Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

What makes an image popular?

By analyzing millions of images from Flickr, an MIT researcher has discovered some of what makes an image popular

Hundreds of thousands of photographs are uploaded to the internet every minute through various social networking and photo sharing platforms. While some images get millions of views, others are completely ignored. Even from the same users, diff erent photographs receive diff erent number of views. This begs the question: What makes a photograph popular? Can we predict the number of views a photograph will receive even before it is uploaded? These are some of the questions we address in this work. We investigate two key components of an image that predict its popularity, namely the image content and social context. Using a dataset of about 2.3 million images from Flickr, we demonstrate that we can reliably predict the normalized view count of images with a rank correlation of 0.81 using both image content and social cues. In this paper, we show the importance of image cues such as color, gradients, deep learning features and the set of objects present, as well as the importance of various social cues such as number of friends or number of photos uploaded that lead to high or low popularity of images. Find out what your image scores on the popularity score here                                                                                                            

Mine got 3.827 (I don’t know if that is good or bad, check yours against my score)Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 17.57.08

3 responses to “What makes an image popular?

  1. Jane Buekett May 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I uploaded a black and white image with no people in it and scored 3.935?!?

    • oxfordschoolofphotography May 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      clearly black and white is more appreciated than colour as for the mud I am not sure. I understood it was genuine research but now you have me doubting it’s value. In truth who cares what others think, glad you engaged though, must be a slow day at work!

  2. Jane Buekett May 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I then uploaded the most boring photo I could find (an author photo of some mud) and it got 3.339. Is this a late April fool?

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