How Long Does it Take to Shoot 1 Trillion Photos?

Ed Lee
May 31, 2016

download (1)Photo capture devices (still cameras and mobile devices) are becoming ubiquitous in developed and developing countries. Now if someone wants to take a photo of someone or something, the question is not if they can, but rather with what device. InfoTrends’ research shows that mobile devices, particularly smartphones, are the devices that consumers use most often and turn to for taking everyday photos.

According to InfoTrends’ 2016 U.S. Digital Camera End User Study, 67% of consumers use a mobile device most often and 76% use them most often for everyday photos. Special occasion photos still fall into the realm of standalone cameras, but mobile devices continue to make headway in this use case. This behavior shift is playing out around the world and is not limited to the U.S.

With more photo capture devices in the hands of people around the globe, more photos than ever before are being captured each year. InfoTrends latest global forecast of photos taken predicts that over 1.1 trillion photos will be captured by mobile devices and still cameras in 2016. This number will grow to over 1.4 trillion in 2020.

To put into perspective how big of a number one trillion is, consider these questions.

  • How long does it take to shoot 1 million photos if you shoot one photo per second?

    The answer is 11.6 days.

  • Now how long would it take to shoot 1 billion photos if you shoot one photo per second?

    The answer is 31.7 years.

  • Let’s jump to how long would it take to shoot 1 trillion photos if you shoot one photo per second?

    The answer is 31,710 years!


Furthermore, InfoTrends estimates that there are about 4 trillion images worldwide stored on a variety of devices, storage media, and in the cloud. That’s over 120,000 years’ worth of images.

InfoTrends Opinion

Given these incredible numbers, imaging and service vendors must focus more attention and resources on creating solutions that help people do more with their images, rather than just capturing more. For many years now, InfoTrends has said that the true currency of the digital imaging ecosystem is the captured images. The memory bank vaults are now overflowing and it is time to make withdrawals and put the images to good use. Those vendors who help consumers extract value from their photos will reap the rewards.

To learn more about our 2016 U.S. Digital Camera End User Study, contact Matt O’Keefe at or 781-616-2115.



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