Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s already changing the way we interact with the world. It’s changing the way we travel, the way we talk — but it’s also changing the way we capture moments in time.
More so than most industries, in fact, the world of photography has been greatly impacted by artificial intelligence. We see AI being used to help people edit and process images. It’s employed to help photographers mimic skills and styles. And, of course, AI is used in every picture taken on a smartphone.
Through mechanisms like machine learning, color enhancement, and other digital solutions, AI subtly enhances the quality of your smartphone’s camera, and you may not even know it.
But this is only the start.
In five to ten years, everything in the world of photography will be powered by artificial intelligence.
AI will further simplify the process of taking and managing photos.
Across industries, one of the main benefits of AI is that it simplifies our lives. It helps us do things faster and easier.
It’s no surprise, then, that one of the chief impacts AI will have on photography is simplifying the process of taking and managing photos. We see this already in smartphone technology — and that’s only the start.
Eventually, AI will enable photographers to complete an assortment of more procedural tasks with greater ease. Photographers will be able to upscale images without having to use tools like Photoshop. We’ll be able to quickly print large-format canvases from smaller photos. And we’ll be able to restore scanned photos and color in older images that are shaded in black and white.
All this in addition to the AI-powered capacities of modern cameras.
AI will make the photos we take better.
But AI will not just simplify the process of taking and working with pictures. It will make the pictures we take look better — making colors more vivid and automatically correcting any imperfections.
More technically speaking, AI can help photographers bridge the gap between what our eyes see and what the camera captures.
We’ve all been there. We see something that looks beautiful — a full moon, say — and we think oh, that looks beautiful! I should take a picture. But then when we take our camera out, the picture disappoints.
The fact is, your eyes are the best camera in the world, and not even the most expensive camera can get close to the quality with which you naturally perceive the world. But what artificial intelligence can do is help the camera automatically enhance the details so your pictures more closely resemble what your eyes see.
What’s more? The AI will conduct all this automation intelligently — as in, with a differentiated approach for each image. It will use a neural network to understand what kind of treatment a specific image needs. Then, it will be able to apply that treatment, adding a certain sense of reality to your photos.
Advances in AI will make our cameras more dynamic.
Just as artificial intelligence has given drivers the ability to do more with their cars, another benefit of AI in the world of photography is that it will make our cameras more dynamic.
Here are just a few examples:
Tag objects in an image. Researchers in Germany have recently developed an AI solution called Excire that automatically tags objects on a photo. This technology has the ability to recognize and tag people of different age groups and nationalities, which saves people who are using those photos an incredible amount of time.
Skip the editing. At Skylum, we’ve recently released a product called Photolemur. What it does is use artificial intelligence to edit photos to realize their best possible version without manual control. Using machine learning, the technology considers photos and lightens or darkens them depending on what the photo needs — all without the need of manual editing.
Control color and light with one slider. Another product we’ve launched is called Luminar, which allows photographers to use just one multifaceted slider to enhance their photos. We built this after hearing feedback from landscape photographers all over the world that having to use multiple sliders to edit their photos was too time consuming. Typically, photographers use dozens of sliders to improve a photo. They use sliders to highlight, or shadow, or create contrasts. With Luminar, however, photographers need just one slider. As you move it across a photo, the software decides how to tweak things like saturation, luminosity, and contrast. Again, it does this automatically. This sort of slider will soon be a norm.
At the end of the day, all of these changes are remarkably exciting. They promise to improve the lives of anyone who regularly uses cameras or interacts with photography.
Despite this, many purists still posit that these changes are not positive — that they will sacrifice the craft’s artistic integrity.
I empathize with their concern. But in reality, the art will always remain, as even the most advanced tools in the world won’t help you become a great photographer. AI won’t give you an eye for photography — a sense of lighting or approach. It won’t help you get the composition right. It won’t help you capture emotion in your subject or find the right angle.
No, what AI is doing instead is expanding photography’s reach, making it easier for more people to engage in this craft at an entry level — and capture great photos in the process.
It enables amateur photographers — a bucket most of us fall into — to take beautiful pictures without having to learn words like saturation, luminosity, or contrast.
Everyone deserves the chance to immortalize important moments in their glimpses of beauty — things they want to remember. Soon, AI will allow all of us to more easily do exactly that.