June 19, 2023

Will AI Imagery be the future of fashion photoshoots?

6 mins

Instead of using a real model on its cover page, Vogue Singapore decided to use an AI generated model for the March issue of the magazine this year. The first cover-image of its kind, the realistic-looking  images created quite a stir in the fashion world, and the magazine received quite a lot of traction from across the world.

Source : Vogue Singapore

The realistic appeal of the images may have wowed many, but it has opened up the pandora's box. Will the future of fashion photography be all about AI? Will photographers and professional models lose jobs? These are very valid questions at a time when AI is threatening to negatively impact human resources in almost every professional field. 

To get to the bottom of these doubts and questions, it is important to understand some fundamental facts about AI generated images and photography in general. Let's begin!

AI is already being used in Art and Photography 

This is a fact. Not in the most apparent way, but AI technology is also being used by photographers and artists to create photos and visual arts. Most photo editing softwares used by professional photographers is driven by AI. From adjusting the contract, lighting, and blurring the background of the frame are examples of how AI has been enabling us to take  picture perfect shots each time. 

Facial recognition software that effortlessly segregates the album on our phone is yet another example of AI. In fact, the most popular photo editing software “photoshop” and its tools are built upon the principles of AI. Therefore, the deep dive discussion around AI and photography that is currently underway is not a new phenomenon. The world of photography has been relying on it for a while. 

Image Source : from galleri5’s digital design studio, an eclectic take on fashion

AI enabling the creation of life-like images- Boon or Bane

If we were to google AI generated images of Google, the results are going to be baffling and it will be very difficult to distinguish between a real or fake image. That's how sophisticated AI generated images have become. This could be a game-changer for the fashion industry. While some are quite piqued about this new phenomenon, others have warned caution. 

Boon or Advantages of AI photography -

Affordable and cost effective - This is perhaps one of the biggest appeals of AI generated photography is the cost effectiveness. Traditional photoshoots cost a lot. There is a model fee, photographers fees, payment of stylist and makeup etc. On the other hand, AI images can be created from a photo studio with only a handful of resources. 

Logistically simple- Since the photos are created from an editing studio there is absolutely no operational cost and logistically simple to execute. No scheduling is required, equipment transportation etc. 

Easy to customize - With AI images, brands will be in a position to customize the images on the go. Older images can be refurbished without having to organize a new photoshoot. Images can also be customized on the fly depending upon the campaign and marketing requirement. 

Bane or Disadvantages of AI photography  

Economic Implications - This is a very ethical concern a lot of people are expressing towards this trend. If more and more brands AI photography, several professionals associated with the industry would end up losing earning opportunities.

Lack of human touch - A lot of thought, preparation and effort goes into professional photoshoot. It is a collaborative effort of photographer, model and the stylists. As opposed to AI generated photos, which are not real and often used by typing a set of commands or keywords. 

Trigger body image issues - The impeccable quality of AI images can trigger body image issues and near perfection appearance cannot be replicated by humans. It can further reinforce false perception of beauty, which the fashion industry is often accused of. 

AI generated Image created in-house (galleri5’s digital studio) of actor and model Anisha Victor

What does the future hold?

Only time will tell us if the use of AI in fashion photography will just be a backend aid to the industry or will it completely take over.  Most recently, global denim brand Levi’s announced to test AI models later this year. Not surprising, criticism and backlash followed and the denim brand retorted with a quick response to clarify their stance on the use of AI models for product showcase- 

“While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited for the potential capabilities this may afford us for the consumer experience,” said Dr. Amy Gershkoff Bolles, global head of digital and emerging technology strategy at Levi Strauss & Co. “We see fashion and technology as both an art and a science, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Lalaland.ai, a company with such high-quality technology that can help us continue on our journey for a more diverse and inclusive customer experience.”

The above response sums it all. The human contribution of fashion photography can never be done away with, however, going forward the ecosystem will be AI-human collaboration that will be fostered towards better customer experience and service delivery. 

Concluding Thoughts- 

The use of AI in fashion photography is inevitable. For instance, editing and photography softwares have have wiped our professional photography, but have assisted the vocation in producing aesthetically pleasing work. AI technology is likely to work in a similar way. Here are some possible scenarios how AI and photography will work going forward-

  • AI images can be used in planning the fashion or model look
  • Live photos shoots can be exhausting for models and AI imagery can be supplemented to get more images for a particular clothing style/look
  • Brands that are working under stringent budget can consider AI fashion photoshoots
  • Famous and Supermodels like Noami Campbell or Gigi Hadid may opt to create digital Avatar’s for themselves and sell it to brands to be used on magazine fashion covers and hoardings

The fashion industry is constantly evolving, with new trends, styles, and concepts emerging regularly. Fashion photographers play a crucial role in shaping and capturing these trends, bringing them to life through their artistic vision. They collaborate with designers, models, and stylists to create compelling and evocative images that resonate with the audience.

While AI can contribute to the field of fashion photography, it is more likely to be seen as a tool or a complement to human photographers rather than a complete replacement. Human photographers bring a unique perspective, creativity, and emotional connection to their work, which are challenging for AI algorithms to replicate fully.

As an influencer marketing company, galleri5 has worked with some of the top fashion brands in India. Our understanding of the fashion business and grasp of emerging technologies has enabled us to kick-start our in-house “influencer co-pilot” that has the expertise to create real-life images which are aesthetically pleasing and extremely versatile.

Kamna Datt
Content Writer
A content writer by profession, Kamna is an Influencer marketing enthusiast writing insightful articles about the space that will benefit brands and influencers alike!