Photos Shot In 2017

Posted on 12/7/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

According to Statista 1,200 billion photos will be taken worldwide in 2017. Not surprisingly,  85% of them will be taken with Smartphones, 4.7% taken with Tablets and only 10.3% were taken with digital cameras.

That works out to about 123,600,000,000 photos taken with digital cameras. A very small percentage of these will be made available available for licensing.

Here’s some information on the number or images created in the last 5 years.

2013 660 billion
2014 810 billion
2015 1,000 billion
2016 1,100 billion
2017 1,200 billion

Currently Shutterstock has 175 million royalty-free, images, video clips and music tracks in its collection. At the beginning of 2017 they had 116.2 million images in their collection so by the end of the year they will have added about 63,000,000 pieces of content to their collection in 2017 alone. Most of the other large agencies around the world are adding images at a somewhat slower rate.

PicturEngine which enables users to search for unique images that can be found in multiple-collections around the world says that it currently has about one billion image in its collection. The PicturEngine collection, and the collections of many stock agencies, include not just current  2017 images, but historical images that have been created over many decades.

Of course, a huge percentage of the images shot in 2017 were created for the personal enjoyment of the creator and his/her friends and family. Most of these creators will make no attempt to license uses of their images. Some don’t care if others choose to use one of their image.  They might even be pleased. But, many consider the images they produce their personal and private property and would be upset if someone used one without permission.

User Confusion

A huge percentage of these 123 billion images shot with digital cameras make the way to the Internet along with the more than 1 trillion images shot with smart phones.

It is easy to understand why those view images on the Internet are confused. Most want to do the legal and moral thing. They are prepared to treat others as they want to be treated, but they get conflicting information. Many are told that all these images on the Internet are in the public domain and viewers should be able to do whatever they want with what they find there.

The small segment of the population engaged in photography as a profession say, “Our creations are our property and our means of livelihood. We want to retain control over how our images are used, and we expect to be compensated for any use we authorize.”

Photographers argue that people have no more right to use images without permission than they have to go into a store; grab what they want and walk out without paying for it. Or to grab their neighbors car or bike and take off without permission.

On the other hand, this small percentage of the population that expects to be compensated for the use of their work has a responsibility to help users understand which images need to be licensed and which are free to use. We haven’t done a very good job of that. We’ve tried watermarks, but they distract from the image and not everyone uses them.

We haven’t developed a way for potential users to easily determine if an image found is one of the less than 1% that needs to be licensed or if its one of the 99% where the creator doesn’t care if someone uses it. We haven’t developed a way for them to quickly find contact information for the creator of a specific image, or his/her representative.

Technology is making that easier and cheaper. Check out this story for some ideas.

Copyright © 2017 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 301-461-7627, 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:  


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