The photography industry remains lucrative as professionals and amateurs collectively shell out billions on expensive equipment and accessories each year. Since the invention of medium, 3.5 trillion images have been taken around the world, according to research from the online photo sharing and storage site 1000 Memories. Some 10 percent of those photos were snapped between 2010 and 2011 alone. It's no surprise that consumers are constantly searching for technologies that can streamline the entire process.

Smartphones: The Primary Camera of Choice


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Advances in photo technology have made the image-capturing process cheaper, faster and more accessible. The proliferation of camera-equipped smartphones has helped the photography industry tap vastly larger markets. In a 2012 study conducted by market research firm InfoTrends, nearly half of respondents who owned a smartphone indicated it was their primary camera of choice -- up from 24 percent the previous year. Pharmacy retailers like CVS have added camera-phone printing services to their stores in response to the this trend.

Digital and Film Photography Compete


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One consequence of the shift to digital from analog photography has been a reduction in the need for photo printing services, as digital photos are now viewed and stored easily on hard drives. Even photo editing, an expensive and often tedious process once reserved for professionals, has become as easy as downloading an app. Programs such as Instagram and Snapchat have made it easier for consumers to edit, store and share their own digital photos within moments.

Film Down but Not Out


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Analog photography enthusiasts shouldn’t lose faith, however. InfoTrends notes that consumers still appreciate printed photos both for gift-giving and long-term preservation. Many professional and amateur photographers even continue to shoot in film despite advances made in digital photography. While this can can be pricier over the long term, the choice to shoot film symbolizes a rejection of technological advancement. In 2008, former Polaroid employees formed The Impossible Project in order to save the company’s last integral instant film production plant. They’ve since been inventing and producing new instant film products and staved off the once-imminent extinction of instant film photography.

Social Media: A Lucrative Frontier


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Popular social media outlets such as Facebook and Pinterest create vast opportunities for photography industry players to access new markets and create innovative products and services. Operators of social networking sites would do well to incorporate features into their programs that make photo printing and merchandising easier, InfoTrends suggests in its research. Many of the available services rely heavily on third-party vendors, which adds an unnecessary layer to the process. Nevertheless, the photography industry has done well in keeping up with evolving technologies and consumer preferences, as the market's financial growth attests.