The holiday season is upon us again, and with it comes the annual flurry of photo-taking and sharing among family and friends. But this year, with digital cameras becoming increasingly commonplace and online photo services expanding their offerings, much of the photo processing and viewing that happens over the holidays will be facilitated by an online service.

Use of online services that develop, display or store photos has grown markedly over the last four years. When the Pew Internet Project first asked about these services in the fall of 2001, just 20% of adult internet users, or about 23 million people, had used online photo sites. By this fall, 34% or roughly 49 million, had used online photo services.

Women are somewhat more likely to use these photo services than men; 38% of female users display, store or get photos developed through online services, compared with 31% of male users. Online photo service users also generally fit the bill of the early adopter; they tend to be young, have high levels of education and income, and faster connection speeds at home.

However, use of online photo services varies the most according to the user’s experience level; while just 22% of internet users with 2-3 years of experience online have tried these services, 40% of those who have been online 6 or more years have done so.