London: The World's Most Photographed City

Posted on 7/15/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

As photographers head off for vacations with plans to shoot the locations they intend to visit, Alamy has supplied some statistics on the worlds most photographed cities based on the number of images in its collection. I’ve provided their analysis below, but I thought it would be fun to compare the number of images on Alamy with the numbers on Getty Images, Shutterstock and Dreamstime. Keep in mind that Alamy has a lot of editorial celebrity and red carpet images in its numbers. Consequently, there is very little correlation between the Alamy numbers and those offered by Getty creative or the microstock agencies.

City Alamy Getty Creative Getty Editorial Shutterstock Dreamstime
London 804,468 37,335 1,938,965 32,211 22,216
New York 416,048 56,706 4,372,651 68,643 29,782
Los Angeles 302,732 21,145 5,273,847 70,811 7,120
Paris 207,558 15,637 1,148,843 30,220 22,854
Berlin 116,531 7,275 368,421 9,255 7,427
Rome 107,078 6,855 228,373 20,691 16,103
Miami 72,831 7,037 515,983 5,953 5,675
Barcelona 69,581 6,215 148,554 14,278 10,631
Tokyo 66,477 25,683 235,447 5,223 4,357
Hong Kong 62,441 7,056 99,584 9,335 9,578

Here’s more information on Alamy’s top ten.
1.     London – The world’s most photographed city has almost double the amount of images of New York (804,468 compared to 416,048). This may have something to do with the fact that Alamy is headquartered in the UK and probably has many more British photographers contributing images to its collection than photographers operating out of the New York area. London has everything to photograph from historical monuments to beautiful parks, museums, restaurants and clubs. There are huge preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games. 27 million people plan to visit London in 2011. The Alamy collection offers a great variety of subject matter including 41,034 images of London Bridge and 21,068 of the London Eye.
2.       New York – The city that never sleeps is the most popular place to be photographed in the United States. We’d expect to see this at the top of the list, with famous monuments including: The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge (all of which featured in Alamy’s top 10 list of the world’s most photographed monuments).
3.       Los Angeles – With a population of over three million – it is the most populous city in California, and the second biggest in the United States. Over 46 million overnight visitors go to LA and the Orange Counties each year, visiting attractions including: Disney Land, Venice Beach and Universal Studios.
4.       Paris – The Eiffel Tower recently topped the list of the world’s most photographed monument, yet Paris only appears fourth on the list here. It seems tourists are fixated with the Eiffel Tower, but are perhaps not as ‘wowed’ by the city.
5.       Berlin – The capital of Germany and the country’s most populated city. Famous monuments to snap include: The Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and The Berlin Wall. East meets West in Berlin, making it a visually diverse city.
6.       Rome – Italy’s capital and most populated city. Rome’s famous historical monuments include: The Colosseum and The Vatican.
7.       Miami - This is perhaps a bit of a surprise, but those who have visited with a camera will tell you there's something to shoot on every street corner, from the beach to diverse architecture, everyday life to a spot of ‘how the other half live’.
8.       Barcelona – Spain’s second largest city is well known in recent times for hosting the 1992 Olympic Games. Its distinctive Gaudi architecture also remains popular with photographers because it’s so unique.
9.       Tokyo - As the world’s most populous metropolis, and Japan’s capital, it is hardly surprising this city appears in the top 10.
10.     Hong Kong - The city’s striking contemporary architecture and extraordinary skyline are sure to be the main reasons why this city makes it onto the list.
Commenting on the top ten most photographed cities, Alan Capel, head of content at Alamy, said, “I suspect the order of the first five cities is heavily influenced by a strong mix of both tourism and business. The latter five provide a strong mix of cultural, historical and visual intrigue. For example shooting Tokyo and Hong Kong at night can give stimulating and powerful results.    
“London clearly has universal appeal with the largest number of photographs by far. And, I would anticipate its lead to increase further in the run up to and during 2012 with an influx of tourists and sports fans and new infrastructure and buildings to photograph.
“Cities offer a rich mix of cultures, colours and styles – and a good photograph can provide real insight into their life and soul.”

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Sylvie Fodor Posted Jul 15, 2011
    I think that this analysis just shows that if you want pictures of London, it's better to make enquiries at a UK based agency than let say in France or Germany, who will have more pictures of respectively Paris or Berlin, no? And considering that all the companies mentioned have a US office, if they are not American, I don't consider it as a surprise that Miami appears on the list before Tokyo ... I am quite certain that the order will be very different at amana images.

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