The evolution of how we share photos

From slides and projector to social media – the photo-sharing revolution revealed

Sharing photos with friends and family used to mean spending hours laboriously putting together albums. Either that or having people round as you showed the slides on a projector.

But now, thanks to super-smart technology and social networks we can send photographs to loved ones at the push of a button.

Here are some of the major milestones on our journey towards becoming the snap-happy sharers of today.

Photo album and film
For generations the photo album was a central part of family life. In these big, leather-bound books we marked the mundane every-day and one-off special events.

Hours were spent painstakingly choosing the right photos and deciding the order in which they should be presented to best tell the story of a holiday, wedding or birthday party.

It meant actually having to take film to be developed at camera shops and then waiting days before we could see how – and indeed if – our shots had turned out.

There was a sense of anticipation as you peeled open the packet that you’d waited days to see. Had that shot of the birthday cake candles come out as expected?

The traditional photo album is now on the wane, according to Samsung. Only 1 in 10 younger people (18 to 24-year-olds) have owned a photo album.

Digital cameras, memory sticks and imaging sites
By the early noughties digital cameras became the norm bringing with them the concept of images that could be seen on a computer screen.

Photographers were now putting their pics on CDs, discs and even memory cards. Cameras such as the Fuji Finepix 2600 helped to make digital photography more popular than ever before, while USB flash drives meant we could pass photographs among our friends.

The rise of the internet too led to new ways of sharing and collecting photos. With the arrival of Snapfish people could order their digital prints online and have them delivered to their door.

Social media sharing opens new doors
But photo prints were about to fall (slightly) out of fashion. Why? Because we had a new easy-to-use, super-cheap platform to share our pics – called social media.

In 2004, the first Facebook posts were sent around the world and following the launch of Twitter in 2006, millions of people fell for the 140-character format. Soon, we’d be able to share our pics on these platforms too.

All this was helped with the debut of the iPhone in 2007, which had built-in cameras that meant we could take pics of everything at any time. Now, figures reveal that around 47% of adults take selfies.

By this time, we were regularly sharing photos with email, text and apps.

The rise of the Facebook photographer
Around 1 in 5 people take photos with the intention of posting them on social media, according to Samsung.

Of the 1.9 billion photographs taken each month, some 328 million are shared online. The smartphone camera is key to this – with many people snapping the pic on their phone and uploading to Facebook in less than a minute.

There’s also a new generation of Wi-Fi cameras. Compact digital cameras that allow you to share your photos online at the push of a button.

And many models even come with GPS, so you can record exactly where you were when you took that holiday photo. Compact camera vs smartphone camera




#nofilter – the Instagram generation
Now Instagram has changed things even more with its social network designed specifically for photography.  

Launched in 2010, it lets people create cool, arty snaps at the push of a button and share them with friends, fans and like-minded souls.

Snap a photo, add a filter – i.e. retro Polaroid style – give it a hashtag and share. Taking and sharing photos on Instagram

Instagram has around 300 million users active every month, dealing with an average of 70 million photos per day.

It’s used by brands like Nike and Adidas, as well as celebs like Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian (who have millions of followers).

But above all Instagram has made photographers of us all. Its simple-to-use and artistic features let us document the most important moments of our lives, as they happen.

It’s inspiring us to notice things we may otherwise have not; to pick out the beauty in the everyday and share with the world. Above all, it’s great fun.

A Wi-Fi camera we love… The Nikon Coolpix S3700 compact camera has 20.1 megapixels, 8x optical zoom and autofocus. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share photos straight to your phone, tablet or online.


Inspired to get snapping and sharing? Have a look at our range of digital cameras