AI is already well on its way to transforming a wide range of industries, with many dubbing this transformation ‘a technological marvel’ that will simplify our lives and make it possible to achieve great things that we couldn’t possibly achieve on our own – or at least not as quickly and as effectively as AI. But sometimes innovation can be a double-edged sword, and in the case of AI, it will (and already is) costing people their jobs. Certain tasks previously performed by people with a specific aptitude, who studied and worked to attain the necessary skills to perform those jobs, can now be done more efficiently and economically by AI, making those talents, skills, and people – redundant.
Rising concern over whether AI will ‘replace’ creative professionals
Creative services have been hit especially hard by the rise of generative AI. Open AI’s GPT-4, for example, is being tipped to replace professional copywriters. This prediction was previously downplayed by many who claimed that GPT-4’s predecessor – ChatGPT-3 – was too flawed and limited to ‘completely’ replace human writers any time soon. But GPT-4, released less than four months later, “already surpasses ChatGPT in its advanced reasoning capabilities”, according to its makers, proving that the rate of advancement of generative AI is dizzying, and no one can really predict how quickly it will progress to levels that we can’t even fathom yet.
The same is true of text-to-image AI generators: OpenAI’s DALL·E 2, for example – an AI system that creates realistic images and art from a description in natural language – and other AI-powered tools like Midjourney, allow people to whip up an image of whatever they want (albeit with a varying degree of success), bypassing the need for a photographer to create an original image.
Event photographers are uniquely immune to job displacement by AI
Understandably, some photographers are worried about how the rise of AI-powered image-editing and augmentation tools will affect their profession. And in many photographic genres, they have good reason to worry.
Event photography, however, is one niche where photographers needn’t worry as much, because photos of real-life events can’t be created out of thin air; you can’t ask DALL-E or Midjourney to generate an authentic wedding photo of a specific couple, their wedding guests, and the various milestones of their special day as they actually occurred. Only the wedding photographer can capture original images at a real ‘live’ event.
Maybe someday, someone will invent a robot that can mimic everything that’s required of a professional photographer to capture an event as thoroughly and creatively as only a human can. Until that day, event photographers will remain irreplaceable.
AI is a friend to event photographers – not a foe
As it turns out, not only can event photographers rest easy about AI not ‘stealing their jobs’ any time soon – AI can help them do their jobs more effectively, by significantly optimizing post-shoot editing.
Although photo editing is just as much a part of the artistic process as the shooting itself, it also involves an inordinate amount of mundane, tedious drudge work – particularly in culling unusable shots and correcting color and composition – before the photographer can even begin the truly creative aspects of editing.
By automating repetitive tasks and making intelligent decisions about how to adjust images, AI batch editing helps to produce high-quality images far more quickly and efficiently. For event photographers who typically shoot hundreds or even thousands of photos per event, AI is therefore proving to be an advancement rather than an impediment.
With Snapify, for example, photos can be culled automatically based on certain parameters. Photographers can also upload thousands of their previously edited images to ‘teach’ their favorite editing styles to the AI algorithm, so that it can automatically apply them to photos en masse and allow photographers to toggle through them and tweak final edits later, saving a ton of time.
AI speeds up the editing process so significantly, it’s creating new standards in delivery times for clients: Instead of having to wait many days and even weeks for their edited photos, now they can receive them within a day or two, and even in real time.
All this time ‘saved’ on traditionally time-consuming workflows, is time that photographers can use to either take on more jobs and boost their revenue potential, or simply rest between jobs, improving their work-life balance.
AI isn’t going anywhere, but it remains to be seen how far-reaching it will be in various aspects of our lives and our jobs. And while preserving a human touch is especially important in creative professions where a human touch is what makes their output unique and valuable – it’s also naïve to dismiss the power of AI to eliminate or vastly alleviate the mundane aspects of certain jobs.
Event photographers are fortunate because they can continue performing the creative aspects of their work, which involves being physically present at the events to ‘call the shots’ – literally. That said, they will need to adopt AI-powered editing technology at least to some degree if they want to remain competitive, because finding clients who are happy to wait 10 times as long for their photos as the soon-to-be new (much faster) industry standard – will be few and far between.