ERIN THOMPSON

AI for Photographers | Answering Your AI Questions!

AI for Photographers, Education

January 23, 2024

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love talking about how I’m using AI as a photographer! The tools I’ve incorporated into my workflow have been so beneficial for my own business and I know they can be for you too. I’ve been keeping a list of the many questions I’ve received over the past couple months and today’s blog post is dedicated to answering the most popular ones. Keep reading for answers to the top AI questions that fellow photographers are asking!



Does AI really work?

This is a super common and simple question, with an unfortunately vague answer. Yes, and no. Can AI learn the patterns of your work and mimic it with astonishing accuracy… YES. (Seriously ChatGPT, get out of my head!) Can AI edit 100 photos to 95% of your style in a fraction of the time it would take you… also YES.

But, can AI turn a shoe into a beaver if you try to generate some pixels that you cut off in camera… unfortunately, YES! Can AI write a blog that sounds like, bruh I have totally had the sickest shoots recently… hilariously, YES!

This is really why I decided to create an exciting new resource that launches next week! Knowing the tools exist isn’t even half the battle. Learning how to use them and tailoring them to YOU is the key!



What AI tools are you using?

To answer this question directly, I’m currently using ImagenAI, Masking/Content Aware Cloning/Denoise in Lightroom, Generative Fill/Expand in Photoshop, and ChatGPT. BUT, what I’m really doing, is finding the tools that ease my pain points or increase my efficiency doing repetitive tasks. All of the things I’m currently using fit into one of these two buckets.

For example, if I took 10 images where the same person’s white shirt looks a bit gray, I have to mask and adjust that shirt 10 times. I created a preset brush that adjusts the sliders to make it more efficient. Now, AI masking takes it one step further and does the same thing for the mask shape itself.

Another example, this time of pain points, is starting a blog. Sitting down at my computer I have a few stories or ideas that I know I want to highlight from a shoot, but sometimes I stare at the screen for 15 minutes or more before the words start flowing. If I prompt ChatGPT and tell it the bits that I know I’ll use, the response gets my thoughts flowing, whether I use the actual words or not.



I’m so bad at technology. Where do I even start?

This one goes back to the why: reducing pain points and increasing efficiency on those repetitive tasks. Think about your workflow and pick your least favorite part. Then look to see if there are any tools you can leverage in that area. There’s no need to jump into every tool you find, rather pick the ones that will help you the most! Ease into it and you might just find that you aren’t “so bad” at technology after all!



Does this really save you time?

In the short term, a little bit. Learning the tools, figuring out how I like to use them, and all of that definitely took some time. Now that they’re fully incorporated into my workflow though, it is night and day. So much so, that I had time to build a new resource about how you can use them to help you too all while still carrying a full session workload!



Are these tools expensive?

This will change over time as tools develop and the market stabilizes, but the only thing I pay for specifically for AI is Imagen (5 cents an image). The Lightroom and Photoshop tools are included in my normal Adobe subscription and my ChatGPT account is free. Most of the paid services (Topaz or Aftershoot as examples) are tailored more for people shooting larger galleries than I do.



How do you justify your prices when a robot is doing some of your work?

This is a big question, but I believe it’s just a problem of framing. Your prices represent the value you can offer to your clients. If they believed that your images were of bad quality, inconsistent, and unflattering, they wouldn’t hire you. Just like having a high-end professional camera and nice lenses has been a differentiator between lower and higher priced photographers, your ability to leverage AI is just another way to stand out. Plus, your value doesn’t decrease when you outsource to an editor or a virtual assistant or an accountant, so why should it now?






What’s Next?

If you’re ready for more, check out Authentically Artificial! This is a resource designed to simplify some AI editing and writing tools that you can implement today to enhance your photography business. If you have found this blog series even the least bit informative, you don’t want to miss Authentically Artificial!



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