Will AI Kill photography?
Can AI take over photography?
Is AI the end of photography?
These questions represent the current commotion in the photography world ever since the different AI tools (Midjourney in particular) have surfaced.
The answer to these questions is – Yes and No.
Because there are certain genres of photography which are definitely under substantial threat. But there are certain genres which are actually benefiting from AI.
If you ask me honestly, I can summarize things like this – Genres which deal with inanimate objects are under a whole lot of threat. These genres include –
- Food Photography
- Product Photography
- Landscape Photography
- Real Estate Photography
For instance, in my Midjourney AI Crash Course, I created the following images simply by writing prompts:
If you show these images to a layman, they would not be able to tell that this was generated using an AI software.
The only argument that can be made against this notion is that it’s still not easy to create an AI image which is based on a specific object or entity. For instance, if you are doing real estate photography, it would not make sense to give your client some random AI generated images. They would only want the images for the particular house that is being shot.
But here also, AI tools are getting smart because they are allowing you to upload a normal looking image which can be taken by a cell phone and turn it into something more professional and polished.
Even Midjourney allows you create AI images by using other images as reference.
The genres that are least threatened are the ones that involve “recognizable” people, like:
- Portrait Photography
- Studio Photography
- Event Photography
- Wedding Photography
- Street Photography
But the key word is “recognizable”.
Because even in these genres it’s very simple to create amazing looking images of random people.
But when it comes to a specific recognizable person, it still takes a lot of work because the concept of using another portrait image as reference to create a new image is still not up to the mark.
I will consider AI a real threat the day a layman is able to upload a reference image and successfully turn it into anything remotely close to a professional shot in which the said person looks as real as possible.
In my opinion, we are not even close to that happening right now.
So I’m not really worried about AI killing photography.
Another issue is the cost factor – Quality AI tools like Midjounrey are not free. They simply cannot be. AI training requires very powerful chips and servers and there is no way any company out there can sustain for long by giving a free ride to the public. Even Midjourney recently removed its free trial.
And since the general public doesn’t like to pay anything, let alone a recurring subscription free, the amount of people who have access to these sophisticated AI tools is bound to remain very low, which is again a point in favor of the “humans”.
Bottom line – If you are a photographer, there is a long way to go before AI catches up. It’s far easier and economical to capture good looking shots the old fashioned way, at least for most genres.
But at the same time, do not make the mistake to ignore AI. You should start learning about the different AI tools that can facilitate your existing shooting/editing process. A good place to start can be my course on Photoshop AI.
Because even if AI doesn’t kill photography, a photographer equipped with AI can certainly kill an obsolete counterpart.
About the Author
Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.
We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.
I hope to see you inside a course very soon!