000, photographer salary statistics reveal. 


Frequently Asked Questions

When was the photo camera invented?

The first camera was invented by Nicephone Nepce in 1816. It took the first photo with the assistance of a piece of paper coated in silver chloride.


How many photographers are there in the US?

At the time of writing, 34,301 active professional photographers are employed or practice this job in one form or another. 


What percentage of photographers are successful?

60% of photographers fail in the first year they are in business. 25% go under in the second year. Only 15% make it to the third year and onward.


Is photography a growing market?

As photography statistics show, the segment has grown 0.4% yearly from 2017 up to 2022. 


What type of photography makes the most money?

When we look at the salaries of photographers, portrait photography seems to be the highest-paid since they earn an average of $50,000 per year. 


References: DigitalCameraWorld, Mylio, 3dInsider, Statista, PixelPhant, Splento, 1kCreatives, KellyCheckPhotography, Mylio, EverPresent, Statista, Statista, Statista, Statista, Statista, Statista, Forbes, Statista, Statista, PDOnline, InsureOn, PhotographyForRealEstate, MarketResearch, PhotoBugCommunity, Odettephotoart, Zippia, MyMajors, Zippia, HistoryThings, DigitalPhotography, IbisWorld, PhotographyCourse

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