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Everyday "snaps" taken by millions of people, principally to record events in their personal lives, constitute the category known as vernacular photography. Such pictures are normally taken by amateur photographers using modest cameras, or mobile phone cameras, over which they have little or no control. Settings are often determined automatically, and there may be little or no creative input by the photographer. The pictures are typically taken a a moment's notice without any planning or forethought.

The advent of digital cameras has increased even further the popularity of this type of photography because of its immediacy and because there is no implied cost - no film is used and the image need not be printed. The pictures can just be shown to family and friends at a party or social gathering, possibly before being deleted. Family photograph albums all over the world are filled with images in this category.

In at least some instances vernacular images may become very valuable, not only at a personal level where they form a record of family activities and history, but also at a professional level where they may be exhibited or used in other ways at a later date.

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