Is it just me or does Artificial Intelligence also make you think of the Terminator movies? Well, it’s no longer just the stuff of science fiction – 2021 has become the year that the wedding photography industry began embracing it.
Why weddings in particular? Wedding photographers simply shoot and edit so many more images than many other genres. This leads to wedding photographers often becoming the early adopters of new photo tech as we have to process and deliver so many shots. Can I let you in on a little secret? Post Production has never been my favourite part of the job, I never even loved being in the darkroom. I love being out in the world shooting, creating the work, not dealing with everything that happens afterwards.
So I’ve always been all about the Speedy Workflow. What tasks can I streamline or outsource, thereby freeing me up for the fun parts of being a photographer? It’s standard for me to edit a full wedding in a day. That’s culling between 2-5k images and fully editing them using Lightroom. I believe that I’m this fast as I just loathe doing it.
Back when I shot film for weddings, my editing ‘process’ was sitting with a wastepaper basket throwing reject proof prints in it. Sometimes, I truly miss those days. This year, I’ve already added AI into my workflow, using the excellent tool Narrative Select to help me cull my images. So when I heard about some AI editing software that was aimed at photographers I was all ears.
ImagenAI was dreamt up by Yoav Chai, Ron Oren and Yotam Gil – Artificial Intelligence experts based in Israel. When Yoav got married, his photographer took around three months to deliver the gallery. He was surprised that there was such a delay and intrigued to see if there was something that could be done with technology to eliminate the pain points. They looked at how AI could automate the tasks that photographers have to do multiple times within Lightroom and thereby reduce workflow times.
How AI for Wedding Photographers Works
How does it work? After downloading the desktop app, the first phase is to teach it your current editing style. This is done by ‘feeding’ it files that you’ve already edited. They ask for a minimum of 5000 and a maximum of 50,000. Now that might sound like a lot but I deliver around 800 images per wedding so it’s only 8+ weddings. I hear you groaning about digging out tens of thousands of raw files. It’s not anywhere near that complicated. You simply select the jobs from your catalogues that the app will locate on your computer.
Having been through this process my advice is to only send images edited with one preset and to send as many as you can. It doesn’t take long to upload them and the more that you input, the more it learns about what you do when you edit your images. Send as many different lighting sources as you can, all kinds of weather, all the venues or environments that you shoot in. ImagenAI then gets to work building your unique individual profile. This takes some time, so be patient and await the email saying that your profile is ready. Worth pointing out is at this stage you will not have handed over any money. The charges only kick in at the next stage, when you let it edit your files for you. How much does it cost? You pay per file but to give you an idea, I’ve been paying around £25-40 per wedding. Compared to paying for an editing service, this is extremely competitive. Also, I have to say that I’d pay that money just to have someone straighten all my images, something that ImagenAI does very efficiently.
Artificial Intelligence for Editing Photos
Once you’ve had the email saying that your profile is ready, the fun really begins. Culled your images, then open up the ImagenAI app and give it access to the folder for that job in your Lightroom catalogue. Click send, go make a brew and by the time that you return to your desk the edit will be done. It really is that quick. It’s around 1 second per image. Is your jaw on the floor yet?
So does it just apply your preferred preset and straighten images? Not at all – it works on multiple parameters within Lightroom and emulates what you would do. My experience is that the white balance in particular is probably better than I feel that I achieve on my own. So is that it? Can you just deliver that gallery now? No, you still need to run through the images and check the edits. So far, I’m finding that I’m doing some further minor tweaks – mostly to exposure. I think of it like this, when I started photography cameras were fully manual. I remember when they started to be more automatic and there were grumblings of ‘soon the cameras will take the photos for you’. Well, where we are now with cameras is that they are stuffed full of technology and this helps us with shooting but it still needs human input.
Having said that, there is another stage to ImagenAI and that is sending back your final delivered images. This way, it learns further and improves your profile to reflect this. The more information that you give it, the more accurate it will get. I now send all my weddings to it and it’s cut down my editing time by around 75%.
Suddenly, I’m feeling more like when I used to sit with that wastepaper basket and then go skipping off to meet friends for a frappuccino instead of being a slave to my computer. ImagenAI is the biggest game-changer that I’ve seen for a long time. I’m both excited and intrigued to see what this will mean for our industry, what will photographers fill that time with that they gain back? I am pretty sure that this time next year, editing this way will be industry-standard for most genres and we will all look back, roar with laughter that we ever used to do our own editing and that it took three months for anyone to deliver a wedding.
Want to try ImagenAI for yourself? Use this link to get your first 1500 edits for free