Artificial Intelligence is everywhere
AI is untethering photos from being optic, sensor and photographer centric. Undoubtedly, automation is on the rise. Will this be an end of age of the photographers.
As a purist photographer, we happen to be up in arms against Artificial Intelligence. And the tech protagonists do empathize. But sadly, that does not deter the proliferation of AI in our artistic playground. Purists like me posit that these advances in technology can never replace the photographer’s artistic flare.
And indeed, we are moderately right!
Rolling back to history, it was 2014 when Australian landscape photographer Peter Lik set a new world record. Lik’s “Phantom” sold for a whopping sum of $6.5 million. My gosh! that’s like a jackpot for the photographer. This had happened never before and it holds the record of an iconic photograph to date.
Food for thought: The intensity with which Artificial intelligence and machine learning have advanced in the last 5 years, we are yet to witness a masterpiece like Lik’s. Does that I as a photographer kick back with a cappuccino and relax?
I cannot comment. But it indeed puts emphasis on the fact that the humane aesthetic and artistic elements will not be easy to replace. They are and will continue to remain the spotlight of the world of photography.
Yea! Oxford backs my inference too. A research paper by Oxford: “The Future of employment” examines how susceptible are the job profiles to computerization. As the study indicates the probability of a computer replacing a photographer is mere “0.021”.
Head scratching moment
Then why do we see clients drooling over the output of AI filters, photo editing tools.
According to a 2019 Instagram survey, 60% of the photographs posted by top brands on Instagram use filters. But the fact is that the editing tools powered by AI are “Not” there to replace a photographer’s job. They enable a novice photographer to prep images for commercial purposes. You got it right the ones that find a place in the product listing page.
ART vs Algorithms: How can we be AI-ready?
Time to shuffle your last couple of artworks. So do they inspire you? If so, it’s because you have been honing your photography skills. But is that enough? And if you feel it’s not, read through this article till the end to future proof against AI.
Technical encroachment has always sounded like a job snatcher? There is an angle to photography that we have not touched till now. It is to be remembered, even the greatest AI tool cannot make anyone a great photographer.
No algorithm can get the composition and emotion right. All it can do is chisel what was captured. If you happen to be a professional photographer, you need not bring down the shutters. All you need to do is get better at what you do. Your skill and technology advancement need to work in harmony to stay in business. Here is how that can be achieved:
Break the pattern
If Lik’s would have turned greedy after selling “Phantom”, he would have ended up clicking countless images of the different objects in the way he captured the iconic shot. But would they also sell like a multi-million-dollar hotcake? It does not take to be a genius to answer that. As a proponent of human lens art, it’s high time you break the pattern. Every piece of your work brings out the essence of the object being photographed.
And that is when your work gets ahead of an algorithmic job.
Did we sound like a technology antagonist till now?
Apologies if we did so. As a millennial professional, you cannot afford to maintain distance from technological advancements in the field. It would be an intelligent choice to take advantage of your opponent – the algorithms. Do you know the digital cameras are facing a major dip in sales for the last five years?
This is because the age of the smart camera is encroaching the creative territory. And it is the time, you become a smart photographer by utilizing assisted intelligence. It is aggressively becoming a part of smartphone cameras and camera interfaces.
Have you explored the camera of iPhone X? It is powerful beyond human imagination. Its raw power needs your composition skills to deliver an unmatched piece of art. These smart cameras are taking advantage of machine learning just like CoreML. The algorithm is intelligent enough to recognize objects and allows you to clone out the ones that are undesired. Imagine having a camera handy to add realistic sun rays and the right shadow to the photographers.
Every form of intelligence like augmented intelligence assisted intelligence and artificial intelligence is being boxed into the smartphones. Honing your skills to use these features places you much higher in the competitive pyramid.
These sophisticated apps and work like your background assistants. It’s time you start using artificial intelligence tools to improvise what your human skills produced. The result is expected to be epochal.
Do it before they start replacing you!
Ideate your work to bring out Creativity
The Neuroscientific investigations about human creativity cross the lines from biology to psychology. And science is yet to uncover how human creativity works. What has not been understood cannot be mimicked? This is where you stand strides ahead of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
AI is yet to touch the murky waters of the philosophy behind how a photographer is able to capture the soul of a composition. It will take a long time for the mathematicians and physicians to generate pieces of code that work in a creative fashion.
Be brave and exercise your creative bent to produce masterpieces. Put a lot of thought into want you want the final photograph to look like. Invest in books, webinars, and seminars, explore and experiment and unleash your real potential.
Find your style
What do you think makes a photograph sell for millions? It is definitely not just the pretty pictures that sell. History has witnessed some raw analog photographs breaking records. If you rely solely on editing, your work might not stand out as most of the editing tools have a standard approach to fix the non-uniformities in an image.
Every photographer who etched his name in history has had a unique style. What AI is doing is that it making commercial photography easy at entry-level. Amateur photographers can stay in business without defining their style and relying on just fixing the non-composed and ill-exposed pictures.
But to take gaspingly beautiful pictures, one needs to define a style that is being worked upon till it is mastered.
It’s a people business
Can you comprehend the army of robots clicking away from a wedding or baby photoshoot? We don’t see that happening ever. And the reason seems to be strong enough.
Photography is people’s business and it will continue to do so. It is the humane touch that makes the human on the other side of the lens emote and capture memories on a digital canvas. That been said, it becomes even more important to hone your people skills to stay on top of both algorithmic and humane competition.
There are no hard rules to this and you need to define your own person that is likable.
SPECIAL MENTION: Artificially intelligent cameras
Adobe’s face detection and advanced camera’s like that of Sony a7 III seems to have taken over the “right focus” job of a photographer. Once a user sets the face preference, the tool or the camera will retouch or focus only on the set priority. Isn’t that a brilliant advancement?
Now, what do you think? Does Artificial Intelligence stand any against the army of photographers strong enough? For those who think rationally, yes AI is posing as a stronger contender than we thought of. But it has a place only where the artistic inputs are of less importance.
The AI powered tools are there to take over the mundane and tiring job of photo editing.
It’s no surprise, that one of the major impacts of AI is being witnessed in editing and managing the photos. But that’s only the start.
Eventually, AI will enable cameras to handle all the procedural tasks of a photographer. All this will be an addition to capacities of the AI-powered cameras we are already finding embedded in our smartphones.
Are the professional photography days numbered? Indeed not, nothing’s is going to replace the neuroscience behind human creativity. Nor today nor tomorrow. If this thought has haunted you, all you need to do is work on the expert tips in the article to shape up your future as a photographer against the algorithmic warfare.