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GLOBAL – One of my favourite pastimes is taking photos of something fairly ordinary to capture its hidden beauty, forever. It turns out that I’m not alone, as Cint has undertaken a Nokia-sponsored study in eight countries to determine people’s photo-taking and photo-sharing habits, with interesting results. We’ve got lots of details on the who, what and whys, after the jump.

With so many people now choosing their smartphone over a standard digital camera, the research was aimed at finding out exactly what it is that makes the smartphone a popular choice for snapping the world around us.

Cint conducted the research over eight countries: China, Philippines, USA, Sweden, Singapore, India, Italy and Switzerland. Over 8,000 people were involved with a fairly even gender split of 49 per cent male and 51 per cent female.

Before we get stuck into the stats, it’s worth pointing out that they don’t always add up to 100 as you’d normally expect. This is due to there being multiple answers on each question asked.

On a global scale, it seems that the most featured subject of anyone’s photographs are children and friends, both coming out at 44 per cent and nature following with 41 per cent. But why do they use a mobile phone and not a stand-alone camera? To capture situations quickly on-the-move, according to 70 per cent of the people asked.

But what happens once you’ve captured that photo? From the people asked in this study, on average, 46 per cent claim to have uploaded their pictures to social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter. Whether they were uploaded via special services, such as Molome or Pocketbooth is unclear, but the photos end destination is their social media platform of choice.

Besides taking photos for your own pleasure, it’s clear that people like to share them with others. Not only to show other people something cool you’ve just spotted but it turns out that 33 per cent find it rewarding to receive comments on the creative photo-taking. The more comments, the better.

It’s interesting that people’s photo taking and sharing habits vary from region to region. While in Asia, users of smartphones are very active when it comes to taking and sharing photos, in Europe it’s a very different story. People in Switzerland and Sweden are very critical when it comes to online sharing, believing that people tend to upload quite embarrassing photos when they probably shouldn’t.

Regardless of the region, though, the results show that the younger age groups are more open-minded when it comes to taking and sharing photos. For example, 30 per cent of Swiss men between the age of 15 and 25 upload photos to their social media sites. And women between the same age are more likely to take and share photos of themselves than any other group.

We’ve created some graphs that represent the top three regions when it comes to taking and sharing photos. China appears to be the biggest nation of photo-takers with about 85 per cent of the people asked saying they regularly reach for their cameraphone. China also come in third when sharing them online. Smartphone users from Philippines share the most, with 68 per cent hitting that upload button after each snap.

Far more privacy-conscious, it seems, Europeans like to off-load their photos and store them on their computers, rather than actually uploading them for all to see.

All-in-all, the results are positive, if not varied. The people who have turned to a smartphone for their photographing needs have done so because it means they are able to capture that special moment, in an instant. Whereas that wouldn’t have been possible before as a taking a separate camera out often means there’s something else to carry, when you probably don’t need it.

What do you make of the results? Do you like to take photos, then upload them? Or are they more for your own collection, at home? Do let us know, in the comments below.