Unleashing potential, not replacing passion
We get it, there’s a certain amount of fear surrounding the adoption of generative AI tools and the impact it’s going to have on the future of our industry. Artificial intelligence is a very long way from replacing humans. In fact, it’s pretty useless without human input! If AI started spontaneously generating content on its own, what purpose would it serve? And how many extra fingers and limbs would there be?! The idea needs to be human as it needs to connect with humans. It needs to fulfill human desires and evoke human emotions in order to spark a human reaction, such as a purchase or hitting the ‘like’ button on social media.
So, we should see artificial intelligence as an extension of our traditional workflows, an extra team member you can lean on to help bring ideas to life. But, your new teammate is able to expand the horizons of what’s creatively possible whilst freeing you from limitations such as budgets and time. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? So, let’s dive in…
1. Sell your Vision
As a creative professional, chances are you’ve felt the disappointment of having an idea rejected and how that feeling amplifies when it seems the decision makers didn’t quite get your vision. With generative AI tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion you can input your ideas, iterate on a vision until it feels right and present an entirely visual brief to spell it out for them.
Prior to AI, creating imagery for a concept took time and money you probably wouldn’t have at this stage. Now, you’re able to experiment limitlessly with colors, scenes, composition, props and even models.
Once your idea is signed off, your ready-made brief can be carried through to production where it can be used to assemble the right team to bring your vision to life with photography, video, real product and real people.
2. Elevated modeling
Generative AI’s ability to create realistic human avatars provides even more power to your productions.
An avatar’s features can be determined to complement the overall aesthetic of your brief. This can help with casting in the pre-production phase but also with hair, makeup and styling during a shoot.
Creating pose references or mood boards with generative AI will also save time, inspire ideas and help things run a lot smoother in the studio. Something that Nathan McDowell (@nattymac) described success with at our recent FLOW London event.
Display optimized product images directly in Google search results.
Watch the full talk here.
3. Augment reality
How many times has the idea of exotic or far-flung destinations for a shoot fallen at the first hurdle thanks to budget or time constraints?
Imagine a few well-constructed prompts unlocking the door to tropical beaches, barren deserts, or even a parallel universe!
Thanks to generative AI, your setting doesn’t have to be your scene. With planning, the right lighting and a little post-production magic, you’re able to place your subject into a completely imagined environment.
This is something that creatives like to play into; generating impactful, other-worldly scenes that capture the consumer’s attention, like this campaign from Revolve. It’s like nothing else they’ve ever seen because, until now, it’s just been an idea in your mind. If you’re looking to set yourself apart from the competition, augmenting reality in your shots with AI is a great way to stand out.
So, get to it… promptly please!
Hopefully by now you’re feeling inspired to join the era of AI co-creation. For those who feel like they might be cheating on their own creativity, remember; it’s always your vision - AI is just making it happen. Everything is under your control, it’s just another tool to improve workflows and elevate output.
It takes practice to fully harness the power of generative AI tools and all their little quirks! DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are popular generative AI platforms offering the same service but with varying results and user interfaces, so experiment and see what you prefer.
Your prompting power is the main skill you’ll need to develop when working with AI. A prompt is the information (usually text) that you feed the AI tool to generate your desired result. Unless you work on the quality of your prompts, you won’t realize the full potential of generative AI and how it can complement your work.
“You're the chef, it's your vision. The ingredients, they're your ideas and AI is your kitchen. But in order to produce something relevant you need your ingredients to be top quality” - Nathan McDowell
Generative AI prompt tips:
- You still need to think like a photographer - angles, lighting, focal lengths, emotion, composition, styles. Think how you would shoot the image you want and feed that information in.
- Think about colors and mood - skip post-production and go straight for your desired aesthetic. Consider things like artistic styles, colors and atmosphere.
- Be explicit - Leave anything up to interpretation and chances are it’ll interpret it wrong! So, be specific about what you do and don’t want in your image.
- Try, try and try again - trial and error is essential. You’ll rarely get first-time results, so regenerate and fine-tune. Your prompt engineering skills will get better with time. So be patient and enjoy the process!
Generative AI offers photo studio professionals exciting new realms of creative possibilities that could only be imagined a few years ago. It supports every stage of production from concept to completion; saving time and cost along the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to stop working against AI. These exciting technologies are here to stay and will integrate more into our day-to-day in the coming years. So embrace it, unlock new heights of creativity and grow with it rather than playing catch up in years to come.
Have you got an experience with AI you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Join the conversation on Linkedin.
You can also learn more by watching Nathan McDowell’s FLOW London talk here.