It's no surprise that the American states populated with the most photographers are home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country. From the dense tropical forests on the volcanic island of Hawaii to the towering, spire-shaped red rock formations in Bryce National Park, Utah, these dramatic landscapes are asking to be photographed.
Not only do these states attract lots of photographers who become permanent residents, but they also attract millions of tourists every year who are looking to tick off bucket list locations. In a recent survey conducted by royalty-free stock photo and content agency 123RF, data from the US Census Bureau was used to work out which states have the highest numbers of photographers per 100K people.
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While you might have expected New York, the fashion capital of the world to come out on top with all the paparazzi and editorial shoots that take place, it is I'm fact the natural world that attracts the most photographers. A quote by Albert Einstein comes to mind, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Commenting on the study, a spokesperson for 123RF.com (opens in new tab) said, "With an estimated 38,420 professional photographers across the country, according to the US Census Bureau, many different factors can attract photographers to certain states and cities."
“This study offers an interesting insight into where photography is most prominent in the country. Hawaii unsurprisingly takes the crown, as Hawaiian photographers are often spoiled for choice with the state’s beautiful landscapes and scenery."
Taking the top spot is the idyllic island of Hawaii with its dense tropical forests, white sandy beaches and six active volcanoes. Situated 2000 miles from the US mainland, Hawaii is formed of eight main islands - two of which have restricted access. With such diverse, stunning landscapes, it's no surprise it's attracted so many photographers looking to cash in on the scenery.
Total population: 1,420,074
Photographers per 100K people: 123.87
Home to the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, Montana is the fourth largest state by area and the third least densely populated so to have so many photographers per 100K people is pretty impressive. Nicknamed The Treasure State due to the abundance of natural and mineral resources, it's the vast amount of wilderness contrasting the snow-capped peaks that attract image makers.
Total population: 1,061,705
Photographers per 100K people: 110.39
Slap bang in the middle of the USA, Colorado is known for its flat-topped mountains known as mesas and its diverse landscape of mountains, forest, rivers, deserts and open plains.
Total population: 5,684,926
Photographers per 100K people: 104.86
Bordering several other places that appear on this list including Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada, this landlocked state offers some of the strangest rock formations in the world. Home to five national parks, the cinematic desert region known as Monument Valley and the city of Salt Lake City, Utah is both urban and wild.
Total population: 3,151,239
Photographers per 100K people: 96.25
Wyoming's name is one of mystery; while some believe it comes from a Delaware Indian word meaning mountains and valleys others believe it could come from the Algonquin language meaning "a large prairie place". No matter how it came to be, Wyoming is another stunning state full of mountains, lakes, remote farms, rugged peaks and cascading waterfalls. These are the top five most picturesque waterfalls.
Total population: 581,348
Photographers per 100K people: 95.64
Vermont is famous for two things: its 19th-century wooden bridges and maple syrup. The region is covered in dance forest making it a beautiful location to shoot especially in Autumn. Its name comes from the french phrase 'vert mont' meaning green mountain which is very fitting considering how much of it is covered in trees. It's one of the most north-easterly states included on this list and is popular for its historic architecture, exciting ski resorts and the pristine Lake Champlain.
Total population: 624,340
Photographers per 100K people: 94.50
Located in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon has become well-known for its glorious, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches and the famous Multnomah Falls - the largest waterfall in the region. Much of the first Twilight saga was filmed in Oregon making it a popular tourist destination for die-hard fans wanting to catch a glimpse of its most iconic locations such as Forks and La Push.
Total population: 4,176,346
Photographers per 100K people: 92.86
8. South Dakota
Named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native Tribes, South Dakota consists of nine reservations and almost 8.8% of its population is made up of Native Americans making them the second most populous ethnicity after white Americans. Often referred to as the 'land of infinite variety, South Dakota is famous for Mount Rushmore - a 60ft sculpture of Georg Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the granite rock face in the Black Hills.
Total population: 879,336
Photographers per 100K people: 91.09
Like so many other States on the list, Idaho is famous for its vast open spaces and rugged mountains but it's also well known for its 340 geothermal pools - 130 of which are the perfect temperature for a dip. For adventure seekers and outdoor explorers, Idaho is perfect for hiking, white water rafting, climbing and mountain biking.
Total population: 1,754,367
Photographers per 100K people: 89.95
The most Northeastern state in the US is known for its rocky coastline and four national parks: Acadia National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site making it an attractive place for photographers.
Total population: 1,340,825
Photographers per 100K people: 88.38
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