Meanwhile, one in five amateur snappers regularly takes pictures of themselves, one in 10 confesses to taking their camera to the bedroom to spice up their love life and one in 20 admits that unsuspecting ‘strangers’ are among the subjects they most like to take pictures of.
The survey of more than 1,000 adults also found that one out of four Brits now regularly erases digital images to forget painful periods of their lives, with pictures of ex husbands, wives and partners most likely to be consigned to the digital dump bin.
The fascinating snapshot of the UK’s changing photography habits in the 21st century, also suggests that more than 13 billion photos are now taken in the UK each year with the average adult opening the shutter no fewer than 268 times.
Only one in 10 of those surveyed said they still used a conventional film camera, with the rest splitting their digital photography output between cameras and mobile phones. Of those, three out of four said they took up to half their images on mobiles, while one out of four said they used the hand-held devices to take either most or all of their photos.
Overall, holidays were found to be the most popular subject for photographs with 75% of those surveyed saying they always packed a camera on their travels. General shots of family and friends came second with 73% of respondents regularly taking such pictures, followed by birthdays and anniversaries (58%) and wives, husbands and partners (53%). However, pets (48%) came ahead of children (46%) and special family occasions like Christmas (44%) and weddings (37%) in the list of most frequently photographed subjects.
Women were found to be the most snap happy around pets, with 54% saying they regularly took pictures of their favourite animals compared with 45% who took pictures of their children or grandchildren. By contrast, men were found to be far more family loyal with 47% regularly snapping their children and only 41% taking pictures of pets.
Regionally, the most prolific pet photographers are in Scotland and the South West (58% and 57% respectively), although Scots redeem themselves by proportionally also taking more pictures of their children (75%) than anywhere else in the UK.
Elsewhere, people living in Yorkshire and Humberside were found to be the UK’s most snap happy across all subjects, each taking an average of 360 images each per year, while Northern Ireland residents are the least, taking just 85 images each.
Londoners are most likely to take photos of themselves (one in four), while they share the accolade of being the most prolific snappers of bedroom action with those living in the East Midlands and the South East.
Meanwhile, only three out of five families now owns a family photo album.
Albelli UK spokesman Keith Hanson said: “These results give us a fascinating insight into how our photography habits have changed over the years, particularly from even 50 years ago when the only photos we owned were most commonly black and white images of loved ones, usually on formal occasions.
“It seems pets are very high up on our list of favourite subjects to take pictures of, to the extent that we take more images of them than of our own children. I don’t think this necessarily means we care more about our animals than our own children, but the finding backs up our own observations that people now send in a huge number of images of their pets to be developed.
“Also, the high quality of mobile phone images nowadays means that virtually all of us can be a photographer anytime, anywhere even when we haven’t got a proper camera with us, so it’s perhaps not surprising that our mobiles now feature so highly in our photographic output.”